Month: May 2014

Don’t Buy Any Item in the Checkout Aisle (315/365)

Grocery store designers are smart people. They know that when you check out with a cart load of groceries, you’re going to be standing in that spot for a while. They also know that sometimes you’re unfortunate enough to have children with you. Thus, they stock the checkout aisle with things that are perfectly selected …

Categories: Frugality

Fleeting Moments

A few days ago, I watched some old home videos. I watched a video of our wedding day. We looked almost impossibly young in that video. We were freshly out of college and the love we had for each other on that day still shines brightly. I saw the video of the day our first …

Categories: Getting Started

Only Buy the Specific Item(s) You’re Shopping For (314/365)

Yesterday, I mentioned the idea of using a “time limit” to keep yourself from spending too much time in a specific store. It’s a tactic I find useful, particularly when I visit a store that’s full of temptation for me where very few things are items I actually need, like a bookstore. In other stores, …

Categories: Frugality

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #99

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. Kahlil Gibran on learning You don’t have to like someone to learn from them. “I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the …

Set a “Time Goal” When You Walk in the Door (313/365)

As I’ve mentioned many times before, when I walk into a bookstore, I can easily get distracted and find myself with my nose in one book or another. I’ll walk in, intending just to spend a few minutes, and find myself an hour later sitting in a reading chair surrounded by books. I dawdle. I …

Categories: Frugality

When You Can’t Afford All the Stuff You Want

If I had infinite money, I can think of a few things I would buy. I’d own some land in the country with a nice house on it, probably with a gaming room and a library (in other words, space for my big hobbies). I’d probably own a newer car than our current Pilot, which …

Categories: Getting Started

Shop Alone (312/365)

When I’m buying groceries, I shop alone. When I’m buying household items, I shop alone. When I’m buying gifts, I shop alone. The only time you’ll find me in a store with others is when circumstances practically force it on me. It’s not that I’m anti-social – I quite like spending time with people. It’s …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Reading Long 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. Roth IRAs and standard IRAs 2. How do people get rich? 3. Tailgating and profit 4. Marriage and conflicting money values 5. Buying individual stocks 6. …

Categories: Books and Reading

Use a Price Book for Your Regular Purchases (311/365)

When my wife and I first moved to our current home, we took a look at all of the grocery stores available to us within reasonable driving range and made a list of them. It turned out that there were quite a few of them – three Hy-Vees, two Fareways, a Super Target, two Wal-Mart …

Categories: Frugality

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: No More Politics Edition

No more flyers. No more robocalls. No more political ads on television or radio. No more emails in my inbox asking for donations. Not for a year and a half, anyway. Prep your tech for a weather emergency I do many of these things in the winter when there’s a blizzard approaching. In the summer, …

Categories: Books and Reading

Use Store Flyers to Identify Sales (310/365)

The single most useful tool I have for planning meals and buying household supplies at a reasonable price is the weekly grocery store flyer. It’s an essential tool for me when I’m planning meals, when I’m making grocery lists, and when I’m looking for bargains on items I want. If you want to reduce your …

Categories: Frugality

How I Get Things Done

Yesterday, I answered a question in the Reader Mailbag describing how I manage several to-do lists at once. By the end of the day, I had received several follow-up questions by email asking all kinds of questions about how I manage tasks and my workflow, so I thought I would explain my entire system for …

Wait on Purchases Until Sales Appear (309/365)

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. My son’s seventh birthday is coming up very soon. For most of the year, he has only asked for one thing – a Nintendo 3DS. As I’ve mentioned before, he saved up his money for six months to buy a used Nintendo DS, but a …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Vote, Vote, Vote

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. Learning about investing 2. Twitter for careers 3. Charity auctions 4. Moving, marriage, and first priorities 5. To-do list management 6. International travel planning 7. Housing …

Categories: Books and Reading

Double Savings with Manufacturer and Store Coupons (308/365)

One of the key parts of my “one month” strategy is simply waiting until manufacturing coupons line up with store sales on the same item, which seems to happen pretty frequently if you hold onto the coupon for four to five weeks. However, many stores around here mix together the sales in their flyers with …

Categories: Frugality

Teaching Kids About Money: Raising Financially Fit Kids

Raising Financially Fit Kids by Joline Godfrey is one of a very small handful of personal finance books that focus on teaching kids about money and have made a deep impact on my life. The book’s focus is a straightforward one: how do you raise children so that they have a healthy relationship with money? …

Categories: Family

Use the Internet for More Coupons (307/365)

The internet can be a powerful and convenient place for finding additional coupons, particularly if you don’t have regular access to a coupon flyer from a Sunday newspaper. In fact, I actually collect the vast majority of my coupons from the Internet these days. I still use other tactics in conjunction with this, such as …

Categories: Frugality

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #98

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. Stephen Covey on the tools for change We have what we need to bring about change in our lives. “Every human has four endowments – self awareness, conscience, independent …

Use the “One Month” Coupon Strategy (306/365)

One of my favorite tactics in life is to apply the 80/20 rule to everything. In a nutshell, the 80/20 rule states that you get 80% of the benefit of something from 20% of the effort you put into it. The trick is that you have to have a good understanding of what you’re doing …

Categories: Frugality