• Minimalism, Frugality, and Confrontation

    As you might recall, last Sunday, I reviewed a book I quite liked entitled The Joy of Less by Francine Jay, who blogs over at the quite enjoyable miss minimalist. My book review got the attention of several more popular blogs, including Lifehacker, which chose to link to one of Jay’s more intriguing posts, 100 …

  • Reader Mailbag: Iowa Flood Waters

    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. Optimizing cash flow 2. Getting past the “acquaintance” phase 3. 529 for another child 4. The cost of saving coins 5. IRAs at fairly high income …

  • A Guide to Using Dry Beans for Cooking

    In my opinion, the single best bargain in a grocery store is the one pound bag of dried beans. The amount of nutrition and protein that can be had from a pound of dried beans is amazing, plus the flavor of the beans far surpasses the flavor of canned beans. I use beans of various …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Audiobook Edition

    Quite a few people have requested an audio version of my recent book, The Simple Dollar: How One Man Wiped Out His Debts and Achieved the Life of His Dreams. You’re in luck. The audio book is now available for download via Amazon or you can sign up for an Audible.com membership and get it …

  • The Flip Side: What Frugality Gets You

    This past weekend, I attended GenCon 2010, a gaming convention in Indianapolis, IN, with a group of several friends. I had been saving up to attend this convention for a while, and that savings consisted largely of money saved in the way I described this morning: making lots of small choices that saved money and …

  • How Not to Fail at Frugality

    Yesterday, I had a wonderful conversation with an Associated Press reporter who was writing a story about teaching children how to be frugal. The discussion wound around through several topics, eventually coming back to the idea that many people (like, for example, Ramit) do not like frugality because it doesn’t give you the “big win” …

  • Should I Buy Life Insurance for My Children?

    This is a question I hear all the time from readers who are parents – and it’s a question that comes up in our own household as well. Should our children have life insurance policies? I’ve done a lot of research and soul-searching on this topic. What follows are the conclusions I’ve come to on …

  • Reader Mailbag: When Do I Write Mailbags?

    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. Netflix for family bonding 2. Guilt over income 3. Dishwasher versus hand washing 4. Cancelling a new card 5. Pushy parents and hotel rooms 6. Trust …

  • Review: The Joy of Less

    Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. Over the last several years, I’ve begun to appreciate how much easier life is if you have less stuff. You spend less time and effort on maintenance. You spend less time and effort moving. You spend less time and effort …

  • Outliers and Frugality

    About a year and a half ago, I reviewed Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent book Outliers. In that review, I talked about one of Gladwell’s key points in the book, that a great deal of practice will make a person good at anything: The more important (and interesting) part of the chapter, though, discusses the huge role …

  • The Simple Dollar Time Machine: August 7, 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 … …

  • The Simple Dollar Reading Guide: A Visit from the Black Swan

    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 …

  • Summer Meal Series #10: Grilled Chicken-Salsa Burritos and Fresh Tomatoes

    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 best parts of summer is when fresh tomatoes start coming in from the garden. This past week has seen the first of our tomatoes and we were eager …

  • Overcoming Severe Social Anxiety

    Chris emailed me with the following question. I originally planned to include it in a reader mailbag, but I felt such strong sympathy for his situation and others in that type of situation that my answer to him kept growing and growing until I realized that it was a full post all its own. I …

  • Building Skills for Free

    As I’ve mentioned a few times on here, I’ve been taking piano lessons since early February. When I come home, though, my materials are mostly books I’ve been gifted or printed out from various places and I practice on an old electronic keyboard or by walking to a local church and practicing on the older …

  • Reader Mailbag: The Cost of Friendship

    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. Balancing limited income and values 2. Getting started with a Roth 3. Balancing social obligations and money 4. Investing for non-retirement goals 5. Economical recipe collections …

  • Frugality, Usability, and Phone Shopping

    About a year ago, I decided to get a low-end smartphone, mostly so I could check and make sure The Simple Dollar was still up and running from the road and perhaps tweet on occasion. I wound up with a low-end Blackberry that I got for just a few dollars and got the low-end data …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Side Writings Edition

    As some of you know, I have an off-and-on side gig writing for OPEN Forum, a website that focuses on small business issues. I mostly write about small business frugality – how to reduce your spending without reducing the quality of your business – but I often touch on other topics. Anyway, here are a …

  • The Family That Saves Together

    My four year old son thinks that the way you get a new video game is by trading for it at the used video game store. At dinner time, they both eat exactly what their parents eat – and that’s considered normal, as opposed to making them a special kid-friendly meal that racks up the …