Month: May 2014

Hindsight Is 20/20

When I look back at my overspending days, it’s easy for me to see the many, many mistakes I made. My life was littered with them. There are some old journal entries of mine that are absolutely cringe-inducing to read. I still have quite a few items in my closet that are just the result …

Categories: Getting Started

My Girls

(And now for something a little different…) There isn’t much that I feel I need A solid soul and the blood I bleed With a little girl, and by my spouse I only want a proper house When I was in college, I was obsessed with music of all kinds. There was music playing almost …

Categories: Meta

“Superman Syndrome” Revisited: Money and Self-Esteem

Two years ago, I posted a nice long article about what I call “Superman Syndrome” – a tendency for people to try to demonstrate their worthiness to others by buying things for them. Just yesterday, a reader emailed me about that article: Superman syndrome is just another example of poor self-esteem and how it can …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Kitchens and Careers

Welcome to this week’s Reader Mailbag! A note: I get enough questions to do two or three mailbags a week. I’ve considered putting a second Mailbag on Thursdays. Would this be of interest to you guys? I recall a few months ago you were thinking seriously about cutting out all or most meat from your …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: 1/2 Price Living

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book of interest. 1/2 Price Living by Ellie Kay has a particularly noteworthy subtitle: Secrets to Living Well on One Income. A quick read of the back makes it clear who Kay is talking to – people who want to give stay-at-home parenting a go. …

Categories: What We're Reading

The Framework

We all have lives that are chock full of distractions. Television. Radio. Magazines. The behavior of other people. The comments of our friends and family. We use all of these things as cues for how we should behave. Often, we even try to think ahead about these things and use them as a behavior guide. …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Time Machine: February 6, 2010

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

“I Just Want to Have Fun, Live My Life, and Worry About All That Stupid Personal Finance Stuff When I’m Older”

It’s the refrain of countless Americans of all ages – and it was my refrain, too. It’s easy to see why, too. At first glance, personal finance looks like a bunch of boring and un-fun stuff. Paperwork. Sacrifice. Living in an un-fun way. On the other hand, living a big spending lifestyle seems quite fun, …

Categories: Getting Started

What’s Coming Next?

Fifteen years ago, I didn’t believe I had the financial resources to go to college. Instead, I spent my time thinking about a future where I took a few classes at a local community college and worked at a local factory. Ten years ago, I was a college student. I was working towards a degree …

Categories: Getting Started

The Cost of Returning to Work

Pam writes in: I have been a stay at home mom for most of the last 19 years. Our oldest son started college this year. We still have our other son who is 16 and our daughter who is 13 at home. I have returned to work part time as a caregiver and my husband …

Categories: Getting Started

Pay Off Debt or Invest? Think About Your Rate of Return

Andrew writes in: My girlfriend and I bought a home last year and qualify for the First Time Homebuyer Credit. When you include my share of this, I will be getting back around $4500 in my tax refund. This is a lot of money to me and I’m trying to decide what to do with …

Categories: Investing

Starting a Carpool

Jenny writes in: I work at an office park about forty five minutes from where I live. I live in a highly populated suburban neighborhood. In order to save some money on gas and wear and tear on my car, I want to start a carpool, but I don’t know anyone who lives near me …

Categories: Automobile

Insurance Companies & Debt Free Living

Mary writes in: My husband and I have been debt free for seven years. Hooray! We cancelled all of our credit cards in 2001 and paid off our home mortgage in 2002. A few weeks ago, our homeowners insurance premium went up substantially. I called our agent to ask why and he told me that …

Categories: Debt

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Resolution Updates Edition

I thought I’d update you on my progress with my 2010 resolutions. Resolution #1: Lose 40 pounds I lost three pounds in January, so I’m more or less on pace with this one. My biggest challenge here is the weather, which makes it very difficult to just get outside and take a long walk, something …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Debt Reduction and Debt Elimination Ads: The Real Scoop

Iris writes in: I was wondering if you could comment on the debt reduction and debt elimination ads I keep seeing on tv. Are these companies reputable? Are they doing anything that I can’t do myself? I would hate to pay a huge fee for something I could do myself. I would really like to …

Categories: Debt

Retirement or Education?

Chris writes in: We are friends with another couple that is around our same age, income level, status, and number and age of children. When I was mentioning to them that we were planning to pay off our car this year (leaving us with our mortgage and a small student loan) and the starting to …

Categories: Education, Retirement

Shade Trees as a Smart Financial Investment

You read that right. Shade trees. One of our plans for the spring is to plant a shade tree or two on the southwest side of our home. These trees won’t be very large now, but in several years, they will grow to a reasonable size, providing some nice shade on summer days when our …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Boycotts, Baseball, and New Beginnings

This is Reader Mailbag #100. With this mailbag, I’ve decided to start naming the mailbags based on an interesting question or two answered within the mailbags, making it easier to find such mailbags (in theory). I refuse to buy gas from BP [due to various political reasons]. In my town, however, the BP station almost …

Categories: Reader Mailbag