• Review: Learn to Earn

    Each Friday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. I’ve wanted to review one of Peter Lynch’s books for a long time. I’ve leafed through them many a time: One Up On Wall Street, Beating the Street, and Learn to Earn are all considered modern classics of stock investing and personal finance. Why? A …

  • Is An All-Cash Lifestyle Useful For Kicking The Debt Habit?

    One common tactic adopted by people who are in severe financial straits is an all-cash lifestyle. They tear up all of their credit cards and move strictly to a cash-based personal finance plan, cashing each check and living strictly off of that money. I personally feel that this is a good immediate response to the …

  • Heroes, Role Models, and Mentors: Finding People to Believe In

    One of the biggest challenges I faced in my early adult life was the lack of a mentor or a role model for many aspects of my life, particularly the financial aspects. My life was completely different than what I had experienced growing up, thus I couldn’t draw on childhood examples. Most of my friends …

  • Frugality and Socializing: Finding Potential Friends Who Are Not Consumerism-Oriented

    At various points in my life, I’ve entered entirely new social arenas. When I left my hometown and went to college, I started over. After my first year, a good portion of my social circle either graduated, dropped out, or went to another school, so I wound up starting all over again (sans two people). …

  • The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Christmas Week Edition

    Over the next seven days, I am celebrating Christmas with four different families: my wife’s grandfather, my wife’s parents, my parents, and my own family. It’s going to be a week filled with traveling, meeting people, exchanging hugs, exchanging gifts, and eating great food. I can’t wait. (And neither can my two year old, who …

  • Why I’ve Decided To Abandon (Virtually All) Ads On The Simple Dollar

    As many of you have probably noticed, this morning I removed the majority of advertising from The Simple Dollar. This was a tough decision that I’ve been thinking about for a long time and I’ve finally reached a point where it’s clear that it’s the right move for me and for all of my readers. …

  • Christmas, Money, Family, and Love

    I finally fiished my Christmas preparations this morning, wrapping up the final presents and placing them under the tree. The only other things to be done are food preparations and perhaps a stocking stuffer or two. I’m very happy with the Christmas choices I’ve made this year. Some of them were really good ideas that …

  • What Color Is Your Parachute? Determining a Place to Live and a Job to Do

    This is the third part of The Simple Dollar Book Club reading of What Color Is Your Parachute?, a seminal guide to your career. These entries appear weekly, each Monday afternoon, and you’re invited to read along. This entry covers chapters eight and nine in the 2008 edition (earlier editions are roughly similar). If you …

  • The Real Value of Stay At Home Parenting

    Until recently, I viewed the choice of being a stay at home parent solely as a loss of income in a couple’s life. If both adults are working and one chooses not to pursue professional employment, then the incime at that house is going to go down. Over time, though, I began to realize that …

  • Review: Downshifting

    Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity or personal development book. One consistent theme I write about on The Simple Dollar, both indirectly and directly, is the idea of downshifting. In a nutshell, downshifting means reducing the amount of time you work (and the intensity of it) and reducing the complexity – and …

  • A Frugal Man’s Christmas Wish List (With Ideas for Frugal Ladies, Too!)

    Over the last month, I’ve received a lot of emails and IMs from readers asking what kind of gifts a frugal man would want and what kind of gifts I would like to receive for Christmas. I decided to compile a list of gifts that not only I would like and not only have frugal …

  • Spending Money to Save Time

    My wife’s extended family is of Norwegian heritage, and the entire family loves eating lefse at large family meals. The only problem is that preparing an extended family sized batch of lefse takes several hours, so they all chip $10 or so together and buy three or four pounds worth of the potato pastry from …

  • A Talk With My Niece

    My niece is fifteen years old. She’s a social girl with a kind heart and just enough social awkwardness, intellectual curiosity, and introspection that after spending five minutes with her, you can’t help walking away thinking that the world is potentially her oyster. Among school subjects, she’s most passionate about mathematics, but she tends to …

  • Review: Stay Mad for Life

    A lot of people like to make fun of Jim Cramer’s antics, but I actually quite like the guy. His stock picks are generally useless (because of the “Cramer effect” of a herd of people buying them), but if you ignore that, listen carefully to his discussion of fundamentals, and let yourself be entertained a …

  • Maximizing That Hourly Rate: Figuring Out How to Best Utilize My Working Time

    Recently, I spent some time figuring out my true hourly wage for my real job and both of my side businesses. For those unfamiliar, one’s true hourly wage is the amount of income they make per hour when including all time spent because of that job (work time, commute, business functions, etc.) and subtracting out …

  • Goals and Plans for 2008

    As the end of the year approaches, we inevitably begin to look ahead to 2008 with a keen eye. Since I tend to be the goal-setting type, I’ve been thinking a lot about the goals I want to set for 2008, and I thought it might be informative (and perhaps inspirational) to share them. My …

  • The Meaning of It All

    There is a fundamental disconnect that people have between their money and the way they live their day to day life. They view money as something separate and distinct, something to be managed. I sometimes use the phrase “money management” to refer to specific tasks, like balancing a checkbook or doing a budget, but I …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Ice Storm Edition

    One of the big disadvantages of living and working in Iowa is the winter weather. Quite often, it can be wonderful – I love the chill in the air, I love sledding down the hill in our backyard with my two year old son, and I love running inside to sit in front of the …

  • Seven Unexpected Things I Read For Personal Finance Inspiration and Motivation

    I read a lot of material on personal finance for this blog, from at least one personal finance book a week to issues of Money, The Wall Street Journal, Consumer Reports, and so on. What might surprise you, though, is that most of my reading that really inspires me to write about money issues comes …