Month: May 2014

Go Green and Save Money: 6 Disposable Items to Stop Buying Now

When you go to the grocery store or to the department store, many of the things you buy are disposable – they wind up in the trash. Packages. Plastic wrap. Boxes. Bags. It’s just trash, right? If you look a bit closer, though, you’ll see something else in there. Money. Each time you toss something …

That First Taste of Financial Success

About a month after I hit bottom in terms of my debt, I sent in a large payment on one of my credit cards, a big enough payment to completely eliminate the balance. That money had come from a lot of things: eating very cheaply for a while, selling off a bunch of DVDs and …

Categories: Debt, Getting Started

Spreading the Frugality Ideavirus

Recently, I was reading Unleashing the Ideavirus, Seth Godin’s excellent book on how ideas get shared among people. The book is available as a free PDF. It’s a little bit dated in terms of specifics, but the ideas are still the same: if you have a compelling idea and share it freely in a compelling …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag #33

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: Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. I picked up Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck because of one word: conversation. For the most part, Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck by Michael B. Rubin covers the nuts and bolts of personal finance pretty well. What sets it apart is the method it uses to …

The Other Choice

Whenever you make the choice to spend money on something, you’re actually making other choices as well. I choose to “dress for success” by buying this expensive suit. I also choose to have large credit card bills. I choose to eat out for dinner every night. I also choose to be stuck in a high-paying …

Categories: Frugality, Psychology

Building Work Relationships: When Networking Doesn’t Work

“Caleb” wrote in recently with a concern about building connections with people in the workplace: One thing that comes in your blog from time to time is building and expanding professional and personal network. What about people who are at it but still seem to be going nowhere? For example, I have worked in a …

18 Things a New Homeowner Should Do Immediately to Save Money

So you’ve just moved into your nice new home. You’ve unloaded the boxes, unpacked most of your stuff, and are just starting to settle into your residence. Right now is the perfect time to walk through a checklist of ways to save money on your home. Starting on these things as early as possible will …

Categories: Frugality, Housing

The Intelligent Investor: Investment Versus Speculation

This is the second in a weekly series of articles providing a chapter-by-chapter in-depth “book club” reading of Benjamin Graham’s investing classic The Intelligent Investor. Warren Buffett describes this book: “I read the first edition of this book early in 1950, when I was nineteen. I thought then that it was by far the best …

How to Plan Ahead for Next Week’s Meals and Save Money

My wife and I shop for groceries on a weekly basis (with the exception of a rare mid-week stop for more milk or other pure staples). We shop from a grocery list, usually nail the sales, and focus almost entirely on buying produce. The end result is that we usually save quite a bit at …

Categories: Food, Groceries

The Power of the Chaperone

Ever notice how your shopping behaviors change depending on who you’re shopping with? I certainly have. I noticed this most thoroughly on three recent grocery shopping trips, which I’ll relate. My first shopping trip was entirely by myself. I went with a shopping list in hand, which I almost always do, and I stuck pretty …

Money Podcasts

Most mornings, I tend to listen to a handful of podcasts while I write. I listen to a wide variety of things to keep informed, from tech podcasts and food podcasts to sports podcasts and personal development podcasts, but I keep quite a bit of time open to personal finance podcasts. They’re a great way …

Categories: Computers

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Crock Pot Edition

Over the last two weeks, I’ve started really experimenting with our crock pot, trying out different crazy ideas just to see how they work. Here are two we’ve found that are really easy and quite tasty. Beef Burgundy Two pounds of beef stew meat, 4 ounces of mushrooms (fresh or canned), two cups of milk, …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Staying Calm in Financially Tough Times

As I write this, the stock market has just completed the single best day in its history. This follows the worst week in its history, in which the market lost approximately 20% of its value (depending on the indicator you use). The volatility of the stock market has never been higher, and people out there …

Categories: Investing

Minimizing the Impact of Job Loss: Short Term Tactics and Long Term Career Pillars

Over the last week, several people have written to me in a panic, asking what they should do if they think they’re about to be downsized at work. Given the current economic conditions, I don’t blame them a bit for worrying – I’ve never seen such an obvious trend towards a recession. There are a …

How Much Extra Should You Pay for Fuel Efficiency? Here’s How We’re Calculating It

Over the past few weeks, my wife and I have begun seriously shopping for a replacement for my truck. There are two big reasons for this: first, my truck has a long shopping list of repairs that need to be done to it in the next six to twelve months, bills totaling about $5,000 according …

Categories: Automobile

Reader Mailbag #32

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: A Perfect Mess

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or business/entrepreneurship book of interest. Over the last several years, I’ve worked very hard to become more and more organized with my stuff. I used to have a very difficult time finding things that I needed when I needed them and I also …

Talking to a Child About Home Foreclosure

I received a heart wrenching email from a reader that I’m going to call “Peggy.” Here’s a few excerpts from that email: [...] In short, we are going to have to be out of our house by October 24. We’re going to move in with [my brother] and his family for a while and then …

Categories: Communication, Family