Month: May 2014

Reader Mailbag: Writing in the Car

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. Wedding spending concerns 2. Unusual name 3. Planning for the next step 4. Discussing inheritance 5. Budgeting board games 6. Expensive shampoo 7. Thick and thin …

Categories: Books and Reading

Get a Shorter-Term Mortgage with a Lower Interest Rate (231/365)

Whenever a person is ready to apply for a mortgage, they’re faced with an emormous array of options. Different lenders are advertising different rates. There are lots of different mortgage terms out there floating around, from a 5/1 ARM to a twenty year fixed rate. The options can seem almost overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a …

Categories: Frugality

Get a HUD-1 Form and Know What You’re Looking At (230/365)

If there is a single piece of advice that I would give to the cost-conscious mortgage shopper, it would be to obtain a copy of your HUD-1 settlement statement and study it thoroughly before signing any papers. So, what is a HUD-1 Settlement Statement? It’s a standard form that is used to itemize all of …

Categories: Frugality

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #87

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. Seth Godin on life and vacations Vacation, to me, isn’t an escape. It’s an opportunity to see parts of the world that I don’t get to see in my …

Consider a Cheaper Part of the Country (229/365)

Sarah and I have relatives and friends spread all across the country: Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, Boston, New York. We have friends that live in cities, friends that live in the suburbs, and friends that live out in the country. One thing we’re often amazed by is how drastically different the prices are for homes in …

Categories: Frugality

Pride

We all want to have a life that we can be proud of. We want a life that we’re happy to show to others. We want relationships where we feel like equals with the other person. We want a life full of memories and activities that accurately reflect the values we hold dear. Quite often, …

Categories: Getting Started

Consider a Cheaper Neighborhood (228/365)

When Sarah and I were shopping around for our home, we looked at the options available in several different communities. During our first rounds of looking at housing, we looked in more affluent neighborhoods. The homes were beautiful and the neighborhood seemed very friendly and well-kept, but the prices were often astronomical. We kept looking. …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Sleep Interrupted

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. Starting kids with credit 2. Trailing large vehicles on interstates 3. Gifts for children 4. Cost of cheap looking decor 5. Moving and car trading 6. …

Categories: Books and Reading

If You Don’t Have a Down Payment Yet, Rent (227/365)

When a person arrives at the point in their life where they desire home ownership, that person often doesn’t have 20% of the cost of the house they’re eyeing. In our area, for example, a nice, recently-built family home with several bedrooms will set you back at least $150,000. 20% of that is $30,000. For …

Categories: Frugality

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Back to School Edition

My two oldest children are starting school in a week or so. My oldest child is returning to school, but it’s a new thing for my daughter. In any case, school supplies and such are starting to become a noticeable expense. Both children have a nice long school supply list and their fall clothes (which …

Categories: Books and Reading

If You’re Planning on Moving in the Next Five Years, Rent (226/365)

If you’re thinking about buying a home, one of the first things you should consider is how long you’re going to stay in the area. If you’re pretty sure that you’re going to be moving elsewhere within five years, you’re better off renting. Why is that? There are several reasons. First, the first five years …

Categories: Frugality

Ask Your Doctor about Generics (225/365)

As I’ve mentioned before on The Simple Dollar, I take Synthroid every morning, as I’ve done since I was three days old. Synthroid is a medication used to treat hypothyroidism, which I’ve had since birth. A few years ago, my doctor decided to switch my medication to a generic version of Synthroid for a trial …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Watches

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. Life insurance question 2. Too many activities for kids? 3. Student loans and garnishment 4. Financial strain with friends 5. Parenting thoughts 6. Fulfillment in the …

Categories: Books and Reading

Ask Your Doctor for Prescription Samples (224/365)

You go to the doctor. Your doctor writes you a prescription to cover an ongoing ailment that you’re suffering. He mentions a few side effects. You’re uncertain about taking this medication and don’t want to spend a lot of money on an expensive prescription that you might end up not taking. This is actually a …

Categories: Frugality

Consider Traveling for Surgeries or Other Medical Care (223/365)

For most of us, medical care starts with our primary care physician. We visit the doctor, he or she refers us to a specialist if needed, we go to the specialist if needed, and we receive the care we need. The problem with this equation is that it just assumes that the best bargain available …

Categories: Frugality

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #86

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. Margaret Heffernan on daring to disagree Most people avoid disagreement because it’s uncomfortable and might lead to hurt feelings or arguments. However, polite disagreement, where both sides can have …

Talk to Your Doctor about Independent Steps (222/365)

Whenever people go to the doctor for an ailment, they often expect to walk out the door with a prescription in hand. Ideally, that prescription will help treat the problem. Unfortunately, prescriptions aren’t always the magic answer you need. Prescriptions often address symptoms, not the underlying cause. If you’re sick, they’ll get rid of some …

Categories: Frugality

28 Great Books You Can Read For Free

A few years ago, I received a Kindle as a gift from my wife. It’s a pretty nifty little device, perfectly designed for reading the text of books. The problem is that in order to read a lot of books, you have to buy them from the Kindle bookstore. Yes, there are other options out …

Schedule Regular Medical and Dental Checkups (221/365)

Most medical insurance packages cover regular medical and dental check-ups for the people that they cover. Even though there’s nothing wrong at all with the person under insurance, the insurance company will still cover the cost of that person getting a check-up on a regular basis. Why? It’s cheaper for them in the long run. …

Categories: Frugality