• A Portfolio of Credit Cards for Specific Purchases?

    Jenelle wrote in recently and described her way of using credit cards: Unlike your advice to minimize your credit cards, I actually have eight open credit cards that I use all the time. These cards cover all of my purchases but each one has a particular bonus program that I can take specific advantage of. …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Twitter and Media Appearances Edition

    Two things worth noting that are somewhat interconnected. First, last Saturday I was on Darla Shine’s nationally syndicated Happy Housewives radio program – you can catch the old episode in podcast form Darla’s podcast feed, and I’m on the April 26, 2008 edition smack in the middle of the show. It was a lot of …

  • Born to Buy: How Consumer Culture Undermines Children’s Well Being

    This is the thirteenth discussion in a “book club” series on Born to Buy by Juliet Schor, which focuses on consumerism issues and young children. You can jump back to the first discussion if you’d like. This discussion covers the first portion of the eighth chapter, “How Consumer Culture Undermines Children’s Well Being,” starting on …

  • The Five Ps: Breaking Down Big Dreams Into Little Steps

    One of my most loyal readers, a person named Brad who first emailed me about The Simple Dollar about a week after it launched, sent me an email this week that really struck a chord with me. Here’s the key part. Ever since I was a little kid, all I’ve wanted to do was play …

  • The Recession Diet: Why Fears of Recession Might Trigger Poor Food Buying Decisions

    There was a fascinating article yesterday in the New York Times entitled Recession Diet Just One Way to Tighten Belt, which looked directly at the real-world ways consumers alter their spending at the retail level. In other words, the authors, Michael Barbaro and Eric Dash, actually went to a supermarket to watch and learn how …

  • Reader Mailbag #8

    Each Monday, The Simple Dollar opens up the reader mailbags and answers ten to twenty simple questions offered up by the readers on personal finance topics and many other things. Got a question? Ask it in the comments. You might also enjoy the archive of earlier reader mailbags. As usual, we’ll start things off with …

  • Born to Buy: Who’s Responsible, Parents or Advertisers?

    This is the twelfth discussion in a “book club” series on Born to Buy by Juliet Schor, which focuses on consumerism issues and young children. You can jump back to the first discussion if you’d like. This discussion covers the latter half of the seventh chapter, “Habit Formation,” starting on page 130 at the subheading …

  • Sunday Conversation #2

    Over the next few Sundays, I’m going to post a conversation I’ve had with a person I know who has made interesting financial choices in their lives. Hopefully, these discussions will be enlightening and entertaining. This conversation is one that’s been long awaited by my readers. This time, my conversation is with my wife, who …

  • Retirement Savings: How I’m Doing It

    A number of people have asked me how I’m saving for retirement now that I’m self-employed, and several more asked yesterday when I mentioned that I was signing up for a SEP-IRA. In order to clarify everything, here’s exactly how I’m saving for retirement as a self-employed writer. For comparison’s sake, my previous retirement savings …

  • Dealing with the Things Left Undone

    This morning, in a fit of self-disgust and angst, I made a long list of all of the stuff I’ve intended to do over the last few weeks and simply failed to accomplish: I intended to finish two chapters of my book by now – only one is done. I intended to clean out the …

  • Are Rechargeable Batteries Really Cost Effective?

    At my house, we use a lot of AA batteries. Not only do several of our son’s toys use the batteries, but so do both of our baby monitors, our Wii remotes, our television remotes, and several wall clocks. Not only that, my wife’s breast pump runs on AA batteries as well, enabling her to …

  • Born to Buy: Habit Formation

    This is the eleventh discussion in a “book club” series on Born to Buy by Juliet Schor, which focuses on consumerism issues and young children. You can jump back to the first discussion if you’d like. This discussion covers the first half of the seventh chapter, “Habit Formation,” starting on page 119 and ending after …

  • From Budgeting to the Net Worth Mentality

    After posting my budgeting 101 article yesterday, I almost immediately got a response from a reader who had a very good follow-up question: You talk all the time about setting goals and measuring progress. Without a budget, how do you set personal finance goals for yourself and measure progress? My wife and I use only …

  • Budgeting 101: How a Simple Budget Helped Me – And Can Help You, Too

    Earlier this week in the reader mailbag, I mentioned offhand that I built a strict budget for the first several months of my financial turnaround, but now I am much looser about my budgeting. At the same time, I stated that this strict budget was vital in my financial turnaround. This spurred several readers to …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Book Deal Edition

    Big news: I have a book deal. I signed the papers last Friday and shipped them off to my publisher. The book project itself is just about perfect for what I want to do right now, particularly as a first book – very nice price point (it will have a price a bit lower than …

  • Born to Buy: Inside the Child Brain

    This is the tenth discussion in a “book club” series on Born to Buy by Juliet Schor, which focuses on consumerism issues and young children. You can jump back to the first discussion if you’d like. This discussion covers the the latter part of the sixth chapter, “Dissecting the Child Consumer,” starting on page 109 …

  • The Things Money Can’t Buy

    To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be …

  • The Snowball Effect: How Little Moves Now Can Create Huge Effects Later

    I often write about how a person can save a few dollars here and a few dollars there by making a few little changes in their life. For some of my readers, this seems pointless, and they’re quite happy to tell me so. “Why bother saving $3?” they’ll ask. Over the last month or two, …

  • Reader Mailbag #7

    Each Monday, The Simple Dollar opens up the reader mailbags and answers ten to twenty simple questions offered up by the readers on personal finance topics and many other things. Got a question? Ask it in the comments. You might also enjoy the archive of earlier reader mailbags. As usual, we’ll start things off with …