Month: May 2014

Going Inside The Wall: What Are We Fighting For?

I often talk about the “latte factor,” made famous by David Bach. In a nutshell, the “latte factor” refers to the fact that the raw repetition of a habit that costs money each time can drain you dry financially. For example, let’s say you have a latte each morning that costs $4, along with a …

What Color Is Your Parachute? The Mechanics of the Job Hunt

This is the second 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 five through seven in the 2008 edition (earlier editions are roughly similar). If you …

Building a Foundation: Ten Things To Do First If You’re Looking At Starting Your Own Business

I’ve had the opportunity to launch two successful small businesses in my life. Because of this, I regularly get emails from readers who are quite excited about starting their own business. They write out their plans to me and send it on, hoping to get some feedback on their ideas. What I’ve found, though, is …

Review: Now, Discover Your Strengths

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity or personal development book. After reading Buckingham’s most recent book, Go Put Your Strengths to Work, and quite liking it (with one big caveat), I decided to step back and read Buckingham’s previous book, Now, Discover Your Strengths, to see if I could learn anything useful …

The Simple Dollar’s Wii Buying Guide for Christmas 2007

Usually, I don’t write about specific luxury goods, but over the last two weeks, I’ve received about twenty emails about buying a Wii as a Christmas gift, so it’s probably reasonable to expect that there are a lot of other readers out there with similar questions. If you’re completely not interested in a Wii this …

Categories: Gifts

Facing A Difficult Personal Finance Decision (Or Other Major Decision)? Try These Seven Techniques

As I mentioned a while back, I’m in the midst of making a pretty significant life decision: do I make the leap to being a writer, or do I keep doing things as I currently am? I’m turning the whole matter over very slowly and analyzing from a lot of different angles. Since I’m taking …

Categories: Getting Started

I Have A Wallet Full Of Credit Cards – Which Ones Should I Keep?

I often get notes from people who have a small mountain of credit cards. They’re trying to figure out which ones they should keep and which ones they should cancel for various reasons, and they’re (rightfully) concerned with their credit report when they do this. Obviously, a wallet full of credit cards can be a …

Review: The Money Trap

Each Friday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. I picked up The Money Trap because it offered a distinct and interesting perspective on poor personal finance management. Instead of simply viewing it as a series of simple bad habits or bad moves that can easily be corrected, this book views bad money management …

Categories: Books

Does Peer Pressure Keep Us From Succeeding?

A few years ago, I used to spend a lot of my free time with a small group of friends. We did a lot of things together – road trips, games, and so on – and I had a lot of fun with them. What I later realized after the group broke up, though, is …

Categories: Getting Started

The “It” Toy from the Perspective of a Parent

Yesterday, I wrote about the idea of an “it” toy for Christmas, including tips for how to find a hard-to-get toy and how to talk to your child about it if you don’t get them their most desired item. This brought up a bevy of comments criticizing the post. I thought Elizabeth summed it up …

Categories: Christmas, Parenting

Chasing the “It” Toy At Christmastime

In 1983, when my wife was just a little girl, she wanted a Cabbage Patch Kids doll for Christmas. Her parents were unable to find one, but her grandmother apparently bribed a shelf-stocker at a TG&Y in rural Iowa to grab a couple. In 1988, I desperately wanted the video game Super Mario Bros. 2 …

Categories: Christmas, Shopping

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Christmas Decorating Edition

This year, I’m learning about the trials and challenges of attempting to decorate a house for Christmas with a toddler running around. Hang your ornaments high. Make the plug-ins as inaccessible as you can. Do NOT make anything edible low enough for him to reach (bye bye popcorn strands – bye bye candy canes). We’re …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Preparing For and Surviving an Economic Downturn

Lots of people have written me in the recent past asking me how I am preparing for an economic downturn. Take, for example, this email from Arnold: A lot of major publications (The Economist being the biggest) have been predicting that the US will have a recession this coming year. My question has to do …

Twelve Great Gifts Under $10 I’d Love To See Under My Tree

When I started working on this post, I was trying to make a list of Christmas (or other winter holiday) gift ideas under $10 that would be great to give for family gift exchanges, as stocking stuffers, and so on. I easily made a list, but then I realized when I read through it that …

Categories: Christmas, Frugality, Gifts

What Color Is Your Parachute? How to Hunt for a Job

This is the first 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 one through four in the 2008 edition (earlier editions are roughly similar). The book …

Consumer Reports – January 2008

Consumer Reports has asked me to eliminate the content of my summaries and any other references to the content of Consumer Reports. I have complied.

Categories: Uncategorized

Review: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal development or personal productivity book. I was really hesitant to read this book because based on the synopses I’d read online about What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, I expected it to be very similar to The 12 Bad Habits That Hold Good People Back, …

November 2007 Review – Assets +0.4%, Debts -1.2%

Once again, it’s time for a monthly review of my finances. I generally break things down by evaluating my assets and my debts (which together make up my net worth), and then using these numbers, I attempt to set goals for the coming month. This is a useful exercise for everyone to do, simply so …

Eight Quick Takes on an Icy December Day

We woke up this morning to the peculiar tinny sound of freezing rain on the windows and sides of our house. The windows on the east side of our house are glazed with ice, so all of us climbed back into bed for a while before getting up to have a very lazy breakfast. Days …