Month: May 2014

What Is A Lot Of Money To You?

A reader recently posed this question to me, and went on to say: I’ve heard “I’m making good money at my new job.” Without numbers attached, what does that mean? Well, to someone who just started in fast food it might mean $8.50 and hour, but to an ER physician it could mean $130K/year. This …

Categories: Psychology

The Cost Of An Item Is More Than Just The Sticker Price

I’m a big believer in the idea that buying a quality product (by quality, I don’t necessarily mean the most expensive – keep reading) is worth the extra money you put in versus finding the absolute cheapest deal. A couple months ago, I discussed looking at the total cost of ownership when buying an appliance. …

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Chicken Breasts Stuffed With Smoked Gouda Edition

I tried making this for dinner last night and it turned out tremendously well. The key is broiling it for a while right up at the top of the oven for a few minutes, then turning the heat down to about 400 and brushing them with olive oil. Wow. Almost Debt Free: Too Much Sacrifice? …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Comparison Shopping: Comparing The Internet To What’s On Your Store Shelf

For about the last year, my wife and I have purchased several household items in bulk from Amazon. Not only is the shipping free, but we don’t pay sales tax and we rack up lots of bonus points on our Amazon card by doing this. Our philosophy is that if Amazon has the same or …

Categories: Groceries, Shopping

To Clean Or Not To Clean?

Typically, I’m a “do it myself and save money” type of person, but I think I may have just run into a situation where I may actually hire someone to complete a task that I could do myself instead. Here’s the deal: when we move out of our apartment, we’ll have about a week during …

How To Get Off The Treadmill: A Detailed Guide To Becoming Self-Employed

For many, the demanding grind of a day-to-day job is manageable, but it becomes a psychological grind over time. You find yourself dreaming of something else and wondering how it can be done. Don’t worry, you’re not alone – anyone who even glances at mass media for long sees an incredible assortment of advertisements touting …

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Book Remnants Edition

Now that I’ve basically abandoned the book idea, there’s the question of what to do with some of the chapter drafts. I’ve decided to occasionally convert them into posts, one of which you’ll see here later today (it’ll be the long one). I figure if it is good stuff that my readers might enjoy, I …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Eight Free Things That My Family Uses In The Community

Whenever I hear people in my community complain that there’s nothing to do or that everything is so expensive, I wonder whether they even realize how much amazing stuff there is to see and do in this town without spending a dime. Here are eight wonderful free things in our community that we use for …

Categories: Community, Frugality

I’m Making All The Right Moves, But I’m Still Unhappy

After my recent article about personal finance and happiness, I received the following email from a reader named “Constance”: I’ve always been pretty responsible with my money and lived a frugal life, especially over the last few years with my husband in school full-time. But what would you say to someone like me who doesn’t …

The Art Of Filling An Empty House Without Losing Financial Balance

Early next month, my family and I will be moving into a house with more than three times the square footage of our current tiny apartment. This, of course, means that after we move, our home will be very spartan. For some, this might be an excuse to bust out the plastic and go on …

Categories: Housing

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Toddler Stuffed Animal Attachment Edition

My son has become very attached to a particular stuffed animal in the last few weeks. He carries it with him wherever he goes at home, sits it down, talks to it, and other such things. He’s incredibly gentle with the stuffed animal, too, sitting it down very gingerly, talking to it in a soft …

Categories: Morning Roundup

What Aspects Of Personal Finance Bring You Happiness?

Over the weekend, I had a chance to read a truly excellent article entitled Finding the Joy in Frugality at David on Finance. David’s story is rather similar to mine – he went through a financial low point and is now digging his way out. What he found that surprised him, though, is how enjoyable …

Categories: Debt, Frugality, Psychology

Some Thoughts On The 60% Solution

A couple years ago, an extremely influential article entitled A Simpler Way To Save: The 60% Solution popped up on MSN Money. It proposed a very simple way to budget: After analyzing our spending patterns over the past couple of years using our Microsoft Money data file, I determined that we needed to keep our …

Categories: Planning, Saving Money

An Easy Way To Make Debt Disappear More Quickly And Make Budgeting Easier At The Same Time

Many of us that have moved to online banking have our regular payments plotted out to be paid automatically, so we don’t have to worry about filling out the form each month to cover our student loan payment or our mortgage payment. I did this myself a few years ago, setting up four regular payments …

Categories: Debt

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Home Decoration Edition

My wife and I spent much of this weekend figuring out where we will put things in the new house – lots of small home decorating ideas. Lots of drawings and floor layouts and the like. It’s fun to see her this excited. Finding Health Insurance Options For Young Adults As a student, I relied …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Review: How to Win Friends and Influence People

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity or personal development book. How to Win Friends and Influence People had a tremendous positive impact on my life when I was younger. I was filled with a lot of social anxiety and was extremely uncomfortable interacting with people outside of my immediate social circle – …

The Only Personal Finance Sites I Visit Every Day

I hear quite often from readers that they check The Simple Dollar faithfully each day, and recently one of them asked whether I read any personal finance blogs and, if so, which ones do I read every day. The truth is that I subscribe to about ninety blogs of various types using Google Reader. It …

Categories: Websites

A New User-Requested Feature At The Simple Dollar

Recently, I’ve seen a few emails from readers wanting to know if there was a way to browse through the extensive archives of the site without going page by page through the long archives. In short, there wasn’t. Until now. If you look over at the right hand menu on this site under the Archives …

Categories: Meta

The Laundry Detergent Battle: Costco Versus My Homebrew Formula – What’s Really Frugal?

In response to my post about making your own liquid laundry detergent at home, several people commented that they buy it in huge quantities at Costco, so they couldn’t see the benefit in making their own. Hearing that, I decided to look at more options to find the least expensive option for getting my clothes …

Categories: Frugality