Month: May 2014

A Salary Isn’t the Whole Picture

Everyone’s job has some sort of expense associated with it. For example, my current work pretty much requires me to have an internet connection at home and at least one computer. If I don’t have these things – and I pay for them out of my own pocket – I can’t create posts and get …

Cut Down on Coffee, Soft Drinks, and Bottled Water (203/365)

When I was fresh out of college and enjoying my first post-college job, I pretty quickly established a daily routine for myself (particularly in 2004 and 2005). I would stop at a coffee shop for breakfast and enjoy a $5 drink to start the day. I’d drink a soft drink or two in the afternoon …

Master the Art of the Slow Cooker (202/365)

Almost any time you walk into our home, you’ll find a slow cooker on our countertop. We use it so often that we rarely put it into storage. Multiple times a week, we’ll drop some ingredients into that slow cooker at the start of the day, turn it on low, and enjoy a homecooked meal …

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #83

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. Rachel Carson on nature and recovery The idea that spring comes after winter has helped me through some tough times in my life. “Those who contemplate the beauty of …

Prepare Extra Batches of Other Meals (201/365)

Yesterday, the topic of discussion was preparing large batches of meals in advance and freezing them. It’s a really powerful money-saving strategy because it makes it incredibly easy for you to eat at home. The drawback is that in order to prep a bunch of meals in advance, you have to burn some significant time …

The Big Trade-Off

Over the course of about five years, Sarah and I managed to pay off two car loans, replace both of those cars, pay off several student loans, pay off seven credit cards, pay off three or four additional consumer loans, and buy a house and pay for it in its entirety. We’re debt free because …

Categories: Getting Started

Cook in Advance and Freeze Complete Meals (200/365)

One Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago, Sarah and I made four pans of lasagna, four pans of tuna noodle casserole, and about a hundred bean burgers (okay, maybe not a hundred, but it sure seemed like it). We invested several hours in this project, cooking and preparing while music filled the kitchen and the …

Reader Mailbag: Quiet Hours

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. “Waskuya” (corn) 2. Illegal income 3. Interest rates and national debt 4. Playing the lottery 5. Managing financial progress 6. Charity 7. How much for retirement? …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Freeze Extra Staple Foods (199/365)

Have you ever bought six tomatoes and found that you only really need four of them? Ever cooked two pounds of rice and only really needed one pound of it? This actually happens at our house fairly often. We’ll make a recipe and find that our kids hate it, so they only eat a little …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Casual Dress Edition

I enjoy dressing well when the occasion deserves it, but one of the real perks of working from home is the ultra-casual dress I can get away with most of the time. I can work in my pajamas. I can work in a wrinkly t-shirt. Not only are these things comfortable, they also cut down …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Buy Staples in Bulk (198/365)

When you get into the routine of cooking at home, you’ll eventually find yourself falling back on certain staples. Some of them are things that go into almost everything you cook, like a dash of salt or some black pepper. Others are simply key ingredients in a lot of the recipes that you actually make. …

Money as Security (or Other Things)

Money means a lot of different things to different people. Money can represent potential stuff. It can also represent potential experiences. For some, money can represent power or social acceptance. Others might see money as a corrupting or evil influence. Still others might see money as a tool for promoting social change. For me, though, …

Categories: Getting Started

Learn to Love Leftovers (197/365)

Any time you throw food into the trash can, you’re throwing money into the trash can. Quite often, that food you’re throwing away is the remnants of a meal from a few days ago. You stuck the remnants in the refrigerator, but every time you went to grab another meal, you overlooked the leftovers. You …

Reader Mailbag: Headache Solution

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. Realities of extreme debt reduction 2. Husband makes more than me 3. Sharing lawn equipment 4. Vegan cooking and recipes 5. Steam sale 6. Unable to …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Start a Garden (196/365)

Last night, we had ratatouille for supper. For those unfamiliar, ratatouille is essentially a medley of vegetables, cooked together and put in the pan in the right order so that they’re all tender at the same time. You can pretty much put any vegetable you want into it. In ours, we had tomatoes, green beans, …

Buying Less House Than You Can Afford

Recently, I was browsing through my journals from early 2007, the period when Sarah was pregnant with our second child and we realized that we needed a larger home. We spent a lot of our time in that period house-hunting. We had really turned our finances around over the previous year, and The Simple Dollar …

Make Recipes with Inexpensive Base Ingredients (195/365)

Right now, sweet corn season is starting here in Iowa. In the area where we live, you can barely drive five miles without seeing a roadside stand where some farmer is selling ears of sweet corn in bundles. At first, the prices are high. Only a few people manage to get in an early crop …

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #82

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. Three men in an alcove playing cards This is one of my favorite photographs I’ve stumbled upon in a long while. I love the faces on the three card …

Avoid Frozen and Prepackaged Meals (194/365)

The freezer aisle at your local grocery store is often loaded with complete frozen meals. The aisles tend to have a wide variety of “meals in a box,” as well. It’s easy to see why these are popular. You can just take them home, throw them in a pan or skillet, cook at a certain …