Month: May 2014

The Total Experience of a Purchase

My brother recently got a new job with much higher pay than he was previously making. After getting the job, he bought himself a motorcycle, something he’s wanted for a while, and he’s incredibly happy with it and proud of it, even driving it to work to save on fuel costs and saving on motorcycle …

10 Investing Tips & Methods You Can Use

The more I dabble in investing, the more I realize that it’s something of an “opposite world” compared to the principles I use in day to day life. Things that make intuitive sense in the real world are actually failures when it comes to investing. Here are ten great investing tips of that phenomenon. Be …

Categories: Investing, Psychology

Review: You’re Fifty, Now What?

Each Friday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. Lately, as my parents and my wife’s parents begin to inch towards retirement, I’ve become quite interested in looking at the financial issues they face at this point in their lives. Their situations are very different – the one thing they have in common is …

Baking Soda: My Favorite Frugal Substance

I love baking soda. It’s one of those things I can scarcely resist buying. Whenever I see a huge quantity of it for sale at the local warehouse store, I’m always tempted to pick up a big box of it, as you can get a twelve pound bag of baking soda for $5.76. Why? It …

Categories: Frugality

My Retirement Portfolio As I Approach 30

Very soon, I will be celebrating my 30th birthday, and I thought it would be interesting to take a look at my retirement portfolio as it currently sits. I’ve rounded each amount to the nearest $100 to make the math easier as I evaluate where I’m at and what my future plans may be. My …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

Anticipation Buying

Recently, my wife and I had some guests over to visit. While here, one of the guests used the restroom on the main floor of our home, where we have a large closet where we store supplies over the long haul. She observed that there were about twenty bars of soap, several bottles of Old …

Categories: Coupons, Shopping

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Greatest Hits Vol. 2 Edition

Right now, I’m in the middle of “crunch time” with my book, as I hit a big deadline for it on June 1. I’m basically obsessing over it at this point, polishing little pieces here and there and wondering if it’s good enough. My June 1 deadline is that I have to turn in a …

Categories: Morning Roundup

24 Hours, 24 Ways We Save Money

Frugality runs through our lives like a quiet, gentle stream: subtly, beautifully, and often without notice. 12 AM Our programmable thermostat has automatically adjusted for the night, letting the normal outside temperature control the temperature in the house while we’re sleeping. The cool Iowa night-time air rarely gets above 80 degrees at night, meaning our …

Categories: Frugality

Personal Finance 101: What Exactly Does It Mean to Own a Stock?

Understanding the Basics of Stock Ownership Steve wrote in with a good question recently: What does it actually mean to own a stock? Do you own a piece of that company? Are you just gambling that you think a company’s value will go up or down? I guess I don’t really understand the stock market. …

Categories: Getting Started, Stocks

Tomorrow Boxes

If you were to take a peek inside of our closets or on the shelves in our garage, you’d find a lot of sealed boxes with a prominent date on the outside and a label of some sort. I call these boxes our “tomorrow boxes,” and they all serve a similar purpose – they’re storing …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag #12

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

Review: Leave the Office Earlier

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity or personal development book. Several weeks ago, I reviewed Laura Stack’s Find More Time – and loved it. It was an excellent collection of specific tactics to apply towards maximizing time in your personal life and I have actually applied a few of the lessons successfully …

Do I Need Long Term Disability Insurance?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been carefully considering the above question. I’m twenty nine years old, in good health, with a wife and two young children at home. I don’t commute for work, either, vastly reducing my chance of a disabling accident. In other words, my chance for long-term disability is pretty small. How …

Categories: Health, Insurance

On Saving to Splurge

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a long conversation with a reader I’ll call Jenny. Jenny has one big thing she loves to splurge on in her life – she likes to take long weekend trips about once every three months, leaving on a Thursday night and getting back late on Monday. Those are …

Categories: Getting Started

The Big Sell-Off

One thing that frequently happens when people go through a personal finance and debt epiphany is a big sell-off of their unnecessary purchases. They look around their house at all of the unnecessary stuff they’ve purchased and want to get rid of it. The logic behind this usually comes from one or more sources, among …

Categories: Getting Started

Review: The True Cost of Happiness

Each Friday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. One particular aspect of personal finance that has always fascinated me (and this should be pretty obvious to long-time readers of The Simple Dollar) is the idea that most of our money decisions are fueled by a bunch of conflicting signals – the signals we …

Categories: What We're Reading

Using Social Media to Motivate Personal Finance Goals

When I first started The Simple Dollar, I mostly intended it as a place to log my own personal financial progress and also note any interesting thoughts or findings I discovered related to personal finance and other related topics. My primary goal was to make myself write every day and also to motivate myself to …

Categories: Goals, Websites

Make Your Own Kind of Music

Quite often, I’ve mentioned that learning your own musical instrument is an incredibly frugal hobby. Almost every time I mention it, someone asks some follow up questions along the lines of: “How can that be frugal? Instruments are expensive!” Recently, I wanted to put that to the test and show how inexpensively a person can …

Gifts That Matter Don’t Come From Wal-Mart

… they come from the heart. In most of our lives, there seems to be a never-ending string of gift giving occasions – birthdays, graduations, baby showers, wedding showers, and so on. That often means a never-ending string of gifts to give, and because we’re all so busy and harried, it’s often easier just to …

Categories: Gifts