Month: May 2014

Reader Mailbag: In Ten Years…

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. Overinvesting or saving? 2. Home exercise equipment 3. Little change, big impact 4. Emergency fund or lower expenses? 5. Non-FDIC insured CDs 6. 401(k)s and job …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: Talent Is Overrated

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. About a year ago, I reviewed the wonderful book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. That book discussed the nature of …

Categories: What We're Reading

What’s Worth Living For?

Lenny writes in with a fairly distressing email: All of your articles assume a few things, and one of the big ones is hope for the future. Most of what you talk about is useless if you don’t have anything to live for. My first reaction to this was to send Lenny a private email …

Categories: Getting Started

75 Things Worth Watching on Netflix Streaming

I consider Netflix streaming to be one of the best bargains out there in entertainment. For $9 a month (assuming you have a home internet connection), you gain access to an enormous libraries of commercial-free films and television series. You can choose what you want and, if your internet connection is fast, you’ll be watching …

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #14

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. David Foster Wallace on experience Whenever you find yourself deeply disagreeing with someone, keep this in mind: “The exact same experience can mean two totally different things to two …

Dinner With My Family #13: Fajitas Bonitas

This is one of those dishes that’s surprisingly quick, but tends to be very impressive when it hits the table. I can easily get this from “glimmer of an idea” to “meal on the table” in forty minutes – even less if I get the vegetables prepped in advance. It makes the whole house smell …

Debt and Marriage: Sharing The Burden

You’re in a relationship. That relationship is starting to get serious. You’re contemplating marriage or some other form of long-term commitment. Now what? Quite often today, people are bringing significant debt into relationships with them. Credit card debt. Student loan debt. Auto loan debt. I often get emails from readers asking me how to deal …

Categories: Debt

The Old Green Chair

One of the big fixtures of the first apartment that Sarah and I shared was an extremely bright green chair. This chair had ancient floral-print upholstery, done almost entirely in shades of green and green-yellow, and looked like it walked straight out of the 1970s. Unsurprisingly, especially considering our recently-out-of-college status, this chair was a …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Audio

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. First investments 2. Credit question 3. Yoga teacher training 4. Credit counseling agencies 5. Taxes and inflation 6. Amazon and library synergy 7. Student loan repayment …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Personal Finance and the Idea of Freedom

“Financial freedom” is a concept that’s constantly bandied about among personal finance writers and presenters. I think it’s mostly used because it sounds good: freedom implies some sort of escape from oppression, and applying that sentiment to personal finance creates a picture of a future where you’re not beholden to creditors or lenders or your …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Netflix Edition

Earlier this week, I made an offhand reference to the fact that my wife and I have watched several entire sci-fi series on Netflix streaming at a roughly three-episodes-a-week pace. Several readers wrote in and asked for what series we had watched, so I thought I’d give you a brief rundown of the series we’ve …

Categories: Morning Roundup

“Banking” Meals

One of the biggest challenges I’ve come across since changing my diet has been the struggle to always have ingredients on hand for meals I can eat. Regardless of how carefully I make a meal plan, I always felt like there were one or two meals a week that would throw a monkey wrench in …

Categories: Food, Frugality

Leisure Time, Not Idle Time

As I’ve mentioned before, I was able to create, launch, and build up The Simple Dollar during my leisure time in the evenings after work over a two year period. Simply put, I filled much of my leisure time with this site, day after day, week after week, month after month, until it had built …

Categories: Time Investment

Need a Frugal Gift for Someone? Relieve Some of Their Pressure

In July, my wife and I are attending a wedding for a couple that we’re very close to. As that date approaches, the couple is pretty heavily involved in planning things – and they’re really beginning to realize how many little things there are to take care of. Meanwhile, there’s another couple that are close …

Reader Mailbag: Conjunctivitis

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. Where to keep emergency funds? 2. Catching up on retirement savings 3. Negative items on credit report 4. Head over heels 5. Helping a child in …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: Eat That Frog!

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. A few months ago, I reviewed Brian Tracy’s book Goals!, which was a solid primer on setting specific goals …

Categories: What We're Reading

Deliberate Practice: Improving Your Finances, Career, and Life

I’ve mentioned deliberate practice in the past, but after several experiences in recent days, I felt like it was a vital topic worth revisiting. What’s deliberate practice? I first learned about the topic from Stephen Dubner at the New York Times, who was writing about how Alex Rodriguez built his baseball skills. Dubner noted that …

Categories: Careers

Convincing Yourself That a Want Is Really a Need – and How to Stop It

For my work purposes, I have a desktop computer and a laptop computer. The desktop computer is the central machine, with a big external hard drive attached to it to back up my files. My laptop is the machine I use when I’m not able to be in my office, and it just syncs all …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #13

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 big sister comes into her own Our daughter has been struggling with the role of being a big sister to her baby brother. She had been the baby …