Month: May 2014

Some Thoughts on Passive Personal Finance Barriers

In my most recent book, The Simple Dollar, I spent some time talking about passive barriers. A passive barrier is a small barrier that you set up that will make a particular bad habit more difficult to continue or, sometimes, make a particular good habit easier to repeat. Putting your cigarettes in a hard-to-reach place …

Reader Mailbag: Secret Santa

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. Basic credit questions 2. How to make money blogging? 3. Favorite podcasts 4. Television compromise 5. Connecting with teens cheaply 6. Overly long “to-do” list 7. …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Can Collectible Investments Pay Off?

Kevin writes in: I have a small collection of vintage baseball cards from the 1930s that have a list value of about $30,000. I started collecting when I was a kid and my grandpa gave me some to start with, but over the years I’ve bought many more, almost completing a Goudey Heads Up set. …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Fringe Edition

A few weeks ago, thanks to a Simple Dollar reader, Sarah and I discovered the television series Fringe. We’ve started slowly catching up on it, using Netflix and getting a disc at a time. It’s The X-Files without the incoherence of the last few seasons of that series, and that’s a good thing. Now, for …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Impulse Control

As I’ve mentioned on here several times, I have a weekly piano lesson, something I enjoy very much. On my way to my lesson, I drive by a bookstore and a game shop. On my way home from my lesson, I drive by that same bookstore and same game shop. Every week, especially on the …

Making It All Work – Getting Perspective at Ten Thousand Feet: Projects

This is the thirteenth 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. All of us have ongoing tasks in our lives – individual things that need …

When the Bank of Mom and Dad Closes Up Shop

Recently, I had a long email exchange with a reader who asked me not to reprint her story, but gave me permission to discuss it in general terms (I showed her this post and she approved it). This reader – let’s call her Annie – is 38 years old. For almost all of her adult …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Thanksgiving 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. A scary future 2. Effects of Kindle giveaway 3. Hiding savings from spouse 4. College accounts for grandchildren 5. Too much retirement, too young? 6. Snowblower? …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: The Little Book of Commodity Investing

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. Commodity investing is one of those areas of personal finance that I simply don’t know much about. When I think about commodity investing, I think of listening to an AM station where a dry-voiced announcer is saying, “February soybeans two …

Some Notes on a Plant-Based Diet

A few weeks ago, I made an offhand mention that I had switched to a plant-based diet due to medical concerns. Over the next week, I received a lot of questions about it. Why? What was it like? How was it working? Was it saving us money? Was it having positive health effects? I considered …

Categories: Food, Meta

My “Reverse” Black Friday

This pre-Thanksgiving year is the time in which the internet seems to be abuzz with what various retailers are going to have on steep discount on “Black Friday” in order to get people in the door. For those not from the United States, Thanksgiving is a national holiday that occurs on the fourth Thursday in …

Categories: Shopping

The Simple Dollar Time Machine: November 13, 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 #9: Handmade Ornaments

How to Make Your Own Christmas Ornaments This year, we decided to make a big batch of handmade Christmas tree ornaments for our home, just to make some “homey” Christmas items to decorate with. We decided to make them in the style of Christmas sugar cookies, with dough that would harden and look roughly like …

Making It All Work – Getting Perspective on the Runway: Next Actions

This is the eleventh 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. Starting with this chapter, Making It All Work spends some time focusing on how …

Guilt and the Choices of Others

The other day, I had a really interesting discussion with a former reader. He told me that he had stopped reading The Simple Dollar because the articles made him feel guilty about being a spendthrift and an occasionally poor manager of his money. After some discussion, I found that he often also feels guilty about …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Reaching Out

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. Secured credit card? 2. Contacting credit card companies 3. Concerned about Mom 4. Time to switch cars? 5. Mint or Thrive? 6. Consolidate now or later? …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Low-Cost Methods for Stress Relief

Mindy writes in: How do you deal with stress? I know that with three kids and managing The Simple Dollar and all the other stuff you have going on, you have to feel some serious stress at times. What do you do to manage it? I have twin babies at home and I also work …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Novel Update Edition

On November 2, I wrote about 10,000 words of my novel I’m writing this month. I was about to upload it, except we had some internet issues, so I decided to upload it the next morning. I woke up the next morning, read some of what I had written, and hated all of it. So …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Lip Service: What We Say Versus What We Do

Charities. Our family commitments. Our work commitments. Our political beliefs. Our spending choices. Our savings and investing choices. So often, we give lip service to these things, saying that we find them important and even, on some level, believing that they’re important, but when push comes to shove, they’re not really important in our lives. …

Categories: Getting Started