Month: May 2014

Reader Mailbag: Painting Figures

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. Following other blogs 2. Unrealized losses and 401(k) rollovers 3. Multiple rewards cards 4. Spouses and frugality 5. Inheritance and financial aid 6. Handling a non-paying …

Categories: Books and Reading

Review: Buy, Buy Baby

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. One of the most powerful books I’ve read since starting The Simple Dollar is Juliet Schor’s Born to Buy. …

Deciding When It’s Okay to Spend Money

Earlier this week, Sarah and I stopped by one of the Borders “Going Out of Business” sales and browsed through the decidedly picked-over book selections there. At the one we visited, roughly half of the store’s stock had been sold, which meant that you had to really look around for deals in the remaining books …

Categories: Getting Started

Don’t Just Know, Do

No matter how much faculty of idle seeing a man has, the step from knowing to doing is rarely taken. – Ralph Waldo Emerson The Simple Dollar, like any worthwhile internet resource, is about knowledge. The entire purpose of the site is to get your mind thinking about your money, your time, and your career. …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #33

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. Randy Pausch on time management An awful lot of people have seen Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture,” but I actually found his talk on time management to be at least …

Dinner With My Family #29: Grilled Fish Fillets with Tomato and Corn Relish

Grilled Fish Fillet Recipe By fish fillets, of course, I’m speaking of whatever type of fresh fish you prefer – swordfish, salmon, catfish, or whatever else you like. In our case, we used fresh catfish fillets. These fillets had never been frozen and were actually caught in a river just a day or two before …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Brown-Bagging Lunch

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 …

Emergencies and Irregular Expenses

Every once in a while, I’ll get an email from a reader that goes something like this… This month, my annual insurance bill came due and I couldn’t make ends meet. I cleaned out my emergency fund. Then, at the end of the month, my car broke down. What’s the point of having an emergency …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Looking Forward

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. Keeping whole life insurance 2. Life choices and student loans 3. Adding spouse to property title 4. Should mom file for bankruptcy? 5. Student loan worries …

Categories: Books and Reading

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Making Your Own Tomato Sauce

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: School Days Edition

My oldest child starts kindergarten tomorrow. Our next child starts formal preschool tomorrow, too. They were babies just a short time ago, but they’re now progressing into the world, moving into their own independence. Frankly, it’s awesome. How We Didn’t Save Money with Our Babies The real story is that breastfeeding doesn’t work for everyone, …

Categories: Books and Reading

Why We Save

My five year old son is saving diligently to own a Nintendo DS Lite video game system. One of his cousins gave him a baggie with several games that would be playable on that system and he’s longing to play them, so he’s been saving. That system, new, costs $100. We can find reliable used …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

Building and Using a Time Diary

During the month of May and the first half of June, I kept a time diary. Several times throughout the day (as often as possible, in fact), I recorded how I had spent my time in as much detail as possible, without judgment, and saved all of these notes. After allowing a couple months to …

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Unplugging 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 …

Categories: Frugality, Saving Money

Reader Mailbag: Reading and Blurbing

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. Recovering from abysmal credit 2. Handling debt collection 3. Preparing for a layoff 4. Starting with web design 5. Repaying loans now or later 6. Deciding …

Categories: Books and Reading

Review: Financial Recovery

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. Karen McCall has a fairly interesting premise with this book. From her perspective, anyone who is in a challenging …

Categories: Books and Reading

Twelve Little Things

These were nice little nuggets from posts that never came to complete fruition. I thought the little pieces were still worth sharing, however. A vase full of fresh flowers in the entryway to your home makes a far better first impression than thousands of dollars in furniture. Spending a minute turning off every light and …

Categories: Getting Started

Growing Every Single Day

The one question I ask myself each day as I go to bed is, “Did I grow in some fashion today?” If I can’t answer that question with at least one very strong and clear statement, I view that day as a failure. What do I mean by that? Let’s break it down into smaller …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #32

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 week will mostly feature pictures of highlights from our recent travels. 1. Mount Rainier The cloud-wreathed peak of the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states was stunning as …