Month: May 2014

Some Thoughts on Being Broke and Being Poor

A few days ago, I wrote a post where I responded to a reader who felt I had nothing to offer her because my income was significantly higher than hers. I strongly disagreed – I feel very much that the principles of personal finance apply to everyone. I used the example of sharing money-saving tips …

Categories: Getting Started

Overcoming a Habit of Lying to Yourself About Money

After my recent article about how to deal with a partner that hides and lies about money problems, several readers made the astute point that many of these situations are often the result of people lying to themselves about money, whether directly (by actually telling yourself false conclusions about the facts you already know) or …

The Value (and Cost) of Experiences

One major theme I’ve observed in a large number of recent personal finance books and articles is the idea of valuing experiences over things. For example, it’s more financially sensible to lead a spartan life filled with many memorable experiences than it is to subscribe to the consumer lifestyle. I’ve hinted at this concept several …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Aged Thirty Years Edition

This week’s roundup comes very close to my thirtieth birthday, which I’ll be celebrating this coming weekend. Considering this is something of a milestone birthday, I’ve been reflecting a bit on how much has changed during each decade of my life. When I turned ten years old, I was in the midst of a summer …

Categories: Books and Reading

Another Major Milestone on the Road to Financial Stability

This morning, my wife and I sent in the final payment on her student loans, which was our primary personal finance goal for 2008 and our highest interest outstanding debt. It felt good. Really good. Our next personal finance goal is to pay off my remaining student loan, which has an outstanding balance of $14,800 …

Categories: Getting Started, Money

Eight Little Frugal Tactics I’ve Found So Far This Summer

My wife and I both like to press our creativity and see what money-saving tactics we can come up with that save a sizable amount of money and have a lot of fun along the way. Here are eight we’ve discovered over the last several months (yep, I’ve been saving these along the way). 1. …

Categories: Frugality

Class Warfare and The Simple Dollar

Marjorie wrote in recently: I used to enjoy The Simple Dollar until I read about your recovery from credit card debt. You paid off $17,000 in credit card debt in a little over a year? You’re not a poor person, you’re a rich person. You don’t have financial problems and you can’t relate to my …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag #21

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: Books and Reading

Review: Honey, I Want to Start My Own Business

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or business/entrepreneurship book of interest. When I look at my life, it becomes quite clear to me that if I ever wanted to start a small business (and, no, I don’t quite consider my solo writing gig to be a small business, although big …

What I Read to Keep Up on Personal Finance

A reader, Jimmy, wrote in with an interesting question recently. Where do you come up with your ideas? I know you read a lot, but what do you read for personal finance ideas? Just the books you review? I thought, in response to Jimmy’s question, that I’d list all of the materials I read regularly …

Dealing with a Partner That Hides Money Problems

It’s a sad story that I hear time and time again. One spouse is trying very hard to get their financial life back on track, while the other one is hiding a bunch of spending under the table. When it comes out – a misplaced bill is found, a credit card is rejected, a check …

Categories: Family

The Single Biggest Money Mistake I’ve Ever Made

The single biggest money mistake I’ve ever made was the day I decided that my future self would pay for stuff that I wanted (not needed, but wanted) now. The amazing part is that I remember it like it was yesterday. I was twenty years old and a junior in college. I had taken the …

Review: Good Debt, Bad Debt

Each Friday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book of interest. I picked up this book to challenge my own thinking, nothing more, nothing less. Before I opened the cover to this book, I did not subscribe at all to the idea that there is “good debt” and “bad debt.” I believe that all …

Categories: Books and Reading

Nine Ways the Status Quo Bias Is Costing You Money – And How to Turn That Ship Around

Most people are familiar with the status quo bias. In simpler terms, it simply means that people prefer things to stay relatively the same. We talk to the same people, follow the same path to work, go through the same daily routine, and so forth. We enjoy little changes – like reading a different book, …

Will You Ever Reach Your Goals? And What Will You Do When You Get There?

About two weeks ago, a friend observed that since I started The Simple Dollar, I seem to have become really goal-oriented. Then he asked two big questions that really made me think: Will you ever reach your goals? And what will you do when you get there? I’m a goal-oriented person. I find it much …

Credit Reports, Credit Scores, and Hard & Soft Pulls

Over the last few days, I’ve received a ton of questions about so-called “hard pulls” and “soft pulls” on your credit report and how they affect your credit score. In order to get the full scoop, I did some extensive research on the subject, and here’s the best information I can find. Let’s start off …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Winging It Edition

Writing The Simple Dollar is a lot of fun. I truly enjoy sharing my thoughts with you, and I love reading the comments that all of you leave. They’re insightful and often thought-provoking. Where I get into trouble is when I try to figure out new avenues to go down. I have enough breathing room …

Categories: Books and Reading

Lifestyle Choices as a Hedge Against Inflation

Depending on what sources and metrics you use, the annual inflation rate in the United States right now is somewhere between 6% and 11%. That means, if this trend continues, prices will double in roughly nine years, then double again nine years after that. No matter how well you’ve planned for the future, when the …

Categories: Getting Started

Is It Ethical to Walk Away on a Mortgage?

I may have just ruined a friendship from my college years by being honest. A few days ago, I received a long email from a friend I keep in occasional email contact with. That friend, who I’ll call Lindsay, is in an upside down mortgage – the current estimated value of the house is about …

Categories: Housing