Month: May 2014

Review: The Myth of Multitasking

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or entrepreneurship book. This book attracted me from the title alone – The Myth of Multitasking is something I’ve observed over and over again in my own life. In fact, I’m observing it right now – I can write better and faster if …

Readers Speak Out

A few days ago, I mentioned my single best action for saving money in my own life – utilizing the library. I also encouraged readers to submit their own best actions – and did they ever! The post has already received almost 250 comments and several dozen more readers emailed me their single best action. …

Categories: Getting Started

Paying Others to Provide a Service

For a long time, my wife and I have discussed hiring a local housecleaning service, but never pulled the trigger (mostly because of our “cheap” sensibilities). For a pretty low rate (about $14 an hour), a local woman (or her assistant) will come to your house and perform some housecleaning tasks – mopping the floors, …

Categories: Frugality

Lessons from that Old Coffee Can over the Kitchen Sink

I have this strange little memory from when I was about six years old… I was sitting at the counter at my grandma’s house when I noticed she had taken a few dollars out of her purse. She reached up into the cabinet above the sink, pulled down an old coffee can, and threw the …

Categories: Getting Started

The Intelligent Investor: General Portfolio Policy for the Defensive Investor

This is the fifth 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 …

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Uses for an Old Cell Phone

A friend of mine was about to chuck her old cell phone in the trash, without a second thought. When I suggested that she might be able to do something else with it, she just shrugged and said, “What use is an old junk cell phone?” While she didn’t throw it away right then, I’m …

Excuses, Excuses

When you’re entrenched in a large pattern of bad habits and you’re challenged to escape those habits, it’s very easy to fall back on an excuse of some kind to “explain away” and justify your poor choices. I know this from experience. I used many excuses to continue my poor spending habits and I still …

Categories: Uncategorized

Your Single Best Action For Saving Money

Yesterday, I was doing an interview with a newspaper when the interviewer asked me “What’s your single best tip for saving money?” You would think this would be a “softball” question for me, something I should be able to answer with nearly-automatic ease, but it wasn’t. I paused for quite a while, then came up …

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: No Politics Edition

The election is over. Where do we go from here? Barack Obama might be President-elect, but that doesn’t mean that everything has suddenly changed in the world. After two years of presidential campaigning, we wake up in an America that’s really not much different than the one we woke up to yesterday. We’re still (on …

Categories: Morning Roundup

How to Focus in a Heavily Distracting Time

If you’re anything like I am on this historic day in the United States, you’re probably sitting frenetically on the edge of your seat, looking for exit polls and waiting impatiently for the first election results to roll in. I know I’m certainly there – I’m such a big politics hound that the presidential race …

Categories: Time Investment

The Suitcase Test

Over the weekend, my parents came to visit. At one point, we were talking about the experiences I had during my college days, and they mentioned that when I would move in and out of the dormitories, it would require a pickup truck to move all of the stuff. During the conversation, I realized that …

Categories: Getting Started

Reading This Article Won’t Make You Rich

I’ve read (literally) thousands of personal finance articles that say just the opposite of the title of this one. They all offer some great path to being rich, one that they claim is foolproof and that anyone can do. They brag about the huge rates of return and the magnificent success they’ve had with the …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag #35

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: The Frugal Duchess

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. It fills a special warm place in my heart when a fellow blogger, one of the first people to take an interest in The Simple Dollar and someone that I’ve communicated with pretty regularly over the past two years, gets a book published. It’s …

Categories: Books, Frugality

A Guide to Winterizing Your House

Winter is approaching and in much of the United States, that means very cold temperatures, snow, and ice. Here in the upper Midwest, it gets particularly nasty: we had some amount of ice or snow on our driveway nonstop from October to April last winter. As a homeowner, this change in the season means one …

Categories: Housing

25 Useful Pieces Of Free (and Open) Software for Macs

About two years ago, I wrote a very popular piece for The Simple Dollar called 30 useful Pieces Of Free (and Open) Software for Windows. In it, I talked about how I had a new Dell laptop and that I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on additional software for it, so I …

Categories: Computers, Software