Month: May 2014

SmartMoney Magazine’s “7 Money Mistakes” – And The Simple Dollar’s “7 More Money Mistakes”

I was leafing through the July issue of SmartMoney (the Wall Street Journal’s sister magazine) mostly because of the cover article, 7 Money Mistakes … And How To Avoid Them. Here are the seven mistakes in a nutshell: #1. Saving with the right hand and spending with the left #2. Playing it too safe #3. …

Rural Ideas For An Expensive Housing Market

I’ve touted the benefits of living in Iowa before, but one of the biggest benefits of all is the wonderful housing market. I was able to get a 2000+ square foot home, built less than ten years ago, for less than $200,000. This success makes me never even want to consider living in an expensive …

Categories: Housing

An Inexpensive, Fun Family Vacation Idea From My Childhood

When I was young, my family did not have a whole lot of money for trips. Most of our “vacations” were trips to Grandma’s house – she lived a few hours away and had a big house that even had a hidden tunnel in it that let you sneak from one bedroom to another through …

Categories: Family, Frugality, Travel

Review: Two For The Money

Colored in bright orange and subtitled The Sensible Plan For Making It All Work, this book is really effective at getting your attention on the bookshelf, but when I picked it up and leafed through it, my initial reaction was that it was just another personal finance book, no different than a truckload of others. …

Categories: Books and Reading

Three Fears I Have About Moving

There are a lot of small financial fears I have about the whole moving process – future costs, lifestyle changes, and such. This is my first go-round as a homeowner, so lots of questions float through my head. Here are three of the most prevalent ones – and my attempt to answer them. Increased energy …

Categories: Housing

Musings On Spending $3 On A Candy Bar

I spent $3 on a raspberry chocolate bar the other day. The three of us sat in the parking lot in the rain, breaking off little pieces, giggling, singing along to Gnarls Barkley on the radio, and watching the rain drops bounce on the hood. Was that $3 an effective use of money? Of course …

Debt Snowball vs. The High Interest Approach

I’ve been looking for a good real-world example to compare the traditional “debt snowball” approach to the approach of paying off the high-interest loan first above all. Today, I received a note from a reader named Bryan: I just graduated college this year, and am starting job where I’ll make $47,000. I’ve got significant student …

Categories: Debt Management

All The Opportunity In The World

I received an email from a college student today, who I will call Erica. She told me the following: I’m a 19 year-old university student. I have no debts and all my university fees are covered by scholarships. I live at home, so I have no rent or household related expenses. Since I have had …

Guilty Money: How Much Do You Have To Spend Frivolously Before You Feel Guilty About It?

Over the weekend, I had an IM conversation with an old friend of mine in which he stated that he felt guilty about spending $50 on a video game. This led us into a lengthy discussion about frivolous spending and guilt, and we found that his guilt threshold is substantially higher than my own. I …

Money Magazine – July 2007

The July 2007 issue of Money Magazine has a nice big cover story on entrepreneurship, a topic that interests me more and more as I grow older and start to create more revenue streams. As usual, though, the issue had a lot of interesting points inside – here are ten that really stuck out at …

Categories: Money

Six Steps To Eliminate Non-Credit Card Consumer Debt

Quite often, I focus in on credit card debt as one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle for escaping a bad debt situation, and it is. One area, though, that I often overlook are other forms of consumer debt, particularly those where you purchase an item on a payment plan, then realize when you …

Categories: Debt Management

Looking For A Way Out: “Can’t Quit” Syndrome, The Value of Job Happiness, And How To Escape

I received a very long email from “Tony,” a long time reader, who had this to say (among many other things): I absolutely hate my job but it pays so well that I can’t quit. So I go into work each day dreading it and when I get home at night I am just drained …

Dollar Cost Averaging: How Does It Work?

For quite a while, I’ve been interested in how dollar cost averaging works for a regular, steady investment, so I spent some time and used the S&P 500 as a model to see how it worked in the real world. Wait! What’s dollar cost averaging? Dollar cost averaging is an investment philosophy in which you …

Categories: Investing

A Personal Finance Lesson From The Gap

About a week ago, I had a fairly interesting experience at The Gap. I stopped there on a spur of the moment as I was looking for gift ideas, and I was about to leave when I realized that there was only one noticeable employee in the store. That employee was running the only checkout, …

Categories: Frugality, Money, Shopping

The Financial Implications Of Living With Mom And Dad

Recently, “Joel” wrote in with the following question about living with his parents after college: Currently I’m a 22 years old and fresh out of college with a bachelors degree in Computer Science. I have secured a job which puts in me in a great financial situation – I will be bringing home $50,000 a …

Categories: Careers, Family

Cook Once, Eat Twice With A Crockpot

My wife and I regularly check out cookbooks from our local library to scavenge for new ideas for our cooking repertoire. While most of the time, the recipes are complex and the ingredients expensive, we occasionally check out an interesting one that really hits a frugal sweet spot. This week, we checked out Cook Once, …

Review: Time Management From The Inside Out

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity or personal development book. I’m a big advocate of the Getting Things Done system of time management, but more than a few readers have written to me stating that GTD simply didn’t do the trick for them, but that other systems helped them get their time …

Pets and Money

Earlier today, I opened a can of worms by suggesting that, if your budget is overly tight, you may wish to consider looking for a new home for your pet. My mention of this issue was extremely brief (not nearly enough to actually explore the issue in detail), but a number of readers grabbed ahold …

Forty Ways To Cut Your Monthly Expenses

One of the biggest challenges in personal finance is figuring out ways to reduce the regular bills that eat up your monthly budget. These continuous regular expenses simply fill up our budget, leaving us less money to invest for the future – and also less money to spend on things that we enjoy. 40 Ways …

Categories: Money, Spending Money