Month: May 2014

How Much Cash Is Appropriate To Carry?

Even though I cover almost all of my expenses using plastic, I do tend to keep a small amount of cash in my wallet to cover emergency situations, tips, and such things. This seems to be a regular thing for many people – most people seem to have a bit of cash tucked away for …

Now That Aquafina Is Actually Labeled As Tap Water, Maybe We Can Look For Another Solution To The Bottled Water Issue

Last night when my wife and I were shopping at Sam’s Club, I witnessed a lady putting a large package of individual bottles of Aquafina into her shopping cart. My wife knew that would get my hackles up, so she got us out of the way and out of earshot so I could rant, which …

Categories: Food, Frugality

Healthy, Cheap, Tasty, and Quick: The Grocery Store Grand Slam and Eight Tips on How To Achieve It

Most food purchases at the grocery store boil down to one of four factors: Is it healthy? Is the food low in fat and provide good nutritional quality? Is it devoid of chemicals of mysterious origin? I also include ethical issues here, such as buying from local traders and such – healthy in a different …

Categories: Food, Groceries, Shopping

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: End of the Road Edition

Today is the last day of July and our leases on our old apartment and our storage locker expire today. That means that today I’ll be turning in keys and such things. It’s a relief in a way, but in another way it’s a burden – I know those rentals are now replaced (and more) …

Categories: Morning Roundup

My Weekly Bill-Paying Routine (In The Absence Of Paper Checks)

As I’ve briefly mentioned on here before, I’ve almost entirely abandoned paper checks. I keep a checkbook around for the rare situation where one is needed, but I have written exactly seven checks in the last six months and all of those were to local businesses. Over the last two years, as I’ve gotten more …

10 More Ways To Entertain Young Children For $1 Or Less (Without The TV)

A brilliant article appeared on Lifehacker today entitled 10 Ways To Entertain Young Children For $1 Or Less (Without The TV). Here are the author’s ten suggestions in a nutshell, but the article itself is well worth reading: Large cardboard boxes Rubber band and pencil crazy bot Make a paper popper Home Depot Kids Workshop …

Categories: Frugality, Parenting

Tying Investment Risk To Your Goals

After reading the comments on my portfolio post from yesterday (and being amused as to how they point in different directions), I wanted to point out one key part of my philosophy on risk. Whenever I wonder if an investment is too risky or not, I ask myself this: would five negative years in that …

Categories: Investing

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Cleanup Edition

If you look down in the “Sponsors” section of The Simple Dollar, you’ll see that most of the links that used to be there are gone. I’ve basically decided to severely trim the number of advertisers on here, even though they pay me relatively well. The ones that remain are ones that exist due to …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Review: The Well-Educated Mind

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity or personal development book. There are a few books so tied to an individual’s experience that it’s hard for that individual to write about it with an unbiased perspective. For me, The Well-Educated Mind falls into that category – the experience that it opened me up …

Now That The Home Is Purchased, How Shall I Invest?

As many of you know, I previously had a small investment portfolio that I emptied out in order to make a house down payment and also for some furnishing costs (painting, some inexpensive kid-friendly furniture, etc.). This puts me back at square one, which means that I get to decide all over again what my …

Categories: Investing

Ten Frugal Things To Do With An Empty Vitamin Water (Or Other Plastic Beverage) Container

Last night, I tried some Vitamin Water (a beverage somewhat similar to Gatorade). When I was finished, I sat there looking at the empty plastic container, thinking that it was rather ridiculous that millions of these were filling landfills, especially when I could think of so many uses for them. Here are ten of the …

Categories: Frugality

Handling The Frivolous Wants Of A Toddler Is Not Much Different Than Handling My Own Frivolous Wants

My wife and son and I were shopping yesterday evening when we wandered upon the toy department of a local department store. Our son, at twenty and a half months, has reached the age where he’s quite interested in the items here and he particularly wanted a large rubber ball that cost about three dollars. …

Categories: Parenting, Psychology

Personal Finance Lessons From Wired Magazine

On page 52 of the August 2007 issue of Wired, a one-page article entitled “The Price of Technolust” appears. It displays a nifty graphic showing average consumer spending broken down by percentage and displayed with different colors in a grid of 10 by 10 squares, with each small square representing 1% of the annual income …

Categories: Getting Started

Maximizing The Effectiveness Of Your Sleep – So You Have More Time For Life’s Activities

The human body needs seven or eight hours of sleep per day – that’s a largely accepted fact that we’ll use as a premise. Most people get their sleep during one stretch in the night, mostly because that’s the time when they’re not working or in school. For me, though, I realized that this sleeping …

Personal Finance In A Family Crisis

Over the past few days, a family emergency occurred and many people gathered together to say goodbye. These are challenging, emotionally hard times. I spent a lot of time comforting my wife and just being there for her and other family members, and just quietly watching things. One particular thing stood out in my mind, …

Categories: Getting Started

Review: The Complete Tightwad Gazette

My first exposure to the Tightwad Gazette was on the sitting table at a friend’s house. I actually remember them having several copies of the original newsletter, and I flipped through several issues of it, utterly amazed that there was this much that could be written on how to save money. Some of them seemed …

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: On The Road Edition

I’m actually out of town right now (if you read yesterday’s roundup, you can probably guess why). I’m currently using a dial-up connection out in the middle of nowhere. So, without my feed reader, I’m somewhat stuck, so I spent some time reading some of the last few months of columns at Yahoo! Finance and …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Applying Jerry Seinfeld’s “Chain” Concept To Personal Finance

I bet Jerry Seinfeld is not a person you’d ever expect me to discuss on The Simple Dollar. I didn’t expect to talk about him either, but then I read an article at LifeHacker outlining Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity secret. Here’s an excerpt: He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole …

Categories: Psychology

Another Look At Renting To Get Richer: The Inflation Factor

A couple days ago, I wrote about the philosophy that one could rent and become richer over time. In that piece, I used a very simple description comparing the two: Let’s say, hypothetically, that you have a home that is eating $1,200 a month in payments, $500 a year in insurance, $1,000 a year in …

Categories: Housing