Month: May 2014

Review: Living Rich by Spending Smart

Each Friday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book of interest. Unlike most books that describe paths to financial prosperity, Gregory Karp’s focus is solely on one area: cutting spending. Karp’s about as up front about this philosophy as he can be – the first eight words in the introduction of the book are …

Categories: Books, Frugality

The First Steps Away from Paycheck-to-Paycheck Living

Out of all of the blessings that have come into my life over the last two and a half years or so (a new home, my daughter, financial recovery, a new career, a lot of wonderful readers), the one that has truly helped me to sleep better at night is the move away from living …

Categories: Getting Started

Finding the Motivation to Get Started on Major Tasks

I have this nice big list of projects in front of me. Twelve creative projects, all related to The Simple Dollar or my writing ambitions, just waiting there to tackle. I have a nearly mountainous pile of books to review for the site. Many of them look really compelling. My office is cleaned up and …

Is An Emergency Fund a Psychological Negative?

I was recently reading How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously by Jerrod Mundis, an interesting book that sorely needs an updated edition (it was originally published in 1988 – I’d happily review an updated edition), but has at least a good handful of interesting concepts inside. One comment …

Categories: Psychology

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: The Alchemist Edition

Over the last few years, about twenty different people have recommended that I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, but I’ve been avoiding it largely because of so many other things to read. Well, now you can get it for free as an unabridged audiobook, perfect for listening to on a long road trip. Just …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Ten Tactics for Improving Your Luck

Yep, you read that right. Luck. To me, luck occurs when a positive and fairly unexpected event happens in your life, whether it be financial or otherwise. Thus, improving your luck means increasing the chances of such positive events happening – and also increasing the chances that you’ll be able to take advantage of them. …

Categories: Getting Started

When Personal Finance Is Boring: Five Tactics for People Who’d Rather Do ANYTHING Than Manage Their Money

If you’re a regular reader of The Simple Dollar, you’re probably not the person I’m writing about here. Instead, this article is probably appropriate for your brother or your sister or that friend of yours down the street. All of us know someone in our lives that has all of the equipment they need to …

Categories: Getting Started

The Difference Between a Job and a Career

Most of the emails I get from people asking for advice about their employment situation stem between a confusion between what a job is and what a career is. A job is simply something you do to earn money. Career advancement is not something you’re interested in there and the work often doesn’t interest you …

Categories: Careers

Reader Mailbag #18

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: What Does Somebody Have to Do to Get a Job Around Here?

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or business/entrepreneurship book of interest. I was very lucky after college to fall straight into a job that I enjoyed quite a lot. My wife, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky – she sent out mountains of applications and resumes, interviewed all over …

Categories: Books

A Look at the Startup Cost

Lara from Coffee Can Cash left a very intriguing comment a few days ago on my post about minimalist kitchens: I’m sorry, but I can’t agree with the idea “when in doubt buy it cheap”… If you want to save money for the long haul, buying cheap on one occasion isn’t what’s going to do …

Categories: Frugality

Seven Websites That Saved Me Money in the Last Week

About a week ago, my wife said (paraphrased), “We use a ton of websites to save ourselves a lot of money directly. Why don’t you write about those? You could just keep track of what sites you visit to save money over a week, how much they save, and whether or not this pays for …

Categories: Websites

A By-The-Numbers Look at Why Saving Is More Important Than Perfect Investment Choices

About once a week, I’ll get an email from a reader along the lines of this recent one from Leo: I don’t know how to invest. I don’t know what to invest in. So I keep putting it off because I’m worried about messing it up. It’s ridiculous that this is all so complicated. The …

Review: Go Green, Live Rich

Each Friday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book of interest. I figured it was just a matter of time before someone wrote a book focusing directly on the overlap between frugality and environmentalism. I just didn’t expect that it would be David “Latte Factor” Bach, famous for such books as Start Late, Finish …

Categories: Books

Should You “Debt Snowball” Directly into a Savings Account Instead of a Debt Payment?

The idea of debt snowballing is a popular one: it pushes you to get rid of your debts and get on a financially stable playing field, plus it encourages you to behave in a frugal fashion because you’re setting aside such a large, steady block of money each month to eliminate those debts. What’s a …

Categories: Dave Ramsey, Debt

The Danger of Losing Your Wallet – And How to Protect Yourself

Near the end of a recent long trip, my wife misplaced her wallet. She carries a traditional small pocket wallet, which contains her driver’s license, a few credit cards, a few customer reward program cards, and a few other personal items. We spent the better part of three days searching around our home for the …

Categories: Getting Started

Is Time the Difference Between Big Spenders, Frugal Folks, and Cheapskates?

I tend to find that most people exist somewhere along what I like to call the frugal spectrum. At one end are people who spend like it’s going out of style and basically believe that any initiative that gets in the way of just doing whatever they feel like is a giant waste of time. …

Categories: Frugality

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Family Surprise Edition

Life turns out in very unexpected ways, if you give it a chance. After finishing my manuscript late last week, my wife and I celebrated by going on a short trip with our kids. We stayed with a cousin of mine who’s about eight years older than I am – in fact, she used to …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The Net Worth Mentality

A recent conversation I had with an old friend started something like this. “So, now that you’re writing full time, how much money are you making?” “…. I don’t know.” “What do you mean you don’t know?” This is a line of thinking I wouldn’t have believed just a few years ago. Not knowing what …

Categories: Getting Started