Month: May 2014

Reader Mailbag #23

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: The Seven Minute Difference

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or business/entrepreneurship book of interest. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about overcoming the tendency to lie to yourself about money. In it, I strongly encouraged people to set microgoals for themselves, pushing themselves towards small successes that would eventually build into …

A Frugal Guide to the Iowa State Fair (or Any Similar County or State Fair)

One annual end-of-summer tradition in our household is attending the Iowa State Fair, held in Des Moines each year in mid-August. It’s something we look forward to for weeks. Over the years, we’ve found a bunch of little techniques to turn what could be an expensive day trip into something much cheaper. If you invest …

Categories: Uncategorized

The Gift Card Dilemma(s)

A few days ago, on the very day I pledged to reduce my personal book buying budget to $0 for the coming year, a little surprise came in the mail: a $25 gift card. To a bookstore. Ordinarily, this kind of thing is just something to laugh off and not worry about, but the whole …

Categories: Shopping

Learning About Money “The Hard Way”

Quite often, I get emails from readers who lament all of the mistakes they’ve made along the way, as though they’re symbols that they’ve somehow failed at money. I don’t look at it that way. I look at failure at personal finance – at anything – as the bedrock of success. I was leafing through …

Categories: Getting Started

Review: Make Money, Not Excuses

Each Friday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book of interest. A reader who I’ll call Annie recently told me over IM that she didn’t like personal finance books very much because, in her words, “they’re not very realistic in looking at the lives of ordinary women.” I really thought this was an interesting …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Status Quo Bias and Switching Jobs or Careers

After my article a few weeks ago on how the status quo bias costs you money, a reader I’ll call Jeff made a very astute observation: the status quo bias often keeps people from making the best career decisions. Let’s back up a second, though. What is the status quo bias? From the earlier article: …

Balancing Personal Principles and the Bottom Dollar: The Cost of Healthier Food Choices

If you’ve been reading The Simple Dollar carefully over the last few months, you’ve probably realized that my wife and I have spent some serious time taking a deeper look at the food we eat and the food we feed our children. We’ve always supported farmer’s markets and had a garden, but over the last …

Categories: Meals

The Frugal Introvert: Fifty Ways to Have Fun By Yourself on the Cheap

After my recent popular post on 100 ways to spend a money free weekend, I received a most interesting comment from a Lifehacker reader named HFC: It looks like a lot of free things are boring and/or require you to actually have friends. Aren’t there any fun things I can do by myself? This comment …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Major Cold Edition

I’ve had some form of a cold for fifteen straight days now. I’ve considered going to the doctor a few times, but I really think it’s actually been at least three different colds because the symptoms are so different. It started off clearly as a sinus infection that appeared to largely go away, then it …

Categories: Books and Reading

Is College Really Necessary For All High School Graduates?

One of the biggest assumptions I read about in books and articles about financial planning for your children is the outright assumption that your child must attend a college or university of some sort after graduating from high school, so you’d better financially plan for it. To me, this assumption is one that needs to …

Categories: Education, Family

My Material Weakness – And My Battle to Overcome It

Every once in a while, I’ll go through a short phase where I become obsessive about books, particularly ones not found at my local library. I’ll hit PaperBackSwap hard and sometimes even splurge at the bookstore, picking up several books in a short period. This actually happened fairly recently, thankfully fueled by gift certificates and …

Categories: Getting Started

Consumer Reports – September 2008

Consumer Reports has asked me to eliminate the content of my summaries and any other references to the content of Consumer Reports. I have complied.

Categories: Uncategorized

Reader Mailbag #22

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: Zen to Done

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or business/entrepreneurship book of interest. Over the past few months, several readers have written to me asking for me to seek out quality e-books to review – e-books being documents you can download to your local computer for your own use without the need …

Looking at Debt Repayment as an Investment

Quite often on The Simple Dollar, I’ll mention the advantages of getting your debt paid down. For most debts, paying them down is the best thing you can do with your money, provided that you have a small emergency fund set up to protect yourself against the unforeseen and at least some retirement savings. As …

Dollars and Sense When Life Hits You Hard

Not too long ago, a friend of mine lost one of his parents very suddenly. It just came out of nowhere and it felt like a punch in the gut to him. He spent a few weeks almost in a daze, lamenting the loss of his father, who he was very close to, and when …

Categories: Money

The Things That Make You Feel Good – And What That Has To Do With Your Money

Just try this little experiment tomorrow. From the very start of the day, keep a little notepad with you and jot down everything that makes you feel genuinely happy inside. Don’t worry about whether it’s something big or something small – if you feel a twinge of happiness, jot it down. Then, a day or …

Review: Crashproof Your Life

Each Friday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book of interest. I’d seen this book on bookshelves dozens of times, but I always skipped past it because of my general aversion to “apocalyptic” personal finance books. You know what I’m speaking about – the ones that foretell doom and advise that you put all …

Categories: Books and Reading