Month: May 2014

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Speaking Opportunities Edition

I may soon be appearing as a paid speaker, presenting an hour long seminar for young business professionals on how to save money while keeping up appearances (basically). I’m going to make a PowerPoint slide using about forty of my most basic money-saving methods, then keep a running total of the progress in the upper …

Categories: Books and Reading

A Frugal Man And His Wii: Q&A

One of the most frequent issues that readers write to me about is my thoughts on purchasing a Wii. I mentioned briefly before the five financial lessons that a Wii purchase taught me, but this didn’t seem to sate the questions from readers. So I’m going to take a brief sojourn here and answer all …

Categories: Entertainment

Losing A Friend Over Money

Until recently, I had a very close friend that I’ll call Dave. We spent a ton of time together doing all sorts of things – golfing, playing games, going out for drinks, and so on. Dave was one of the first people invited to my wedding and was one of the first people to see …

Categories: Getting Started

Summer Camp In The Neighborhood: How To Get A Collective Of Parents Together To Save A Ton Of Money On Daycare During The Summer

A while back, I made an offhand reference to a neighborhood summer camp: All of the children three and over are attending a rotating day camp at the different houses of their parents. Each week, one set of parents uses a week of vacation, hosts the camp at their house, and watches all of the …

Categories: Family, Frugality

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Reader Teasing Edition

A reader wrote to me recently basically offering me an unbelievable deal on my long lusted after KitchenAid stand mixer. Since then, I’ve not heard a word from this person after really getting my hopes up. Was it a joke? Who knows? Money Mistakes: That Old Black Magic I strongly identify with this article. I’ve …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Simple Dollar Gets A New Cell Phone – And Saves Significant Money In The Process

Over the last week, my cell phone has slowly been dying. The screen goes black randomly and it ceases to accept button input until I remove the battery and re-insert it. This phenomenon has happened with more and more frequency as of late, reaching the point where it’s killed phone calls in the middle of …

Categories: Saving Money, Shopping

A Down Payment Dilemma: Buy A Car Or Keep Saving For A House?

Jerry wrote in recently with the following problem: I and my wife are both graduate students; we recently paid off all our debts and started on a savings plan for the next few years that I am hoping will be our big downpayment on our first home. With our current salaries, we have been saving …

Fixed Rate Mortgage: 15 year or 30 year Mortgage?

I recently read an article at Finance is Personal entitled Why You Shouldn’t Get A 30 Year Mortgage. It presents a great argument for why one should get a 15 year mortgage and not a 30 year mortgage – you pay fewer dollars in the long run because of the lower interest rate and fewer …

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: And Now The Wife’s Family Edition

After almost a week with my family visiting and their exit on Sunday, my wife’s family came to visit starting yesterday. I look forward to rest in the future… but my wife is due with our second child in less than a month. Whew! Stop Being Poor! What Low Income Earners Can Do To Get …

Categories: Books and Reading

How To Balance Your Checkbook In The Era Of The Debit Card

This weekend, my mother, who is still firmly in the era of the handwritten check, marveled several times at my methods for paying for many things. I showed her how I had online bill payments set up, used my credit card for a number of purchases that she would have used a check for, and …

Categories: Getting Started, Money

Entrepreneurship In Your Spare Time: The Rocks And Sand Philosophy

A few times in the past, I’ve mentioned that I have a computer consulting business on the side and that I also work full time at my “real” job. The question most people ask is “How do you find time for these things?” It’s great to earn money from several sources, but it’s often hard …

Parents And Finances: An Uneasy Mix

A reader wrote to me recently with the following concerns about the financial health of her parents: I’m still repairing my own finances (I’m out of debt but still working on retirement, I don’t yet own a home though I am 34)… but my parents have NO health insurance and NO retirement funds whatsoever. How …

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Exiting Relatives Edition

The large horde of relatives that have invaded my home for most of the last week are gone and now things are quiet again. We’ve just got the mess left to clean up – vacuuming and so on. Can You Apply For Too Many Bank Accounts? This article argues that yes, you can, but I …

Categories: Books and Reading

Review: Thinkertoys

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity or personal development book. Several times a week, I get an email from a beginning blogger who asks a number of questions about how to get started with their own blog or their own fledgling writing career. Usually, I point them towards my series on building …

Visiting Williams-Sonoma: How To Avoid Overspending On Something That Stirs Your Passions

As regular readers of The Simple Dollar know, I’m a food junkie. I enjoy preparing food from scratch, presenting it well on the plate, and using sturdy, quality kitchen implements to prepare the food. I have a library of cookbooks (even though I really stick with just a few of them for everyday use) and …

Categories: Shopping

Six Ways Planning Ahead Saved Money This Weekend

Over the past few days, we had several family members visit our new home and spend a few days with us. Time and time again, though, I kept observing little things that we had done over the past year or so that paid off during the visit. Here are six frugal tips that paid big …

Categories: Frugality

Should I Be Saving Money Or Paying Down Debt?

On Thursday, I wrote about using a savings account to save up money, then using that amount to pay off a debt. This triggered the following comment: I’d be interested in hearing the benefits of doing the “savings” account method of paying off the student loan vs paying extra towards principal every month. Here’s the …

Categories: Debt Management, Money

Is Not Spending Money Bad For The Economy?

Fairly regularly, a commenter on this site will chastise me and most of my visitors for being frugal, saying that hoarding all of your money is bad for the economy because we’re not spending it and keeping the money flowing. On the surface, this makes some sense – I’m holding onto money that I’m not …

Categories: Frugality, Investing

Building Credit Discussion: Cancel Cards Or Not?

In response to my two recent posts on building credit (getting credit without a credit card and building up credit), Konstantin writes in and says: I am following your blog daily and I found two conflicting ideas you suggest that I have a hard time reconciling them: “Another tip is that by canceling credit cards, …