Month: May 2014

20 Things to Shop for at Secondhand Stores and Consignment Shops

I vastly prefer to buy items at secondhand and consignment shops if I can. There, I said it. I love going to secondhand shops and consignment shops. My wife and I stop by such shops all the time in our area, particularly for a few specific items that we go through at an amazing rate. …

Categories: Frugality

Pay Cash or Not? Cash Flow Versus Liquidity

Let’s say, hypothetically, I have $50,000 in cash just sitting in my savings account. I need to replace my car and I’ve decided on a model that costs $20,000. I can get a very low interest loan for that car from the dealership – 0.0% or 2.9% or something like that. What do I do? …

Categories: Debt, Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Long Hair, Short Hair

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. Single mom, crazy life 2. Debt payoff or Roth IRA? 3. Pay cash for car? 4. 401(k) or IRA rollover? 5. Cut Roth contributions to travel? …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: The Checklist Manifesto

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. Every once in a while, a book I read for personal enjoyment becomes a book reviewed on The Simple Dollar. This is one of those times. I thoroughly enjoyed Atul Gawande’s first two books, Better and Complications. Both offered great …

Categories: Books

Why a 0% Loan Isn’t Always the Best Choice

Brian writes in: I was at a local car dealership looking for a replacement for my truck. I only have about $8000 in savings so I knew I would have to take on some debt to buy. The dealer offered to sell me a new F150 for a good price and a 0% loan for …

Categories: Debt

Dave Ramsey and the Power of Community

When I was in college, I did a great deal of religious exploration. I attended services for tons of different religions, trying to understand all of the varieties of religious experience out there and to simply see what worked for me. While I never really came up with any conclusions about my own faith, one …

The Simple Dollar Time Machine: September 18, 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

Homemade Gift Series #1: Vanilla Extract

For the last few years, one of the most prized possessions in our pantry has been a gigantic bottle of imported Mexican vanilla extract. It’s not that imitation stuff that you get on sale at the store, with weak vanilla flavor and added sweetener. This stuff is pure unsweetened vanilla extract. It makes pies and …

On Homemade Christmas Gifts

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were chatting about some of the best Christmas gifts we’ve ever received. Many great Christmas memories from childhood came up, as did some other great memories from various holidays since our marriage. Yet, when we both began to list some of our favorite gifts received over the …

Outcome Visioning and Personal Finance

It seemed so incredibly simple. But it actually worked. Last week, I visited a local bookstore. As I’ve mentioned many times, bookstores are one of my biggest weak spots. I can easily go into a bookstore and find myself picking up two or three interesting books before I’ve even really thought about it. My usual …

Categories: Psychology

Reader Mailbag: Emotional Control

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. Costs of going to seminary 2. Is vehicle trade worth it? 3. Are we doing okay? 4. Roth IRA versus Roth 401(k) 5. Dealing with an …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Needing More Than Ourselves to Be Ourselves

My friend Heidi recently sent me a link to a fascinating article over at Mark Vernon’s blog (a philosophy-focused blog) entitled AS Byatt, who we are, and maps again. One sentence really jumped out at me in the middle of the article, and I’ve been turning it over and over again in my head for …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: The Super Money Secret That Will Make You Rich Edition

Are you ready? This truly is the financial secret “they” don’t want you to know about. Ready? Here it is. Spend. less. than. you. earn. Of course, if it weren’t such a secret, no one would be drowning in debt and no one would be completely panicked if they lost their job. How Do You …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and sorry I could not travel both And be one traveller, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, and having perhaps the better claim because it was grassy …

Personal Philanthropy: Twenty Ways to Improve the World, Even If You’re Broke

So often, people assume that charity and philanthropy mean stretching an already-tight budget even further. “If I donated $100 to the food kitchen, I’d have to start using the food kitchen!” goes the common train of thought. (That’s not to say that donating money isn’t useful – it certainly is.) Money can often be a …

Categories: Charity

Summer Meal Series: Six Lessons for Efficient Cooking at Home

I’ll start off with what everyone will probably want to use this post for in the future – an index of all of the “Summer Meal Series” posts, as well as last summer’s “How Low Can You Go” meal series and a few other meal posts before that. The Recipe Collection Here are all of …

Categories: Food, Frugality

Reader Mailbag: The “Making It All Work” Series

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. Stuck between goals 2. Dealing with partner’s student loans 3. Preparing for involuntary job loss 4. Replacing a vehicle 5. Jack of all trades 6. Using …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: The Art of Non-Conformity

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. Reviewing a book like this is a difficult challenge. The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau is one of those books that’s intentionally narrowed its audience. It hones in deeply on a group of people that share a handful of …

Categories: Books

Meditation, Prayer, and Personal Finance

Once or twice a day, I go into my bedroom, turn down the lights, lay on the bed, and look up at the ceiling. I start off by reflecting on a small handful of things that have really brought me significant joy in the past few days. After a few minutes of that, I focus …

Categories: Getting Started