Month: May 2014

A Clever Trick for Automatically Finding Deals You Want at Amazon

Lately, I’ve been working on my Christmas shopping list, trying to get (way) ahead of the curve. I have a lot of great ideas in mind for the people around me, but I know that unless I’m diligent, the gifts will either wind up being too expensive or will simply slip through my fingers. Add …

Categories: Shopping

Reader Mailbag #17

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: The Renaissance Soul

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or business/entrepreneurship book of interest. When I was in college, I switched majors three different times, bouncing around the hard sciences and the humanities like a rubber ball and finally settling on multiple majors that balanced my interests. I started down the path of …

No Time for Frugality: Cutting Financial Corners with No Time Investment

As soon as people hear the word frugality, they often respond by saying “I don’t have time for that!” The perception is out there that frugality always demands hours of doing things like cutting coupons and mixing up batches of homemade laundry detergent. While those projects save money, they’re only one avenue towards trimming the …

Categories: Frugality

Finding Inspiration for Financial Change

A while back, I wrote in detail about the longest night of my life, the night when I realized that I needed to change my financial situation. That night, the best answer didn’t come from me. It came from my infant son. When I looked at him, I knew I had to make some sort …

Categories: Getting Started

My Book Writing Journey: From a Dream to a Deal and a Finished Manuscript

A couple of days ago, I finished my first book and turned it in to my publisher. You’ll be hearing a lot more about it in a few months, but this post is for the large number of readers who have sent me all kinds of questions about the book publishing process. It was a …

Categories: Books, Meta

Review: Green with Envy

Each Friday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book of interest. They’ve got vacation homes, backyard swimming pools, and three car garages. That’s what we see. What we don’t see is their secret shame: the unpaid bills, the desperate loans, and the sleepless nights. That’s the blurb on the back of Shira Boss’s Green …

Categories: Books

Ten Tips to Maximize the Value of a Doctor’s Visit

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t like going to the doctor. I had a few terrible experiences with who I still call “the world’s scariest doctor” when I was a young child (“I’m going to clean it out now” in a frigid monotone, followed by the sound of a buzzsaw starting up …

Categories: Getting Started

You Can’t Buy Love

About two weeks ago, I did something incredibly stupid. Without even really thinking about it, I let my wife down. I made one of those careless, thoughtless little mistakes that when you realize what you’ve done, you might want to slap yourself in the head about it, but a mistake can’t be undone. My first …

Categories: Communication, Marriage

Starting a Natural Collection

My wife and I are both natural collectors. As a young boy, I carefully collected thousands of baseball cards, spending my allowance each week on Topps wax packs. Later, in my teen years, I collected Magic: the Gathering cards with a ferociousness. I come by this naturally – my father has been an avid coin …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Book Crunch Time Edition

This week, I’m currently in the middle of crunch time for my book, with a strong deadline of July 1 to turn in a strong final manuscript (that will then go through their editing process). That means long hours at the keyboard, typing away, until I’m ready to flop into bed out of exhaustion. I …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Ceiling Fan Hacks: Save Big on Energy Use

A typical central air conditioning unit uses 3,500 watts of energy when running. A typical ceiling fan uses 60 watts of energy, even when running on high. Thus, if you ran your ceiling fan all day and it managed to decrease your home air conditioner use by just thirty minutes in a twenty four hour …

What Individual Stocks Would I Invest In for the Long Haul?

In the reader mailbag yesterday, I alluded to the idea that I would only buy individual stocks from companies that I was strongly familiar with and whose products I used myself and not only trusted, but that I found enough value in that I would laud them to others. In other words, I’m a big …

Categories: Investing, Stocks

The Economics of Children’s Birthday Parties

Recently, a young child that lives nearby (age six or so) had a large birthday party at his home for all the children on the block that were approximately the same age (four year olds to eight year olds, roughly). The party was in the family’s fenced-in backyard and included a magician, two horses, and …

Categories: Family

Reader Mailbag #16

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: Ready, Fire, Aim

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or business/entrepreneurship book of interest. One topic that doesn’t get nearly enough coverage on The Simple Dollar (or on other blogs as well) is entrepreneurship – the transformation of an idea and a passion into a full-fledged business. It can be a splendid way …

Categories: Books, Entrepreneurship

Giving Now Versus Giving Later: The Gospel of Wealth Versus Everyday Charity

We only have a limited amount of time on this wonderful Earth, and there are almost countless people around the globe who have far fewer opportunities for a pleasant life than we have. Thus, it’s natural for most people to eventually come to the conclusion that it’s quite important to share the wealth we’ve earned …

Categories: Charity

Addiction and Personal Finance

I’ve watched one of my childhood heroes throw his life away to a methamphetamine addiction. I remember him surging with vitality, going to school full time while simultaneously working at a full time job to make ends meet. He had the future open to him – college scholarships, a killer work ethic, and a quiet …

Finding Passive Income Sources for the Future: Four Potential Avenues I’m Evaluating

Lately, I’ve been looking at sources of passive income in order to bolster (and hopefully eventually replace) my current income. It is a fond dream that at some point in the future, I could largely step back from doing active day-to-day work and instead use these sources as my primary income stream. In that eventuality, …

Categories: Passive Income