Month: May 2014

Pleasing Someone Else or Pleasing Yourself

I originally intended to include this email in tomorrow’s reader mailbag, but my response to this woman went on for so long that I felt it deserved a post of its own. Julie writes in: I’m 26 years old, single, and I have an entry level graphic design job that I love. On the side, …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Little Changes Edition

Over the next week, I’m going to be making several tiny changes to the site. There’s a good chance you won’t notice them at all, but if you see something that looks completely wrong, don’t be afraid to let me know. Why the changes? Mostly, I’m trying to find ways to improve income from the …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Does Home Photo Printing Really Save Money?

During the fall of 2010, I posted a series of articles on homemade Christmas gifts. Among these were personalized photo cards and stationery and photo cubes, both of which required a pretty solid supply of photographs. Thus, I had the opportunity to print off quite a few photos at home in order to make these …

Categories: Frugality

The Power of Balanced Thinking

When I first started writing this article, it had a much more challenging title. I originally titled it The Power of Negative Thinking The problem with that title is that negative thinking, just like positive thinking, is unbalanced on its own. Let me explain what I mean. I’m a huge believer in using positive thinking …

Categories: Getting Started

The Things I Love

I love walking in the woods on a warm spring day, searching for edible mushrooms. I love my wife’s awkward smile when she’s been paid a compliment she richly deserves and doesn’t know how to respond to it. I love reading a book from the library that both takes me to another place and teaches …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Super Weekend

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. Generous severance, no job 2. Should I sell my bike? 3. Road tripping with kids 4. Health insurance in retirement 5. Moving from saving to investing …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: The Power of Passive Investing

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. Passive investing is a strategy that has a great deal of appeal to me, so I was quite eager …

Is The Sunday Paper Still a Value?

At the start of 2011, I started an interesting experiment. I grabbed the first five Sunday papers of the year, clipped the coupons that I found in those issues, and saved them in a separate coupon envelope. Most of the coupons were for toiletries and household supplies. A few were for food items – mustard, …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Things to Look For When Planning a Summer Vacation (Thanks to Readers)

After my recent post on planning summer travel, I received a lot of emails from readers near the places we are planning on traveling to: Seattle, Boston, New Orleans, and Orlando. These helpful readers all offered up some great ideas for inexpensive travel to those areas and I saved all of them for future reference …

Categories: Travel

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #5

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. A sick baby on the mend This winter has been really hard on our infant son, as he’s come down with a series of colds. It seems as though …

Dinner With My Family #5: Burgers and Fries!

Veggie Burgers and Baked French Fries Yep, burgers and fries! Here’s a peek at my wife’s plate (she was handling some of the picture taking while I was getting the children seated): (I think she put some sort of barbecue sauce on them as a condiment.) So, how exactly is that a healthy meal? For …

Saving IS Investing

One common question I get from readers appears in this type of email: Dear Trent, My husband and I are finally on the path to financial freedom. We have only a debt or two remaining and have built up an emergency fund. We would like to start investing. Please tell us how. Signed, Sally Saver …

Categories: Investing

The Bedtime Routine

Every night before I go to sleep, I go through a pretty straightforward routine. I start at the bottom of the house in the laundry room, the farthest place from our bedroom, and head upstairs slowly, doing lots of little things along the way. This routine takes about three minutes. Most nights, I estimate that …

Reader Mailbag: January Resolution Review

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 tax prep conundrum 2. Debt disaster and recovery 3. Capital gains and gifts 4. Mortgage less than rent 5. Frugal fatigue 6. Child discipline 7. …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

An Artist on the Side: Coppola on the Future of Artists and Artisans

Earlier this week, I stumbled upon a great interview with Francis Ford Coppola over at the 99 percent. In this interview, Coppola talks about the past and future of people making money from their art, whether it be music, movies, or other things: We have to be very clever about those things. You have to …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Midwest Blizzard Edition

The Midwest got absolutely hammered with snow the last few days. The job of moving this snow would seem almost insurmountable if it weren’t for our snowblower. Thank goodness for our Troy-Bilt. Efficient-Market Hypothesis – Are You a Believer? The efficient market hypothesis essentially says that “markets and participants are at all times on a …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Experiences Trump Things

In a corner in my office on a single shelving unit rests a collection that I’ve been building for fifteen years, my board and card game collection. The collection has been built from a lot of sources: gifts, trades, thrift store finds, ding-and-dent sales, and contest winnings make up a significant portion of what you …

Categories: Games

Finding Your Reason

Your reason for what? For pretty much everything you do in your life. Let’s start with the immediate. Why are you reading this site right now (or, in the case of email recipients, this email)? Some of you are probably reading this because you desperately need some financial help. Others are reading it because they’re …

Categories: Getting Started