• 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 …

  • Vacation with Others (355/365)

    My final tip on inexpensive travel is not just useful from a financial perspective. It also makes for a much more enjoyable travel experience, too. Simply put, travel with others. Make your trip into a group excursion and you’ll save money (and increase your enjoyment) in many different ways. Thanks to Ralph Daily for the …

  • Selective Memory and Your Wallet

    I love my children. I’m proud of them. When I think about their behavior, my thoughts are almost entirely filled with positive things. I think of my oldest child’s studiousness, my daughter’s creative energy, and our youngest child’s humor. What I often don’t recall is when they do things that they shouldn’t. If you ask …

  • Don’t Overload a Vacation with Scheduled Activities (354/365)

    I’ve gone on one vacation in my life where we had pre-bought tickets for activities on most of the days. I thought I was doing a great job in terms of bargain hunting. Oh, how wrong I was. For one, we didn’t even end up doing some of the activities. We’d go out to eat …

  • Reader Mailbag: Christmas Prep

    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. Separating business and personal finances 2. Roth IRA over income limit 3. Replenishing emergency funds 4. “Date night” Christmas gift 5. IRA or 401(k) first? 6. …

  • Align Vacations with Visiting Family and Friends (353/365)

    In 2009, my family travelled to the Dallas, Texas area. In that area, I have two great aunts and a number of first and second cousins. We spent a lot of time with them, enjoying meals and reconnecting. In 2011, my family travelled to the Seattle, Washington area, much like we did in 2004. We …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: New Friends Edition

    In the last few weeks, my two oldest children have taken a new child in our neighborhood under their wing. This child’s family moved in quietly – I wasn’t even aware of someone new moving in – until the new child started showing up at the bus stop. The new child is quiet and reserved. …

  • Use the Peak-End Rule (352/365)

    The “peak-end” rule is a tactic that can not only maximize the value you get out of your vacations, but it can maximize what you get out of almost anything in life. It pops up again and again in everyday life, from the plotting of movies and television shows to how meals are served at …

  • Getting Through the Valley

    Whenever someone takes on a goal, they tend to go through a few phases. At first, there’s the honeymoon phase, where the person is enthusiastic about what they’re working on. They’ve got a clear goal, one that they’re sure is going to change their life. The steps to achieve that goal seem fresh and new, …

  • Use a Digital Camera Effectively (351/365)

    Whenever I’m about to travel, my digital camera is the first thing I pack. It’s an incredibly cost-efficient way to create a record of my travels. There are many obvious ways to utilize a digital camera while traveling. One, you don’t need to make prints (unless you want to). I almost never make prints unless …

  • Reader Mailbag: Stew

    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. Tax software for challenging year 2. Credit cards and dishonesty 3. Shopping strategies in small town 4. Wage garnishment question 5. 100% financing on a home …

  • Avoid Typical Souvenirs (350/365)

    For me, the best souvenirs are the memories. I don’t really need physical things to recall my vacations, as I’ll just look at the digital pictures and my mind fills in the blanks. Of course, many people like to bring home physical items to remember their vacations by. Sarah takes this route with her souvenirs. …

  • Finding Money Heroes for Our Children

    Children look for role models (as do adults, to some extent). They look for people who embody the things they see as successful and important and emulate their behavior to some degree. I recognize that, for my children, I’m going to be a role model, both consciously and unconsciously, but I also know that I’m …

  • Plan the Backbone of Your Vacation Around Inexpensive Stuff (349/365)

    It’s common sense. If you plan a vacation in which the primary activities are expensive things, then the vacation is going to be expensive. If you plan a vacation in which the primary activities are inexpensive, then the vacation is going to be inexpensive. Thus, most of the time, it makes a lot more sense …

  • Ten Pieces of Inspiration #104

    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. Jason Pollock on genuine kindness What kind of person are you when no one you know is looking? That’s the person you really are. “The most genuine acts of …

  • Know the Rules When You Use Your ATM Card When Abroad (348/365)

    As we discussed yesterday, practicing a little bit of care with your money when traveling abroad can save you a pretty penny. Currency exchange can really cost a person if they’re not prepared. One of the tactics I suggested in that article is to use an ATM card if you need currency when you actually …

  • If Goals Make You Miserable, Eliminate the Misery

    Recently, I found a very thoughtful article by Danielle LaPorte entitled “Why I Gave Up Chasing Goals.” The idea behind her article wasn’t that she wasn’t moving forward in her life, but that she viewed the idea of goals as a burden: I want to feel good more than I want to check accomplishments off …

  • Do Necessary Currency Conversions Before You Leave (347/365)

    One of the most painful parts of my international travels has been the currency conversion process. Many banks, particularly those with international branches, will happily convert currency for you, but at a price. It’s understandable why they charge a fee. They’re providing a service, and then they have to deal with converting the funds themselves. …

  • Reader Mailbag: Fingertips

    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. Social Security now or later? 2. White lies at Christmas 3. Real estate investing and mortgages 4. Stocking stuffers 5. Running for office 6. Sharing meal …