Month: May 2014

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Readjusting Sleep Edition

During the summer, Sarah and I tend to stay up until 11 or so, then sleep in until 7:30 or 8 AM (usually when the children wake us up). During the rest of the year, most of the family has to get up early for school or work, requiring alarms at 6:15 AM (or so). …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Financial Balance and the 80/20 Rule

One of the most fascinating things I’ve discovered since starting The Simple Dollar is the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto principle. Simply put, it means that 80% of the effects comes from 20% of the causes. It’s perhaps easiest to explain this principle by giving you several examples of how I see it …

Categories: Getting Started

Frugality and the Idea of Work

This note from Phil left me thinking. You often talk about “frugality by the hour” and mention the hourly rate for doing something frugal. Like you’ll say that you can earn $12 an hour if you make your own laundry soap. I think that’s a really poor analogy. When I’m not at work, I don’t …

Categories: Getting Started

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Grinding Your Own Coffee

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: School Mornings

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. Self employment and taxes 2. Macs, PCs, and frugality 3. Can’t stand frugal apartment 4. Buying a “forever” home 5. Prenatal college savings 6. A major …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: The Real Cost of Living

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. Most of us, at some point or another in our lives, end up having to make a fundamental choice …

Categories: Books

What Are Your Priorities?

A few weeks ago, I was reading a yet-to-be-released personal finance book. At one point in the book, the author suggested that I make an actual list of my priorities. What is the most important thing in my life? What are the key things that follow it, and in what order? An aside: sometimes I …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #37

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. Ninite I spent some significant time setting up a computer for someone this week. This tool made that task drastically easier by giving me a single installation package to …

The Meal Library

Sarah and I love to experiment when it comes to food. We’re constantly trying new things in the kitchen using new and different ingredients. However, the reality of our lives dictates that we often don’t have time to look for ideas and experiment creatively with food. Take our current Tuesday evenings. Our daughter has a …

Categories: Food, Frugality

Dinner With My Family #32: Butternut Squash Casserole

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. Right now, our garden is providing us with a small mountain …

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Extra Costs of 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 …

The Resistance Fighter Inside of You

Whenever we think about doing something different with our lives, a little resistance fighter starts preparing for battle inside of us. He tells us why we can’t do it. He comes up with lots of plausible excuses. He talks about things that would be a lot more fun to do. Often, he convinces us to …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Adequate Sleep

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. Second computer needs 2. Getting unstuck 3. Career choice 4. Setting up a trust 5. Moving on 6. Print and play games? 7. Buy or not …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Failed Batches

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: Old Friends Edition

In everyone’s life, friendships blossom and then other friendships fade into the background. You move. Your interests change. Your time availability changes. Things change. I have a lot of old friends in my life that I miss seeing regularly, but I find that when I do see them, we’ve both changed enough that whatever it …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Determining the Size of Your Emergency Fund

One common question I get from readers relates to the size of their emergency fund. Simply put, how big should it be? How much cash should they have saved in their savings account for those unexpected events life deals you? Before we even get started, it’s important to note that there are a lot of …

Categories: Getting Started

Frugality Won’t Make You Rich

Instead, it makes it possible for you to get rich. Lately, I’ve read statements in personal finance books where people claim that “frugality won’t make you rich.” They make the valid point that if you cut out some small thing – say, a $5 daily expense – you wind up with less than $20,000 after …

Categories: Frugality

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Making Your Own Soda

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: Child Independence

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. When to start retirement fund? 2. First house decision 3. Shopping for health insurance 4. Driving school 5. I’m overextended – what now? 6. Making money …

Categories: Reader Mailbag