Month: May 2014

Using A Moving Average In Budgeting

My wife and I use a simple mathematical construct called a moving average in order to help us budget and estimate upcoming bills. What’s a moving average? Let’s say our telephone bills over the last twelve months were as follows: May 2006 – $55 June 2006 – $55 July 2006 – $58 August 2006 – …

Categories: Organizing Money

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Mega Budgeting Weekend

My wife and I spent the weekend drawing up some realistic pictures of what our finances will look like after the home purchase and the birth of our second child. The frugality that we’ve learned in the last year is about to really pay off because, like it or not, our expenses are going to …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Review: Ready For Anything

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity or personal development book. Getting Things Done was a true watershed in personal productivity books – in fact, it was the first personal productivity book I reviewed in detail here. Getting Things Done was the first truly great personal productivity book of the information age because …

Gauging Interest In A “Simple Dollar” Book: What Do You Want To See?

As many of you know, I created a book proposal about two months ago and have been trying to shop it around to book publishers. The proposal describes a book that is basically a distillation of much of the advice on personal finance given on this site and it comes in at an estimated 600-650 …

Eat Well Without Spending A Fortune

Recently, Dave left the following comment in response to my discussion of an ultra-frugal May: I’m really curious about your meals; I easily spend $400 to 600 on food a month — for just me! Please give us some more details about the food aspect; what did you eat? What did you buy? I’m really …

Categories: Food

Should I Prepay On My Home Loan Or Put It Into Savings?

I had a lengthy and interesting discussion with my wife this morning about the interest rate on our home loan. We are locked in at 5.875%, and I told her that at that rate, we were better off not paying extra on the loan and instead putting it away in an HSBC Direct account at …

Categories: Debt, Housing, Taxes

Ultra-Frugal? Still Need A 401(k) Or A Roth IRA?

An ultra-frugal reader writes in with an interesting question – why even bother with a 401(k)? My husband and I have been living on about half our income for many years. If our expenses and savings rate stay about the same, we’ll have enough savings to live off the interest in about 7-10 years (depending …

Six Things To Do When Shopping For Cell Phones And Service

In addition to our move, we’re about to switch cell phone services from a regional provider to Verizon, primarily because of signal availability in the area we’re moving to. We also happen to be not under a lengthy service plan, so we’re also looking to upgrade our phones as well since our old ones are …

May 2007 Review – Net Worth +12.1%, Assets +6.2%, Debts +0.8%

It’s time for that monthly financial review again, where I make sure I’m keeping up with my short-term financial goals. I generally break things down by evaluating my assets, my debts, and then my net worth, and then using these numbers, I attempt to set goals for the coming month. This is a useful exercise …

Review: The Soul of Money

When I showed my sister-in-law The Simple Dollar, her first comment was, “You talk a lot on here about ways to make and save money. Do you really talk about how to spend it in a spiritually fulfilling fashion?” It was a question that actually made me think quite a bit. I do talk about …

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Food Poisoning Edition

I suffered from a nasty batch of food poisoning yesterday that I believe was brought on by food poisoning from a cold cut sandwich I ate for lunch on Wednesday. It’s the only thing that I ate differently than my wife and my son that day, and it came on with a huge violent rush …

Categories: Morning Roundup