• Cultural Divides

    A reader once told me that he identifies better with other blogs because they write about the “city” and I write about “rural life.” I was informed, quite clearly, that he couldn’t possibly learn anything from a blog that spoke from a “rural” perspective. This is actually a pretty common thing. I hear all the …

  • The Real Lessons of “How Low Can You Go?”

    Over the past eight Fridays, I’ve posted a series of recipes based on NPR’s “How Low Can You Go” series, highlighting meals that can serve a family of four for under $10. Here’s the list of recipes, for those interested: Vegetarian Burrito Bowls Potato-Peanut Curry Chicken-and-Corn Fried Rice with Lemon Spinach Lemony Fettuccine with Asparagus …

  • Rule #10: Plan Ahead Every Time You Spend.

    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. Whenever some people see statements like the one above, they …

  • The Personal Finance Toolbox

    I like to think of one’s personal finance state as something like a toolbox. In order to accomplish a major task, one must use more than one tool from their toolbox to make it happen. Let me explain with a bit more detail. The Tools There are many, many different personal finance tools in one’s …

  • I’ll Do It Tomorrow

    Tom left a great comment on the recent article about taking care of your things: How can you fight off “I’ll do it tomorrow”-ness? My lack of motivation makes me lazy, even though I see the benefits of not being like this. Procrastination is a big enemy of financial progress. It’s easy to say “I’ll …

  • Perspective

    Recently, a brilliant little article popped up over at Five Cent Nickel, outlining the idea that one’s take on long-term investment performance is often a matter of perspective. I go even further: almost every assumption that you base your money decisions – and even your other life decisions – on is a matter of perspective. …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Never Eat Alone Book Club Edition

    The recent Total Money Makeover book club seems to have been a huge success. Two times a week seems to work, and focusing on discussion-oriented points in the book made it quite interesting as well. As a result, I’m going to follow it with another book club, starting on Wednesday, September 2. This time, I’ll …

  • The Simple Dollar Podcast #12: The Anti-Budget

    The twelfth episode focuses on budgeting. I found that traditional budgets didn’t work for me, so I explore the methods that did. Total length: 7:20 Listen In! Other options for enjoying The Simple Dollar Podcast include: Listen to this episode on a separate page Subscribe via iTunes Download this episode (right click and save) Subscribe …

  • Dorm Room Clutter: What Do You Actually Need for College

    A few days ago, I stumbled across a handful of pictures from my college dorm room (I considered posting them, but there are several people depicted and I don’t post pictures of people without asking them permission and I’m not sure how to contact them). As I looked them over (and enjoyed some memories), I …

  • Are You a Money Victim?

    I’ve heard it all before. You can’t earn more because of your boss. You can’t earn more because of your career path. You can’t earn more because of the economy. You can’t earn more because you don’t have enough time. You can’t earn more because you’re ugly and only the beautiful people get ahead. You …

  • Reader Mailbag #76

    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. We currently have a propane-fueled water heater. …

  • Review: How Much Is Enough?

    Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. As time goes on, I begin to see more and more that personal finance is mostly psychological. Sure, it’s useful to have a long list of money saving tactics, but if you’re under the belief that such tools are useless, it doesn’t matter how …

  • Why My Net Worth Is Now Negative Again

    That’s probably pretty shocking. “WHAT DID TRENT DO?” I can already sense the regular batch of critics in the comments cracking their knuckles over this one. Actually, the change is pretty simple. I made the decision to stop counting the value of my home as an asset in my net worth calculations. I also did …

  • The Simple Dollar Time Machine: August 15, 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 …

  • The Danger of Selling to Your Friends and Family

    As I alluded to on Twitter a while back, a friend of mine started selling Amway recently. She sent me a long sales pitch via email, outlining the great products she was selling. I flatly said “no” and deleted the email. I didn’t even hesitate. Why? Over the years, many of my friends have pitched …

  • How Low Can You Go? Vegetarian Burrito Bowls

    In April and May, National Public Radio featured a series on inexpensive gourmet dishes entitled “How Low Can You Go?” Although many of the dishes looked quite tasty, most of the dishes weren’t actually all that inexpensive, often narrowly getting below $10 to feed a family of four, and many involved arduous cooking processes. I …

  • Rule #9: Do It Yourself.

    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. A couple times this spring, I watched a TruGreen van …

  • The Source of Frugal Misery

    Kevin writes in: Your examples of how to live frugally make it sound like your life [is terrible]. Why are you sacrificing all happiness to save a buck? If I had your life, I’d be miserable. Live a little, dude. Most of the frugal advice I give usually revolves around some clever substitutions or the …

  • When Should a Little Notion Get Big?

    Several days ago, I made coq au vin and from-scratch French baguettes for dinner for my family. It took about three hours of work, all told, and required some things to be done the day before (starting the dough for the bread and chopping the vegetables). To put it simply, it turned out fantastic. My …