Month: May 2014

Your Stuff And You: Figuring Out What You Really Value – And Eliminating The Rest

This weekend, my wife and I spent most of it at home trying out an interesting exercise. We went through everything we owned (well, not quite everything yet – we progressed from room to room) and looked at every possession we have. Why? We’re realizing that one of the big keys to financially stable living …

Categories: Frugality

There Are Two Guaranteed Ways To Improve Your Financial Situation … But Which Is Better?

Quite often on this site, I mention that the one true path to financial success is to spend less than you earn, and the greater the gap between your spending and your earning (with the earning being the larger one, of course), the better shape you’ll be in. This phrase, of course, means that there …

Review: The Simplicity Survival Handbook

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity or personal development book. I originally picked up The Simplicity Survival Handbook because I was full of enthusiasm for Getting Things Done and I was looking for all sorts of additional things I could do to keep maximizing my time efficiency. Once I had discovered how …

The One Hour Project: Price Compare The Things You Buy Regularly

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. A while back, I mentioned how I build my own price book. While this is a great idea, for …

What Should Your Net Worth Be? Why “The Millionaire Next Door” Equation Falls Short – And What A Better Thumbnail Calculation Might Look Like

Recently, I was reminded of the first book I ever reviewed on The Simple Dollar, The Millionaire Next Door. I really liked the book, even though there was one big flaw in it: a rather large age bias. The book was written for people over forty, from top to bottom. This was most obvious when …

Categories: Getting Started

The One Hour Project: Plan Your Meals For One Week In Advance

My wife and I generally plan a week’s worth of dinners at once for several reasons. First, it’s clear to both of us what the dinner plan is well in advance. Second, we’re able to be sure we have everything we need for dinner on hand. Third, it’s way cheaper than even making meals off …

Ten Thoughts on Quicken Premier

After my recent discussion about why I’d rather use a spreadsheet rather than Quicken or Microsoft Money, several readers challenged me to actually fire up both packages and see if they’re really as cumbersome as I thought. So I installed and fired up Quicken Premier 2008 and started making a list of my thoughts as …

Categories: Technology

The One Hour Project: Touch Base With Professional And Local Acquaintances

About once a month, I spend an hour doing nothing else but touching base with a long list of professional acquaintances as well as with people in my local community. To many, I send them an email asking what’s new, give some basic information about what’s new with me, and usually attempt to start a …

Categories: Books and Reading

Predicting the Future: Will People In Their Twenties Today Collect Social Security In Retirement? And How Should That Answer Change Our Plans?

One common question I get from people fresh into the workforce and setting up their new 401(k)s is this: how much retirement income should I count on from Social Security? It’s not an easy question to answer because we don’t know what the political future of the United States holds. We do know one thing: …

Review: The Lazy Person’s Guide to Investing

I’ll admit to picking up this book solely because of the title. I’ll also admit that I decided to read and review this book solely because I opened it to a random page, read a paragraph, and laughed – something I basically never do with a personal finance book. It shouldn’t be too surprising to …

The One Hour Project: Dig Into Your Job Benefits

When I first got my job, I pretty much paid minimal attention to the benefits that were available to me. I signed up for a 401(k), but only put in enough to match. I signed up for the cheap health insurance option. And that was it, even though if I dug around, there were lots …

Categories: Books and Reading

How I Practice Voluntary Simplicity

Recently, I read the Get Rich Slowly review of the book Voluntary Simplicity. J.D. didn’t like the book very much at all, while I recalled it being pretty interesting, so I went back and re-read it. Voluntary Simplicity is pretty light on the specific details (and a bit over the top with New Age type …

Categories: Frugality

The Five College Classes I Took That Were Actually Worth My Time And Money

When I look back at my college experience, I realize that almost all of the classes directly tied to my major had almost nothing to do with what I ended up doing with my life. Instead, they mostly served to show that I was adaptable and could repeatedly apply basic ideas – which is fine, …

Categories: Education

The One Hour Project: Create A Visual Debt Reminder

Keeping your focus on getting out of debt can be a challenge for some people. It’s so incredibly easy to just not think about it at all and make a bad financial choice, like putting something unnecessary on the credit card or going out for an expensive dinner and drinks. One of the most effective …

Does Cooking At Home Really Beat The McDonalds $1 Double Cheeseburger?

This is a question I had from a reader (we’ll get to the double cheeseburger in a minute): My question is about budgeting for food. I’ll be starting my first real job soon so I’m setting up a list of monthly expenses. I haven’t yet lived on my own, so I don’t have a good …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Money Magazine – September 2007

After missing out on the August issue due to the move, I finally received my September issue of Money in the mail. The cover story, The Best Stuff At The Best Price, indicates one of those consumer-oriented Money articles that makes me roll my eyes, but the other articles on the front page hint at …

Categories: Money

The One Hour Project: Discover And Catalog Free Events In Your Community

Almost everyone loves to get out of the house sometimes and do stuff. The only problem is that many of the ideas that we come up with for doing stuff cost money. I know that this is often true, even for me: I think of going out and golfing or going to a bookstore, both …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Good And Bad Of Microsoft Money And Quicken – And Why I Usually Point People Towards A Spreadsheet Instead

Perhaps the most common question I get from readers is what about Microsoft Money and/or Quicken? Do I recommend them to people, and if so, which one of the two do I really recommend? First of all, Money and Quicken are both excellent packages for what they do. If you want to track your personal …

Categories: Technology

Personal Finance And Nostalgia

My wife has an enormous collection of Breyer horses, most of which are still in their original packaging. She began collecting them when she was seven and was still adding new ones to her collection as late as her college years. Currently, this Breyer horse collection resides in several large storage containers that have largely …

Categories: Getting Started