Month: May 2014

Low Monthly Car Payments? Look at The Long Term

One of my friends bought a 2008 Cadillac CTS about a month ago. In order to pay for the $32,000 in debt he incurred, he needed to take out a sizable loan. The credit union he worked with gave him several options – a 36 month loan at 6.75%, a 48 month loan at 6.875%, …

How to Find and Utilize a Mentor

Almost a year ago, in an article entitled Building a Foundation: Ten Things To Do First If You’re Looking At Starting Your Own Business, I described the value of finding a business mentor and offered a few minor tips for finding one. The truth, though, is that a mentor is incredibly valuable no matter what …

Categories: Careers

I Just Don’t Care About My Finances

It wasn’t all that long ago that I simply didn’t care about my money. It wasn’t something to think about or plan with – it was simply grease for the skids, enabling me to live out a lot of whims. Other than that, it was something largely to avoid – I would just pay the …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag #30

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: Do It Tomorrow

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a book on personal productivity, personal development, or entrepreneurship – books not directly related to personal finance, but deeply relevant to personal success. I’ve long been a fan of time management books. My philosophy is that if you can get just one really useful nugget out of a …

Thoughts on Children and Rewards for Normal Behavior

A few days ago, I took my son to get a haircut (mostly because he got a piece of gum in his hair in the park, we had to cut it out, and his hair looked disastrous afterwards, beyond our ability to fix unless we shaved his head). He’s a bright and observant two year …

Categories: Family

A Visual Guide to Saving Money with a Baby

I hear from a lot of expectant parents and parents of newborns who ask lots of interesting questions about what we actually do to save money with our infants. Though I’ve written lists before of the things worth doing to trim spending on babies, many of the people who write in are skeptical. Cloth diapers? …

Personal Energy and Frugality

Whenever I write about how I organize my life, I usually get several comments and emails from individuals who lament their lack of energy. “I get tired just reading that task list!” is a common thing that I hear. Here’s the thing: compared to many people I know, I feel like a very low-energy person. …

Categories: Getting Started

Looking at Your Career as an Investment

Last night, I was leafing through the September 22 issue of BusinessWeek (one of the handful of magazines I subscribe to – a great read) when I came across an article by Lewis Braham entitled “The Missing Link in Your Portfolio? Your Job” (it’s titled differently in the online version, which I linked to). The …

Categories: Careers, Investing

How To Get Out of Debt and Stay That Way!

“Max” is a friend of mine (I don’t like to “out” friends on this site, so I’m being pretty careful about what I say here and a few specifics may be blurred). He’s had a significant number of challenges in his life, including a few minor criminal indiscretions related to drug use in his early …

Categories: Getting Started

Surviving a Natural Disaster

As I’ve mentioned before, my hometown was flooded during the Mississippi River Flood of 1993. It was a painful yet formative experience, as it showed me how incredibly powerful a united community can be. One thing that’s been on my mind recently, in the wake of the 2008 floods in the upper Midwest and the …

Categories: Getting Started

The Twelve Biggest Personal Finance Mistakes People Make Over and Over Again

As I’ve mentioned before, I get tons of email from people describing the personal finance problems in their lives, commenting critically on things I’ve written, and offering up their own stories of success. Not only that, as The Simple Dollar has become more and more popular, I’ve had more and more opportunities to talk about …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Gifted Children Edition

Recently, I’ve been puzzling over how exactly to feel about the progression of a child I met several years ago. When this boy was about ten, he gave one of the greatest presentations I’ve ever seen in a science fair environment. He had the most complex project there and knew it from top to bottom, …

Categories: Books and Reading

How to Safely Build Your Credit History

I’ve heard from several high schoolers and early college students asking for advice on how to build up their credit history in a safe and responsible manner. One of them is “Jenna”: I’m currently a freshman at Washington University. I know I need to build up some good credit for the future, when I have …

Managing the Natural Ups and Downs of Your Workweek

Ever since my college days, my typical week has followed the same general pattern. On Mondays, I simply have a hard time coming up with good ideas. I can usually follow lists of tasks, but the creative part of my brain is simply on pause. Tuesday through Thursday is the creative meat and potatoes of …

Categories: Careers

Addressing Financial Worries in a Healthy Fashion

Most people have some degree of financial concern in their lives. How will I pay the bills? What will happen if I’m suddenly injured and unable to work? What if I lose my job? I’m in the same boat. Although I’ve gone a long way in the last two and a half years towards relieving …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag #29

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 Little Book That Saves Your Assets

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. I’ve been a pretty big fan of the “Little Books, Big Profits” series published by Wiley and Sons, of which this is the sixth entry. I’ve reviewed each one and quite liked most of them – they do a very good job Here are …

Why Many “Alternative Income” Ideas Aren’t Worth It

Quite often, I’ll get excited requests from readers who have stumbled upon some great idea for alternative income and want me to write about it. Here are a few of the suggestions I’ve heard. + Write for income at Squidoo or Associated Content. + Take online surveys at OpinionOutpost. + Try out websites through MyPoints. …

Categories: Getting Started