Month: May 2014

Review: The Reader’s Digest Penny Pincher’s Almanac

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. As many of you know, I’m a big fan of PaperBackSwap. I use it all the time to trade books – I request ones I’d like to read and send out ones that I’ve finished reading so that others can enjoy it. It almost …

A Long December

Many of you out there reading this are hurting. The economic news is grim, and even though I believe the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, that doesn’t change the stark reality of things. Most of us have lost a large swath of our retirement savings in the last year. My overall …

Categories: Christmas

I, Spender

I get emails from readers all the time encouraging me to be more playful and experimental with my writing, so here’s a little experiment, posted quietly on the Saturday after Thanksgiving when no one will be reading. It’s an adaptation of one of my favorite literary passages, Claudius’s soliloquy from Act 3, Scene III of …

Categories: Meta

Is It Time to Drop Your Land Line?

Several months ago, I mentioned that we’ve been experimenting with using Skype at home for many of our telephone calls, and that I was ready to switch to using Skype as our primary phone. Skype, for those unfamiliar, is a service that allows one to use their broadband internet connection as a telephone line. In …

The Intelligent Investor: The Positive Side to Portfolio Policy for the Enterprising Investor

This is the eighth 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 …

Happy Thanksgiving from The Simple Dollar!

If you’re in the United States, I hope you’re off somewhere enjoying a great meal with friends and family. I sure am! Normal posting will resume tomorrow morning!

Categories: Meta

Is Debt Necessary For Generating Income?

“Margie” writes in: My husband and I are pretty frugal, but we currently carry about $25,000 in credit card debt and a personal loan. Our monthly interest is about $800 on the balances. My husband owns his own business and has cash in hand to pay off these balances; however, he chooses to keep the …

Categories: Debt

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Birthday Update Edition

A lot of people were curious as to what happened with my son’s birthday after his disastrous birthday party. In short, he got over things pretty quickly and now seems to have largely forgotten about it. We basically didn’t mention it again after the day of the party and that seemed to work well in …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Seven Tips for a Thrifty Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is in two days, and it’s likely that most of you have plans of some sort: getting together with family, eating a tremendously large meal, enjoying some football on television, getting caught up on your sleep, and so on. Some of you may have already begun on those plans – I know that for …

Categories: Food

Ten Fundamental Steps for Online Career Networking

Jerome writes in with a common question: I constantly read articles about how important it is to network online to help advance my career, but outside of emailing people I know in my field, I don’t really know where to start. Any advice? Let’s start with the big question. Why? What is the point of …

Categories: Careers

Desperately Seeking Advice

Quite often, when people write to me asking for specific financial advice, I respond to them encouraging them either to seek a lawyer or a financial advisor, but I also make a point to tell them to lay all of their cards on the table for this advisor. Some readers have expressed surprise at this …

Categories: Advice

Reader Mailbag #38

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: Personal Development for Smart People

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or entrepreneurship book. If you’ve ever read much about personal development online, you’ve probably bumped into something written by Steve Pavlina. He’s the person behind an enormously popular personal development blog and discussion forum on the topic. I’ve corresponded with Steve a few …

Clutter Is Money

Recently, I was browsing through the Creative Commons pictures on Flickr (those that have been given permission to be shared freely) and I came across a few pictures that actually reminded me of my early professional years. by YellowDog by rjw1 by sindesign I see several things when I look at these pictures. I see …

Categories: Getting Started

When a Treat Stops Being a Treat – and How to Get It Back

I’m writing this article in a coffee shop, one that I hadn’t set foot in for several months. I’m sipping on a big cup of chai – and it tastes great. I look around at the environment, glance at the newspaper that’s also on my table, and I realize that this is a very nice …

On Hosting a Dinner Party

After answering many reader emails and addressing the topic in multiple reader mailbags, I thought it would be worthwhile to write a comprehensive post on how to host an effective dinner party on a reasonable budget. Why a Dinner Party? A dinner party? you may be asking yourself. Why? An evening dinner party is perhaps …

Categories: Frugality

The Intelligent Investor: A Negative Approach to Portfolio Policy for the Enterprising Investor

This is the seventh 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 …

5 Simple Water Conservation Methods

One of the most common frugality tactics is to find ways to reduce your water bill. There are many, many ways to do this in your average home, but several tactics seem to pop up time and time again. The question is: do these tactics really save significant money? Is it enough to make the …

Categories: Frugality

Tap My 401(k) or Borrow From Family?

A while back (actually, almost a year and a half ago now… how time flies…), I talked about using a 401(k) to pay off credit card debt. I largely viewed the decision as one that makes terrible sense on paper, but the decision can make sense in the broader terms of the choices life hands …

Categories: Advice