Month: May 2014

Reader Mailbag: Old School

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. Smart phones and grocery flyers 2. Building connections at conferences 3. “Culture” and home value 4. How much is “better” worth? 5. Maximum mortgage payments? 6. …

Categories: Books and Reading

Sleep More (220/365)

The National Sleep Foundation suggests that the average adult should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. For a long time, six to six and a half hours was a pretty typical night for me. I would go to bed at a reasonable time (between 10 and 11), but I would read for …

Categories: Frugality

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Travel Edition

Over a three-and-a-half week period, our family is jamming in a trip to northern Iowa/southern Minnesota, a trip to Seattle, a trip to Chicago, and a trip to Indianapolis. This means a lot of traveling. A lot of time spent in cars. A lot of time spent sleeping away from home. A lot of children …

Categories: Books and Reading

Eliminate Smoking and Minimize Drinking (219/365)

Whenever you consume something, it has some cost. In the immediate sense, you have to pay for what you just consumed. You bought the beverage, you bought the food, and so on. In the long term sense, you also pay for any negative health issues brought on by what you consumed. In both of these …

Categories: Frugality

Should I Give My Adult Children Cash Gifts?

Monica writes in: Some of your recent articles have touched on an issue that has really troubled me for a while. I have two children, both in college. The oldest one is starting her senior and is likely heading to graduate school, while the younger is about to be a freshman. Each month, I’ve put …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

Eat Breakfast Every Day (218/365)

How on earth is this a money-saving tip? Eating a meal that many people skip? Really? Believe it or not, eating a healthy and well-balanced breakfast can actually save you money, both on that day and over a longer period of time. The big reason? There are many studies that indicate that breakfast eaters weigh …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Mockingbird Hill

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. Primerica concerns 2. Different goals among partners 3. Buying a tablet 4. Ending allowance 5. Retiring young 6. Starting a community group 7. Life insurance advice …

Categories: Books and Reading

Drink More Water (217/365)

Water from your tap is perhaps the best bargain out there for your diet, your health, and your wallet. For the volume of water that a typical person drinks, it’s practically free. It’s free of calories and has almost no health-damaging additives. Your tap is probably the biggest bargain in your house. A big glass …

Categories: Frugality

Unsustainable

Have you ever had people in your life whose financial situation made no sense whatsoever to you from the outside? There’s a family I know with several children. Both parents have solid jobs, but nothing that earns a great deal. Their combined incomes are substantially less than Sarah and myself. Yet their house is larger …

Categories: Getting Started

Practice Good Hygiene (216/365)

Much like yesterday’s entry on washing your hands, this feels like a common sense tactic. Good hygiene is something most of us learned before we were in kindergarten, after all. Yet, just like washing your hands, it’s something that many people overlook. Take a careful look at the people around you. Inevitably, you’ll notice someone …

Categories: Frugality

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #85

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. Gandhi on habits It is extremely difficult to break a routine once we’ve established it. “We cannot, in a moment, get rid of habits of a lifetime.” – Mahatma …

Wash Your Hands (215/365)

Washing your hands? Really? It seems like something that’s incredibly obvious and perhaps bordering on stupid. Most of us were taught in childhood to wash our hands after using the restroom. What does that have to do with personal finance? The truth is that the simple act of washing your hands is a surprisingly good …

Categories: Frugality

The Levels of Thinking About Money (and Life)

Over the past few years, few books have impacted my thinking quite like David Allen’s Making It All Work. The idea behind Making It All Work is that if you want to live a better life, you’ve got to really understand what your goals are and what you’re working for, both in the short term …

Categories: Getting Started

Use Your Flexible Spending Account (214/365)

Flexible spending accounts for health care are becoming a very common benefit that employers provide for their employees. These accounts can be a money-saver, but it can be a bit tricky to save money using them. First of all, let’s back up and explain exactly what a flexible spending account is. A flexible spending account …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Political Ads

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. Reasonable family grocery budget 2. Community festivals 3. Investing inheritance 4. The overzealous winner 5. Choosing between jobs 6. Money and pride 7. Salted butter for …

Categories: Books and Reading

Eat a Balanced Diet (213/365)

“Eat a balanced diet” is one of the simplest pieces of health advice that medical professionals dispense on their patients. For the most part, it just means “eat a wide variety of items without an excess of any one item or type of item.” In other words, don’t live on a solely cheese-based diet. It’s …

Categories: Frugality

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Site Surfing Edition

I read a lot of personal finance and personal growth sites, a list that changes all the time. My weekly links for this are harvested from that reading. For the most part, I like articles that have an angle I haven’t thought of, have a nice human touch, or else express an idea very well, …

Categories: Books and Reading