Month: May 2014

Five Cheap Shirts or One Good One?

As many of you know, I sometimes buy shirts and other items of clothing at Goodwill, thrift stores, and consignment shops. I don’t have too much luck finding tall things (I’m six and a half feet tall), but I do find a lot of clothes for my children and my wife sometimes finds items for …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Multi-Christmas Edition

My family and I often load up the few days before and the week after Christmas with a lot of visits with extended family, either at our home or theirs. This often means some careful choreography. Part of the challenge is that we like to celebrate a full Christmas day with just the five of …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Change for a Dollar

Every once in a while, something just appears out of nowhere and strikes the perfect chord in your life. Yesterday, a friend of mine sent me a link to a short YouTube film, Change for a Dollar. Here’s the video. Please, take the time to watch this. For me and for a lot of us, …

Categories: Getting Started

Does a Basement Greenhouse Really Save Money?

When I was a child, my father used to grow plants in our basement all year long. I remember going down there in the middle of the winter with several inches of snow outside, only to find tons of tomato and pepper plants thriving under an array of grow lights. I remember how the basement …

Personal Finance and Intuition

A few weeks ago, I was exchanging emails with a reader (who asked not to be quoted, but said I could paraphrase the conversation). She told me that she makes most of her decisions entirely on instinct and intuition and feels that this is why she often gets into financial trouble. Frankly, I agree with …

Categories: Uncategorized

Reader Mailbag: The Big Christmas Run-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. Retiring at age 50 2. Return to work or not? 3. Handling an inheritance 4. Christmas games 5. Money and relationships 6. Housing predicament 7. Pie …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: Your Credit Score

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 was about to review the third edition of Liz Pulliam Weston’s Your Credit Score several months ago when …

Categories: Books, Credit Reports

Charity and Your Tax Bill

Edit: I made a mistake with the standard deduction math and explanation near the end of the original version of this post. I have since corrected it. Thanks to the readers who pointed it out. Monica writes in: Last year, I took the advice of my older brother and made several charitable donations during December …

Beginning Frugality with the End in Mind

One of the most empowering things I do on a regular basis is to create a detailed sketch of what I want my life to be like in five years or so, and then I repeat this exercise with periods further down the road (ten years and twenty years and then when I’m about 70). …

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #51

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. Sounds of the Winter by Walt Whitman I love to get all bundled up and go on a walk in the winter. Sounds of the winter too, Sunshine upon …

My Top Tactics for Reducing Online Shopping

I find it very easy to buy stuff online without adequate thought. I’ll click a few times and suddenly the item I want is on the way. I particularly struggle with three sites directly connected to three of my biggest hobbies: Amazon (for books), Cool Stuff Inc. (for board games), and Steam (for computer games …

Categories: Shopping

Fail

In 2002, I started a blog about dreams and dream science. It eventually failed. In 2004, I started a blog about sports. It eventually failed. In 2005, I started a blog about parenting. It eventually failed. In 2006, I started a blog about personal finance. It succeeded, largely on the lessons learned from the failures. …

Categories: Getting Started

An Announcement about the Future of The Simple Dollar

Over the past few days, I entered into an agreement to join forces with Cut Media to ensure the long-term future of The Simple Dollar. What Does This Mean For Readers? To me, this is the most important question to be asked about this arrangement. I have signed a long-term agreement with Cut Media with …

Categories: Meta

Reader Mailbag: Kickstarter

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. Facebook alienation and human interaction 2. Save or pay debt? 3. Thoughts on inheritance 4. Privacy and blogging 5. Slow student loan repayment? 6. Parenting blogs …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Reliable Items

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: Sick Daughter Edition

My daughter got incredibly ill on Monday evening. She was completely lethargic and was losing liquid as fast as we could give it to her. We were considering taking her to the emergency room. Tuesday morning, she’s completely fine. She spends the entire day jumping on Dad’s lap and singing songs and jumping on Dad’s …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Fast Food, Convenience, and Money

Jane Black recently wrote a fascinating article for The Atlantic entitled “Fast Food’s Dirty Little Secret: It’s the Middle Class Buying Burgers“: For years the conventional wisdom has been that fast food is poor people’s food; that, thanks to government subsidies that ensure cheap calories, the drive-through is where people who can’t afford the “good” …

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Canning Beans

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 Indirect Connection

A few months ago, a friend of mine bought a used car to replace his worn-out beast from the mid-1980s. I was impressed when he told me he had paid cash for it. I was even more impressed when he told me how he bought this used car. His method was simple. He didn’t go …

Categories: Getting Started