Month: May 2014

Vocation, Career, and Job

Vocation. Career. Job. Three different things that so often seem to overlap in our minds. However, when we let them overlap, we lose something valuable in the translation. A job is simply any situation where you are paid in exchange for your labor. Nothing more, nothing less. Warren Buffett has a job, as does the …

Categories: Careers

Reader Mailbag: The Millennium Trilogy

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. Donating to charities through businesses 2. Advanced board game recommendations 3. School or buy a house? 4. Rapid car loan payoff 5. Dealing with parental yearning …

Categories: Books and Reading

HealthMonth, Your Month

Recently, a good friend of mine convinced me to sign up for HealthMonth, a website that aims to turn the self-motivation needed to improve one’s health into a fun game (you can see my HealthMonth profile and goals). It works quite simply: you set certain goals for yourself throughout the month – “I will floss …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Family Nervousness Edition

A cousin of mine that I care for very much is coming to visit for several days next week, with her two sons in tow. She’s someone that I cherished when I was younger, but over the last fifteen years or so, we simply were out of touch with one another. Over the last few …

Categories: Books and Reading

Buying with Confidence

A few weeks ago, in the July 2010 issue of Bon Appétit, Andrew Knowlton succinctly summed up the way I feel about trusted and untrusted reviews: If I’m curious as to whether a restaurant is worth trying out or not, I don’t consult sites like Yelp – I ask a friend. That way, I can …

Beginning Investors: Costs of Investing Can Be Painful

I’m going to make a little illustration about investments using the stock of Verizon (VZ) as an example. On September 18, 2009, a share of stock in Verizon closed at 29.59. In the following months, Verizon issued four dividends of $0.475 per share. On September 24, 2010, a share of stock in Verizon closed at …

A Simple Story About a Jar of Pickles

This isn’t a blockbuster post, just a simple story that illustrates how frugality runs through many aspects of our life. When I was young, my father always had a giant garden. One vegetable that he always grew every year was cucumbers. They always seemed very easy to grow compared to the other vegetables in the …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Reader Mailbag: Sick Daughter

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. Future self and children 2. Blog as passive income 3. Transitioning to self-employment 4. 401(k) rollover worries 5. Repair or replace a car 6. Preserving books …

Categories: Books and Reading

Review: Confessions of a Butcher

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. I didn’t expect that I would like this book. A few weeks ago, I got an email from Vickie Smith, the wife of John Smith (the author of Confessions of a Butcher). She had stumbled across The Simple Dollar and …

The Value of the Golden Rule

Brian writes in: You write in all the time about the “value of building community.” I think that’s pointless. If you want to succeed, you should just look at each situation, ask yourself how you can get the most out of it, and move on from there. Here’s the problem with that scenario: every time …

How to Organize and Host a Gaming Evening

As I’ve mentioned before on The Simple Dollar, one of our favorite social activities is to host a “game night” with several of our friends. We do this on a rotating basis with them, with roughly two “game nights” happening per month. For us, it’s a social highlight – it provides great social interaction (that’s …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Time Machine: September 25, 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

Homemade Gift Series #2: Homemade Soap

How to Safely Make High Quality Hand-Crafted Soaps Let’s just start this one off with two big, giant warnings! Warning #1 Making soap at home can be very fun and rewarding, and if done right, it can be an inexpensive way to make gifts. But it can also be very dangerous if proper precautions aren’t …

The Incredible Value of the Local Library

As I’ve said before many (many) times, the local public library is the single biggest entertainment value available to you. Unlimited books, DVDs, CDs, audio books, civic groups, films, presentations, live performances, and countless other opportunities are available at your public library, either in your own town or in the nearest significantly-sized town. The best …

13 Best Finance Books Worth Reading

Every week, I review a different book on The Simple Dollar (those reviews appear on Sunday afternoons, for those who are new to the site). Over the years, that’s amounted to a lot of book reviews – 259 as of today. Here’s a full list of all of the books I’ve reviewed on The Simple …

Categories: Books and Reading

Reader Mailbag: Reader Music Recommendations

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. Ratios and your money 2. Dealing with reality of debt 3. The “merging money” conversation 4. Credit cards or student loans 5. Long-term care now or …

Categories: Books and Reading

Running in Place? 14 Ways to Break Free

When we set big, lofty goals for ourselves, it’s really easy to find ourselves at a plateau of sorts, where it feels like we’re spinning our wheels but not really heading upward towards our end target. I’ll share two examples of this from my own life. I’ve been working on a novel pretty consistently for …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Doctor Who Edition

The only television programming I have watched in the last three weeks is Doctor Who. I’m not sure what exactly that says about me. Anyway, here are a few articles of interest, starting with a few freelance pieces by me that have appeared at OPENForum.com. Askers, Guessers, and the Art of Negotiation This is a …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Myth of the Exceptional Life

You, too, can have an exceptional life! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read or heard the above phrase (or something very similar) over the past few years. It pops up on countless books, television shows, seminar series, DVDs, and countless other things that propose to tell you the secret to living some …

Categories: Getting Started