Month: May 2014

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 Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: The Sportswriter Edition

A reader asked me recently what I’m reading, so I thought I’d mention it here. Since I now have the final piece in the trilogy, I’ve started rereading Richard Ford’s Frank Bascombe novels, starting with The Sportswriter. It’s one of those novels that at the same time frustrated me and engrossed me – which, to …

Categories: Morning Roundup

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: One Hour Project

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 Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: New Baby Tiredness Edition

The exhiliration of the new baby has worn off a bit, leaving us all really exhausted around here. Even my toddler son is feeling it, as he’s sleeping in a bit later this week. 7 Prudent Things To Do With Small Windfalls Please, if you get an inheritance, please don’t just blow it! Do something …

Categories: Morning Roundup

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 …

Categories: Debt, One Hour Project

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: Food, Frugality

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 Magazine

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Announcing The Simple Dollar Book Club

One idea that I’ve had churning about inside of me for a while now is the idea of starting an online book club for personal finance books. After mulling over the idea for months and looking at various ways of doing it, I’ve decided to give it a shot. So consider this an announcement of …

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: One Hour Project

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: Software

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

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Frugal Haircut Edition

Later today, I’m going to attempt to cut my own hair. Why? I want to see if it works, and if it’s too bad, I’ll go to the barbershop and have him trim it up quite short. Mostly, I am just insanely curious about trying things for myself that I regularly pay others to do. …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The One Hour Project: Cleanse Your Monthly Bills

One thing that continuously saps away personal finance growth is monthly bills, particularly those where you don’t actually use the service very much. Unfortunately, many people get into a routine of just paying the bills without really thinking about what they’re paying and why. I challenge you to take an hour, sit down with your …

Categories: One Hour Project

Starting Out And Overcoming A Financially Disastrous Background

Another financial story that really intrigued me recently was this one, from a person who wishes to remain anonymous (so we’ll call him/her Anonymous): My parents are immigrants/refugees from Vietnam. When they arrived here in Australia, they both took jobs and lived an extremely frugal lifestyle, sending all savings to my mother’s side of the …

Categories: Advice, Getting Started

(Just Like) Starting Over

Over the last day or two, I’ve been going through the piles of email that have built up since the birth of my daughter and found a few stories worth sharing, which I’ll be sharing today and (maybe) tomorrow. Here’s the first one, from Amy: I am thirty years old, college educated, and a certified …

Categories: Advice, Debt

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Settling In With Baby Edition

So, my daughter is now a week old and some routines are finally starting to appear at home. Now there are four of us. Half of the people in this house wear diapers. Mutual Funds For Wise Bloggers This is a very solid one-shot introduction to the world of mutual funds. My general advice is …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Review: On Writing Well

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity or personal development book. One of the biggest parts of being a knowledge worker is knowing how to communicate that knowledge well to others. This is true for everyone from the CEO down to the low-level office staff, from programmers to marketers – in other words, …