Month: May 2014

Dinner With My Family #33: Vegetarian Gumbo

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. At this point in late September, we’re starting to reach that …

Some Thoughts on Bank of America’s Debit Card Fee Plan

I woke up to several emails this morning about Bank of America’s new plan to charge a $5 monthly fee to debit card users if they use those cards for purchases: Bank of America will begin charging a $5 monthly fee at the beginning of next year for customers who make debit card purchases. Whether …

Categories: Banking

A Budget Is Only What You Make of It

Jenny writes in with an interesting question that was originally in this morning’s mailbag, but my answer became long enough that I decided to make it into its own post: I went through all of the budget exercises in the financial guidebook and created a budget for myself. The only problem is that when I …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: School Lunch

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. Saving for multiple housing goals 2. Children sharing bedrooms 3. Staying positive in volatile markets 4. Early childhoold illnesses 5. Board games as gifts 6. Student …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Electric and Gas Lawnmowing

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: How I Round Up Edition

How do I select the links that I use in the weekly roundup? Each day, I visit quite a few personal finance blogs and blogs on related topics such as personal growth. If I see an article I like, I add it to my “roundup” folder. When I assemble a roundup article (usually on Monday …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The Waiting Game

Recently, a friend of mine offered up an interesting thought on personal finance issues: “You know what the worst part about getting your money straight is? The waiting. It doesn’t happen overnight. It can take years. All of that waiting on your debts to go away is just excruciating.” I know exactly what he means …

Categories: Getting Started

The Products You Buy

The products you buy will not make you smarter. They will not make you successful. They will not make you more attractive. They will not make you popular. They will not make you a better person. They will not fill your hours with joy. There is only one thing that can do all of these …

Categories: Getting Started

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Making Your Own Clothes

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: Parenting

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 insurance question 2. Where do I begin? 3. Paying bills with reward cards 4. Waiting for an internship 5. Settling credit card debt 6. Ignoring …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed

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. As I can tell you from about three and a half years of personal experience, money management when you’re …

Categories: Books

What Do You Have That Others Might Want?

The more answers to this question that you have, the better your opportunities for the future are. No one is going to give you their money or their time or their attention if you’re not giving them something in return for that money, time, or attention. So, what do you have that others might want? …

Categories: Getting Started

Appreciate What You Have, Don’t Sweat What You Don’t Have

A few days ago, I had a chat with someone in my community who reads The Simple Dollar. During the conversation, he asked me what the one thing I hoped people would take away from The Simple Dollar was. A lot of ideas popped through my head. Spend less than you earn. Avoid debt at …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #38

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. Popurls Popurls basically takes the headlines from a bunch of other sites that aggregate links (like Metafilter and Reddit and Longreads) and presents them all on one page so …

Spreading Out Your Grocery Shopping

Dinner with My Family is on a one week hiatus (which is party explained below). It will return next week. Over the last month, Sarah and I have been experimenting with a longer period between grocery store trips. Prior to this month, we had almost always done a weekly grocery store visit, usually on Saturday …

Categories: Food, Frugality, Groceries

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Canning Fruits and Vegetables

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 …

How to Save for Multiple Goals at the Same Time

Shannon writes in with a great question: I’m trying to figure out how exactly I should save for several goals that I have. Here are the things I want to save for: 1. A BlendTec blender – $300 2. A complete refinishing of the downstairs bathroom – $3,000 3. A vacation to Germany next summer …

Categories: Goals

Reader Mailbag: Sick Child

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. Upromise 2. Low interest debt payoff strategy 3. Costs of raising a child 4. Lawyers and starting a business 5. Introducing yourself to neighbors 6. Pet …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Juicing and Blending

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 …