Month: May 2014

The Challenge – and the Advantage – of Going Minimal

A few days ago, an article about minimalist money appeared at Get Rich Slowly, in which the guest author (Leo) advocated going strongly minimal with your spending – opting out of consumerism as much as humanly possible, cutting every optional service, and essentially starting again from a blank slate. Some of the readers unsurprisingly reacted …

Reader Mailbag #84

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. How do you minimize distractions while you’re …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: It’s Not About the Money

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. I’ve always been interested in the areas where spirituality and personal finance meet. Blogs like ChristianPF and people like Dave Ramsey who heavily tie their faith into their personal finance message bring a completely different flavor to the table, one tinged with a sense …

Categories: Books

Mirror Neurons: Why Watching Others Succeed Won’t Help You Succeed

When I first started becoming interested in cooking, I went through a short period where I watched a lot of programming on Food Network. The idea behind it – in my own mind – is that I could learn about cooking through watching and then I could immediately apply it in the kitchen. What I …

Categories: Psychology

The Simple Dollar Time Machine: October 10, 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

Never Eat Alone: Build and Broadcast

This is the twelfth of sixteen parts of a “book club” reading and discussion of Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz’s Never Eat Alone, where this book on building a lifelong community of colleagues, contacts, friends, and mentors is teased apart and looked at in detail. This entry covers the twenty-third and twenty-fourth chapters – “Build …

The “Local Store Premium” – How Much Is It Worth to You?

When I was in college, there was a local independent bookstore – the name completely escapes me now, but I could still almost walk to it blindfolded – not too terribly far from campus. It was a very popular hangout for the heavy reading crowd and the store did all they could to maximize customer …

Categories: Getting Started

Frugal Soups and Stews: Great Solutions for Busy Weekends

Many weekends – like this upcoming one, for instance – our family is quite busy. We have guests over. We go on family excursions to places like the Science Center of Iowa. We shop for groceries. We go to club meetings. We go to church. We play for hours with the kids. We get caught …

Categories: Food, Frugality

The Stock Market Is Rebounding Big Time – Should I Care?

Since mid-March, the S&P 500 is up almost 58% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up almost as much. If you opened your retirement savings at the end of the first quarter this year and looked at the numbers with a cringe, it’s likely that if you looked at the numbers right now, you’d …

Categories: Investing, Stocks

Is This All There Is?

“Matthew” writes in with a thought-provoking concern: I’m only 37, but lately I’ve come to the realization that I may be having a mid-life crisis. To even write it down feels stupid and cliche’, but I think it best explains what I’ve been feeling. I don’t want to bore you with the details. How this …

Categories: Getting Started, Goals

Never Eat Alone: Anchor Tenants

This is the eleventh of sixteen parts of a “book club” reading and discussion of Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz’s Never Eat Alone, where this book on building a lifelong community of colleagues, contacts, friends, and mentors is teased apart and looked at in detail. This entry covers the twenty-first and twenty-second chapters – “Find …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Three Little Things Edition

Three little items of interest. 1. I will be attending the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, TX on March 12-16 (or some subset of those days). I hope to have copies of my upcoming book there to give to a few people. If you’re going to be there as well and want to meet up, …

Categories: Morning Roundup

A Weekend at Our House

This past weekend was a typical one at our house – lots of time spent together as a family and surprisingly little money spent. There were activities that cost very little, bartering, home improvement projects, and time spent together as a family. During the weekend, I kept a notebook, jotting down the things that we …

Gasoline, Groceries, and a Simple Look at the Cost of Time

Recently, my wife was in rural area of Iowa where the gas prices were significantly higher than they are near where we live. While there, the amount of gas in her tank got low, so she stopped to fill up. After looking at the price and doing a quick bit of mental math, she chose …

15 Ways to Be a Leader Today – or Any Day

Three years ago, one of my mentors was debating internally about how to handle a personnel situation. There were enough funds to employ one person. The performance of one worker was better overall, but the other worker often showed flashes of brilliance and was trusted more by his coworker. In the end, the decision was …

Reader Mailbag #83

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. I recently graduated college and have 2 …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: Basic Black

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal development, personal productivity, entrepreneurship, or career book. For the first time ever, I’m reviewing a book as a result of an impassioned plea from one specific reader. Susan, however, is one special reader. She started reading The Simple Dollar in early November 2006, right as the …

Categories: Books, Careers

Money Bullies

When I was in seventh grade, a bunch of twelfth graders grabbed me one day. They tossed me in a trash can, popped a lid on it, then rolled the can (with me and some trash inside) out into the middle of the school’s parking lot. They then administered some kicks to the can and …

The Simple Dollar Time Machine: October 3, 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