Month: May 2014

Frugally Considering a Tempting Purchase

I don’t play video games that much at this point in my life because, frankly, I don’t have very much time for them. I perhaps play for four or five hours a week. Usually, it’s when the children are about to nap or drifting off to sleep, and I play so I can be within …

Categories: Getting Started

Encourage Art Skills with an End Roll of Newspaper (71/365)

Two or three times a week, our dining room table turns into a giant art project. We cover the table with paper, crayons, markers, safety scissors, glue, watercolor paints, and other items and our children get down to the important business of creating something. One time, it might be paper snowflakes. The next time, they’ll …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Basic Manners

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. Bills in collection 2. First steps toward reading 3. Freelance work and being assertive 4. Network marketing thoughts 5. Bedtime reading 6. Finances, style, and a …

Categories: Books and Reading

Participate in Babysitting Exchanges Instead of Hiring a Babysitter (70/365)

Within walking distance of our home lives another couple that’s about our age. They have two children, both of which are in the age range of our own children, and the older ones have become friends due to interacting at the same preschool. Over time, we’ve developed something of a babysitting exchange with them. Once …

Categories: Frugality

Golden

One of the basic guidelines that I try to live my life by is the Golden Rule. It’s a simple statement that pops up in almost every world religion and many significant works of philosophy. Simply put, treat others as you would like to be treated. All things whatsoever ye would that men should do …

Categories: Getting Started

Focus on Buying Open-Ended Toys (69/365)

Yesterday, I wrote about the advantages of buying fewer toys, but focusing on higher-quality toys. This makes sure that you’re not replacing toys because they’re cheap, you’re not filling your house up with clutter, and the toys have resale value when you’re finished. If you’ve spent time around children, you’ll quickly notice a few key …

Categories: Frugality

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #63

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. I spent some time this week planning a family trip this summer to Yellowstone. In order to get my children excited about it, I searched online for public domain photos …

Buy Fewer Children’s Toys, but Buy Higher Quality Items (68/365)

Every so often, Sarah and I go through our children’s toys and set some aside to donate to Goodwill. Our children tend to receive a lot of gifts on their birthdays from their army of loving grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, so they tend to wind up with a large number of toys. From those …

Categories: Frugality

Breaking Through the Frustration Barrier

Personal finance can be really frustrating at times. For starters, money success can take a long time to achieve. If you’re in a big hole of debt, you’re looking at years of digging just to get back to zero. People are often encouraged to start saving for retirement in their twenties, even though most won’t …

Categories: Getting Started

Take Advantage of Hand-Me-Downs (67/365)

When Sarah and I had our children, we were somewhat lucky in that a lot of our friends and family were having children around the same time. There were several different couples that all had children within two or three years of each other. Because of that, and because many of our friends and family …

Categories: Books and Reading

Reader Mailbag: Parent-Teacher Conferences

Reader Mailbag: Parent-Teacher Conferences 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. Medicare, Social Security, and 401(k)s 2. Water cooler and cable TV 3. Helping people in need 4. Handling an underwater house 5. …

Categories: Books and Reading

Shop Yard Sales for Young Children’s Clothing (66/365)

Newborn. Three months. Six months. Nine months. Twelve months. Eighteen months. Twenty four months. 2T. 3T. 4T. Children go through clothes sizes incredibly fast. I’ve watched my own children blaze through all of the above clothes sizes in three to four years. That means children simply aren’t going to wear out the clothes you buy …

Categories: Frugality

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Springing Forth Edition

On Sunday, we had a snowstorm that deposited several inches on the ground and left me shoveling the driveway. On Tuesday, the temperature reached 70 F and I went on a long walk in short sleeves. Spring springs suddenly. Marginal Tax Rate VS Effective Tax Rate – What are They and How do They Affect …

Categories: Books and Reading

Make Your Own Baby Wipes (65/365)

Over the years, Sarah and I have used two different approaches to cut down on the cost of baby wipes. Both of them save significant money over buying wipes at the store. Our first approach involved doing almost exactly what’s depicted in the picture above. We simply took a roll of paper towels, cut them …

Categories: Frugality

Toxic

It’s the little things that inject poison into your life. There’s a particular flavor of soda that I really like. I often absentmindedly buy a bottle or two of it when I have an opportunity. I’ll drink them in rapid succession, enjoy them in the moment, and then find that I have a headache within …

Categories: Getting Started

Use Cloth Diapers (64/365)

When Sarah and I first started cloth diapering, quite a few of our family and friends thought we were completely crazy. Rather than focusing on the mountain of benefits (it is incredibly less expensive if you have multiple children, it’s far better for the environment), they focused on one of the drawbacks, which is actually …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Paper Search

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. Refinancing into extremely low ARM 2. Over the Roth cap 3. Dealing with well-meaning family 4. Value of supporting local businesses 5. Walking away from great …

Categories: Books and Reading

Start Saving for College as Early as Possible (63/365)

Let’s say you have a child today. You’re estimating that their college education will cost $25K a year, so that child is going to need $100K in eighteen years in order to pay for college. Let’s also say you can earn a steady 6% return on that money you save. If you wait until the …

Categories: Frugality

Repetition Is a Losing Life Battle

Over the past few days, I’ve been exchanging messages on Facebook with an old friend of mine. This person (that we’ll call Chris) has spent virtually every weekend (and many weeknights) getting completely drunk since Chris was in college more than a decade ago. At one point, Chris told me the following: Most of the …

Categories: Getting Started