Month: May 2014

Review: The Bold Truth About Investing

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. A week or two ago, I was scanning the radio dial while on a road trip, looking for something …

The Things I’m Thankful For

Like a lot of you, for me the upcoming week is filled with meals shared with family and friends. Over a seven day stretch, we’re eating at least five planned meals with people we don’t get to see too often. In all that bustle is a reminder of the people we were, the people we …

Categories: Meta

Boredom Is Our Enemy

The other day, a friend of mine put up a Facebook update stating that she was incredibly bored. I wrote back and suggested that she come visit me, as I have more than enough things to do. I’ve come to believe that boredom is the enemy of a vibrant, enjoyable, and values-based life. As the …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #47

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. Emerson on the core of things If you’ve been reading these inspiration columns for a while, you know that I hold the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson in high …

Dinner With My Family #37: Ratatouille Pot Pie

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. Our garden is producing a few last-minute things – well, mostly …

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Wedding Favors

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 …

Some Thoughts on Delayed Gratification

Over the past few years, I’ve come to believe that learning to appreciate delayed gratification is one of the best things a person can learn in terms of their psyche and their finances. Here are a few stories illustrating what I mean. Watching your garden grow This past year, I really got into our garden. …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Juggling Act

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. Closing a credit card 2. Estate planning and shared accounts 3. Personal finance percentages 4. “Nerdy” hobby 5. FHA loan question 6. Umbrella insurance 7. Caucus …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Farmers Market or Gardening

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: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Haircut Edition

I love the feel of a simple haircut. I love the sensation of the hair leaving my head. I love running my fingers through my newly-shortened hair. I love the sense of wind blowing through the shortened hair, causing a sensation on my scalp that I haven’t felt in a while. It’s really the simple …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Is Your Home an Investment?

Monica writes in: Some personal finance books seem to treat a person’s home as an investment. Others don’t treat it that way at all. I’m confused as to whether I should look at my home as an investment or simply as a living requirement. How do you handle this when you look at things like …

Categories: Getting Started

What Makes for a Rich Life?

One theme you’ll see pop up time and time again in personal finance and personal growth writing is the idea of a “rich life.” Usually, if that idea is expanded on at all, the “rich life” idea tends to involve a few ideas of what the writer thinks everyone should have in their life, like …

Categories: Getting Started

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Christmas Lights

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: Dress Up

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. Heating and cooling issues 2. Tax problems 3. Student loan debt juggling 4. Daylight Savings Time switch problems 5. Joint accounts with aging parents 6. Potential …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: The Small Budget Gardener

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. Every once in a while, I’ll stumble upon a book that’s basically already covered the ground I had planned …

How to Loan Money to Friends and Family

One of my basic rules of personal finance is never loan money to friends or family. It creates a lender-borrower situation that you just don’t want to mix with friendships and family relationships. Think about it this way: do you like your mortgage holder? Do you feel warm, friendly feelings about them? That’s the result …

Categories: Getting Started

What Should My Net Worth Be?

Earlier today, I was thumbing through the excellent book The Millionaire Next Door, when I came across an interesting discussion about a person’s net worth. The authors, William Stanley and Thomas Danko, offer up a rule of thumb for a person’s net worth: Multiply your age times your realized pretax annual household income from all …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #46

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, my oldest two children and I spent some time looking at public domain photos of different points in American history for an art project. Some of them …

Wearing Things Out

Dinner with My Family is taking a one week hiatus this week. On the shelf in my office sits a well-worn copy of the board game Settlers of Catan. By well-worn, I mean well-worn. Fraying edges. Ink starting to wear off of the cards. A few home-brewed replacement pieces. A bit of moisture damage causing …

Categories: Getting Started