• The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Baby Tick Tock Edition

    My wife is literally due any day now. She’s no longer working as per her doctor’s request – instead, she’s staying at home, resting a lot, and doing some “nesting”-type activities to get ready for the child’s arrival. I can’t wait. Photographing Children- Portraits After my recent mention of expensive child photography in a reader …

  • Our New Car: A 2004 Honda Pilot (Bought Off of Craigslist)

    Meet our new automobile, a 2004 Honda Pilot, which we purchased as a replacement for our ailing, rusty 1997 Ford F-150 pickup: We purchased it a few weeks ago, paying cash, while simultaneously selling off our truck. Perhaps most interestingly of all, we found the vehicle on Craigslist, bought it locally, and got a very …

  • Dealing with Charitable Requests Throughout the Year

    Each year, my wife and I give a certain portion of our income to charity. We usually select a few charities to help out at the start of the year and donate a significant amount to that small handful of charities. This helps us budget our charitable giving throughout the year. But it’s not always …

  • One Change at a Time

    For quite a while on Facebook, I’ve been following a friend’s attempts at getting into better shape. He’ll post several updates about going to the gym regularly, how great his diet is right now (“I just ate two grapefruits for lunch.”), and so on. Then I’ll see an update along the lines of “Too tired …

  • Reader Mailbag: Project Ideas

    I have more great ideas for projects than I ever possibly have time to complete. I have a 2004 Santa Fe which is getting to be too small for my family. We have three kids now and plan to make it 4 and 5 in the coming years. (Though not within a year or so …

  • Review: How to Get Rich

    Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. The title of this book alone encouraged me to not bother reading it for the longest time. As I’ve expressed before, I have no interest in being rich. I want financial independence, that’s all, and for me that’s not really …

  • Finding Your Own Value Balance at the Grocery Store

    Whenever I go shopping, I find myself with an interesting mix of items in my cart. There’s quite a few generics, quite a few “low cost” name brands, and still some more rather upscale items (like organic fresh foods). Organic baking soda gets tossed in right next to the free range eggs, for example. Why …

  • Five Financial Problems We Struggle With

    Given all of the things I write about on The Simple Dollar, some people tend to assume that all of this just comes easy for me and my family. To put it simply, it doesn’t. Just like everyone else, we struggle with decisions at times and find ourselves flailing at things that seem easy on …

  • The Simple Dollar Time Machine: April 17, 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 … …

  • Does Rewashing Ziploc Bags Really Save You Money?

    Mal writes in: I loved your post about how little you save by not flushing. You should do the same thing about your favorite bugaboo, rewashing Ziploc bags! Rewashing Ziploc sandwich bags is something that I’ve joked about being a frugality “step too far” since the first days of The Simple Dollar. In March 2009, …

  • My Five Year Goals

    One suggestion I frequently give to readers who write in unsure what to do with their money is to plot out some long term goals. The big question I usually ask them to think about is where would you like to be in five years? Over the last few months, my wife and I have …

  • Do You Really Save Money By Not Always Flushing?

    Jennifer writes in: My husband grew up in an area that often had summer droughts and water rationing. Because of that, he was trained as a child to stick to the “if it’s yellow let it mellow if it’s brown flush it down” mantra. We’re married and live in an area that doesn’t have any …

  • Reader Mailbag: Taxes

    Today is the official due date for federal income tax returns in the United States. It’s also the due date for the first quarter of estimated taxes for those of us who are self-employed or run small businesses. Thus, for a lot of us, April 15 is the most expensive day of the year. It …

  • Announcing My Upcoming Book – The Simple Dollar: How One Man Wiped Out His Debts and Achieved the Life of His Dreams

    As many of you know, over the last year, I’ve been writing a book outlining the specific details of how exactly I went from being tens of thousands of dollars in debt and working at a job that caused me to miss my family and made me long for the career I wanted to doing …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: TrentHamm.com Edition

    Over the past year, I’ve been experimenting a lot with my personal website, TrentHamm.com. Should it just be a puff piece that promotes me? Should I have some long essays or short stories on there? What I eventually realized, though, is that the thing I enjoy doing the most is simply sharing interesting links on …

  • Replacing Things Early

    Recently, I took a serious look at our non-stick skillet, the one we use to cook sticky things like eggs. While it was still very usable, I found that in one place a bit of Teflon was beginning to peel away. I immediately tossed the pan into the trash. A few weeks ago, I replaced …

  • The People Around You

    The single biggest advantage I’ve had in my life is that I’ve largely been surrounded by supportive people. My wife, my parents, my closest friends – all of them have always been incredibly positive towards everything I’ve ever chosen to do. My mind continually goes back to the period in my life where I was …

  • Planning for Summer Vacation

    This summer, my wife and I and our three children – a four year old, a two year old, and a baby – are going on at least three different family trips. One will be to downstate Illinois, another will be to northeast Iowa and southwest Wisconsin, and the third will be to northern Minnesota. …

  • Reader Mailbag: Golf

    I spent a good chunk of yesterday attempting to teach my children (four and two years old) the fundamentals of golf. The results were interesting. The younger one, my daughter, thought the best way to get the ball in the hole was to pick up the ball and put it in the hole. The older …