• Slowly Substitute Healthier Food Options (212/365)

    Anyone who has ever paid attention to their health, even a little, knows that there is some correlation between their personal health and well being and what they choose to eat. Eating a well-balanced and relatively low calorie diet is good for almost anyone (though you’ll find yourself getting into a lot of debate when …

  • The Cost of Your Trash

    I absolutely hate it when I throw things away. Few things frustrate me more than having a full trash can. Why? I know that, on some level, I paid for the things that are being thrown away. If I’m tossing the box that a prepackaged meal came in, part of the cost of that prepackaged …

  • Find an Exercise Buddy or Two (211/365)

    One of the biggest challenges of picking up a positive but challenging habit is finding the consistent motivation to stick with it. If you’re operating by yourself, it’s very easy to talk yourself into taking the easier path. This phenomenon is true no matter what the habit is. From changes in how you spend money …

  • Reader Mailbag: Educating a Child

    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. Alternatives to Mint 2. Party games 3. Shopping for insurance 4. Cutting your own hair 5. Renting or buying 6. Entertainment by default 7. S-corporation versus …

  • Exercise Regularly (210/365)

    Physical exercise is something that helps your life in a lot of ways, many of which translate directly into dollars. For starters, a regular routine of physical fitness will help raise your energy level, making you feel more ready to tackle projects like air-sealing your home instead of kicking back on the couch. If you …

  • Being Rich

    Over the past several years, The Simple Dollar has (at least in part) been a chronicle of how I’ve improved my financial situation. When I started the site, Sarah and I had a negative net worth, were facing a bone-crunching pile of debt, and the most valuable asset to our names was a used truck. …

  • Get Maximum Use out of Supplies like Baking Soda and Vinegar (209/365)

    Baking soda and vinegar are two things that I always buy in bulk, simply because they both offer up so many uses at such an inexpensive price. Most of this post is going to consist of a list of things you can do with these items outside of cooking, but I’m going to restrict it …

  • Ten Pieces of Inspiration #84

    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. George Orwell on those kids I think I’m wiser than my children at the moment, because the oldest one is six. However, I think that my parents are wiser …

  • Master the Concept of Cost Per Use (208/365)

    Most of the products we buy – everything from toilet paper and peanut butter to DVDs and board games – are purchased with the idea that we’re going to use them some number of times. Take a jar of peanut butter. When we have a jar on hand, we’ll get it out of the cupboard, …

  • Some Tips for Frugal Conventions

    Once or twice a year, Sarah and I each take a “mini-vacation” of sorts in order to follow up on our individual interests and get a breather from the challenges of parenting three young children. During those “mini-vacations,” the other partner simply handles all of the parenting and household responsibilities for the handful of days …

  • Try a More Value-Oriented Grocery Store (207/365)

    All grocery stores are not created equal. In our area, you’ll find food co-ops that specialize in fresh groceries and items with quality ingredients, but the prices are high. You’ll find chains that try to appeal to all shoppers, like Hy-Vee. You’ll also find discount grocers. For me, the two store chains that fall firmly …

  • Reader Mailbag: Dog-Eared Books

    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. Negotiating pay raise inside company 2. Outsized dreams 3. Cash stockpile 4. Selling a lemon 5. Frugal in medical emergency 6. Improving work focus 7. Interest …

  • Buy Generic Brand Products (206/365)

    For most common items in a grocery store, you’ll find two distinct types of product. On the one hand, you’ll have the “name brand” items, which are usually in distinctive packaging and with a company brand you’re familiar with. On the other hand, you’ll have the “generic” items, which aren’t packaged as distinctively and usually …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Breakfast Edition

    I try to eat breakfast each day, but I try to not eat it right when I get up. Instead, I wait until I actually feel hungry for it (mid-morning, around 9:30) and then eat a late lunch. I’ve found this works really well for me. It actually results in me eating a smaller lunch …

  • Shop at a Farmers’ Market (205/365)

    For some of you, the CSA idea from yesterday won’t work. It might be too expensive up front. It might be difficult to pick up your share every week. You don’t want that many vegetables at once. However, the appeal of low-cost and ultra-fresh vegetables and other items remains appealing. The solution for that is …

  • Hiring Veterans is Good For Business and Families

    It may or may not come as a surprise to you that the unemployment rate for veterans is higher than the national average. The unemployment rate for veterans ages 18-24 is in fact much higher than the national average: according to a recent study, nearly 1 in 4 18-24 year old veterans are out of …

  • What Are Job Benefits Worth?

    A few days ago, I posted an article entitled A Salary Isn’t the Whole Picture, in which I discussed the fact that many jobs have additional costs and expenses that aren’t included when you simply look at the salary that a job pays you. From that article, I received a fair amount of reader feedback …

  • Look Into Joining a Community-Supported Agriculture Group (204/365)

    A community supported agriculture group is one in which members of a community can buy “shares” in a local farm. Those shares pay out in the form of a box of vegetables and, depending on the CSA, other items such as milk and eggs. I’ll give you an example of a CSA in our area …

  • Reader Mailbag: Handwritten Notes

    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. Rapid paydown of debts 2. Following sports 3. Bread making issues 4. Games played over and over 5. Homemade soap in efficient washer 6. Rounding and …