Month: May 2014

Time, Frugality, and Values

A few days ago, I wrote about the dilemma of whether it’s worth spending twenty minutes arguing to earn $10, a post that I hoped would generate some good discussion (and it certainly did). For me, I wouldn’t engage in the argument – it’s not worth it to me to spend twenty minutes engaged in …

Reader Mailbag #59

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: Fight for Your Money

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. I’ve reviewed quite a few David Bach books over the years: The Automatic Millionaire, Smart Couples Finish Rich, Start Late, Finish Rich, Smart Women Finish Rich, and Go Green, Live Rich. Bach writes in a very approachable tone, but many of his earlier books …

The Facts About Credit Cards For Teenagers

A reader recently pointed me towards an interesting article at MSN MoneyCentral on the topic of restricting the access that teenagers have to credit cards. Much of the article discusses the proposed Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009 (S. 414, sponsored by Chris Dodd, and often called the Credit CARD Act of …

Categories: Credit Cards, Family

The First Five Minutes

Several people have asked me how I started The Simple Dollar and how I found the initiative to keep writing even in the early days when there was little success to be found. Let’s take a walk down memory lane to September 30, 2006. I was sitting at my computer playing a game of some …

Categories: Getting Started

How to Save Money at Your Desk in the Next Hour

As you read this, you’re likely sitting at a computer with internet access, or perhaps a mobile device of some time. You have a little slice of free time, so you’re seeking out some thoughts on money management or on life. Instead, why not use this lazy hour to do something at your desk that …

Some Thoughts on Investing For Your Kids

As I mentioned before, I started saving for my children’s college education as early as I possibly could – in mid-2005 for my son and in mid-2007 for my daughter. In each case, I opened up a 529 plan with myself as a beneficiary as soon as we knew the child was coming, then I …

Categories: Family, Investing

The Little Benefits of Trying

I’m proud of my brother Mark. When I was a little boy, I adored him. He was a great older brother. He was about ten years older than me, yet he was willing to come home from a day of high school and play with me in the sandbox. I have a very vivid memory …

Categories: Getting Started

The Art of the Apology

One Saturday during one of my previous employments, I received an interesting phone call from my supervisor. He informed me that one of my coworkers had took a work laptop home with her and that she was unable to log on to the laptop. When I asked what this had to do with me, I …

Ten Dollars, Twenty Minutes

A few days ago, I was standing in the checkout line at Target behind a woman who was arguing about the price of two stools that she was purchasing. The lady held an old rain check in her hand that claimed the price per stool was $24.99, but the price on the shelf was $29.99. …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Baseball Season Edition

Baseball has been a big part of my life since my earliest days. In fact, several of my earliest memories revolve around watching baseball with my family (I remember the Cubs in the playoffs in 1984 and watching the World Series with my ailing grandfather in 1985) and I remember playing catch quite often with …

Categories: Books and Reading

Nine Pieces of Free Software I Use Every Day

I spend hours each day at one of my two computers – either my desktop Mac (a Mac Mini – the most cost-effective type of Mac) or my Linux laptop. As a result, finding a core set of software to use for the things that I do every day is vital. Also important to me …

Buying Fresh, Buying Cheap

Rick writes in: You talk all the time about buying fresh foods, but they’re always more expensive than the canned versions and other foods I buy. What am I missing? Much of the time, Rick is right. If you just walk into a grocery store, pick a fresh vegetable at random, and compare it to …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Personal Finance 101: Charge Cards vs. Debit Cards vs. Credit Cards

Understanding the Pros and Cons and Finding the Right Card for You A very long time ago, I wrote an extremely brief article covering the difference between charge cards and credit cards. That article really didn’t answer the question, though, because I still have conversations and receive emails where people use the phrases “charge card” …

Reader Mailbag #58

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: You’ve Got to Be Believed to Be Heard

Over the next several months, I’m giving several presentations and speeches on my story and what I learned about personal finance along the way. Some of these engagements will be paid ones, thus this may be the beginning of a new revenue stream in my life. As with anything new in my life, I’m filling …

Musings on a Little Boy’s Haircut

On Wednesday, I took my son to get his hair cut. We’ve been trying several local barbers/hairstylists to find someone who can cut his hair well at a reasonable price. What I’ve found during this experience is that when you go to get your hair cut, you usually choose at most two out of three …

Categories: Frugality

50 Side Businesses You Can Start On Your Own

In the past, I’ve discussed how it’s a good idea to spend your spare time dabbling in entrepreneurship: it fills your time with something that you choose (and thus you enjoy) and sets up a potential long-term revenue stream. I also discussed how I got a side business going myself. Since then, lots of readers …

Riding the Market Up

Ada writes in: Like you, I think the stock market is near the bottom right now and will go up greatly in the next three to five years. I have some extra cash (about $10K) but I don’t know exactly what to do with it to get on board. How would you do it? In …