Month: May 2014

Use a Bicycle (40/365)

The winter is easily my least favorite season. It is very difficult to be outside for a long period of time when the temperature is approaching 0 F, as it often is in Iowa during the winter. You can put on a lot of clothes and do okay out there, but you’ve eliminated the possibility …

Letting Go of the Past

When I was a boy, one of the biggest things my father and I shared was baseball. We would listen to all of the Chicago Cubs games all summer long on the radio, watch many of them on television, and follow the day-to-day standings in the newspaper. I collected baseball cards with a burning passion …

Categories: Getting Started

Carpool (39/365)

Yesterday, I wrote about how taking public transportation can save you money even if you just let a car sit in the driveway while taking the bus. For quite a lot of us, though, public transportation isn’t an option. Even those who have a public transportation line near their home often find themselves without a …

Reader Mailbag: Time Conflict

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. Using wedding money wisely 2. Percentage of savings for retirement 3. Asking for wedding money tactfully 4. What to do with savings? 5. Self-employment advice 6. …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Use Public Transportation (38/365)

When I was in college – and for the first several months of my post-college career – I was an avid user of public transportation. I would ride the bus to work every day like clockwork. For many semesters, I would catch a bus at about 7:48 AM or so. It deposited me right in …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Marriage Advice Edition

If I had to give someone advice on how to keep a marriage in good shape, here’s what it would be. Every day, do two things. One, tell your spouse that you love them and tell them something specific about them that you love. Two, spend half an hour doing something that helps them in …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Practice Good Gas Conservation Habits (37/365)

One of the fun things about my wife’s car is that it has a constant readout of the miles per gallon on the dashboard. It lets you know what your miles per gallon over the last five minutes is, the mpg of your entire trip, as well as your estimated miles per gallon right at …

Following the Time Trail and Downgrading Subscriptions

In the past few months, we’ve ended our subscription to GameFly, reduced our subscription to Netflix to streaming-only, stopped receiving four magazines, and given away or sold a bunch of items around our household. At first glance, one might think we were going through some sort of economic crisis. After all, this is the exact …

Categories: Getting Started

Minimize Your Load (36/365)

Depending on the specific model, your car loses 1-2% fuel efficiency for every 100 pounds of extra weight in the car. That’s a surprising amount that can really add up. For example, let’s say you’re matching the extra weight that a friend of mine (who we’ll call Cathy) carries in her car. She consistently carries …

Reader Mailbag: Saint Bernards

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. Vacuum sealed bags 2. Boardgame with new couple friends 3. Investing for house down payment 4. Roth IRA versus Roth 401(k) 5. Hedging bets for retirement …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Use the Manufacturer’s Maintenance Schedule (35/365)

Of all the useful specific pieces of information in your car’s manual, the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule is perhaps the most useful. It tells you exactly how often normal maintenance should be performed on your car based on the odometer, and it’s that maintenance that will keep your car on the road without worry for a …

Ten Personal Finance and Career Books You Should Read

I’ve decided to discontinue the weekly book reviews for the time being. I have reviewed hundreds of personal finance books over the years and, frankly, there aren’t enough new and compelling personal finance books coming out to justify weekly reviews. I’ve read too many books recently that just duplicated stuff said in other books. Instead, …

Categories: Books

Don’t Get an Oil Change Every 3,000 Miles (34/365)

Whenever I go get an oil change (often, whenever I find myself with a good coupon to a local oil change service provider), I always notice that little sticker in the corner of my windshield that they affix during the oil change. Usually, it lists the mileage at which I should get my next oil …

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #58

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. Mortimer Adler on drudgework I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad idea to work simply for the money sometimes. “Work that is pure toil, done solely for the sake …

Buy the Cheap Gas (33/365)

I’ve turned the regular fluctuation of gas prices at the gas station fairly near our home (the one mentioned yesterday) into a game of sorts with my oldest son. Simply put, we’ve started tracking the data. We watch for the price of gas on that sign each time we drive by it, then we mention …

Figuring Out What’s Really Important (As a Foundation for Your Decisions)

Whenever I spend time thinking about my life, I get caught up in a lot of ideals. I think about writing a great novel. I think about some volunteer projects I’d like to work on. I think about the house I’d like to build and the great travel I’d love to do in the next …

Categories: Getting Started

Air Up All of Your Tires (32/365)

Every weekday, I drive my daughter to preschool. It’s a nice routine, one that gives me a chance to spend some time with her. I make breakfast for her, make sure she’s adequately dressed for the weather, brush her beautiful long hair, and then we’re off to her preschool. Along the path from home to …

Reader Mailbag: Super Bowl Celebration

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. Repeatedly failing to achieve goals 2. Handling bill collectors 3. Rethinking mortgage payoff goal 4. Handling extra cash 5. Paying taxes at year end 6. Online …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Don’t Buy a Service Contract or an Extended Warranty (31/365)

I don’t like high pressure sales situations. Whenever I find myself in a situation where some cheesy salesperson is trying to give me the hard sell on some product, I find myself walking away. Even more so, I usually find myself getting a negative gut impression of the product being sold, one that’s usually reinforced …