Month: May 2014

Review: Mindset

Every other week, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal development, personal productivity, or entrepreneurship book of interest. At first glance, Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck seemed to be one of those pop psychology books that I usually avoid – another The Secret or The Power of Positive Thinking. Books along those lines just repeat the …

Categories: Books, Psychology

Avoiding Spending Is Not The Same As Saving Money

I’ve written often about the value of changing routines. Eliminating a routine that involves spending money needlessly, or substituting a different routine that involves spending less money, is a great way to cut your spending. In fact, any time you make a choice to reduce your spending, you’re taking a powerful step in a financially …

Categories: Getting Started

When Is a Child Ready for an Allowance?

This question has been on our minds quite a bit recently, as our three and a half year old son continues to grow and mature. We’ve long planned on giving our children small allowances that are not tied to household chores, and now we’re actually faced with a child that’s nearing the maturity level to …

Categories: Parenting

How the Foot-In-The-Door Technique Costs You Money

A few weeks ago, I received a simple request from a person I know in the community. She asked me to go to a website and sign a simple petition on behalf of a cause she’s passionate about. She explained the cause in detail and provided the URL, making it really easy for me to …

Categories: Psychology

Rule #1: Spend Less Than You Earn.

A reader asked me if I could break down my ideas into a handful of principles. After some careful thought, I came up with a list of fourteen basic “rules” that summarize my money and life philosophy. I’ll be presenting these as a weekly series. If there is a single rule that underlies everything I’ve …

Categories: 14 Money Rules

Digging Deep

Recently, several readers have written to me bringing up various points about writing about money. Edward writes: I’ve been a reader of The Simple Dollar for two years. Sometimes it feels like you’re saying the same thing over and over. Jamie writes: You really should run more ads. With your audience, you could be making …

Categories: Meta

September 23, 2005

On that day, I wrote the following entry in my personal journal (edited just a bit): Sometimes I feel like my life is completely without purpose and I’m just following some invisible pattern that someone else has put into place. Today was a typical day. But every day is a typical day. I woke up …

Categories: Getting Started

The Truth About Grocery Store Flyers

One tactic I mention regularly for saving money on your food purchases is to watch the grocery store flyer for sales, then plan your meals (and shopping lists) around those sales. This tactic really works – I’ve saved quite a bit doing this over the years. However, things aren’t quite that simple – you can’t …

Categories: Groceries

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Book Club Edition

Given the very positive (overall) comment, email, and Twitter response to my idea of bringing back the “book club” idea for a handful of books, along with many similar suggestions for it, I’m going to follow the crowd with most of those suggestions. Here’s how I’m going to try it. First, the book I’m going …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The Simple Dollar Podcast #3 – Short Term Goals

The third episode of The Simple Dollar Podcast focuses on short-term goals. I talk about several of my own short-term goals and discuss some tactics anyone can apply to make their short term goals and projects a reality. Also discussed: C.S. Lewis, awful corporate motivational posters, Woodward and Bernstein, and which baseball announcer I sound …

Categories: Podcast

Frugal Vacation Notes: Great Free Things to Do in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area

Over the past week, my wife, my children, my parents and I all went on vacation to the Dallas/Fort Worth area (we had planned a longer road trip, but we made an on-the-fly decision to just stick around DFW). While there, we visited family and saw a large number of sights and events in the …

The Time Cost of Investing: Does Obliviousness Pay Off?

One aspect of buy-and-hold investing in low-cost index funds that has always attracted me is that there is an extremely low time cost. Once you have the initial investments in place, there is virtually no time cost at all. All you have to do is invest maybe half an hour a year rebalancing the investments …

Categories: Investing, Stocks

Reader Mailbag #67

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. What is the thought process you go …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: The 1-2-3 Money Plan

Every other week, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. Greg Karp is the author of the “Spending Smart” column which appears in a number of newspapers nationwide – it’s typically a pretty good read, though Greg didn’t fall on my radar screen until I read his first book, Living Rich by Spending Smart. …

Categories: Books

A Deal-Collecting Email Address

A while back, while checking out at a Williams-Sonoma (this place is my guilty pleasure – what can I say?), the cashier asked me if I wanted to sign up for their email list. I said “Sure!” and gave them an email address. On the way out of the store, my wife chided me. “Don’t …

Categories: Websites

Nine Reasons I Keep Reading Personal Finance Books

Scott writes in: How can you read and review a personal finance book every week? I’ve read three or four of them and they seem all the same to me. Don’t you get tired of the reviews? I get some version of this question quite often – and it’s a good one. I’ve been reviewing …

Categories: Books

The Simple Dollar Time Machine – June 13, 2009

Many newer readers of The Simple Dollar haven’t been exposed to the hundreds of great articles in the archives of the site, so this is a weekly series that highlights the five best posts from one year ago this week, as well as the five best posts from two years ago this week. I call …

Categories: Time Machine

Prolonging the Inevitable

Mitchell writes in: Currently, we have around $100,000 in credit card debt and we’re having a very hard time making the interest payments. How can we consolidate that debt and get a lower rate? Should we go to our credit union? Mitchell is falling into the same trap that I see a lot of people …

Categories: Debt, Getting Started

Gift Registries: Tactics and Good Taste

A few days ago, I received an interesting email from a person I vaguely knew from college. This person “rediscovered” me via The Simple Dollar, befriended me on Facebook, and sent me one or two emails. Out of nowhere, though, the person emailed me a link to their wedding registry. It had been emailed to …

Categories: Gifts