Month: May 2014

A Reasonable Engagement

This is the second entry in a five part series this week on the stages of a relationship and how you can make financially sound choices throughout. Other entries include courtships, weddings, honeymoons, and marriages. At some point in a relationship, it becomes clear that the people involved are interested in tying their lives together. …

Synergy in Life and Money

It’s amazing to me how often one part of my life is in opposition to other parts. Last Thursday, for example, my wife stayed home with our daughter to take her to her eighteen month checkup at the doctor. I had a lot of work to do, so I went into my office, closed the …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

A Reasonable Courtship

This is the first entry in a five part series this week on the stages of a relationship and how you can make financially sound choices throughout. Other entries include engagements, weddings, honeymoons, and marriages. It’s a coming-of-age routine that almost everyone goes through at some point. You’re introduced to someone. That person seems interesting. …

Reader Mailbag #56

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: Detox Your Desk

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or entrepreneurship book. My desk is a mess. It’s not so much a factor of having too much stuff – virtually everything on it has a purpose. The problem is that I collect too many little pieces of paper and various other items …

You Can’t Get Better Results Without Changing Anything

Some of us want to get out of debt. Some of us want a better career. Some of us are shooting for financial independence. Some of us would be content to get all the bills paid at the end of the month. Most of us want something. Most of us want change from where we …

Categories: Getting Started

Eight Thoughts for New Parents

Over the last two weeks, at least three longtime readers of The Simple Dollar plus a close friend of our family had new babies enter their life. Congratulations are in order. The addition of a baby to anyone’s life is a major change, to put it lightly. Your life changes in countless little ways because …

Spring and the Awakening Garden

Spring is awakening here in Iowa, and for us that means getting outside, doing some yard work, and getting some early work done with our garden. With a three year old and a one year old in the house, we try to get everyone involved in the gardening process. My wife journals extensively, so for …

Categories: Family, Food, Frugality

Fake It ’til You Make It?

Recently, I’ve received emails from several readers with the often-quoted career nugget “Fake It ’til You Make It” in their email signature. I’ve heard the phrase many times from people talking about their career strategies. As with any little nugget, there’s a nice core of an interesting idea there, but actually translating a six-word catchphrase …

The Hidden Costs of Your Job

One of the most interesting aspects of working from home is how it altered my spending in countless little ways. Before I made the switch, I commuted to work every day – about twelve miles each way. That would burn about a gallon and a half of gas each and every day, costing me $3 …

Most Time Management Is Rubbish. Here Are Ten Things That Work for Me.

Over the last few years, I’ve read a ton of time management books and tried out literally hundreds of systems and standalone ideas for maximizing the effectiveness of my time, particularly in terms of my work. There’s a huge, direct benefit for me when I find a productivity tip that really works. It enables me …

The Low-Interest Debt Debate

A few days ago, I posted an article about our purchase of a 2009 Toyota Prius. One of the elements of the article that got quite a few readers angry was our decision to take out a 4% loan to cover much of the cost of the car, even though we had enough in our …

Categories: Debt

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Book Review Index Edition

I put together an index of all my book reviews for people who like to follow them (and want to easily find older reviews in one place): http://www.thesimpledollar.com/book-review-index/ Bookmark that URL for future reference. Whenever you need to look up one of my book reviews – or if you want to check and see if …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Starting Your Career Right: Finding a Great Mentor in College

When I first went to college, I was lost. I had grown up in a tiny town where virtually everyone around me had started factory jobs straight out of high school. I literally knew no one (other than my teachers) who had attended college at any level. I more or less guessed at a major …

Categories: Careers, Education

Splurges, Habits, and Projection

I recently wrote about the “connection” between quality of life and consumer spending, concluding that it’s financially healthy to derive a sense of quality of life from things that aren’t consumer purchases. The post generated a lot of discussion (well over a hundred comments), with many readers seeing both sides of the coin – that …

A Step-By-Step Guide to Making Big Goals Achievable

Here are a few recent emails I’ve received. From Connie: Over the last few years, I’ve taught myself to play acoustic guitar and lately I’ve started writing a lot of songs. I’d like to record them and share them with others and maybe eventually start playing concerts, but every time I think about it, I …

Categories: Goals

Reader Mailbag #55

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: I Will Teach You to Be Rich

Many of you will probably remember the little debate between myself and Ramit Sethi a few weeks ago about the usefulness of frugality. Ramit stated that the best move a person can make is to focus on the “big five” – identify the five biggest way to save money in your life and make them …

Categories: What We're Reading

Saving Money on a Road Trip with Kids

Our life is fraught with road trips. Roughly once a month, we make a four hour road trip (one way) to visit either my parents or my wife’s parents for the weekend. We usually make a several hour road trip (one way) or two each year to visit the Chicagoland area, where we have a …

Categories: Frugality