Month: May 2014

Have Fun (365/365)

After an entire year’s worth of frugality tactics, it all comes down to this. Have fun. Thanks to Egan Snow for the image. Whenever you’re trying to change something in your life, you’re going to make it very, very hard to sustain if you hate what it takes to make that change a reality. If …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Exercise Tips

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. FAFSA worries 2. Steam sales 3. Business effect on credit score 4. Is raising chickens worth it? 5. TSP loan concerns 6. Savings or 401(k)? 7. …

Categories: Books and Reading

Share Your Experiences and Frugal Tips (364/365)

It’s easy to find a long list of frugal tactics that work for a general audience. You read through them, discard the majority of them that don’t apply to your life, and find the handful that are actually useful to you. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a personal frugal assistant who did this …

Categories: Frugality

Keep Trying New Frugal Tactics (363/365)

The number of effective ways to trim your spending is nearly unlimited. You can check out encyclopedic tomes of frugality tips from the library or simply visit one of a thousand frugality blogs out there on the internet and collect more tips than you can possibly deal with. When you first dive into the whole …

Categories: Frugality

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #106

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. Thomas Jefferson on religion, politics, and friendship “I have never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend.” …

Remember That Time Is Money (362/365)

What is an hour of your time and energy worth? In simplest terms, an hour of your time is worth whatever you’re paid for an hour’s worth of work at your job. After all, you’re repeatedly willing to spend your time and energy at that rate, so it must be an exchange rate you’re happy …

Categories: Frugality

The Value of Non-Financial Investments

The other day, I spent an hour playing an abstract strategy game with my oldest son. After that, I spent roughly the same amount of time helping my daughter build a LEGO kit that was way above her age level. My youngest son and I played a game of “Word World,” in which we take …

Categories: Getting Started

Think About Why You Want Something (361/365)

Each year, my extended family usually requests that I make up a wish list at Amazon.com to make it easier for them for gift-giving purchases. I don’t mind doing this at all, because it helps them out. The problem with this is that I struggle for things to put on my wishlist. I usually have …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Christmas Week

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. Credit score and car question 2. Returning Christmas gifts 3. Negative credit card balance 4. New Year’s Eve party planning 5. Saving money on a cruise …

Categories: Books and Reading

Find Frugal Friends (360/365)

When you spend time with your friends, what do you do? Do you go to each other’s houses for potluck dinners, or do you go out on the town for dinner? When you watch movies together, do you toss a DVD someone already owns into the DVD player at a friend’s house, or do you …

Categories: Frugality

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Christmas Havoc Edition

One of my father’s secondary gifts for Christmas is the giant pile of papers and boxes left over after all of his grandchildren come to visit and open presents at his house. He collects up all of these items and takes them out into his garage, which is heated by a wood stove. He has …

Categories: Books and Reading

Handle a Windfall Intelligently, Too (359/365)

Yesterday, we talked about the challenges of getting a raise. It’s always a good thing to increase your income, but if you make poor financial decisions with that extra income, it will go to waste and you’ll find yourself right back in the same difficult financial boat you were in before the raise. The same …

Categories: Frugality

Merry Christmas from The Simple Dollar

Here’s hoping you and your family are having a wonderful holiday season! Normal posting resumes this afternoon with the latest entry in the 365 series as it winds down.

Handle a Raise Intelligently (358/365)

A raise is something well worth being proud about. You’ve worked hard and your employer is recognizing that in the clearest way they can – with their cash. The challenge is that when you get a raise, there’s a strong temptation to raise your spending right alongside it. First, there’s the temptation to celebrate and …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: White Christmas

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. Homemade vanilla extract and vodka 2. Secure money use on vacation 3. Moving to the United States 4. Donating to political candidates 5. Revisiting the Iowa …

Categories: Books and Reading

Automatically Sock Away That Savings (357/365)

Yesterday, we talked about the value of properly assessing one’s frugal savings. The question then becomes what we should do with it. When I first started my financial turnaround, there were a few months where I was amazed at the amount of money left in my checking account at the end of the month. Not …

Categories: Frugality

Thoughts on the Four Rules of Cash Flow

A few days ago, I downloaded and tried You Need a Budget 4, a software package that helps people develop a working budget and get better control over their money. I won’t get into a long review of it – my belief with tools like these is that they’ll work great for people who want …

Categories: Getting Started

Figure Out Exactly What You Saved (356/365)

Over the final ten days of this year, we’re going to finish off this series by looking at ten tactics that demonstrate how you can transform all of the little savings you’re getting from frugality into life-affirming changes. The first step, though, is figuring out how much all of these frugal changes is actually saving …

Categories: Frugality

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #105

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. Lefse One of the things I associate strongly with the holiday season is the making of potato lefse. For those unfamiliar, lefse is a Norwegian food in which potatoes …