Month: May 2014

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Finding Cheap Gas

Saving Pennies or Dollars is a new semi-regular series on The Simple Dollar, inspired by a great discussion on The Simple Dollar’s Facebook page concerning frugal tactics that might not really save that much money. I’m going to take some of the scenarios described by the readers there and try to break down the numbers …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Iowa Politicking Edition

One very interesting part of living in Iowa (a facet that I imagine is really only shared with residents of New Hampshire) is the huge amount of political gamesmanship that goes on in this state for the six months or so before a presidential caucus. Because Iowa is the first state in the nation to …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Underemployment

About twelve years ago, I had a job as a computer lab monitor at the college I attended. The job was easy. All I had to do was go to that room during designated hours, sit at a particular desk, and answer user questions, along with a few other minor tasks such as reloading printer …

Categories: Careers

A Different Way of Thinking about Your Debts

If you take out a $200,000 loan for 30 years at 4.5% interest, how much in debt are you? Some might argue that you’re only $200,000 in debt. However, when you look at the payments you’ve committed yourself to making over the years, you’re actually promising to make payments totaling $364,813.20. Thus, I’d argue that …

Categories: Debt

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Dishwasher Detergent

Saving Pennies or Dollars is a new semi-regular series on The Simple Dollar, inspired by a great discussion on The Simple Dollar’s Facebook page concerning frugal tactics that might not really save that much money. I’m going to take some of the scenarios described by the readers there and try to break down the numbers …

Reader Mailbag: Long 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. Move in together 2. The crossover point for cars 3. Freelancer feeling desperate 4. Retirement and wedding 5. Basics of prepaid credit cards 6. Debt repayment …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: Social Intelligence

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 often talked about how having a social network that challenges you to improve yourself and encourages you towards …

Categories: Books

Balancing Giving and Saving

Sharon writes in: How do you manage the balance between saving for the future and for your own personal goals with a desire to give to those less fortunate than you? It feels like they’re going in opposite directions. To an extent, this is a struggle for virtually everyone in the first world. Everyone reading …

Rethinking Your Rules

Right now, as you’re reading this, you’re completely in control of this moment, limited only by your absolute physical limitations. You can choose to keep reading this article. Or, you can choose to go outside and take a walk. You can choose to get in your vehicle and drive to the next state. You can …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #34

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. This past week, Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple, likely due to health reasons. Jobs’ history, particulary with the creation of Apple and Pixar as an entrepreneur and the …

Dinner With My Family #30: Stuffed Bell Peppers

Each week, I’ll present a low-cost meal (or a meal that demonstrates a lot of options for cutting costs) that my family eats for dinner and enjoys. Many of the recipes will be vegan or vegetarian, with options to add other ingredients for non-vegetarians. Bell peppers are appearing by the dozen in neighborhood gardens, which …

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Hot Water or the Microwave

Saving Pennies or Dollars is a new semi-regular series on The Simple Dollar, inspired by a great discussion on The Simple Dollar’s Facebook page concerning frugal tactics that might not really save that much money. I’m going to take some of the scenarios described by the readers there and try to break down the numbers …

Making Plans for a Muddy Future

Ellen writes in: I’ve been reading The Simple Dollar for a long time. It’s pretty hard not to notice a few central themes in what you write about. Spend less than you earn and plan for the future and so on. However, two of the things you talk about seem to flat-out contradict themselves. You …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Educational Television

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. Life expectancy and Social Security 2. Generational inequality 3. Discretionary spending 4. Refinancing timing 5. Renting a car for vacation 6. Sticking to self-set deadlines 7. …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Airline Tickets

Saving Pennies or Dollars is a new semi-regular series on The Simple Dollar, inspired by a great discussion on The Simple Dollar’s Facebook page concerning frugal tactics that might not really save that much money. I’m going to take some of the scenarios described by the readers there and try to break down the numbers …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Kindergarten Edition

Rather than spending the day at daycare or at preschool until his mother picked him up after school, our son now comes home on the school bus. For a good hour, the only two people in our home are me and him. We have a snack together. We talk about our respective days for a …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Preparing for Your Next Act

A few days ago, I was standing by the bus stop waiting for my oldest child to arrive home from one of his first days in kindergarten. There were a few other parents of kindergarteners there and I struck up a conversation with one of them. We shared what we do for a living, what …

Money Isn’t the Root of All Evil

I just received an email from a concerned friend of mine who had never read The Simple Dollar before. I asked for permission to share this part of the email with you (with just a touch of editing). I can’t believe you’re actually using your life and your energy and your mind talking about money …

Categories: Getting Started

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Coupon Clipping

Saving Pennies or Dollars is a new semi-regular series on The Simple Dollar, inspired by a great discussion on The Simple Dollar’s Facebook page concerning frugal tactics that might not really save that much money. I’m going to take some of the scenarios described by the readers there and try to break down the numbers …