Month: May 2014

On Giving Up the Dream

Matt sends me this heartbreaking email (I trimmed it down to the important pieces): Like you, I’ve always dreamed of being a writer. I also majored in a completely different discipline in order to earn a strong income. Well, after several years of working, scrimping, and saving, I decided to quit that job and spend …

Categories: Careers

Nine Creative Ways to Utilize Leftovers from Common Meals

One of the best ways to really extract the value from a meal is to utilize every bit of the leftover food instead of merely throwing it away. Not only does this reduce waste, it also drastically reduces the cost per meal in your household, and over the long term, that can add up to …

Categories: Family, Frugality, Meals

My Take on Christian Themes in Personal Finance Books

Several months ago, I wrote that I had misgivings about reviewing books on The Simple Dollar if they had a strong religious theme running through the book. My biggest concern was that I tend to write for a secular audience and when I delve into a book that is heavily threaded with the themes of …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Intelligent Investor: The Investor and His Advisers

This is the eleventh 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 …

Categories: Books and Reading

Money and Honesty

One of my favorite people in the world to talk to is my pastor. Our conversations are wide-ranging: we might talk about Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s writings one day and the ins and outs of starting a charity the next. Indirectly, she’s provided fodder for several posts here at The Simple Dollar. A few days ago, we …

Categories: Getting Started

Planning Ahead for Next Year’s Garden

You might be surprised to find that, as winter sets in here in Iowa, we’re eagerly planning our garden for 2009. In fact, I’d argue that the winter season – spent planning, preparing, and organizing – is as important as the other seasons for having a manageable and cost-effective garden. What’s so important about gardening? …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

The Two-Career Assumption

One of the biggest assumptions I see in married couples my age is that both partners must be pursuing a career. In almost every married couple I know, both partners are engaged in full-time employment, attempting to earn the largest combined wage possible. Sometimes, it’s necessary. One of our closest friends earns about $13 an …

Categories: Careers

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Christmas Cards Edition

My wife and I traditionally send out about sixty Christmas cards each year via the postal service. As has been the case the past few years, these cards include a family picture and a note about how things are going with our family. As I packaged up the cards this year, I couldn’t help but …

Categories: Books and Reading

Six Ideas for Future Directions for The Simple Dollar – Your Thoughts?

Every few months, I like to open up the doors for suggestions on future directions and post ideas for The Simple Dollar. I often conceive of new areas to cover and ideas to try, but it’s really you, the readers, that decide whether or not those areas are really worth pursuing or not, because if …

Synergizing Hobbies and Career to Succeed

Since reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (and reviewing it), the concept of what makes an individual exceptionally successful in a particular area has been heavy on my mind. In the book, Gladwell mostly argues that exceptional success is the result mostly of factors outside of our control: demographics, genetics, and so on. However, he does …

Categories: Careers

Are You Insuring the Irreplaceable?

A few weeks ago, I decided to spend a few hours looking carefully at all of our insurance policies. I knew in general how most of them worked, but in many cases I was a little fuzzy (or more than a little fuzzy) on the specifics. As I studied our homeowner’s insurance policy, I was …

Categories: Housing, Insurance

Reader Mailbag #41

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: Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. Rather than being a typical personal finance “advice” book, Enough is more of a summary of the life philosophy of John Bogle, the founder and former CEO of the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group and the biggest proponent of index funds in the world. Bogle’s …

Categories: Books and Reading

Some Thoughts on “Wallet Fasting”

The first reaction of many people when they realize that they have a spending problem is to simply go on a “wallet fast.” They stop spending money, period. They cut every little bit of extra pleasure out of their lives, going immediately from someone who overspends just a bit to someone who cuts every corner. …

Categories: Getting Started

7 Tips For Dealing With Winter Weather Conditions

For those of you who live in the northern states, winter weather conditions are a very common obstacle. Almost every other morning, I find myself chipping away at ice on the windshield or doing something to de-ice the driveway. Given my curious nature, I’ve investigated a lot of different methods for handling snow and ice …

The Expensive Ups and Downs of Christmas

Every year, the Christmas season brings forth a wide variety of feelings for me. I’m flooded with memories from my childhood – time spent with relatives that are long since past, opening memorable gifts, and the annual centerpiece of a great Christmas meal. Those memories largely fill me with joy, but with just a hint …

Categories: Home and Life

The Intelligent Investor: Investing in Investment Funds

This is the tenth 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 …

Categories: Books and Reading

Goals and Plans for 2009

Roughly a year ago, I wrote an article entitled Goals and Plans for 2008 that specified the things I intended to do during this year: eliminate all of my family’s non-mortgage debt (didn’t quite make it), start an investing plan (yep), double the readership of The Simple Dollar (yep), pull the trigger on three writing …

Eighteen Tips for a Frugal (Not Cheap) Wedding

“Angela” writes in: What advice do you have for a frugal wedding? We’re getting married in the fall of 2010. Since we are both in our early twenties and don’t have a lot to spend we were hoping to keep our wedding as small as possible. We were thinking no more than six to eight …

Categories: Family