Month: May 2014

Personal Finance and Being a Parent

Yesterday, my oldest son (who is about to start kindergarten in the fall) and I were looking at his portfolio from his two years of preschool work. His teachers collected quite a few of his art projects, photographs of his activities, and other materials and presented it to our family after his graduation from preschool. …

Categories: Parenting

Handling the First Flush

When I graduated from college, I was lucky enough to have a job that I more or less walked straight into. I had about two weeks off between graduation day and the start of my new job. That new job paid far more per hour than any job I’d ever had – and it was …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #20

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. Flying a kite Our family spent a long afternoon at the park this past week just flying kites. We’d toss them up in the air, let the wind catch …

The Danger of the Rich Act

Dinner With My Family will return next week. Right now, I am in (arguably) the best financial shape of my life. I’ve paid off all of my debts except for my mortgage and I’ve got a healthy amount in savings as well. Each month, I’m bringing in more than I’m spending. Many families in this …

Categories: Getting Started

How We Shop for Children’s Clothes

It’s the middle of spring. We’ve seen our first 90 degree day in central Iowa. That means, of course, that it’s time to take stock of our clothing. The winter stuff largely heads to storage, as we don’t need thick long-sleeved shirts at this point and our pants are mostly skirts and shorts without many …

Categories: Frugality

On Graduation Day

Today, I’m pretty busy with family events. My son is graduating from his preschool today. We take him to a private preschool that has a great blend of academics and constructive play time that we just love, but this is his final day there. In August, he’ll be moving on to kindergarten. Three of his …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Cheese and Eggs

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. Combining budgets 2. Considering major life changes 3. Board games with wife 4. Nervous about adjustable rates 5. Starting business with debt load 6. Low-yield savings …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

What’s Your Foundation?

It took me most of a decade to figure out what things really mattered to me in my adult life. My family. My closest friends. My sense of right and wrong. My values and morals. Writing. Reading. Playing a game with someone whose company I enjoy. Cooking and then enjoying a good meal. Teaching my …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Garage Cleanup Edition

Over the past few weeks, my wife and I have been doing a great deal of spring cleaning around our home: cleaning out my office, cleaning out some closets, and so on. The biggest project, though, was our garage. I spent an entire day getting it into some sort of sensible order. As I moved …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The Hidden Emergency Fund

In a small independent bank several hours from where we live sits a savings account. That account is in our names. It earns a solid interest rate but does not have an ATM card associated with it. It has about a month’s worth of living expenses in it. In order to access this account, one …

Categories: Getting Started

Overlooking the Free Things

This morning, I woke up and looked out my window to see the dawning sun peeking between the horizon and a cloud. Last night, I turned off all the lights in the bathroom and took a warm shower, letting the lack of light and the extra heat remind me of the wonderful feeling in every …

Categories: Getting Started

Filing Day

Since our third child was born, I’ve found that it’s been more and more difficult to find time for some of the more routine and mundane personal finance tasks. For me, tops on that list of “mundane personal finance tasks I can postpone because there are three kids who each need some Dad time” is …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Childhood Toys

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. How much for college? 2. Information security 3. Repay loans? Save for retirement? 4. Investigating a mutual fund 5. New central air while retired 6. Vision …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: Emotional Currency

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. Every once in a while, I’ll choose to read a personal finance book that’s clearly targeting women, like this …

Categories: Books

Personal Finance and the End of Days

Over the last month, I’ve received many emails from followers of Harold Camping, a Christian radio host who is claiming that Jesus will return to Earth and the end of the world will occur within the year. One such email: If you were truly serving your readers in these times, you would provide advice for …

Categories: Getting Started

The Technique

How do you cook pasta? I’m willing to bet there are a least a couple simple things you can do to make better pasta faster with fewer dishes to clean. How do you fold a t-shirt? It seems really straightforward and routine, but most likely, you’re folding it inefficiently and there’s a more efficient way …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #19

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. Barbara Kingsolver on community This is an extended bit from a speech by the author Barbara Kingsolver in 2008: This is an ancient human social construct that once was …

A Sick Child or a Mountain of Money

My children have been sick for most of the week, so I’ve been sticking to old reliable meals that I can make with my eyes closed rather than being adventurous. That means no new “Dinner with My Family” post this week. Tune in next week for a new one, though! A few days ago, my …

Categories: Getting Started

The Difference Between What We Want To Be True and What Is Actually True

Almost all of the suffering we put ourselves through in life is because there’s a difference between what we want to be true and what’s actually true. During my early professional years, I watched as the gap between the financially successful person I wanted to be and the financially unsound person that I was became …

Categories: Getting Started