Month: May 2014

Dinner With My Family #28: Personal Pita Pizzas

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. Pita bread has such a wide variety of uses that we …

Paper Towels and Frugality

For a long time, my wife and I have kept a big pile of rags in our kitchen as a cost-saving strategy. Instead of using paper towels for the endless small kitchen messes that come from having three children (wiping off faces, cleaning up spilled food and drinks, etc.), we strive to use rags from …

Routine Mistakes

Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow; He who would search for pearls must dive below. – John Dryden Humans are creatures of habit. We fill our days with lots of little routines that we often go through with scarcely a thought. I can still describe my typical daily routine from the days when I …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Debt Ceiling Thoughts

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. Guilt for every little purchase 2. Handling partner without money skills 3. Auto insurance challenges 4. Handling elderly relative in decline 5. Preparing for a growing …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Small Steps to Buying a House (and More)

A week or so ago, a friend of mine purchased a house with cash. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, but it’s more than roomy enough for his needs. How did he manage to come up with the cash to just buy a home without a loan? Small steps. Nothing more, nothing less. He doesn’t …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Catching Up Edition

I spent several hours yesterday just catching up on some of my favorite personal finance and personal growth blogs, bookmarking interesting posts and the like. These are (some) of my favorite articles that I found along the way. Athletes Are Not Overpaid, Stop Whining About It I completely agree with this. Athletes are paid what …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Some Thoughts After a Long Vacation

Over the past three weeks, I’ve taken a long vacation. My family and I traveled to the Seattle area to see the sights, visit family, and take our children to Mount Rainier and the ocean. We attended my sister-in-law’s wedding and reception and a few other events surrounding it. After that, we hosted several family …

Categories: Careers, Meta

Unrealistic Returns in Personal Finance Writing

This is an issue that I’ve discussed a few times in reader mailbags, but I continue to receive so many questions about it that I think it needs to be thoroughly discussed. Over and over again in personal finance writing, you’ll find references to investment returns on the order of 10% to 12% per year …

Categories: Investing

False Labeling (for Frugality’s Sake)

Madeleine writes in with an interesting thought: When I was younger, my mother used to buy generic versions of things and put the contents into name brand packages. She would refill a ketchup bottle with generic ketchup so that guests would see the name-brand label. I understand why she did this. Many items are very …

Categories: Food, Frugality

Reader Mailbag: School

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. Torn between work and kids 2. Considering career options 3. Diet plans 4. Student loans? Retirement? Other options? 5. Domestic partnerships 6. Cleaning up credit report …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: Rework

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 often read business books on the side – you know, books that are mostly about succeeding within a …

Categories: What We're Reading

Gathering Your Thoughts

In the near future, I have to give a pair of presentations on similar topics, mostly related to online writing, mostly focused on methods for earning money at it and building an audience. As with any presentation that I give, I want this to be an excellent presentation, and I’m willing to put in the …

Two Paths to Financial Success

One of my favorite statements about personal finance is that it all boils down to five simple words. Spend less than you earn. Often, I’ll break this down into two methods you can use to earn more money. You can either increase your earnings (through a better job, better investments, and so on) or you …

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #31

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. Madeleine (1892) by Ramon Cassas The face of the woman in this painting has stuck in my mind all week. I kept wondering what her expression meant. Is she …

Dinner With My Family #27: Crock Pot Couscous

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. One challenge my wife and I take on (and something that …

The Ten Evils (Part Five)

This was originally one exceptionally long post. I chose to split it into five pieces for readability purposes. I’ll post a segment each day this week. As mentioned previously, I was recently leafing through a book at the library discussing Japanese martial arts (I believe it was Budo Secrets) when I came upon a sidebar …

Categories: Ten Evils

The Ten Evils (Part Four)

This was originally one exceptionally long post. I chose to split it into five pieces for readability purposes. I’ll post a segment each day this week. As mentioned previously, I was recently leafing through a book at the library discussing Japanese martial arts (I believe it was Budo Secrets) when I came upon a sidebar …

Categories: Ten Evils

Reader Mailbag: Political Posturing

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. Why pay down 0% debt? 2. Retirement planning for highly compensated 3. Strategic foreclosure question 4. Fearing change 5. Heating and cooling 6. Investing without broker …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

The Ten Evils (Part Three)

This was originally one exceptionally long post. I chose to split it into five pieces for readability purposes. I’ll post a segment each day this week. As mentioned previously, I was recently leafing through a book at the library discussing Japanese martial arts (I believe it was Budo Secrets) when I came upon a sidebar …

Categories: Ten Evils