Month: May 2014

It Can’t Love You Back

A few nights ago, my wife had to work late, so I was charged with an evening at home alone with my three year old and one year old. We did the usual things. We ate dinner together (spaghetti – my son’s favorite food). We played with his train set. I read several books, mostly …

Categories: Getting Started

The Frugal Magic of the “Five Ingredient Crock Pot Meal”

We use our crock pot all the time. Rarely does a week go by when we don’t use it at least twice. It enables us to simply put some ingredients in the crock pot in the morning, turn it on “low,” leave it for the day, then enjoy a home-cooked supper with our family at …

Categories: Food, Frugality

The Intelligent Investor: Convertible Issues and Warrants

This is the seventeenth 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 …

The Need for Recognition

Nearly all of us work hard for a living. We go to work, throw at least some of our heart, soul, and energy into the task at hand, and go home depleted of some of our energy, but with a paycheck in hand. Some people enjoy this routine and others do not. Having worked a …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Surprising Things I Like to Buy in Bulk

I’ve always been a fan of warehouse stores. On many, many items, you can get a great deal there if you’re willing to buy a large quantity of items at once. For a person with a lot of storage space and a family (like me), storage isn’t a problem, nor is using it up. People …

Categories: Shopping

Making the Hard Choice

A few days ago, Seth Godin (my single favorite blogger by far) wrote the following: Think about how often your goal at a conference or a meeting or in a project is, “don’t screw up!” or “don’t make a fool of yourself and say the wrong thing.” These are very easy goals to achieve, of …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Nature Exploration in Winter Edition

Suddenly, my three year old son is very interested in nature and the outdoors. He’s started noticing tons of things outside (even in the Iowa winter) and has started requesting that we watch nature documentaries when we watch television, instead of his usual previous standbys of various PBS shows. This makes me even more anxious …

Categories: Debt, Morning Roundup

The “Super Bowl TV”: What a Difference Waiting a Year Can Make on a Big Purchase

An old friend of mine just dropped $2,000 on a large flat panel HDTV for his den, intending it to be the centerpiece of his Super Bowl party. He sent me a picture of it along with an email thanking me for talking him out of buying a similarly-priced TV last year, given how much …

Categories: Getting Started

Doing the Wrong Thing

It is better to do the wrong thing than to do nothing. – Winston Churchill I have a strong tendency to overanalyze things, getting myself stuck without moving forward. I first considered starting a Roth IRA in early 2007. It seemed like an easy move – just find an investment house, set up an automatic …

Categories: Getting Started

The Iceland Scenario: What Can You Do?

For those of you who don’t follow international news very closely, Iceland suffered a very rough year in 2008. As recently as early October 2008, Iceland was the sixth wealthiest nation in the world. On October 6, 2008, the prime minister of Iceland addressed the nation, informing the people that they were taking extraordinary efforts …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag #47

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: Easy Money

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. Liz Pulliam Weston is described on MSN as “the web’s number one personal finance columnist” – and in terms of readers, that’s probably pretty accurate (MSN has an enormous audience, and she’s the best of the writers over there, in my opinion). She’s got …

Categories: Books

Finding Your Way Home

When I was young, I was surrounded by frugality. My parents did everything they could to shave a few dollars off of their monthly budget, from growing a large garden and wearing clothes until they were almost falling apart to driving used cars and hitting yard sales for many of our purchases. One would expect, …

Categories: Frugality

Treasures in the Cupboard

My wife and I have an overstuffed pantry. Sometimes, it’s almost difficult to get the door closed because we have so much food stocked away. And, to an extent, I’m proud of this: I often view our pantry as one of the most frugal places in our home. This often comes as a surprise to …

Categories: Food, Frugality

Financial Success and Sacrifice

In the many articles I’ve written about my financial recovery, I’ve mentioned lots of things I chose to give up – buying DVDs, going out to eat, playing collectible card games, obsessing over video games, visiting coffee shops every day, buying books, and so on. Giving up these things enabled me to find the money …

Categories: Getting Started

The Intelligent Investor: Stock Selection for the Enterprising Investor

This is the sixteenth 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 …

Some Thoughts on the Revised Edition of Your Money or Your Life

I’ve mentioned time and time again on The Simple Dollar that there is one personal finance book that, in my eyes, stands out above all the others. It certainly changed my perspective on money – I read it just as I was becoming aware that I needed to turn my financial life around and it …

How I Look at Economic News: Beyond the Talking Heads

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m not afraid of the current economic conditions. I simply don’t buy into the fear that is constantly being touted during most news reports about the economy. Several readers have followed up with me extensively on this. How can I possibly feel positive about the economy when, over the …

Categories: Getting Started

Checking Accounts and Bernie Madoff

Ronnie writes in: I’m curious what your thoughts are on fractional reserve banking. It seems to me that this method of banking is a high risk form of financial management on the part of the banks. The difference (sort of) between Maddoff and FRB seems only different by institution: as long as there is more …

Categories: Banking