Month: May 2014

By Request: Five More Essential Crock Pot Recipes

A long time ago, after posting several articles about using a crock pot to save money and still produce great, quick meals, readers asked me to post ten of my favorite crock pot recipes. Since digging through my recipes and typing them out again in an comprehensible format takes a while, I started by posting …

Categories: Food

An Argument for Secondhand Store Clothes, Even If You Must Dress Nicely

Monica writes in: I don’t understand how you can recommend that people shop in thrift stores for clothes. The stuff there is usually worn out and just looks bad and outdated. I would never wear that stuff to work. It sounds to me like you’ve made up your mind about thrift stores and secondhand stores …

Categories: Frugality, Shopping

Convenience Foods: What They Really Cost

Every time I visit the grocery store, I’m amazed to see how much of the fresh produce aisle is taken up with prepackaged fresh foods. You know what I’m talking about – bags of prewashed lettuce, pre-cut apples, pre-cut celery, pre-cut pineapple, and so on. I understand why such items are for sale – they’re …

Categories: Food, Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Time

The more of life I experience, the more I realize that the most valuable thing a person has in their life is time. The cost of a book is trivial compared to the value of the time spent reading it. The cost of raising a child in terms of dollars is far less than the …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Children and Excess

My two children are extremely blessed in many ways. Perhaps their greatest blessing is that they’ve surrounded by a family that loves them dearly and truly cares about their future in a deep, fundamental way – and I’m not merely talking about myself. I’m talking about their grandparents, their aunts and uncles, even some of …

Categories: Parenting

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Single Weekend Edition

A weird sequence of events has caused me to find myself all alone over the coming weekend. My wife is visiting her sister, while my two children are visiting their grandparents. This leaves me with two full days without any real responsibilities. Of course, me being me, I already have a long list of stuff …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Where Do You Want to Be In Five Years? How Do You Get There?

I’m going to share with you excerpts from seven different emails I’ve received from readers in the last few days. Kenny: I listened to your radio discussion with Vicki Robin and I was really intrigued by the whole five year plan. I have a big dream I’d love to accomplish (being a radio host) but …

Categories: Getting Started

Mortgage “Half” Payments: How Much Do They Save?

One frequent question I’m often asked is whether or not paying half of a mortgage payment twice a month versus paying a full mortgage payment once a month is actually worthwhile. Let’s say, for example, you’re in the situation that Paul, one of my readers who wrote in recently, finds himself in. He just took …

Categories: Debt

The Cult of the New

2010 has seen a ton of books released already that I’d love to read, from The Politician by Andrew Young to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. (I happen to be passionate about books, of course – perhaps your passion is films or video games or gadgets or music or something else …

Reader Mailbag: The Nascent Musician

My two year old daughter is showing a tremendous nascent interest in making music. She sings constantly. She uses her hands as percussion all the time on her knees, on the table, and anywhere else she can use them. She climbs up to our keyboard and attempts to play songs. Right now, I’m trying to …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: Linchpin

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest to Simple Dollar readers. The entire argument of Seth Godin’s book Linchpin is that there are no longer any great jobs where someone tells you what to do. That’s not to say there aren’t great jobs out there – there …

Categories: Books, Careers

Why Was My Credit Limit Lowered?

Jennifer writes in: Yesterday, I received a notice from [my credit card company] that my credit limit had been lowered from $10,000 to $4,000 on my primary credit card. I was immediately worried that my credit had been damaged by identity theft, so I checked it on annualcreditreport.com and there was nothing there at all. …

Categories: Credit Cards

Ten Tips for Maximizing Your Savings at a Warehouse Club

As I’ve mentioned many times before, my wife and I shop at Sam’s Club. It’s really the only warehouse club available to us easily (there are no BJ’s around here and the only Costco is on the far side of Des Moines, almost an hour away) and it serves a lot of our needs. I’ve …

Categories: Shopping

The Simple Dollar Time Machine: March 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

Interview Notes

Earlier today, I did a lengthy interview with Dean Voelker on his Improving Your Financial Health radio show. Dean’s very much into preparation, so I actually wound up doing a substantial amount of prep work for the interview. Since I had accumulated such a pile of notes for the interview in advance and Dean asked …

Categories: Meta

Frugality and Moving On to New Values

Over the last few days, I’ve had several interactions with readers who are heavily concerned about the healthiness of their food and other chemical items they bring into their home. In general, these people subscribe to the “five ingredients or less” school of eating, meaning they don’t bring home any food item that has more …

Categories: Getting Started

Preparing for a Long Decline

On the conference call I had last night with Vicki Robin, one of the listeners (I believe his name was Crispin) brought up an interesting topic of conversation. In a world where globalization is a fact and many jobs can easily be moved anywhere in the world thanks to the power of the internet and …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: More Time for Reading

I find that, whenever I get busy with things in my life, the first thing I cut out is the hour or two a day I spend reading. If I do that for a few days, I begin to intensely miss it. Just yesterday, I was talking to a friend of mine who’s a stellar …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

A Pre-emptive Strike Against Selling to Friends

A while back, I wrote about the dangers of selling to friends and family. Recently, a reader wrote to me stating that they wanted to make a “pre-emptive strike” against these kinds of sales pitches, but didn’t know how to go about it. Please feel free to copy and paste the following email, edit it …

Categories: Getting Started