Month: May 2014

Review: The 48 Laws of Power

I first noticed The 48 Laws of Power sitting on the desk of a person who works deep in the bowels of a large insurance company. In an idle moment, not having the faintest clue what the book was about, I picked it up and flipped it open to a random page where I began …

The One Hour Project: Open A High-Yield Savings Account (And Maybe An Investment Account)

One big thing that you can do that can kick your finances into gear is opening up a high-yield savings account. Many banks now offer online-only savings accounts that offer very nice interest rates, often far exceeding the rates of return you can get from your local brick and mortar bank. HSBC Direct, the online …

Categories: One Hour Project

Personal Finance Lessons That Changed the Game

The last two years have taught me many, many things about personal finances. Some of the lessons have been useful and others thought-provoking, but a few have really knocked my socks off and changed the way I view the world. Here are the five lessons I learned that really altered my perspectives. 5 Lessons that …

Categories: Getting Started

The One Hour Project: Construct Your Debt Snowball (Or Something Like It)

If you’ve gone through even a few of the one hour projects in this series, you likely have some more money in your pocket. Don’t rush out and spend that jingle – instead, use that jingle to repay your debts, even if it’s just a few dollars a month. Understanding the “Debt Snowball” A debt …

Categories: Debt, One Hour Project

The Simple Dollar Book Club: Your Money or Your Life

A few weeks ago, I announced that a book club would be starting on The Simple Dollar and that the first book to be read would be Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin’s Your Money or Your Life. On Monday, October 1, this book club will begin. Here’s how it will work. First of all, you …

The One Hour Project: Keep An Idea Notebook In Your Pocket

So many times throughout the day, I come up with useful ideas: ideas for saving money, ideas for preparing food, ideas to improve The Simple Dollar, tasks that I need to take care of, and so on. Forgetting these ideas is as good as money lost. They float out of your mind and most likely …

Categories: One Hour Project

How I’m Investing For Our Dream Home

As I’ve mentioned frequently on here, my wife and I have defined a very specific long term goal for ourselves – we intend to buy a piece of land in the country and build a house on it before our oldest child’s sixteenth birthday. In order to have the financial resources in place to do …

Categories: Investing

Review: The First National Bank of Dad

One of the most consistent worries I have is about how I will educate my children to not make the same financial mistakes I made. How can I imprint good financial decision making on their minds as they grow up in a rather material world? The First National Bank of Dad focuses on this very …

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Sleeping Pink Baby Edition

I love watching my daughter sleep. I think babies are at their cutest while sleeping, and she’s no different. She’s sitting right beside me as I type this, snoozing away. Network and Self-Marketing: Meet the Thriving Introvert The writer here recommends How to Win Friends and Influence People; I’d add Never Eat Alone as a …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The One Hour Project: Give Someone A Helping Hand

It’s something so simple that so many of us overlook in our busy lives: stopping to help people out when they need a hand. For the longest time, I would only stop and help out people if it was completely convenient for me – I didn’t really see the point of helping others out if …

Categories: One Hour Project

The Backlash Against Frugality

Recently, I read through Staying Frugal in the Age of the iPhone, an article on Yahoo! Finance by Anya Kamenetz (whose book, Generation Debt, I reviewed positively a while back). The article basically extols the virtues of frugality and spending less on items – none of the suggestions are particularly unusual and they match up …

Categories: Frugality

The City Versus Rural Debate: Which Is The Better Place To Live?

In the past, I have made many references to my preference for living in a small town over living in an urban area. For me, there’s no question – the advantages of small town rural life far outweigh the advantages of city living. That’s not to say that I think city living is foolish – …

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Ten People Edition

A friend of mine sent me an interesting thought problem. Civilization as you know it is about to end. You have the option of taking yourself and ten other people to a desert island with you. Who do you take? I listed the ten most obvious people and thought I was done. But the question …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The One Hour Project: Create A Water-Drinking Routine

One of the biggest expenditures in many people’s lives is that of bottled and canned beverages, whether it be soda, sports drinks, or even bottled water. Considering that you can get four gallons of tap water from your tap for a single cent, it’s easy to see that substituting other beverages for this highly inexpensive …

Categories: One Hour Project

Should I Pay Off Debt or Invest?

The one personal finance issue that I debate internally over quite a bit is whether one should pay off debt or invest if all they have are relatively low interest rate debts (7.5% or less, for instance). All of my remaining debts are below 7% and, thanks to careful frugal living, my spending is quite …

Categories: Debt, Investing

Five Frugality Tips Learned From Having Two Children In Diapers

Over the last month, our house has held a toddler just entering his “terrible twos” (which basically means energetic, rambunctious, and without a knowledge of society’s basic expectations) and a newborn who has her days and nights largely juxtaposed. In other words, many of the entries for The Simple Dollar this month have been written …

Categories: Frugality, Parenting

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Alison Krauss Edition

My son’s favorite musician is Alison Krauss. He requests A Hundred Miles Or More every night for bedtime lullaby music to the exclusion of all else. If you have a toddler, give that one a shot – it’s a lot of mellow songs by an amazing singer. Why There’s No Reason Not To Buy Store …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The One Hour Project: Get Involved In Community Volunteering

One of the things I enjoy doing is getting involved with my local community, though with two children in diapers and my other responsibilities, I don’t get to spend as much time doing it as I would like. When I first started paying attention to city council meetings and looking carefully at ways to volunteer …

Making A Major Life Change

A reader who I will call Kathy wrote to me with a rather long but quite compelling story that really struck a chord with me. When I read the story, I saw so much of myself and my wife in it in the position we were in about five years ago, and because of that …

Categories: Advice