Month: May 2014

How Much Is Fuel Efficiency Really Worth?

Jim writes in with an interesting question: I’m in the market for a late model used car. I’ve narrowed my desired model down to a handful of choices, each with different gas mileage data. How can you really figure out how much fuel efficiency is worth in terms of dollars and cents? I know how …

Categories: Automobile

Reader Mailbag #94

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’m 24 years old. If you combine …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: Crush It!

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a book of interest not directly connected to personal finance. I’m a big believer in following your passions, wherever they might take you. Part of doing that is preparation – saving money, making choices that pave the way – but another part is simply stepping up to the …

Categories: What We're Reading

Fifteen Things to Have in Your Car This Winter

As Christmas approaches, my wife and I will be doing quite a bit of driving to visit various people for the holiday season. With winter conditions and three young children in the car with us, we’re going to be quite cautious about our trips. The first step in that journey is to make sure that …

The Simple Dollar Time Machine: December 19, 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, two years ago this week, and three years ago this week. I call it … …

Categories: Time Machine

Personal Finance 101: What Is Social Capital?

Building Relationships and Gaining Social Capital Almost immediately after yesterday’s post about frugality and personal value went up, a reader asked me a question via Twitter: You wrote about “social capital” today. I’ve seen it a few times in other places but I don’t understand what it means. Social capital is an interesting concept that …

Categories: Getting Started

Frugality and Your Sense of Value

Earlier this week, I offered up a post detailing how I wrap Christmas gifts, utilizing brown paper and yarn. The response was mixed – some people didn’t like the aesthetics of the packaging, while others did (obviously, I’m in the latter camp, as I love the aesthetics of brown packages and yarn). Guess what? We’re …

Categories: Frugality

The Perfect Is the Enemy of the Good

Everyone’s done it. We start out with some fantastic goal in mind. I’m going to save up for a down payment in three years. I’m going to lose 50 pounds this year. I’m going to get all of my financial paperwork straight. I’m going to be frugal. I’m quite guilty of this myself. I’ll often …

Categories: Getting Started

Living off Capital

Philip Brewer is perhaps my favorite personal finance blogger. I thoroughly enjoy his writings and I’ve told him so in the past. A few months ago, I offered him a very rare guest post slot here at The Simple Dollar so I could share his writing more directly with you all. This is the article …

Investment Options For The Intermediate-Term

… you might make some general progress, but when you finally come close to the target, it will be very difficult for you to hit that shot. Time and time again, people write to me and ask questions about how they should be investing their money. “I have $5,000 in savings – how should I …

15 Uses for Incredibly Inexpensive White Vinegar

One of the best bargains in your local grocery store is plain old white vinegar. You can get a 32 ounce jug of it (half a gallon) for about $1.50 and it has a multitude of uses beyond the edible ones (like pickles and salad dressings). Here are fifteen uses for white vinegar, most of …

Categories: Frugality

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: The Santa Question Edition

Several readers have asked me whether or not my children believe in Santa Claus. The answer is simple: yes, they do, but without active encouragement from me. When children are young, their imaginations are in hyperdrive. They believe things to be real that aren’t real. My son, for example, had two imaginary friends for a …

Categories: Morning Roundup

How I Wrap Gifts, Christmas and Otherwise

Melanie writes in: Between the wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, tags, and other things, I’ve often spent $20-25 on just wrapping the gifts at Christmastime. This seems silly. How do you wrap presents? I’m sure you’ve got a less expensive way. To me, the purpose of wrapping paper is simply to disguise gifts from the receiver …

Categories: Christmas, Frugality

Eight Tactics for Dealing with Professional Burnout

Carlos writes in: I’ve been working at the same job for the last six years. I used to love it but lately I’ve started dreading going to work. I can’t really put my finger on a reason why, either. I’m considering quitting but I am very afraid to take that leap with the economy the …

Categories: Careers

Is Your Money Distinguishable from Your Parents?

A few years ago, an old friend of mine bought a fantastically expensive home, far larger and with higher quality furnishings than the home I live in now. I went to college with him and noted that after college, he worked at a minimum wage job for a year and had only been working at …

Reader Mailbag #93

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 am 50 years old, live on …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: Influence

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a book of interest not directly concerning personal finance. One of the most profound lessons I’ve learned about money management since I’ve started The Simple Dollar is that a deeper understanding of your desires and motivations is vital for making good money decisions. Today’s marketing is incredibly clever …

Categories: What We're Reading

Interest Rates Don’t Matter If You Don’t Carry a Balance: Some Thought on the Cash-Only Debate

Earlier today, I read with interest the comments on this Get Rich Slowly article about Suze Orman and the “cash only” movement. In a nutshell, the article advocated (as Suze apparently does now) that people should abandon credit cards because the credit card issuers have been raising interest rates. To put it simply, the raising …

Categories: Credit Cards

The Simple Dollar Time Machine: December 12, 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, two years ago this week, and three years ago this week. I call it … …

Categories: Time Machine