Month: May 2014

Reader Mailbag: Children’s Art

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. Encouraging college-age money skills 2. Managing online gaming 3. Buying a condo 4. How important is expense ratio? 5. Moving for child’s school 6. Turning down …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Check the Community Calendar (171/365)

A decade ago, I would often find myself bored after work. Mind you, I wasn’t even married at that time. Children were still several years away. I was steadily dating my wife with plans to get engaged with her, but that hadn’t happened yet, either. Sarah had her own commitments, as she was new at …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Vacation Planning Edition

While preparing for our family’s trip to South Dakota and Wyoming this summer, I spent a lot of time researching how to save money on vacations. This week, I thought I’d share some of the best articles I found on that topic. Planning a Debt-Free Dream Vacation This actually echoes many of the things I …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Cut Back on Hobbies That Constantly Require Buying More Stuff (170/365)

When I was in college, I went through a long period where I avidly played Magic: the Gathering. For those unaware, Magic is a card game where a player (if they want to compete in tournaments) has to regularly supplement his collection of cards by buying new cards. In other words, sticking with the hobby …

What You Give Up for Change

Recently, I was reading a wonderful memoir by Rich Roll entitled Finding Ultra, in which he discusses training for triathlons in his early forties after living a relatively sedentary life up to that point. At one point, he discusses how he almost broke down and gave up after falling off of his bicycle and breaking …

Categories: Getting Started

Plant Shade Trees (169/365)

The house we live in now was built in 2000 and is sitting in an area that was open, flat farmland before that. The previous homeowners only planted one tree and it’s a slow-growing one. We’ve planted two trees since, but they haven’t grown enough to provide shade. Our neighbors, however, have a beautiful shade …

Reader Mailbag: Memories of Near Misses

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. 401(k) expense ratio 2. Grocery shopping idea 3. Home buying books 4. Raising allowance? 5. Consolidating several accounts 6. Compost and time 7. Making your own …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Do Proper Maintenance on Your Furnace and Air Conditioning Unit (168/365)

Your furnace and air conditioning unit are designed to be quite sturdy, but they aren’t designed to run forever. Their biggest enemy? Dirt and dust. Both your air conditioner and your furnace (along with your blower) are in the business of changing the temperature of air and moving this air throughout your home. With that …

The Remnants of a Past Life

A few months ago, my parents handed me a small tub of items that they’d found in their home. They had spent some time renovating the upstairs of their home to make it more comfortable for guests and, in the process, they cleaned out a bunch of old things that had been there since I …

Categories: Uncategorized

Do an Insulation Inspection (167/365)

The more insulation in your walls, the less heat will transfer through your walls. It’s one of those basic facts of home ownership. Insulation is beneficial in the summer when you want the heat to remain outside, and it’s also beneficial in the winter when you want to keep the heat inside. Now, if you …

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #78

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. Nietzsche on tiredness and focus Most of my mistakes are made when I’m overworked. I usually end up being zero productive or even negative productive after a certain point. …

Install Ceiling Fans in Every Room You Spend Time In (166/365)

Few things feel better than a sudden breeze on a hot summer day when you’ve been outside working on something. The sudden movement of the air feels incredibly good on your skin. Most of the time, though, it’s just hot air moving around a little bit. Your skin might feel cool, but it’s just hot …

Insanity and Perseverance

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. We’ve all heard that chestnut many times. I’ve seen it attributed to many places: Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, mystery writer Rita Mae Brown, the Narcotics Anonymous handbook. The phrase makes a good point in some ways. All of us …

Categories: Getting Started

Clean Out Your Air Vents (165/365)

If you have a forced air heating and/or cooling system like many people do, it might be worth your while to pull the cover off of a few of the vents and peer inside. If you’re lucky, it’ll look pretty clean in there. There might be a bit of dust, but nothing too bad. If …

Reader Mailbag: GPS and Travel

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. Handling new income stream 2. Celebrating debt freedom 3. Car payments or emergency fund? 4. Bang-for-the-buck hobbies 5. Starting no-cash banking 6. Good cookbooks for quick …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Close Off Unused Rooms (164/365)

My parents still live in the house I grew up in, a small two story house in rural Illinois. My parents share a bedroom on the main floor, where the kitchen and living room also reside. The upstairs mostly just contains two bedrooms and a small “landing” connecting the two. Since it’s just the two …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Daughter Edition

By default, it’s easier for me to relate to and understand my two sons than it is to relate to my daughter. I was once a little boy myself with a personality not too different than my own sons. I was raised in a household with only brothers, no sisters. This means that understanding and …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Use the “Hibernate” Mode on Your Computer (163/365)

Most of us recognize that powering down the computer after using it can save us some significant money when it comes to our energy bill. A typical desktop computer uses between 75 and 250 watts. On top of that, the monitor sucks down another 15 to 80 watts. If you were to leave that machine …

Finding Frugal Friends in a New City

Jennifer writes in: I just moved to a new city for work and I don’t know anyone here. Most of my new coworkers are nice, but we don’t have a lot of interest overlap and they spend a lot of money on stuff. I’ve gone out a few times to clubs, but that’s the usual …

Categories: Getting Started