Month: May 2014

Separating Your Goals and Choices from Other People

Winners compare their achievements with their goals, while losers compare their achievements with those of other people. – Nido Qubein I spent the first twenty five years of my life mostly pushing forward on goals created by other people. When I was in school, I was told that grades were the only thing that mattered. …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: David Cameron Edition

I tend to follow the politics of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Great Britain very closely (I’m kind of a political junkie). So, in that spirit, I truly wish David Cameron the best of luck as the new prime minister of Great Britain. The people have spoken and it was time for Labour to …

Categories: Getting Started

The Myth of the Tax Deduction

Most of the time, when I talk about the implications of various debt repayment options on The Simple Dollar, I utterly ignore tax deductions. This is not an oversight. Usually, it just makes a situation needlessly more complicated and takes the “simple” out of The Simple Dollar. As is often the case, astute readers email …

Categories: Debt Management

Never Cosign a Loan Unless You Want to Pay It Yourself

One of the most common questions I get is whether or not a person should cosign on someone else’s loan – a car loan, a student loan, or so on. I have a single response that I always give to this type of question: You should only co-sign a loan that you’re perfectly happy paying …

Categories: Debt Management, Family

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Gold as a “Hedge” Against Devastation

Shaun writes in: You need to be telling your readers to invest in gold because the dollar is about to become worthless. I wrote about this idea a year and a half ago. I discussed why there are so many ads on the radio and the internet for buying gold and why it’s just old-fashioned …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Travel

Did you know that ten hours of road travel with a four year old, a two year old, and a newborn is a really bad idea? I have just signed a loan modification for my (large) mortgage. They fortunately gave me a starting payment at 2% for the first 5 years. I have been able …

Categories: Books and Reading

Review: Better Groceries for Less Cash

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. Better Groceries for Less Cash by Randall Putala has a subtitle that pretty clearly describes what you’ll find inside the covers: 101 Tested and Proven Ways to Save on Food. While organized into chapters, this fairly short book’s main purpose …

What Day Is It?

It would be easy for me to write some nice platitudes today about my wife (the mother of my children) or my own mother. I could go on for a long time about how wonderful these two women are, the most important two women in my life. But I really don’t need to. We don’t …

Categories: Getting Started

Remaking Your Path of Least Resistance

Most of the time, our lives function along a path of least resistance. We give into social cues because it’s the easiest path, causing us to buy stuff we don’t need and lust after “premium” items. We don’t rock the boat at work because that’s the easiest path, causing us to run in place with …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Time Machine: May 8, 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

What Works?

Of all of the parenting tactics I’ve tried, nothing has worked better at facilitating good behavior and a trusting bond like floor time. Simply getting down on the floor and playing with your children builds trust and good relationships like nothing else. Of all of the dieting tactics I’ve tried, nothing has worked better than …

Categories: Getting Started

Seven Easy Steps to Your Dream Job

A few days ago, I was reading an article in ESPN Magazine (I started getting a subscription to it a while back after I signed up to play fantasy baseball at ESPN.com) by Vivian Chum that talked about what you would need to do to get a job as an NFL coach (you can read …

Categories: Careers

Coupon Organization: A Survey of How People Do It

My wife and I use coupons for many of our household products, from toothpaste and garbage bags to toilet paper and Tones spices (yes, I had a coupon for this once upon a time). While we don’t use many for actual food products (since most of the advertised food is more or less junk food), …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Getting Things Done

Over the years, I’ve received literally hundreds of requests for a detailed review and discussion of the well-known productivity and time management book Getting Things Done by David Allen, which was a truly life-changing book for me. Without the techniques in the book, I would have never found the time management skills or the information …

Categories: Books and Reading

Going Up?

Today, Seth Godin (one of my favorite bloggers who usually talks about marketing) posted a great piece about consumer debt. Two great excerpts: Here’s a simple MBA lesson: borrow money to buy things that go up in value. Borrow money if it improves your productivity and makes you more money. Leverage multiplies the power of …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Lunch Edition

One of the best little things about having this baby is that my wife is home every day. I get to eat lunch with her every day. My morning and afternoon breaks usually involve chatting with her instead of just stretching and wasting time for a while. I get to hold the baby for a …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Incremental Change

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to reduce my hobby and entertainment spending by 50%. Each month, I budget a certain amount to spend on my hobbies and other entertainment sources, with any “leftovers” rolling over into the next month. My goal for 2010 was to spend an annual amount that equaled half of …

Categories: Getting Started

What Is an Education Really Worth?

Recently, I was browsing through some data from the U.S. Census when I stumbled upon a great table in the 2007 census data. On page 9 of this report, entitled Educational Attainment in the United States, one can find a very interesting table that describes the median earnings for workers aged 25 and over, sorted …

Categories: Education

So, What Free Software Do You Use?

On Sunday, I reviewed the worthwhile book Getting Organized in the Google Era by Douglas C. Merrill, during which I mentioned that most of the productivity software I use for my work is free. A few people emailed me and asked about them, including this one (which made me smile) from Dot: As much writing …

Categories: Technology