Month: May 2014

The Real Scoop On Rewards Credit Cards

Tammy wrote in with the following story and question: I recently got an offer in the mail from Sallie Mae, whom I currently have huge loans from, for a platinum plus credit card with worldpoints rewards. They are offering zero interest on balance transfers till october 2008 and cash back rewards and points (1:1) for …

Categories: Credit Cards

Seven Ways To Advance Your Career Or Small Business And Spend Time With Your Family

Quite often, I feel a strong tug between family needs and professional needs. I work very hard on The Simple Dollar, but sometimes I would rather spend time with my family. Thankfully, by focusing carefully on what opportunities I have available, I can do both. Here are seven ways that you can simultaneously advance your …

Categories: Careers, Family

An Interesting Voluntary Simplicity Exercise That Can Really Improve Your Financial Situation

A while back, I read Duane Elgin’s book Voluntary Simplicity; lately, I’ve been reading a lot of things in that direction, like Walden and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (if you’re concerned about the pace of modern life and consumerism and your place in it, all three are very much worth reading). These …

Review: More Than Enough

In the past, I’ve reviewed Dave Ramsey‘s other books, The Total Money Makeover (which I really liked) and Financial Peace Revisited (which I felt was so-so). They both have a similar tack, however, in that they’re both all about Dave Ramsey’s personal finance philosophy – get out of debt before doing anything else. More Than …

Categories: Books and Reading

Getting Over The “Taboo” Of Generics And Store Brands

Many Americans (including many of my friends) are conditioned by many years of marketing to select name brand products at the store. They’ll skip right by the generic rice puffs and buy the identical Rice Krispies for a dollar more per box. They’ll skip by the 100% store brand juice and pick up Juicy Juice, …

Categories: Frugality, Meals, Shopping

Personal Finance Boils Down To Just Two Things…

Once you’ve read up on personal finance, you’ll find that there are a lot of perspectives on almost every issue. What I’ve found is that one should read the advice of others, but don’t subscribe blindly to it. If you read A Random Walk Down Wall Street and then read Jim Cramer’s Real Money, you’re …

Categories: Getting Started

The Stay At Home Parenting Question Hits Home – Hard

Yesterday morning, I took my son to daycare as usual, but this morning was a bit different than other ones. As he’s near his second birthday, he has moved to a new room with a different staff and a far different setup than before. They take their naps on open-sided cots and there is a …

Categories: Family

Having A Second Child? Seven Frugal Tips For Getting Ready

At our house, we’re waist-deep in preparations for the arrival of a second child, which makes for interesting times and interesting choices. Our house is filled with this air of imminent change; even our son can sense it and he’s already talking about the baby as though he knows she’s about to arrive. Here are …

Categories: Family, Frugality

Finding The Center

Not only do I work full time, but I’m also a small-scale entrepreneur, as I maintain this blog and also do some limited computer consulting. This leads to an almost constant struggle in my life between the opposing needs of maintaining my job and nurturing my businesses versus spending time with my family. Finding and …

Evaluating My Magazine Subscriptions: Which Ones Are Worth It And Which Ones Aren’t?

A while back, I discussed five principles of deciding whether or not to subscribe to a magazine. Here they are, in nutshell form: Do I actually read the magazine? Would I buy the magazine on the newsstand if I didn’t subscribe? Does the information in the magazine directly affect my bottom line? Could I just …

Getting Started With The Simple Dollar

Over the last several months, The Simple Dollar has picked up a lot of readers, as you can all probably tell if you’ve been watching that subscriber number on the upper right corner of each page. Because of this, I thought it would be worthwhile to step back and give an overview of The Simple …

The Savings Bond Dilemma: Cash Them In Now Or Wait?

While going through some boxes after the move, I discovered four Series EE savings bonds, each with a face value of $100. They were given to me during my high school and college years as gifts and I saved them for some future event – and basically forgot about them. I looked up the current …

Tackling Breakfast: Healthy, Inexpensive, And Easy Meals To Get Me Started In The Morning

I’m a big fan of eating breakfast. It always seems to get my motor running in the morning and I feel utterly lethargic when I miss out on it. The problem is that the mornings are usually chaotic – my wife and I are both getting ready for work and also taking care of our …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Maintenance Lessons I’ve Learned as a Homeowner

As a first-time homeowner, there are a lot of things going on in the house that were basically a mystery to me. Being the curious sort, I’ve wanted to understand why things are happening, how things work, and how I can keep them working well. This has resulted in a few interesting lessons that are …

Categories: Housing

A Frugal Dilemma: Inheriting Stuff You Wouldn’t Normally Use

Shelley wrote in with the following dilemma: My mother-in-law recently moved to a nursing home. My husband was the primary person to clean out her senior apartment and we have accumulated a lot of junk (her overwhelming QVC purchases) as well as stuff which will save us money (mounds of toilet paper, cleaning supplies etc.) …

Categories: Frugality

Carnival of Personal Finance #114

Welcome to the 114th Carnival of Personal Finance! For those unaware, the Carnival of Personal Finance is a series of weekly posts hosted by various blogs in which we highlight great posts on various personal finance topics. For my regular readers, consider this a long, long version of my morning roundup. Below, I picked out …

Review: Organizing From The Inside Out

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity or personal development book. A while back, I read and reviewed Julie Morgenstern’s Time Management From The Inside Out. I found it to be fairly interesting and a good complement to Getting Things Done, which is the basic framework for how I organize my time. Almost …

Five Gadgets That Were Well Worth The Investment

Not too long ago, I was a gadget hound – dropping money on all sorts of stuff, both useful and, well, not useful. I’ve found over the last year or so that some of them I use almost every day, while others I rarely use at all. In hindsight, I don’t regret the money spent …

Categories: Technology

Two Commenters Disagree: Why Risk Is Interesting

Recently, two commenters disagreed strongly in a thread about 15 year versus 30 year mortgages. I thought they both made a worthwhile point in a way because they are both looking at risk, but in completely different ways. Tristan wrote first: Mortage=Risk, No Mortgage=No Risk=No interest payments=you work for yourself not the bank. Debt is …

Categories: Housing, Investing