Month: May 2014

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Brazen Careerist Giveaway Edition

I’m still attempting to give away my copy of Brazen Careerist. I’ve now drawn three winners and asked them to give me back a mailing address in 72 hours and none of the three responded. The giveaway hasn’t been forgotten, but apparently many of the people are on vacation (and apparently at least one entrant …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Ten Frugal Tips For A Great Grilling Experience

Since many of you will read this post, log off, and go celebrate a nice Fourth of July barbecue with your friends and acquaintances, here are ten frugal tips for making a great grilling experience. All of these either save you money, cost nothing, or cost just pennies, and they all will kick your ordinary …

Categories: Food, Frugality

The Gray Area Between Want And Need

You’re a student and you need to buy some pens for class. You visit an office supply store, see a box of cheap black pens for $4, but then you spy a few high-quality pens for $20. Do you buy the more expensive but not quite necessary pens? You’re a parent who is new to …

Categories: Shopping

Financial Paperwork Bankruptcy: Should It Be Done And If So, How?

An old friend of mine discovered this site and asked to have lunch with me because she had a few questions she wanted to ask me about her financial situation. She was actually in good financial shape, but rather than having any sort of filing system, she would mostly just glance at old statements, toss …

Categories: Organizing Money

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Independence Day Edition

Today is Independence Day in the United States, which means that I’ll be…. packing, actually. Since our move date is less than a week away, it’s time to get cracking on getting our stuff packed into boxes. It should be an exciting and exhausting day. Meet Eleanor P. This is a lengthy interview with someone …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Angry Emails: Is Money The Root Of All Evil?

About once a week, I get an angry email from a reader who has stumbled upon The Simple Dollar and views it solely as a giant ode to materialism and capitalism. Usually, this reader has come in via a Google search and found an article where I discuss how to maximize the money one can …

Categories: Meta

Overspending on Children and How to Fight It

My wife and I both have the philosophy that you shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money to give your child an idyllic childhood. We take our son to the park for recreation and most of his toys are either gifts from aunts and grandparents or are items from around the house (like an …

Categories: Parenting

How I Made Brown Bag Lunches Work For Me

For the last several months, I’ve primarily been brown bagging my lunches at work, taking either leftovers or extremely simple home-prepared foods with me to work to eat at lunch time. I admit that there was some serious resistance on my own part to starting brown bagging – I had a litany of excuses for …

Categories: Food

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: June And July Personal Financial Review Edition

Given the transformative effect of the home purchase on my personal finances, I’m skipping the June and July personal financial review posts because they don’t accurately describe much of anything – they have no meaning. I will return with these in August, as then I will be able to compare my financial situation at the …

A Prenatal College Fund?

My daughter will not be born until September, but a few days ago, I opened a 529 college savings plan in her name. Just as with my son, I’m contributing $75 a month to it, plus any cash gifts they receive until their sixth birthday, plus a small birthday gift for each one until their …

Categories: Education

Five Reasons To Try Out A CFL Today

I continually mention using CFLs for home lighting, but I haven’t laid out the entire case for CFLs in one place before. It’s time to change that. Here are five huge reasons why you should switch your home light bulbs to CFLs today. (Even if you already use CFLs, you may want to read this …

Categories: Frugality

When Frugality Is Fun

A little while ago, Five Cent Nickel published an article on the limits of frugality in which one of my own frugal activities was discussed: First up, The Simple Dollar makes his own laundry detergent. He has done the math and for 8 loads of laundry per week, he saves $20 a year vs. the …

Categories: Frugality

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Wii Edition

My wife and I agreed that we would invest a certain portion of earnings from this site, while having another small portion of it for frivolous expenses. So, for several months we’ve been saving up that frivolous amount and over the weekend we purchased a Nintendo Wii. We had some guests for the weekend and …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Review: The 12 Bad Habits That Hold Good People Back

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity or personal development book. One of my closest friends commented to me once that there seems to be two kinds of people in the world: those that got ahead and those that played fair. Although she was rather bitter at the time, her words have stuck …

Retirement Savings or Debt Repayment?

A few days ago, on my post about SmartMoney’s “7 Money Mistakes”, LTruslow left the following comment: I have always had a problem with those who believe that you should not invest before paying off all debts and establishing an emergency fund. For many, they would never begin saving for retirement. While an emergency fund …

Categories: Debt, Investing, Retirement

Defining Minimum Acceptable Housing – And How It Varies From Person To Person

My Friday post about how to afford an expensive housing market raised some interesting questions – the most intriguing of which is the idea of minimum acceptable housing. To me, this was epitomized by the following abrasive comment on the thread: Sorry for this nonproductive comment, but I’m really dissappointed in your arrogance. I live …

Categories: Housing