Month: May 2014

When Financial Change Is Overwhelming

Mark writes in: I’ve been reading The Simple Dollar for a year or so and I’ve found it really inspirational. My problem is that I can’t get past the “inspirational” part. Several times, I’ve started to try to implement your tips. I’ll make grocery lists and try out lots of free activities and give up …

Categories: Getting Started

When Your Mental Health Keeps You from Success

Anxiety disorder. Depression. Panic attacks. Intense phobias. Our brains are incredibly complex pieces of meat. Just like other parts of their body, they can break down and not work quite right. Yet, society often treats ailments of the mind as something either not to be spoken of or something to be looked at as an …

The Simple Dollar Time Machine: April 10, 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: Books and Reading

Rebooting Your Life

Henry writes in (I edited a few minor details to help with privacy issues, because I think without edits it might be possible for people to easily figure out who Henry is): Six months ago, I lost my six figure job as a database administrator. A month after that, just before Christmas, my wife left …

Family Dinner Night

One of my readers recently wrote to me, telling me about the “family dinner night” they host. Here’s how it works. Once a month, on a set day that everyone knows about (they do it on the second Friday of each month), they have a “family dinner night.” Once you’re invited to this event, you’re …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Why Do You Buy?

What’s the single most important piece of personal finance advice you would give a person? I’ve heard this question (or variations on it) many times. I have a very simple answer to it. Whenever you buy anything, ask yourself why five times. That seems really off the wall at first glance, but I firmly believe …

Reader Mailbag: Critical Mass of Stuff to Do

My biggest problem in terms of personal organization: whenever my “must be done” list reaches a certain length, I have this incredibly strong desire to just shut down and give up. If I can handle things in manageable chunks, things are good. When things build up, though, and alter my routine, I run into trouble. …

Categories: Books and Reading

Alternatives to Throwing Your Stuff Out

An old friend of mine sent me some pictures of her refinished living room. In it, I noticed a few interesting items – an obviously expensive leather couch and a elegantly weathered old Victrola. Curiosity got the best of me and I wrote her back asking about those two items. Where did she pick them …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Keedoozle Edition

I’m always fascinated by ideas that are attempted way before their time. My favorite one recently has to do with grocery stores. In the 1930s (!), there was an attempt at opening a chain of fully automated grocery stores (called Keedoozle). In a Keedoozle, all of your dry goods were displayed in glass cases in …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Long Decline

Over Easter weekend, Sarah and the kids and I drove four hours to visit my parents. I always enjoy these visits because, well, I like my parents, not only because I respect and value how they raised me, but for the people that they are. One thing I couldn’t help but notice, though, is how …

Categories: Getting Started

Am I Unhappy?

I talk to a newspaper, radio, or television reporter on the phone once a day on average. The topics vary all over the place, but they’re usually seeking a quote from the “author of 365 Ways to Live Cheap” for their article or report. Usually, my response has to do with some financial discipline. I …

Categories: Getting Started

Kids, Stuff, and Values

Wendy writes in with an email I considered using in today’s mailbag, but my response kind of grew into a full post: When well-meaning relatives give gifts to your children, do you always allow your children to keep those gifts? My mother-in-law (who lives 20 hours away and only sees us a few times a …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: iPad?

In the last week, I’ve received about ten emails from readers and marketers simply assuming that I’ve already purchased an iPad. While I can see how it might be useful for reading documents and things while I’m out and about, I certainly don’t feel like it’s worth hundreds and hundreds of dollars, at least for …

Categories: Books and Reading

Review: Your Money: The Missing Manual

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. J.D. from Get Rich Slowly finally has a book out. It’s entitled Your Money: The Missing Manual and it’s part of O’Reilly’s “Missing Manual” series of books, which seek to essentially provide a “manual” for areas of life (usually technical …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Mythology of Spending and Mental Anchors

I have a quick four question quiz for you to run through in your head. Just give your snap response to these – don’t think about each one too much. What is a wedding supposed to cost? What is an automobile supposed to cost? What is a home supposed to cost? What is a three …

Some Thoughts on Easter and Financial Responsibility

Easter weekend is one of my favorite times of the year with my children. The weather is finally getting nice after a long winter, so we’re starting to go outside regularly. We usually conduct some kind of Easter egg hunt for them as well, giving them a great chance to explore outdoors and work on …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Time Machine: April 3, 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: Books and Reading

The Psychological Trap of Warehouse Clubs

Jonah Lehrer wrote a brilliant little article about Costco over at the Science Blog. An excerpt: The secret of Costco’s success – and the reason I’m willing to pay just to enter the store – is because I trust the company to give me a good deal. As a result, I don’t comparison shop on …

Categories: Shopping

Overcoming Bumps in the Road

As much as we’d like to believe it, our lives aren’t a smooth journey from point A to point B. Unexpected things happen all the time – we do our best to overcome them and move on, but sometimes “our best” results in some pretty challenging consequences. We revert to old, bad habits. We put …

Categories: Getting Started