Month: May 2014

Reflections on Abandoning the 9 to 5, Four Months In

When I walked away from my nice and steady nine to five desk job in March, a lot of people asked for my reflections on it, and I provided my thoughts two weeks after quitting, which were almost entirely positive. Naturally, many of those readers wanted me to return to the topic in a few …

Categories: Careers

Reader Mailbag #20

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: Is Your Genius at Work?

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or business/entrepreneurship book of interest. A little while back, I discussed my thoughts on finding a career – in a nutshell, my belief is that the best possible career is one that balances your passions and your natural talents. Is Your Genius at Work? …

Clothes Shopping for Frugal Families

Over the last week or so, I’ve seen and heard a lot of parents grumbling about the exorbitant cost of buying school clothes for their kids for the upcoming year. A few parents are at least putting all of their eggs in the basket of the upcoming tax holiday on clothes in Iowa – and …

Categories: Frugality

Why I’m Not Panicking – And You Shouldn’t, Either

Over the last three or four days, I’ve received a bunch of emails from readers asking me why I’m not talking breathlessly about the chaos at Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and IndyMac. I’ve read dozens of long explanations of why this is disastrous and why it’s the worst thing people have ever seen, and I’ve …

Categories: Investing, Stocks

Financial Planning: How My Wife and I Got on the Same Page

When my wife and I approached our financial meltdown, our financial planning and spending was in pure chaos. We both spent according to our whims and we tackled bills and such without any real pattern or consistency. Neither of us had any real idea what the other was doing financially, and we certainly didn’t have …

Categories: Communication

Review: The Six-Day Financial Makeover

Each Friday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book of interest. Over the last six months since the start of 2007, Robert Pagliarini’s The Six-Day Financial Makeover has easily been the most requested book review for The Simple Dollar – more than a dozen people have requested it. I was a little hesitant to …

Categories: What We're Reading

100 Things to Do During a Money Free Weekend

About a year ago, I offered up the idea of the money-free weekend: For the last few months, my wife and I have been doing something every other weekend or so that we call a “money free” weekend, in an effort to live more frugally. It’s actually quite fun – here’s how we do it. …

Categories: Frugality

Making Pricey Hobbies More Economical

Before my financial turnaround, I subscribed to several expensive hobbies. I loved to golf on the weekends, I played Magic: the Gathering somewhat competitively, I collected DVDs (of certain directors, actors, etc.), and I thought it great to eat out as many meals as possible at high-end restaurants, among others. Each of these hobbies was …

Categories: Entertainment

Ten Ways to Find Bargains on Fresh Food

I’m always on the hunt for fresh food, grown locally and preferably grown organically and with sustainable practices. Not only are such items healthier, they’re also almost always much more flavorful, too. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried a salad made up of greens that were cut less than an hour before. The only problem …

Categories: Food, Frugality

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Family Pictures Edition

Over the last several months, I’ve been creating a huge digital archive of personally important pictures – pictures of me throughout my life, my wife throughout her life, ancestors, relatives, children, and so on. This has been a long, ongoing process, done exclusively on equipment I already owned, meaning it’s been basically a free project …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Preparing a Budget? Ten Tips for Making That Budget Successful

Mike wrote in lamenting his struggle to make a budget work for him (he attached his budget for me to look at, but I think sharing it with 100,000 readers might make Mike a bit uncomfortable): I keep trying to stick to a budget, but I keep failing. I go through all the steps that …

Categories: Getting Started

The One Skill That Will Earn You Money, No Matter What You Do

Communication. No matter what you do in life, communication will earn you money. You’re a person working in a cubicle on hard problems. The ability to present your work to the boss during performance reviews will make or break you. The ability to present your work to coworkers will help your project go better. The …

Categories: Communication

Undermining Your Frugality

A reader named Mindy wrote in recently and asked the following: I use all sorts of money saving tips all the time to save, but we never seem to get ahead. There’s always some expense or another that comes up, or something that my family needs. Then after a while I get tired of living …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag #19

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: Seven Years to Seven Figures

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or business/entrepreneurship book of interest. I like Michael Masterson’s books. In the past, I’ve given high marks to three of his works: Automatic Wealth, Automatic Wealth for Grads, and Ready, Fire, Aim. Because of my enjoyment of his other books, I decided to look …

Ten Tip-Offs That You’re Getting Bogus Financial Information – And Five Antidotes

Every day, I get ten or twenty solicitations to talk about some sort of shady investment or debt relief product. These people try all sorts of tactics to convince me that their product is good and that I should talk about it. Over time, I’ve come to discover a big handful of tell-tale signs that …

Categories: Getting Started

Is Money All There Is? Why Chasing the Big Dollars Isn’t the Answer for Everyone

Carlos left an interesting comment in yesterday’s article on finding a career: The “do what you love, and the money will follow” mantra is getting very old. My loser brother (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) has a Master’s Degree in social work from a well-known and prestigious university. He’s 39, and …

Categories: Careers, Frugality

How to Choose a Career – The Simple Dollar Way

There are a lot of ways to choose a career. Most of them are bad. Someone tells you, “Hey, you know, you should be a…” Bad. You started a job and just kind of stuck around because nothing better came along. Bad. You pick out a college major because it seems interesting at first glance …

Categories: Careers