Month: May 2014

Fifteen More Free Things To Do During A Money-Free Weekend

A while back, I wrote about the joys of a money free weekend, and followed that up quickly with a list of fifteen free things to do during a money free weekend. Here’s the list of those fifteen to get you started (but I really recommend reading the whole original post): Play board games Have …

Categories: Frugality

A Perfect Case For Making Things Automatic

Angela writes in with the following situation: I didn’t see any archives where you unexpectedly come into money. My husband is re-enlisting for a big chunk of change (in the end we will get about 37k after taxes). Here is where we are now: Credit Card 1 – 10k @ 14.25% Credit Card 2 – …

Categories: Organizing Money

Review: The Little Book That Beats The Market

After thoroughly enjoying John Bogle’s The Little Book Of Common Sense Investing, I decided to go back and pick up the first book in the series, Joel Greenblatt’s The Little Book That Beats The Market. I was hoping for a similar tone as Bogle’s book, which was basically a gentle walkthrough of the investment philosophy …

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Leftover Streak Edition

I’ve decided to try to see how many days in a row I can eat leftovers for lunch, since I had to break my previous run when we moved. The streak right now is at four. I actually view it as a challenge worth keeping, because my leftovers are always healthier than eating out and …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Personal Finance 101: Capital Gains Tax

What Are Capital Gains and How Much Tax Do You Have to Pay? A reader wrote in wanting a simple explanation of a very hairy topic: capital gains and capital gains tax. I’m going to take a crack at explaining it in very simple terms, leaving out some of the specific vagaries of the United …

Categories: Investing, Taxes

Investment Risks: Going Into Debt To Invest Money?

Sam wrote in with the following question: I currently have no debt and am thinking of investing in the stock market. I can get loans with very low interest rates (4-5%) and can also do some credit card arbitrage to get money for a while at 0% rates. Should I take out these loans to …

Categories: Debt, Investing

Buying A Car: How Much Down Payment Is Useful?

A reader wrote to me recently asking the simple question “How much of a down payment should you put on a new vehicle?” The thumbnail answer is as much as you can, but let’s go down the rabbit hole a bit and see how deep it goes. Using a simple auto loan calculator, you can …

Categories: Automobile

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: They Might Be Giants Edition

When I was around age twenty, my favorite musical group was They Might Be Giants. I was nearly obsessed with them, owning all of their albums and even their obscure EPs. Yesterday, I was at Best Buy. I wandered through the music section and noticed that they had a new album out – and I …

Categories: Morning Roundup

How To Set Up Multiple Savings Account Funds Within ING

In the aftermath of yesterday’s discussion about how to manage several funds in one account, several people mentioned actually opening multiple savings accounts at ING Direct under one general account, enabling people to sort their money (I happen to be a big fan of ING Direct, but you may also want to read the note …

On Losing Weight: Comparing Physical Fitness And Financial Fitness

Since starting with the Volumetrics weight loss plan about three weeks ago, I’ve lost twelve pounds. I should add here that there was some intense days of physical labor in there centered around moving, but still, twelve pounds is an impressive weight loss for such a short period of time. I’m not dehydrated – I’ve …

Categories: Getting Started

Dealing With Those Piles Of Old Baseball Cards In Your Closet

Like many people who were children in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was an avid baseball card collector. I had numerous complete sets and a pretty big book of various individual cards of my favorite players. My parents, fueled on stories of people selling their vintage baseball card collections from their childhood, told …

Categories: Investing

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Personal Beliefs And Food Edition

A comment from a reader has left me thinking a lot lately: I used to work for the web design company that did the Super Suppers website. I’ve read the recipes. What you’re buying isn’t food. They get everything in pre-packaged convenience packs from Sysco. It’s the worst, most overprocessed crap you can imagine. After …

Categories: Food, Morning Roundup

Individual Stock Picking Advice

Last week, I wrote about Baby Steps For Individual Stock Picking, which gave starter tips on how one can invest in individual stocks. While I tend to primarily invest in low-cost index funds, I am interested in investing in a few individual companies whose business policies I greatly admire. Why invest in individual stocks at …

Categories: Investing, Stocks

Several Funds, One Account: How To Manage Them

Over the past several months, I’ve suggested that people break up their savings into several smaller funds for various purposes: a home maintenance fund, an emergency fund, an automobile fund, and so on. Some readers have asked whether or not I use several accounts to manage this cash – the truth is that I use …

Categories: Organizing Money

A Visit To Super Suppers: Is It Worth My Simple Dollar?

Being fans of the once-a-month cooking concept, my wife and I have been eager to at least take a look at Super Suppers, which is basically a shop devoted to that concept. Basically, you go there, prepare a ton of meals at once, then take them home and put them in the freezer until meal …

Categories: Food

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Philosophy Edition

Over the weekend, I wrote a post on how to get a free iPhone that caused a bit of … consternation with a few regular readers because the post included a number of money-saving ideas that I’d written about before. The purpose of the post was actually many-fold, but the biggest one comes back to …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Is A Deep Freezer Worth It?

My wife and I purchased a deep freezer over the weekend; we researched a bunch of models, figured in purchase and delivery costs, and wound up selecting a 21 cubic foot Frigidaire model. It cost us about $450 after our gift cards (we collected a pile of Home Depot, Target, and Bed Bath and Beyond …

Categories: Food, Frugality

7 Steps To Help You Focus On Being Debt Free

While I was busy unpacking boxes, Amy wrote to me with the following story. We’re trying to dig out of our debt but it is slow going. And hard. Especially with a 14yo daughter and 10yo son who both expect certain material things. How does a person not lose the focus on the goal of …

Categories: Psychology

Seven Tips For Your Next Big Move

Over the last week, my wife and I took on the challenge of moving from a small apartment to a nice family home. It turned out that we made some good moves and some bad ones during the move, and came up with some great ideas along the way that we weren’t necessarily able to …

Categories: Frugality, Housing