Month: May 2014

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 …

Categories: Debt, Investing

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: Food, Frugality

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Nesting Edition

Nesting is in full bloom at our house right now. Everything is all about getting ready for the baby, with lists of all kinds of tasks to get done before child #2 arrives early next month. We’re transitioning our son to a twin bed over the next few months (intermediate step: the crib converts into …

Categories: Morning Roundup

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

Chinese Delivery Versus My Food Preparation Sensibilities

After a very busy weekend, on Sunday evening my wife ordered some Chinese food to be delivered. She did this while I was attending to other tasks and she was watching our son. We were both completely worn out after having accomplished a ton of little things over the weekend, so at first I didn’t …

Categories: Food, Frugality

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 …

Categories: Websites

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 …

Consumer Reports: September 2007

Consumer Reports has asked me to eliminate the content of my summaries and any other references to the content of Consumer Reports. I have complied.

Categories: Uncategorized

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

Politicians That Promise Lower Taxes

Recently, I’ve heard from a lot of readers who have asked me whether they should give priority to voting for a candidate that promises to cut their taxes. My answer to them is a nice and decisive “It depends.” If you’re primarily looking to vote for a candidate that will help your bottom line, there …

Categories: Getting Started

Five Money Lessons For Preschoolers – And Applying Them To My Own Child

Liz Pulliam Weston over at MSN Money wrote a brilliant article entitled 5 Money Lessons For Preschoolers. In it, she elucidated five simple lessons about money that you can introduce to your preschool children: Money can be spent, saved, and shared Saving should be a habit Once money is spent, it’s gone People have to …

Categories: Parenting

Your Investment Strategies Making You Nervous? Abort!

Yesterday’s post about the down market stirred up a lot of angry comments because I encouraged the person to get out of stocks if they are scared. There was perhaps some justification to it because I interpreted the person who sent in the question to be very nervous when she may have in fact not …

Categories: Investing

Review: Smart Women Finish Rich

In the past, I reviewed two David Bach books – Smart Couples Finish Rich, which I liked, and The Automatic Millionaire, which I basically felt was a weak rehash of Smart Couples. I kept hearing, however, that his best book was Smart Women Finish Rich, that it provided the best cohesive view of Bach’s philosophy. …

Categories: What We're Reading

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Weight Loss Progress Edition

Minus fifteen pounds and counting. Just a rough adherence to Volumetrics, the exercise of moving, and a fair amount of Wii Sports. That’s it. My Vacation Spending In Boston, Newport, And Salem Analyzing vacation spending – the late summer hobby of any true tightwad. Some interesting advice, though. (@ consumerism commentary) 12 Things I Will …

Categories: Morning Roundup

30 Year vs. 15 Year Mortgage Income Tax Deduction

Earlier this week, I compared the real cost of 15 and 30 year mortgages of $200,000 at the current market rates, assuming 4% inflation on average over those years. It turned into an interesting discussion that’s well worth reading. The high point: The fifteen year mortgage is still cheaper, but by much less than before. …

Categories: Debt, Housing

Basic Investing In A Down Market

While watching the stock market in free fall, a reader (Lily) writes in and asks about what to do with her 401(k): My 401k is heavily invested in growth stock mutual funds (several different ones but all are growth stock oriented). I’m wondering if it would be a good strategy to move a portion (25-50%) …

Categories: Investing

The “Dollar Off” Dilemma: Maximizing The Value Of A Coupon

A reader wrote in with this quite interesting situation: Last week I had a good shopping experience when buying cat food, but I’m still a little uncertain as to whether or not I maximized the possibilities. I got a coupon in the mail for $5 off a bag of a particular high-end brand of cat …

Categories: Frugality