Month: May 2014

Airport Frugality in the Era of New Security Regulations

As you read this, I’m likely somewhere in the sky over the western half of the United States. I’ve flown quite a bit over the last decade, but I haven’t flown since the most recent restrictions on carry on items. These restrictions really shoot in the foot most of my strategies for saving money in …

Categories: Frugality, Travel

Turning Things Around: The Basics

Tessa, an email subscriber, wrote to me recently with the following thoughts: I signed to receive your emails last year and I like them very much. But I need the basics, and you have so much in your blog I cannot find it. I don’t know how to live within my means. I don’t know …

Categories: Getting Started

The Stress of the Money Wars

A reader, who I will call Jane, wrote in recently with the following: I do NOT overspend. I work with a monthly budget, live very carefully and frugally, etc. It’s the debt, and the underearning. I am working on both, but wow is it hard somedays, some weeks, some months, especially when this worry eats …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Book Club Reboot Edition

After seeing the relative lack of discussion on the book club reading of What Color Is Your Parachute?, I’ve decided to check it at the door. I think the biggest problem is that the book is very introspective and thus doesn’t facilitate good discussion, a problem that the first entrant, Your Money or Your Life …

Categories: Books and Reading

Welcome to the Public Domain

I was hoping to time this better with other bloggers in a more broad announcement, but it looks like the idea is already out of the bag (see (Leo from Zen Habits, who jumped the gun). That’s okay, it’s the idea here that matters. I hereby release all copyright on all written (non-comment) material on …

Consumer Reports – February 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

What Color Is Your Parachute? The Flower Diagram

This is the fifth 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 the first part of chapter thirteen in the 2008 edition (earlier editions are roughly similar). …

Categories: Books and Reading

When a Few Small Pieces Make Your Job Miserable

I had a pair of long conversations with a friend of mine over the last week. He’s employed with an engineering firm and he’s largely happy with what he does. However, there are four specific things about his job that make him deeply unhappy. These items each seem somewhat nitpicky, but they have him upset …

Categories: Careers

Review: The Dip

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal development or personal productivity book. I’ve been an avid reader of Seth Godin’s blog for a long time (since mid-2002, I think). He largely writes about marketing topics, but often branches out into related things: careers, self-promotion, and so on. I decided to follow this up and …

December 2007 Review – Assets +2.3%, Debts -1.1%

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 …

Categories: Money

The Value of Cultural Literacy

I confess to not being much of a football fan, yet quite often on a weekend, if I’m busy with some task in the family room, I’ll turn on a football game and at least be vaguely aware of what’s going on. Why bother, if I’m not interested? It’s simply so I can be culturally …

Categories: Getting Started

When Is Frugality Stealing?

In response to my post, When Is Frugality Too Much Frugality?, the following comment was left: Trent, I’d say you missed the whole point of people’s posts regarding the copying of part of a book from a bookstore and using a coffee shop as an office without buying anything from the owner. The debate was …

Categories: Frugality

Review: Finding the Next Starbucks

A while back, I read Louis Navellier’s The Little Book That Makes You Rich, which was intended to serve as a simple introduction to growth investing. For those unfamiliar, growth investing means that you seek out and invest in individual stocks that show distinct signs of growing rapidly over the next few years – think …

Practicing What You Preach

Recently, a dustup occurred in the New York Times, where a regular writer on personal finance topics, MP Dunleavey, bought a home on the spur of the moment. The problem? Based on her earlier writings, that home purchase seemed to be far outside of what she and her husband could reasonably afford. Karen Datko at …

How Much Frugality Is Too Much Frugality?

I talk about frugality a lot on The Simple Dollar, both directly and through allusions in other posts. To me, frugality – in the form of living within your means as best you can – is one of the biggest keys to personal finance, and it’s particularly vital because anyone can do it, so I …

Categories: Frugality

Getting the Momentum Back

This morning, I woke up and returned to work for the first time since December 21 – and I really, really didn’t want to go. I had thoroughly enjoyed being at home with my family, catching up on my writing and on some personal tasks, and just recharging after a very long 2007. It’s hard …

Categories: Careers

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Caucus Edition

As many of you know, I live in Iowa, so tomorrow night my wife and I will be participating in the caucusing process. We’ve both already made up our minds who we’re supporting, both as a first choice and as an alternate, but I wanted to mention the caucus for one reason. If you live …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Costs of Finding Love

My wife and I were extremely lucky. We found each other in high school, dated throughout college, and got married a few years after that (yes, a nearly decade-long courtship). We knew we had something special pretty early on, and we stuck together through thick and thin. Unfortunately, for most people it’s not that easy. …

Categories: Getting Started

Dealing With A Bad Day Without Spending Money

In the “bad old days,” I used to respond to a bad day by spending money on something. The immediate perk of acquiring something new was usually enough to raise my spirits at least a little, and that little raise in spirit would be enough to help me finish off the day and rise for …