Month: May 2014

The Little Things That Make You Happy

One of the most constant criticisms leveled against me (and against anyone who talks about frugality regularly) is that, in order to save a few cents, one must abandon the simple pleasures in life. “YOU’LL PRY THIS MOCHA LATTE FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!” people will write to me in a fit of vengeance. Here’s …

Categories: Frugality

Establishing Positive Habits and Routines

Mike writes in: If I had to evaluate myself, I’d say one of my largest challenges is my ability to maintain self-discipline. There are always innumerable personal projects I’d like to dive into. Unfortunately, it seems to be the case that almost all of them slip away from me. I’m an undergraduate in computer science, …

Categories: Getting Started

Lifting Your Spirits For Free

The last week has been pretty rough for me following the passing of my grandmother. I was pretty close to her from my earliest years, but over the last few months, we hadn’t spoken as much as we normally had. I was involved with my own children and she had not called as often as …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

Weekday Misery, Weekend Pleasure

Since starting The Simple Dollar, friends and family and neighbors have started coming to me regularly to chat about money issues. Most of the time, the questions are pretty simple and the answers come quickly. What intrigues me about these conversations, though, are the little things that people say that reveal bigger truths about their …

Categories: Careers

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Thank You Edition

On behalf of myself and my family, thank you to the hundreds (perhaps thousands) of readers who directly sent us messages of condolence – and a few small memorial gifts as well. It is truly, truly appreciated. How to Make Money with a Blog Ever wondered how exactly a blog makes money? This is perhaps …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Is Suze Right? Do Emergency Funds Now Trump Debt Repayment?

Recently, an astute reader pointed me towards a very interesting Yahoo! Finance article entitled Suze Orman and the New Rules of Credit Card Debt. In the article, Suze changes her usual tune of paying down debt above all else – here’s a key quote: “If you have an unpaid credit card balance [and] not much …

Thoughts After Losing a Loved One

My maternal grandmother passed away very suddenly this past Thursday. It caught me completely by surprise, in fact – I was working on arrangements for a weekend guest at our home when my father called me with the news. It shocked me, to say the least. Here are some of the things the last few …

Categories: Family

Can You Live Without That Service?

When I reached my financial bottom, one of my first responses was to look for fat to cut out of my life. I eliminated Netflix. I eliminated magazine and newspaper subscriptions. I whacked away at some of the pricier options on several other bills. I needed to do this because, quite simply, the monthly bills …

Reader Mailbag #57

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 Difference

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. I really enjoy books like The Millionaire Next Door – books that focus on addressing the more interesting differences between people who achieve financial success and those who do not. What I particularly enjoy is how they often wind up mostly hammering on the …

Categories: What We're Reading

Thoughts on Manhattan

Several evenings ago, I was looking for a movie to watch when I stumbled upon the end of the Woody Allen film Manhattan. A single scene there has stuck in my mind – one in which Allen attempts to piece through why his life is worth living. Bill Joy actually described this scene quite well …

Categories: Getting Started

The Jack of All Trades: Why It’s Valuable, and How You Can Become One

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook …

Categories: Getting Started

A Reasonable Marriage

This is the final 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;, engagements;, weddings, and honeymoons. You’re now a married couple, settling into a long life together. Now what? It’s easy to fall into routines in …

Categories: Frugality, Marriage

Theodore Roosevelt on Careers and Financial Success

For me, few things are more compelling than biographies of compelling people who led exceptional lives. In their lives and decisions, we can all find things to think about and perhaps to emulate in our own lives. Recently, I’ve been enjoying the first volume of Edmund Morris’s biography of Theodore Roosevelt, entitled The Rise of …

A Reasonable Honeymoon

This is the fourth 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;, engagements;, weddings, and marriages. Many couples immediately follow their wedding with a honeymoon – and for good reason. A honeymoon is a great time …

Categories: Frugality

I Need Your Help!

As The Simple Dollar has grown in popularity over time, I’ve been able to slowly gain more and more control over the advertising that appears on The Simple Dollar. I’ve been able to avoid advertising that’s unscrupulous, while also keeping the amount of advertising to a minimum. Even better, I’ve been able to build enough …

Categories: Meta

A Reasonable Wedding

This is the third 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;, engagements;, honeymoons, and marriages. Weddings are a traditional sinkhole of a new couple’s money. In fact, I’ve actually written about it before, denoting eighteen …

Categories: Frugality, Marriage

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Freebies Edition

One interesting element of having a fairly popular blog is the amount of free stuff people want to send you for the purpose of convincing you to review it. I get multiple emails each day with people wanting to send me promotional materials (t-shirts, etc.), books for review, DVDs for review, some truly bizarre things …

Categories: Debt, Morning Roundup