Month: May 2014

Review: Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half is the follow-up to America’s Cheapest Family, a very solid book on frugality by Steve and Annette Economides from 2007 that I quite liked. Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half seems to be a …

Choosing What to Have… and What Not to Have

Last night, my oldest son and my daughter and I played an hour-long game of tag. By the end of it, we were all worn out. Both kids had collapsed on my lap and we were sitting there, giggling and cooling off from all of the running around. My daughter then gave me a big …

Categories: Getting Started

My Ten Biggest Money Savers

Today is the four year anniversary of The Simple Dollar. Rather than just lauding myself by posting a big pile of my favorite articles from the past, I decided to just cut straight to the heart of the matter and offer up specific useful tactics that have helped me to save money over the past …

The Simple Dollar Time Machine: October 30, 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 #7: Crocheted Hat and Scarf

How to Make Homemade Winter Accessories My wife, Sarah, loves to make homemade functional items, particularly ones that give her hands busywork when she’s doing something like watching a movie or rocking a baby. Thus, it’s not surprising that crocheting is a natural match for her. This year, she elected to make a crocheted hat …

Making It All Work – Getting Control: Reflecting

This is the eighth entry in a twenty part series discussing the wonderful time and priority management book Making It All Work by David Allen. New entries in this series will appear on Tuesday mornings and Friday mornings through December 10. For me, the single most important part of keeping my life on track and …

The Two Types of Procrastination

I just finished reading a wonderful article on procrastination by James Surowiecki in the October 11 issue of The New Yorker. The money quote: [I]t might be useful to think about two kinds of procrastination: the kind that is genuinely akratic and the kind that’s telling you that what you’re supposed to be doing has, …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Halloween Treats

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. Sharing too much information online 2. How do ARMs work? 3. World Series prediction 4. First time apartment hunting 5. Saving for a wedding 6. Workbook …

Categories: Books and Reading

“Someday, My Ship Will Come In”

On page 227 of my book, I recount a short tale of a woman dreaming a negative dream: “Someday, things will change for me and my ship will come in,” Helen said. Helen and I had each just gone through a trial by fire at our respective new jobs. Since we were old friends from …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Printing Photos Edition

I’ve been experimenting with photo printing at home (related to an upcoming post). I’ve lost quite a bit of money simply mis-printing photos and trying new things. My conclusion? If you’re printing a wide variety of stuff, you’re probably better off using a service. A one-off photo is fine. A bunch of photos? Find a …

Categories: Books and Reading

APR, APY, and Mortgage Math: A Real World Example

I have lots of readers here in the central Iowa area, so it came as no surprise to me that when I began hearing an ad frequently on local radio advertising a particular mortgage product in terms that were a bit on the confusing side, I received an email about it. Jim writes in: I …

Making It All Work – Getting Control: Organizing

This is the seventh entry in a twenty part series discussing the wonderful time and priority management book Making It All Work by David Allen. New entries in this series will appear on Tuesday mornings and Friday mornings through December 10. So, you’ve dumped all of the stuff out of your brain and you’ve put …

Making a Change Feel Normal

A long time ago, I wrote about the idea of a money free weekend – two days spent doing stuff that’s free or extremely close to it. At that time, the idea of a money-free weekend was a bit of a challenge for my family – we almost always spent money doing something each weekend. …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Monday Morning

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. Making good credit better 2. Dealing with hostile coworker 3. Roth switch after job move 4. Capturing and bipolarity 5. Waiting for a pension 6. Top …

Categories: Books and Reading

Review: The Little Book of Economics

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. I’ve really enjoyed the “Little Books” series of personal finance and investing books over the years, and I’ve reviewed almost every book in the series – twelve so far. They’ve (almost) always done a great job of breaking down a …

Categories: Books and Reading

Can Once-a-Month Cooking Really Work?

A long time ago (summer 2007, in fact), I wrote about once-a-month cooking, in which a person basically spends one solid day once every four weeks or so preparing food for home use so that meal prep later on is much easier. A quick note: I’ve never actually done this before, but I have done …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Jealousy – And What You Can’t See

One of the nicest houses in our town recently went into foreclosure. The family that lived there seemed to have “everything” on the surface – a gorgeous house, nice cars, nice clothing, expensive cell phones, and so on. In truth, though, they were in debt up to their eyeballs. Now that house that they had …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Time Machine: October 23, 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 #6: Meals in a Jar

How to Make Complete Meals in a Jar A simple picture will probably explain things better than any introductory description could. The jar on the left, obviously, is a “Rainbow Brownie” mix, to which you add just a couple liquid ingredients, pour into a pan, and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. The one …