Month: May 2014

Tuna Noodle Casserole: Easily, Quickly, and Cheaply

One of my favorite comfort foods growing up was my mother’s tuna noodle casserole. Here’s her recipe for it: 1 medium sized bag of egg noodles 1 large or 2-3 small cans tuna 2 cans cream of mushroom soup 1 can peas 8 slices American cheese 1 handful potato chips Cook the noodles, then drain. …

Categories: Food, Frugality, Photo Diary

Thoughts on Angel Food Ministries

Over the last few weeks, quite a few readers have written to me asking about Angel Food Ministries. I’ve been very hesitant to discuss Angel Food Ministries on The Simple Dollar for a handful of reasons, but this is clearly a topic that many readers are interested in hearing about, so I’ll do my best …

Debt Repayment and Frugality as Obsession: It Depends on How Your Brain Works

Yesterday, J.D. Roth at Get Rich Slowly posted an interesting article about whether repaying debt should be an obsession. His conclusion, to put it succinctly, was no: When a person decides to make a lifestyle change — financial or otherwise — there’s a temptation GO ALL OUT. With the zeal of a new convert, you …

Categories: Debt, Psychology

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Yellow Edition

My twenty month old daughter’s favorite word is “yellow.” “What’s your favorite color, honey?” “Yellow!” “What do you want for supper?” “… yellow?” “What should I post about this morning, sweetie pie?” “YELLOW!” So, to make her happy, this sentence is written in bright yellow. See, honey? Dad made something yellow for you. Find a …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009 Is Here: What Does It Mean For You – And What Might It Mean for the Future?

On Tuesday, the Senate passed the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009, an act that will quickly be passed into law with the signature of President Obama, likely within the week. This bill has a huge number of ramifications for credit cards – for users who are late on their payments, for those …

Categories: Credit Cards, Debt

The Power of Transferrable Skills – And Six Areas to Work On

When I was in college, the vast majority of my classes were effectively training for a career in research and scientific data management. Seven years after graduation, though, I find myself drawing instead on the transferrable skills I picked up in other classes: public speaking, writing, leadership, information management, and so on. To put it …

10 Resources for Finding Free and Cheap Things to Do This Summer

Like many families, the schedule of our family changes drastically during the summer. My wife goes on hiatus from her job for a few months, our children are constantly at home, and I strive to rearrange my own work so that I can spend more time with them. Plus, the weather is beautiful, encouraging us …

Categories: Frugality

The Advantages of Spending Less

Whenever I discuss frugal issues, someone usually brings up the argument that you’re better off focusing your energy on earning more money instead. While I certainly appreciate the value of earning more, I argue that spending a dollar less is significantly more valuable than earning a dollar more. On what facts do I base this …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag #63

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: Rich Like Them

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. Rich Like Them by Ryan D’Agostino follows in the tradition of The Millionaire Next Door and The Difference: it interviews a large group of millionaires in order to figure out what traits they have in common. Rich Like Them takes this tactic and runs …

Major Purchases and Your Specific Life Situation

When I turned sixteen, I had roughly $1,000 saved up with which to buy a car. Obviously, my biggest concern was what is the cheapest thing that can get me on the road? Reliability wasn’t a concern at all – I mostly wanted it to drive back and forth to school and to some extracurricular …

Categories: Frugality, Shopping

Video: How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

After recent appearances on WHO-TV and KCCI-TV in Des Moines, a number of Des Moines area residents have contacted me with lots of questions about The Simple Dollar and saving money. Many of these folks were really intrigued with the idea and the process of making your own homemade laundry detergent (based on one of …

Categories: Frugality, Videos

The Tightwad Gazette’s “Flexible Casserole Recipe”

Although I love cooking interesting and complex meals for my family, the reality of life is that many nights, the time for meal preparation is sandwiched tightly between my work, my son’s soccer game, a community meeting, a promise to draw pictures with my daughter, and a pretty firm eight o’clock bedtime. The easy solution …

Categories: Food, Frugality

Seven Steps Towards Minimizing Your Junk Mail and Unwanted Calls

One big disadvantage of bargain hunting, being politically active, and researching personal finance products is that I often end up o a lot of mailing lists and calling lists. And they’re distracting. Sometimes, I’ll get multiple phone calls a day related to causes that I’m not interested in, and I’ll see items and catalogues in …

Categories: Getting Started

Health and Money: The Power of Independent Steps

Several months ago, I visited my doctor during the process of figuring out an illness that was sapping a lot of my energy. One of the first things he did was to order a general blood panel, just to see if one of several common things popped up. While we never did figure out the …

Playground Equipment: An Example of Sharing Resources with Neighbors

After reading my recent article about cooperating with your neighbors to share resources, my always-sharp wife Sarah made a great point. “You know, we have a perfect example of this at work out in our yard right now.” And she’s right. Here’s a picture of it. The play equipment above sits exactly on the property …

Some Thoughts on Haggling

A very kind reader recently sent me a link to a fascinating article at Salon.com entitled How I Learned to Haggle. The article outlines a woman’s experience with haggling, culminating with the author actually requesting a discount at a dollar store: So before I can think too hard about it, I drive to my kids’ …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Food Blog Edition

A few weeks ago, I posted a list of the personal finance and personal development blogs I read. Several readers were quite surprised to find that I didn’t actually list any food blogs, since I’m pretty passionate about cooking at home. So, this week, for a change of pace, I thought I’d highlight some excellent …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Letting Go: How Being a Control Freak Costs You Money

I’m something of a planner. I can’t help it – I always like to make plans for the future. I fill up my calendar with all sorts of little details and I’m always making lists. My mother does the same thing, actually. She’s constantly making lists and jotting down notes. She’s always been the person …