Month: May 2014

Handling Door To Door Solicitors

My wife has a serious weakness for youths who tell her a hard knock tale, and it rarely comes up with such vigor as when teenagers come door to door. They tell her a tale about a troubled life and how they’ve found a program that keeps them out of trouble – and it involves …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Super C Edition

When I was a little kid, one of my favorite video games was called Contra. In it, you played a soldier battling an alien invasion in the jungle – you ran to the right, aliens ran at you, and you shot at them. I played this game with one of my cousins for hours upon …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The One Hour Project: Conserve Water

This post is part of The One Hour Project, in which you can spend just one hour to put your finances in a better place without a big lifestyle change, through frugality or other financial choices. One of the most frustrating expenses in our home is the water bill. Even though our rate for water …

Categories: One Hour Project

Why Does Everyone Preach About Index Funds? What They Are And Why They’re Good – From The Very Beginning

A reader asked me recently why so many people write glowingly about index funds. I even do this – in fact, all of my investment money is currently in index funds. What are they, and what’s the big deal behind them? I’m going to try to summarize a lot of economic theory in a way …

Is The Value Menu Really A Value? Comparing The Homemade Double Cheeseburger To The McDonald’s $1 Version

About two weeks ago, I made a brief comparison between a McDonald’s Value Menu double cheeseburger and a homemade cheeseburger, concluding that the homemade one was price competitive. This brought out a ton of commentary from people standing up for the double cheeseburger (as well as fast food critics) questioning the conclusion. After reading through …

Categories: Food, Frugality, Photo Diary

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Sleepy Girl Edition

My daughter (about three weeks of age) sleeps roughly eighteen hours a day, and half of the time she’s not sleeping, she’s eating. The only problem is that the sleep comes in at most four hour stretches, interrupted by an hour or so of wakefulness, usually starting off with some loud crying for some food. …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Review: The Read-Aloud Handbook

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity or personal development book. I can imagine the question already: why on earth would he include a book about reading aloud to children on a list of personal productivity and development books? I have two big reasons. First, and this is the big one, The Read-Aloud …

The One Hour Project: Do Some Preventative Maintenance

This post is part of The One Hour Project, in which you can spend just one hour to put your finances in a better place without a big lifestyle change, through frugality or other financial choices. Preventative mainentance is a phrase that makes many homeowners’ eyes glaze over. For many busy people, there’s nothing more …

The Do-It-Yourself Dilemma: When Things Go Wrong

For the most part, I prefer doing home maintenance tasks myself rather than hire someone to do the tasks for me. It saves on labor costs and I often learn a new thing or two during the process. But I also know that different projects require varying levels of home repair experience — when do …

Categories: Housing

The One Hour Project: Thoroughly Research A Stock

This post is part of The One Hour Project, in which you can spend just one hour to put your finances in a better place without a big lifestyle change, through frugality or other financial choices. Regardless of whether or not you include individual stocks as part of your investment plan, having a general idea …

Categories: One Hour Project

When A Frugal Life And Social Gift-Giving Come Into Conflict

A reader wrote in with the following thoughts, which got my juices flowing: It seems like I am constantly being invited to baby showers, weddings, birthday parties, graduations, and house warmings and that a gift is expected at every one of these occasions. While I enjoy giving gifts to my close friends and close relatives …

Categories: Frugality

The One Hour Project: Go Christmas Shopping At Sale Time

This post is part of The One Hour Project, in which you can spend just one hour to put your finances in a better place without a big lifestyle change, through frugality or other financial choices. Not too long ago, the local Sears hardware store not too far from where I work went out of …

Categories: One Hour Project

Starting The Thought Process Behind Buying A New Vehicle

As the months pass, it looks more and more likely that we’ll need to buy a new vehicle sometime between now and next summer. My wife’s Mercury Sable, that with almost 150,000 miles on it, is starting to show lots of little issues wrong with it – most notably, a recent severe issue with the …

Categories: Automobile

Review: The Courage To Be Rich

The Courage To Be Rich was one of the very first personal finance books I read after my financial meltdown. At the time, this book felt too … touchy-feely for what I needed. I wanted solutions immediately, solutions that I could apply to my life – I knew there was a problem and I felt …

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Bread Making Edition

This weekend, I am making three batches of bread, two loaves each. One batch will be rye bread (one loaf to eat soon, the other in the freezer), another will be a whole wheat bread (again, one loaf for now, one in the freezer for later), and the third batch will be white bread with …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The One Hour Project: Switch Checking Accounts

This post is part of The One Hour Project, in which you can spend just one hour to put your finances in a better place without a big lifestyle change, through frugality or other financial choices. For a long time, I kept my primary checking at the local branch of a large international bank. Over …

Categories: One Hour Project

The Simple Dollar Guide To Eating Out

Given that I’m such a foodie and also frugal at the same time, several readers have written to me recently asking for tips on dining out. I collected some of my thoughts together and thus present this guide to how I eat out in such a way that my frugal sensibilities are in balance with …

Categories: Eating Out

My Ongoing Battle With The Cash In My Pocket

One of the biggest psychological weaknesses I still carry with me, even after my financial turnaround, is the desire to spend the physical cash in my pocket. I have no problem keeping the credit cards in check, but if I have loose cash in my pocket that’s not perfectly accounted for, some little devil pops …

Categories: Psychology

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Homemade Beer And Wine Edition

Now that I finally have a basement of my own, I’m itching to make my own homemade beer and homemade wine. I have room down in the basement to brew the stuff – now I just need the equipment. Carry Some Cash I have a big issue with carrying cash… I started writing a long …

Categories: Morning Roundup