Month: May 2014

Born to Buy: Dissecting the Child Consumer

This is the ninth 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 first part of the sixth chapter, “Dissecting the Child Consumer,” starting on page 99 …

Categories: Book Club, Born to Buy

The Art of Wearing Things Out

One of my favorite debates with my wife has to do with socks. I tend to wear my socks into oblivion – until they’re literally falling apart. Holes around the toes, deep wear on the heel – and I’ll still wear them. Since I only tend to wear them inside of shoes or around the …

Categories: Frugality

One Big Way to Get Intense About Financial Independence

You are going to be fired from your job this Friday. Read that statement again. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine if that sentence were true in your own life? Would you be ready? Most people would panic if they came into work and found a pink slip, simply because they’re not in …

Warren Buffett on Reputation

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” The above is a quote from the well-known investor Warren Buffett, and it’s one that’s been on my mind a lot lately, because it speaks to a value that a lot of …

Personal Finance and Intrusion

I’m worried about my grandmother’s finances. She lives on Social Security and a small pension from the state, but if that were all there was to her story, it would be fine – she owns her residence and is just fine in terms of taxes and debt. The problem is that her oldest son still …

Categories: Family

Born to Buy: The Commercialization of Public Schools

This is the eighth 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 whole of chapter five, “The Commercialization of Public Schools.” A significant portion of this chapter …

Categories: Book Club, Born to Buy

How Much Money Is “Walk Away From It All” Money?

Roger writes in with an interesting question: When you talk about “walk away from it all” money, how would you estimate that? I know it would be different for each person, but what elements do you take in mind, and what percentage of savings or what size emergency fund (24 months of living expenses, for …

8 Ways to Easily Reduce the Energy Consumption of Your Computer – and Save Big Money

It only takes a few small adjustments in your routine to build up some significant energy savings, and one of the best places to start is with your computer. With just a few little tweaks, you can save hundreds of dollars in computer energy use over its lifetime – and these tweaks can go almost …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Things I Splurge On Edition

Yesterday, I mentioned a bit about my challenges with splurging on certain items, which led a few readers to email me and ask for more information. I thought about this for a while and was able to come up with a short list of things I still splurge on. Food I mentioned yesterday that I …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Born to Buy: The Virus Unleashed

This is the seventh 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 whole of chapter four, “The Virus Unleashed.” This chapter basically dissects how exactly a children’s …

Categories: Book Club, Born to Buy

Eight Personal Finance Regrets From the Past Year

Even though I research and write about personal finance every day, I still manage to make quite a few mistakes and poor choices in how I manage my own money and my own personal choices. Here are the eight biggest errors I made in the last year – and the actions I took (or am …

Categories: Getting Started

Six Things I Think I Think After Filing Income Taxes

(Many apologies to the great Peter King, my favorite football writer, for the title of this article.) Just this morning, I finished up my income taxes for 2007 (along with my estimated taxes for the first quarter of 2008), wrote a small mountain of tear-stained checks, and dropped them in the mailbox. This was my …

Categories: Taxes

Reader Mailbag #6

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 …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Born to Buy: Pester Power

This is the sixth 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 final portion of the third chapter, starting at the subheading “Pester Power” on page 61. …

Categories: Book Club, Born to Buy

Sunday Conversation #1

For 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. To kick off this short series, I had a conversation with John. John is one of my oldest friends and …

How Important is Fuel Efficiency When Purchasing a Car?

Julia wrote in a few days ago with the following questions. My question is about cars, inspired in part by your post this morning. We have a gas guzzling 2004 Ford Expedition in very good condition. There is about $3,000 left on the note, leaving us with about $10,000 in equity, should we sell it …

Saving Money Versus Saving the World

Carrie (yes, that Carrie) writes in: How should we balance frugality with social/environmental responsibility? I could go to Amazon.com or Sam’s Club and buy all my dry goods there very inexpensively, or I could go make my purchases at a locally owned grocery, where I’ll pay more, but my purchase power makes a positive contribution …

Categories: Frugality

Building a Powerful Social Network in Your Immediate Area

Lately, several readers have expressed concerns in several different ways revolving the idea of “family” – or of a very close set of friends and relatives that you can rely on. For some, it’s an issue of living a long distance from your relatives or from an intimate group of friends. For others, it’s simply …

Categories: Getting Started

Born to Buy: Nickelodeon and the Anti-Adult Bias

This is the fifth 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 second portion of the third chapter, starting at the subheading “Kids Rule: Nickelodeon and the …

Categories: Book Club, Born to Buy