Month: May 2014

Where Do You Get Your Financial Advice?

Some of my most faithful commenters have personal finance blogs of their own, and one of them, Mrs. Micah, asked a question that really got me thinking: where do you get your financial advice? The more I thought about the question, the more I realized that the answer isn’t as obvious as it seems at …

Fun

Twice or three times a day, a reader will send me an IM and strike up a conversation on some topic or another. Usually, I find out that we have some sort of interest in common and we spend some time talking about baking or video games or sports or books or Magic: the Gathering, …

52 Books, 52 Weeks: The Top Ten

Over the past year (starting in November 2006), I read a personal finance book each week and wrote a lengthy review of each one, a series which I completed just a few days ago. Now comes the fun part – comparing them, ranking them, and figuring out what I learned from them as a whole. …

Categories: Books and Reading

Melancholy and Spending

I often dip into melancholy moods, triggered by any number of things. One of the most regular triggers is a sense of detachment from my family, or else a feeling that I’ve done something really wrong as a husband or as a father. From what I’ve seen, this is a fairly common human experience – …

Eight Tips From An Ultra-Frugal Parent

Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to have a chat about parenting with an extremely bright friend of mine from my high school days. He and his wife have three children and, though they both work full time jobs, don’t have a significantly large income in their home. I asked them how they do …

Categories: Family, Frugality

52 Books, 52 Weeks: How They Rank (Except The Top Ten)

As many of you know, over the past year, I read a personal finance book each week and wrote a lengthy review of each one, a series which I completed just a few days ago. Now comes the fun part – comparing them, ranking them, and figuring out what I learned from them as a …

Categories: Books and Reading

Six Things I Look For At Yard Sales – And How I Get Them Even Cheaper

Let’s face it: most items at yard sales are junk. The stuff is out there because it’s stuff that the family conducting the sale wants to get rid of – they often look at it as trash that they might be able to make $100 off of on a good weekend. With that in mind, …

Categories: Frugality

Review: Fooled By Randomness

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity or personal development book. I’ve been debating how exactly to discuss Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness (subtitle: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets). It is perhaps singularly the most frustrating book I’ve ever read, but yet on some level I …

Parental Enthusiasm and Childhood Branding

Recently, I reviewed the book Born to Buy and, almost simultaneously, Get Rich Slowly posted an article about the challenge of unbranded children. Both the book and the article focus on almost the same issue: the challenge of minimizing marketing to very young children. Many times in the past, I’ve encouraged parents to consider turning …

Categories: Family

The Sunday Afternoon Money Routine

Most Sunday afternoons, when my children are taking a nap, I spend about an hour taking care of regular tasks, many of which are directly money related. Here’s what I do each Sunday afternoon. I process my entire inbox. I’m pretty adamant about practicing some aspects of Getting Things Done, so the first thing I …

Categories: Getting Started

Toy Catalogs and Children: Are They a Good Match?

This weekend, I’m visiting my parents, and I’ve seen a small army of nieces and nephews and cousins floating through the house. One of the most popular items sitting around is a toy catalog, where my parents have encouraged the various young folks to put their initials very clearly next to items they want. The …

Categories: Family, Home and Life

The Charity Dilemma: Small Donations to Many or Large Donations to a Few?

Recently, my wife and I took account of all of our charitable spending. Over the last year, we’ve donated small amounts ($10-$50) to many different charities, a list that was almost shocking in length when we finally examined all of them together. Our total charitable spending was an amount we were comfortable with, but we …

Should You Give Your Child An Allowance For Doing Chores?

This week, The Simple Dollar attempts to address challenging questions in personal finance by looking at both sides of the story and figuring out some of the factors you need to look at to make a decision. As my son approaches an age where he starts to really understand money (he already is understanding the …

Categories: Family

Should You Report Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

This week, The Simple Dollar attempts to address challenging questions in personal finance by looking at both sides of the story and figuring out some of the factors you need to look at to make a decision. Sexual harassment is a serious issue and can cause some serious workplace tensions and problems. I’ve witnessed two …

Categories: Careers

Review: How to Invest $50-$5,000

One of the most frequent questions I see in emails and comments and in articles on other personal finance blogs is exactly how to invest a small sum of money. People often want to begin investing with only a small amount of money, and they’re really curious as to how to get started. How to …

Should I Report Ethical Misconduct At Work?

This week, The Simple Dollar attempts to address challenging questions in personal finance by looking at both sides of the story and figuring out some of the factors you need to look at to make a decision. It happens to most of us at some time or another. We spot someone at work doing something …

Categories: Careers

Lying to Yourself About Money

First, a confession. I often lie to myself about my weight. I’m not obese, just a bit heavier than I’d like to be and heavier than I was in college. I eat somewhat healthy – and drink plenty of water – but I tend to not exercise as much as I’d like to. Often, when …

Should I Pay Off Low-Interest Debt or Invest?

This week, The Simple Dollar attempts to address challenging questions in personal finance by looking at both sides of the story and figuring out some of the factors you need to look at to make a decision. Most homeowners are in the process of paying off a large mortgage, one which requires a large payment …

Should I Invest After a Small Dip in the Stock Market?

This week, The Simple Dollar attempts to address challenging questions in personal finance by looking at both sides of the story and figuring out some of the factors you need to look at to make a decision. Several times this year, the stock market has dipped more than 1% in a single day. If you …