Month: May 2014

Five Thoughts about Making College Great

Tomorrow, several people that matter a lot to me are starting their college experience. Here are fifteen things I’d like to suggest to them that they’re probably not hearing from anyone else who has been giving them advice on college over the past three months. You don’t have to know what you want to do …

Categories: Education

“Generics Make Me Feel Bad About Myself”

Monique writes in with a heartfelt observation: The biggest reason I can’t bring myself to actually buy generics when I’m in the store is that I feel cheap and poor when I buy the white labeled knockoffs. I don’t like feeling like that. I like saving money, but when it leaves me feeling like a …

The Simple Dollar Time Machine: August 21, 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 #12: Spinach, Pesto, and Cheese Lasagna

This summer, I’m going to be posting a series of fifteen low-cost, tasty, and easy-to-prepare meals that are literally straight from my own kitchen. One of the biggest challenges I have with writing recipe posts is the fact that Sarah and I often “riff” on recipes. In other words, we’ll take a recipe we found …

Categories: Food, Frugality

Garden Tips: Saving Seeds and Starting a Seed Exchange

Several readers have written to me requesting information on saving seeds from their garden, which is an awesome frugal practice. Fall is just starting to tiptoe into the picture here in Iowa, and for us that means that the gardening season is starting to wind up. This year was actually a very uneven year for …

Categories: Food, Frugality

The Challenge of Couponing

I’ve long been an advocate of using coupons at the grocery store. I often clip coupons for toiletries and household products and, when there are opportunities, for some food items like organic milk (I had a great coupon for this a while back). I’ve also used coupons for bigger purchases as well in the past. …

Reader Mailbag: Grandparents’ Week

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. Switching to joint checking 2. Transferring a Roth IRA 3. Accounts and goals 4. Which debt goes first? 5. Using HELOC to repay debts 6. Gift …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

How The Simple Dollar Works

Two or three times a week, I receive an email from someone who is trying to figure out how on earth I earn an income from The Simple Dollar (or some specific aspect of it). Sometimes, it’s because they have an idea for a site and would love to make a big chunk of money …

Categories: Meta

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Your Money Matters Interview Edition

This past weekend, I had an hourlong interview on the syndicated Your Money Matters radio show, hosted by Marc Pearlman. You can listen to it on his site or listen to it in iTunes. Also, I’ve recently written a few articles for OPEN Forum that you may want to read that focus on frugality and …

Categories: Morning Roundup

When Keeping Your Head Above Water Takes All You’ve Got

“It takes all the running you can do just to stay in the same place.” – The Red Queen, Alice in Wonderland I receive piles of stories from readers, but the final question in yesterday’s reader mailbag really stuck with me for a while. I’ll quote it here, so you can read it again: So …

Categories: Getting Started

48 Things Frugality Has Taught Me

Today, let’s do something a little different. I’m going to list 48 things I’ve learned about myself and the world around me that I only discovered thanks to frugality. 1. I really like sun tea. 2. The patience and effort in teaching yourself something new is incredibly rewarding when you begin to succeed at it …

Categories: Frugality

Start

If we don’t start, it’s certain we can’t arrive. – Zig Ziglar One of the biggest themes of The Simple Dollar is goals. I find goal-setting – figuring out a specific goal, writing it down, coming up with a specific plan to get there, and following that plan – to be incredibly empowering. Diving head-first …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Projects, Projects, Projects

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. Debt snowball questions 2. Cost-effectiveness and breast pumping 3. How much life insurance? 4. Which debt to pay off? 5. Choosing 401(k) investments 6. Saving for …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: Be Thrifty

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. A few weeks ago, I stopped at a local business that was having a “going out of business” sale. It was one of those little interesting eclectic gift shops that you randomly find in small towns here or there, the …

Categories: Books

The Simple Dollar Reading Guide: The Power of Goals in a Random World

Every Sunday morning for the next few months, I’m going to “riff” on a chapter from my book, The Simple Dollar: How One Man Wiped Out His Debts and Achieved the Life of His Dreams by reflecting on particular pieces of it that I’ve had further reflections on or particularly excite me, including some elements …

Categories: Books, Meta

Taking Notes

Whenever I’m traveling in new circles or meeting groups of people I don’t know well, the conversation usually turns into discussion of what everyone does professionally. When I explain that I’m a writer and mention The Simple Dollar, it’s not long before people at the table are usually tossing money-saving tips at me of all …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Time Machine: August 14, 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 #11: Turkey Quesadillas

This summer, I’m going to be posting a series of fifteen low-cost, tasty, and easy-to-prepare meals that are literally straight from my own kitchen. Most of the meals I’ve shown so far in this series are perfect dinners. But what about the humble mid-day meal, where you just want something smaller and lighter – and …

Categories: Food, Frugality

Interpreting Reviews and Knowing What to Buy

Wendy writes in: I know that you have touched on this a bit in the past, but I would love to see an article specifically addressing how you research an items technology, durability, and expected lifespan when making your purchasing decisions. I have two categories of interest: – rarely reviewed items. Ex: two different motion …

Categories: Getting Started