Month: May 2014

How To Invest In Stocks: Conservative or Aggressive?

If you’ve read the reader mailbags for a while, you’ve noticed that I often get messages from people who have worked their way into a good financial place and now have some money to invest, often for the first time in their life. They look around, watch CNBC, read investment advice online and in books, …

Finding the Rhythm

One of the biggest things that’s changed in my life since my financial turnaround and subsequent career changes is that I’m constantly involved in a lot more self-evaluation than I used to be. I’m constantly looking at how I do things, looking for ways to improve the quality and value of how I spend my …

Categories: Getting Started

What’s Necessary? What’s Not Necessary?

Naomi is trying to get a good picture of her actual spending and is using a very good process to get there. She’s run into a bit of a snag, though. I have reached a month of collecting receipts and preparing to organise it all in an Excel spreadsheet. Categorising by what type of expense …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Soccer Season and Preschool

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Adding partner to credit cards 2. Partners and rentals 3. Healthy use of emergency funds 4. Services you’re not knowledgable about 5. Short-term investment choices 6. …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. One of the most interesting parts of being a popular internet writer that reviews a lot of books is that, over time, I’ve wound up on the mailing lists of various publishing companies. They send me piles of books that …

Categories: What We're Reading

I Can’t Find a Job in This Economy!

I get a lot of emails from people with the above statement, usually followed by some sort of plea for help. I have a lot of sympathy for their situation. I can’t even imagine how painful it would be to not have a steady income, have no luck finding work, and have others depending on …

Categories: Careers

Cultivating Domain Knowledge and Hobbies for Fun and Profit

When I was sixteen, I bought a cigar box full of 1960s baseball cards for $5 from someone who was cleaning out their mother’s attic. I sold one single card in the box – a 1965 Topps Mickey Mantle in excellent condition – for $200. Several years ago, I was at a yard sale. The …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Time Machine: August 28, 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

Summer Meal Series #13: Ratatouille

What’s on the table this summer? Ratatouille First, right off the bat, I apologize for the strong green color of the meal in this post. Ratatouille is typically pretty colorful, but the vegetables we chose for this particular instance of it were very green, resulting in a very green looking meal with some specks of …

Categories: Food, Frugality

Being Pragmatic About Buying Local

Yesterday, Get Rich Slowly posted an article entitled Why I Buy Local, in which J.D. makes the case for buying from local suppliers, even if the costs are a bit higher, because of the secondary benefits. J.D.’s support of local businesses goes quite a bit further than mine does. In fact, near the end, he …

Categories: Getting Started

A Long Weekend Retreat

Rhonda writes in with a great idea for how she’s going to spend her Labor Day weekend: I’m planning on using my 3-day Labor Day weekend as an at-home retreat (I live alone) to do some short- and long-term planning. I’m about 10 years away from retirement and want to review ‘Your money or your …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Shortcut Fixing

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Higher salary or better benefits? 2. Cheap land lines 3. Moving in with parents 4. Prepaying student loans in forbearance 5. The Hindenburg Omen 6. Post-graduation …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Getting Real Value from Budgets

When I reached my financial bottom in April 2006, one of my first responses was to simply start reading a lot about personal finance. I checked out a pile of books from the library on personal finance and tackled a lot of different suggestions from those books, along with some of my own ideas that …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Making It All Work Edition

Earlier this year, I did a very popular series on David Allen’s book Getting Things Done, one that’s still generating a fair amount of email. Given that I personally found at least as much value in Allen’s follow-up, Making It All Work (which approaches GTD a bit more philosophically), I’m wondering if there would be …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Frugality and Organization

Save everything. Buy in bulk. Find second uses for everything. These are all powerful frugal tactics and they’ll all save you money. I’ll give you five examples. 1. Got an old t-shirt that’s worn out? Toss it into a “scrap cloth” bin and save it for times when you just need a big piece of …

Categories: Getting Started

How Personal Finance Changes as You Begin to See Success

Five years ago, when I was working at a very stressful job and buried under piles of debt, I felt as though this is what life was going to be for me as an adult – an endless path of making payments to others, keeping my head just above water, and buying stuff I couldn’t …

Categories: Getting Started

Make This Week Something Special

If you go home tonight and devote two hours to a big project at home, you’ve got a start. Go home every night this week and spend two more hours and you’ve poured ten hours into that project. Spend four hours on Saturday and four hours on Sunday and you’ve got eighteen hours of project …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Friends

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. GTD for stay-at-home moms 2. Loaning money to parents 3. Prepaying property taxes 4. Emergency fund or debt repayment 5. Starting a Roth IRA 6. Small …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: The Art of Barter

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. A while back, I wrote a post called “Askers, Guessers, and Personal Finance” that proposed that bartering and negotiation are much easier for some people than for others, depending on their personality and the culture in which they were raised. …

Categories: What We're Reading