Month: May 2014

The Value of a Minimal Approach

Above, you’ll see a picture of a Le Creuset 5 1/2 quart enameled cast iron pot. I picked it up at a cookware sale about a year and a half ago at roughly half off the list price. Yes, I paid around $150 for this single pot. Since then, it’s almost the only pot or …

Reader Mailbag: Big Brother, Little Brother

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. Relocation decision 2. Filing internet documents 3. Roth IRA novice 4. Universal life thoughts 5. Exchanging money 6. Graduation gifts 7. Cooking a whole chicken 8. …

Categories: Books and Reading

Addicted to “Solutions”

An interesting question comes from Jonas: Do you read a personal finance book a week? Seriously? Are you really learning something new each week? First of all, I don’t read a personal finance book each week to find some overarching theory that will “explain” something to me. I read them for two reasons. One, I …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Spring Tulips Edition

Over the last week, the tulips we planted in front of our house went into true bloom. The pink and red colors look absolutely fantastic, particularly when coupled with the yellow daffodils that are in bloom as well. Spring is here and our front step shouts it out to the world. The Seven Stages of …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Second Job Paradox

Amy writes in: I’ve been a paralegal with the same law firm for four years. I love the job and the work that I do. I feel like I’m genuinely helping people. In October, my boyfriend and I sat down and looked at our finances as you suggested. We came to the conclusion that we …

Categories: Careers

How We Cut Our Energy Bill By an Average of 30 Percent

It’s simple. We opened our windows in all seasons. Yep, even the winter. For the past year, every time the temperature outside is between 50 F and 85 F, we simply just open up the windows and turn off both the internal heating and cooling. A sampling of year-over-year comparisons across all seasons shows that …

Categories: Getting Started

Revisiting the Three Questions That Will Transform Your Life

Three and a half years ago (has it really been that long?), I wrote a post on the three money questions that will transform your life. It was part of a lengthy discussion of the book Your Money or Your Life, from where those questions derived. As I look back on the financial lessons I’ve …

Categories: Getting Started, Money

Reader Mailbag: Dreams

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. Cross country move 2. Building credit without cards 3. Quick repayment and credit scores 4. Income generation in retirement 5. 401(k) manipulation 6. What’s your day …

Categories: Books and Reading

Review: Coach Wooden

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. I’ve mentioned more than a few times on The Simple Dollar how one of my few heroes in life …

Categories: Books and Reading

Applying the Golden Rule to Tough Personal Finance Situations

We’re all familiar with the golden rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” It’s a key concept in human morality and a foundation rule in most of the world’s significant religions. For a lot of people, the golden rule comes at …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #18

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 Highwayman by Alfred Noyes I spent part of this week assembling a handmade book of poetry to read to our children in the evenings and on road trips, …

What Worries You the Most? How Can You Fix It?

For the better part of the last decade, the biggest worry I had in my life was personal finance and the foundation (or lack thereof) that I was building for my future. My approach to this worry was, for the most part, to ignore it. I’d just make minimum payments and pretend that everything was …

Categories: Getting Started

Dinner With My Family #16: Penne with Cannelini and Tomatoes

Homemade Pasta: Penne with Cannelini and Tomatoes One common thing I like to do on weekdays when I don’t have enough leftovers for lunch is to prepare something that will make a casserole dinner for my family that I can easily pull a lunch’s worth of food from for myself right then. I prefer meals …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

What Is the “Bottom”?

Andrea writes in with a heartbreaking story. In your post about helping others, you made several suggestions for helping someone that appears to be in trouble. The item that most struck home for me was: “Wait for their “bottom,” then gently offer help. Although a low point can often be incredibly painful, it can also …

Categories: Getting Started

A Simple Request

Since my tongue-in-cheek post on Monday about my “seminar series,” I’ve been stunned at the outpouring of emails and notes from people who wanted to pay me anyway for that “seminar.” I really appreciate it. I deeply appreciate it. Right now, though, I’m in a financial situation where, for the time being and for the …

Reader Mailbag: Sun Tea Season

As I write this, I’m enjoying my first ice-cold glass of sun tea of 2011. Delicious. 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 loan consolidation question 2. Tabletop or electronic games? 3. …

Categories: Books and Reading

Financial Media, Press Releases, Hype, and Your Money

When I first started writing The Simple Dollar, I was a big proponent of financial publications like Money Magazine, Kiplinger’s, SmartMoney, and so on. I read them. I referenced them in posts. I even suggested that people subscribe to them. For a long time, though, I’ve scarcely mentioned them. What happened? First of all, the …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Back Pain Edition

On Sunday, I twisted my back stepping out of the shower, pulling a muscle. By Tuesday, my back felt mostly better. I’m my son’s soccer team coach and the boy was so excited to play, I went out and jogged all over the field with him and his team during the game, even though I …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Desire That Defines Your Direction

What do you want right now? I’m not just talking about the big things or your goals in life. I’m talking about everything. What are your greatest desires right now? It might be very short term. You might want to go to the restroom. You might be hungry or thirsty and want food or drink. …

Categories: Getting Started