Month: May 2014

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: Books and Reading

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 …

(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 …

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, …

The One Hour Project: Build Your Own Net Worth Calculator

One of my best motivational tools for staying on a good personal finance track is my own personal net worth calculator. I use it constantly to keep tabs on my own financial moves and to make sure I’m constantly spending less than I earn and also constantly reducing my debt load. A few months ago, …

Categories: Books and Reading

Roommates, Frugality, and Necessary Spending

A reader named John writes in about a conundrum with his future roommate: I need to know if my best friend is saving his money wisely, or just being ridiculously cheap. There’s a difference between cheap and frugal, I know this. I’m frugal, but not cheap. I’m not so sure about him. He has a …

The One Hour Project: Dig Into A Personal Finance Blog

One of the most valuable things that a person can do when learning about personal finance issues is to get a diversity of perspectives and ideas. The more ideas you learn about and the more perspectives you get, the better your undersanding of personal finance will be and the more likely you are to make …

Financially Savvy Gifts For New Parents

Over the last week or two, we’ve received a lot of wonderful gifts from our friends and family and our daughter now has a mountain of clothes to cover the next … year or so of her life. She has a wonderful handmade quilt to wrap herself in, too. However, the gifts that really were …

Categories: Family

The One Hour Project: Make A Quadruple Batch Of A Casserole

One of the biggest challenges for most people when it comes to cooking at home is the time; a busy lifestyle often puts people in a position where they would rather just go home, flop on the couch, and eat whatever takeout or delivery food they have on hand or just microwave a meal. The …

Fifteen Ideas For A Deeply Fulfilling Money Free Weekend

A while back, I introduced the very popular concept of a money free weekend, where a person, a couple, or a family elects not to spend any money over a weekend as an experiment in frugality. To aid this, I made a fifteen free things to do during such a weekend, then followed it with …

Review: Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes

This book takes an interesting tack as compared to other personal finance books. Rather than focusing directly on mechanical personal finance issues, it instead focuses directly on behavioral issues, particularly the traps that people who are good at analysis and memorization (i.e., “smart” people) tend to fall into. I often find myself in this category. …

The One Hour Project: Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

An hour around the house (doing everything here would take more than an hour, but most people have done some of these things – but the things done vary from person to person) can trim your energy use significantly, trimming your power bill quite a bit. The best part? These things, once done, require no …

Categories: Books and Reading

Dealing With A Significant Increase In Income

Phil writes in: I recently switched jobs very suddenly when a spectacular opportunity came a long to double my salary. I’ve been working at my new job for three months and the regular paychecks have started rolling in. I have maxed out my 401(k) at the new job and there is much more being taken …

Categories: Getting Started

Eight Simple Ways To Reduce Food Costs

One of the biggest ways that we save money in our family is by minimizing our food costs. I used to have no qualms dropping a lot of money on food without thinking about it, but when I totaled up my food receipts and realized that close to $1,000 a month was going away in …

Categories: Meals

The One Hour Project: Go Through Your Important Papers

Many people (myself included, until pretty recently) have a box of “important papers” where they toss things that they know could be vital someday but they often don’t recall what is exactly in there. I used to keep mine in a small safe; my parents keep theirs in a safety deposit box. Try spending some …

Is A Roommate Worth The Financial Benefit?

A new graduate is wondering about the financial benefits of having a roommate – are they worth the drawbacks? I’m finally at a place where I’m able to afford living alone – and though I much prefer the cost savings of having a roommate (about $400 a month) I’m heavily considering living alone. My only …

Categories: Housing

Five Financial Moves I Made Within Three Days Of The Birth Of My Daughter

Even while my daughter was still in the hospital, I was already doing lots of little things to prepare for her future. I found that, just as with my son, my immediate instinct when holding that little baby in my arms was to protect her and make sure her world was as safe as possible. …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

The One Hour Project: Clean Out Your Media Collection

Most of my friends have huge shelves full of DVDs and CDs that they rarely listen to or look at. Not long ago, I suffered from the same condition – I had this huge array of DVDs that I watched once, shelved away, and didn’t touch for years. In other words, it wasn’t long before …

Taking The Leap Into Entrepreneurship: Where Is That Financial Safety Net?

I’m a big advocate of entrepreneurship and I truly admire people who take the plunge. Here’s a question from a brave reader who went forward with his dream. I’ll call him Walt, for fun, after a character in one of my favorite books: I’m starting a personal training business, and I’ve been marketing for about …