Month: May 2014

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #7

Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well. 1. The Office on careers A reader (thanks, Jamie!) pointed me towards a wonderful quote from the original British version of the television series, The Office. [I]t is better to …

A Collection of Free Kindle Resources

Dinner With My Family is taking a one week hiatus due to a cavalcade of visiting family and an inability to get good pictures of a meal. Tune in next week for the series’ return. On Monday, Sarah gave me a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift – a Kindle. I’ve had a great deal of fun …

Is a College Degree a Piece of Paper … or Something More?

So often, when I see advice regarding a college education, people speak of a college degree as some sort of magic ticket that will raise your income level. “A college degree is worth $500,000 more income over a person’s lifetime” or something to that effect is constantly touted. This idea often pops up in the …

The Rush: Feeling Good About Bad Financial Decisions

A few weeks ago, I had to go inside to pay at a gas station. A lady in front of me in line purchased $20 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets and began scratching them immediately, moving off to the side to let me pay. I’m of the math-oriented belief that lottery tickets are not worth …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Sad Child

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. Spouse with large savings 2. Split payment offer 3. Late taxes and debts 4. Elizabeth Warren 5. Timing of Roth IRA contributions 6. Funeral budgeting 7. …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Some Further Thoughts on Children and Piggy Banks

As I’ve mentioned a few times on The Simple Dollar, we use piggy banks and allowances with our young children in our home. We have a few simple rules that go along with this, mostly allowing them to freely spend part of their allowance while they save another part of their allowance for longer-term goals …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Gaming Site Update Edition

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was working in collaboration with a friend on a site focused on board and card gaming, and I also promised to give you guys updates on any progress on the site. Unfortunately, my friend has made the decision to drop out of the project, mostly out of …

Categories: Morning Roundup

It’s Harder to Get Started Today

Over the past weekend, I had a long conversation with a man in our community who was nearing retirement age. He felt comfortable about his own coming retirement, but he seemed very pessimistic that his children would ever be ready to retire. “They just don’t know how to save money,” he told me. I told …

Categories: Getting Started

Inspiring Others to Financial Responsibility Without Being Preachy

Quite often, in our day to day lives, we interact with people who spend with reckless abandon and don’t think for a moment about the long-term financial implications of what they’re doing – or, when they do think about it, they simply believe that someone or something will take care of it for them in …

Categories: Getting Started

I Don’t Have the Time to Be Frugal!

“So, what’s The Simple Dollar about?” people will ask me when I tell them what I do for a living. “Oh, it’s mostly about getting your life straight with money as a big part of the equation,” I say. “I talk about things like frugality and how you can use them to pay off your …

Reader Mailbag: Valentine’s Day

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. Student loans after marriage 2. Parents in financial trouble 3. 401(k) and index funds 4. Best PS3 game bargains 5. Furnace savings? 6. Used cell phones …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: Getting More

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance or other book of interest. Also available is a complete list of the hundreds of book reviews that have appeared on The Simple Dollar over the years. One aspect of getting a good deal that I do not enjoy is the negotiation process. I’ve gotten over …

Categories: What We're Reading

My Story

Many readers of The Simple Dollar have come here over the years to get ideas on personal finance, improving their life, improving their career, and improving their use of money. Although many of the articles heavily include details from my own life, I don’t really have a great full summary on why I write The …

Categories: Getting Started, Meta

Some Thoughts on Haircuts and Frugality

This past week, I was fairly irked by a tweet by a high-profile Twitter denizen that basically said “you’re a loser if you’ve ever cut your own hair.” Simply put, it’s another perpetuation of the idea that somehow frugality is uncool. So, let’s start out with a confession. Hi. My name is Trent. I have …

Categories: Frugality

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #6

Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well. 1. Sarah This past week, my wife Sarah gave so much of herself that I was simply amazed, even though it’s just par for the course for her. She gave …

Dinner With My Family #6: “Anything” Soup

What’s on the table? “Anything” Soup We live in Iowa. This winter has been a long one and, for the past week or two, incredibly cold. Of course, that means we’ve been cooking a lot of warm, hearty winter meals recently. One of my favorites among these is what we call “anything” soup. Simply put, …

Can Cutting Out Meat, Eggs, or Dairy Save You Money?

In October, due to some medical results and the encouragement of a dietitian, I made the choice to switch to a vegan diet (with the minor exception of occasional fish consumption) for the time being. A vegan diet simply means that I avoid meat and all animal products, which would include milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, …

Categories: Food, Frugality

The Less You Need, the More You Have

The biggest mistake I’ve made in my adult life was convincing myself that I needed a lot of things. Sure, some of you might laugh at the notion that I ever convinced myself that I needed a mountain of video games or a big collection of trading cards or a pile of DVDs. Those things …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Disastrous Day

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. Student loans or savings? 2. Best use for tax refund 3. Jumping into entrepreneurship 4. Replacing a car after accident 5. On radio or television? 6. …

Categories: Reader Mailbag