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 …

Categories: Getting Started, Money

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: Frugality, Meals

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: Meals, Shopping

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 …

Categories: Getting Started, Money

Entertaining Your Children For $1 Or Less

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: Family, Frugality

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

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. …

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 …

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 …

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

Five Really Easy Recipes To Make Once-A-Month Cooking Work For Busy People

Many people look at once a month cooking and shy away because the effort required to make dozens of complete meals at once is quite frightening. To tell you the truth, it scares me a bit, too. What I’ve found, though, is that some items are actually very suited to once a month cooking. These …

Categories: Meals

New Student Loan Benefits & Low-Cost Careers

For many people going to college, they’re scared to get involved with a major that won’t pay a lot. I know I was – after strongly considering stints as both an English major and a math major, I instead got into a major with significantly higher earning potential because I didn’t want to face huge …

Is It Worth Higher Prices For A Quality Shopping Experience?

I confess that I do not shop at the grocery store with the lowest prices on my staple goods. Yes, that’s right – I intentionally go to a different store that, if I buy all of my staples, will actually cost me a few dollars more than the cheapest place. If you’re interested, here’s a …

Categories: Shopping

Which is Best: Pay Off Debts Now Or Avoid Future Ones?

Ken wrote in with an interesting question that sometimes shows that paying down debts might not be the most prudent financial move: My girlfriend and I both went to a private college. Fortunately, my parents paid most of my tuition, but I still have $11,000 worth of loans, which I plan to pay off as …

Categories: Debt Management