Month: May 2014

Attend Community Events and Actively Participate (285/365)

In our town, there’s a community festival each summer. Each year, we make a special effort to attend. There’s also a “citywide yard sale,” during which we either run our own yard sale or make a point to visit lots of yard sales on our block. As our children grow older, we’re attending more and …

Is Good Enough Really Good Enough?

It’s a phrase that’s tossed around all the time when you’re looking at any form of self-improvement, whether it’s financial improvement or otherwise. The perfect is the enemy of the good. It’s a powerful phrase, and it has a lot of good thought behind it. If you make a mistake after a period of making …

Categories: Getting Started

Join a Community Organization (284/365)

After discussing relationships the last few weeks in this series, we’re going to shift gears and look at ways to spend your free time without spending money – often in ways with a secondary benefit as well. Almost every town or city you visit has quite a few social organizations of various kinds. In our …

Reader Mailbag: Crayons

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. Speaking 2. Financial dishonesty 3. Kindness without spending 4. Teenager without ambition 5. Handling universal policies today 6. Extra school supplies 7. Refinancing house to buy …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Make Sure You’re on the Same Page When It Comes to Children (283/365)

During the first couple years of our marriage, Sarah and I talked over and over about the idea of having children. We were both certain that we wanted children, but the question became whether it was a real dream or a nebulous dream for the future. Did we really want children right now? Is having …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Volunteer Workers Edition

I’ve been doing some phone banking for local political candidates over the last few months on a volunteer basis, and I’ve learned several things from this experience. For one, one big reason that campaigns do it is simply for name recognition. The more times you hear or see a candidate’s name, the more likely you …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Show Your Love Frequently Instead of Something Big Once in a While (282/365)

It’s easy to fall back on the big moments to show your partner that you care. You spring for a big gift on your anniversary. You buy flowers and chocolates on Valentine’s Day. You help the kids create something special on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. The rest of the time, though, can easily be …

The Giant Christmas List: Curbing Impulses

Last year, as Christmastime was approaching, our two oldest children wrote letters to Santa listing all of the things they wanted. Our oldest child was mostly able to write the letter on his own, but our middle child needed someone to dictate for her. In any case, both of our children ended up creating a …

Encourage Your Partner’s Frugality (281/365)

Whenever Sarah makes a financially smart choice, particularly one that involves her doing something outside of her usual comfort zone, I usually make an effort to compliment her on it. She does the same for me. When we’re choosing activities together, we often point out things that are free and use the low cost of …

Reader Mailbag: Baseball Playoffs

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. Different hobbies than wife 2. Eliminating credit card debt 3. Handling comic book collection 4. Retiring overseas 5. Finances and relationships 6. Establishing credit 7. Personal …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Have Regular Talks About Your Financial Situation (280/365)

There’s an interesting phenomenon that happens in a marriage. After a while, you become so accustomed to the person you’re with that you often think you completely know what their desires and goals are and where they want to be heading in the future. That kind of complacency can be comforting. You can feel as …

The Value of Personal Finance Seminars

Several months ago, I was contacted by a company that wanted to work hand-in-hand with me to develop a seminar series where I would take the ideas behind The Simple Dollar and convert them into a format not too unlike the seminars presented by Dave Ramsey and his group. While I considered the idea for …

Categories: Getting Started

Be Completely Honest with Your Partner About Money Issues (279/365)

Sometimes, I give in to temptation and spend money in a nonsensical fashion. I buy something I really shouldn’t buy. It’s out of the ordinary for me, but it’s still something that I do every once in a while. Several years ago, I probably would not have told Sarah about it. I would have found …

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #94

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. Voltaire on being right I love thought-provoking statements that can be interpreted very differently by different people. “It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are …

Realize Money Doesn’t Heal a Marital Problem (278/365)

Money is often a major conflict in marital situations. Lots of little unexpected events and some bad spending choices can quickly add up to a pretty poor financial picture and that can poison a marriage. Many people respond to this situation by thinking that they can fix everything by earning some more money. They add …

Getting the Bad Ideas out of Your Head

I’m not necessarily talking about “big” bad ideas, like harming others. Those things deserve special attention and help far beyond a blog post. Instead, I’m talking about the “little bad” ideas – the ones that are fairly innocuous but do subtle harm to you along the way. Let me give you some examples from my …

Categories: Getting Started

Give Your Marriage the Care and Feeding It Needs (277/365)

When you’ve been married for a number of years, the “new” feeling begins to wear off. You begin to get incredibly comfortable in the relationship and often begin to see your partner as just a completely natural part of your life. At that level of complacency, it’s easy to forget about the effort that it …

Reader Mailbag: Red Team and Blue Team

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. Emergency fund storage 2. A design for life 3. Exercise on the cheap 4. Parenting blogs 5. Not caring about future 6. Other savings beyond 529s …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Don’t Get Married If You’re Still Having Doubts (276/365)

Sarah and I dated for more than six years. During that time, we had our ups and downs as any couple does, but we knew, especially near the end, that we were heading for marriage. We were engaged for the last year of that period. One of the things that we did is receive some …