• Three Items That Have Saved Me Money Quite Quickly

    Let’s face it – there are a lot of items out there on the market that claim to save you money, but either don’t actually do what they claim or don’t actually provide the savings they’re promoting. Here, I’m going to tell you about three things I’ve tried in the past several months that have …

  • Building a Financial Firewall Against Addiction

    Carol writes in: My husband is a gambling addict. He also drinks excessively. The problem is that he takes money to feed both of these addictions right out of our checking account. He’ll go for weeks and weeks without gambling or drinking, then he’ll have a rough day at work, call me on the cell …

  • Reader Mailbag: Ingress

    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. Board game suggestions 2. Starting a babysitting exchange 3. Retirement savings questions 4. Online dating worries 5. Dutch oven versus crock pot 6. Starting out with …

  • Saving for Future Uncertainty

    I’m at a pretty content point in my life. We have no debts. Our home is paid for. I have work that I’m happy with and a number of long-term projects I’m passionate about. Sarah has work that she loves as well. We have some money saved up. When we look ahead, we don’t see …

  • Practicing Faith and Values Through Your Money

    I’m a Christian. Virtually every week, our family goes to a church service at a local Lutheran church. I’ve served on the church council there and I’m also involved with their investment committee. For me, faith is a struggle. It’s never been an immediate and easy answer for me. I find myself struggling quite a …

  • When Waiting Reduces the Value of a Purchase

    Darren writes in: I’ve been thinking a lot about how you wait for pretty big sales before you’ll buy a computer game. You mention the Steam sales and free-to-play games like League of Legends a lot, too. A lot of my friends play computer games together. We have a circle of about six of us …

  • Ten Pieces of Inspiration #109

    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. This past week, I finally hit my limit on winter and I’m ready for spring and summer to return. In order to make myself feel better about it, I filled …

  • Fixing “Enough”

    A few days ago, I watched a documentary on the football player Vince Young. I live in the territory of the Big XII football conference, so I still remember several years ago when Vince Young played football for the University of Texas and absolutely terrorized our conference. He seemed like a sure-fire star in the …

  • Frugality Versus New Interests

    A reader recently wrote to me about her struggles with when to be frugal and when not to be: I’m a long-term reader and appreciate your work. Just came across this blog entry and thought to pass it along if you haven’t already seen it (http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2013/01/10-rule-spending-tip/). It made me pause to think about some of …

  • Untangling Emotions from Purchases

    It’s almost impossible right now to avoid hearing about the issue of gun control. It’s all over the news. It seems to be the topic of discussion on every messageboard I read. I don’t really have any stances worth sharing on the issue, and I have no interest in discussing the politics or personal rights …

  • Reader Mailbag: Child Names

    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. Dictation software 2. Private school worth it? 3. Switching houses to avoid mortgage 4. Home exercise routine? 5. Weather compromise in Iowa? 6. Angry about money …

  • Wearing It Out, Paying It Forward

    I’m actually pretty proud of myself when I use an item until it’s genuinely worn out. I’ll hold onto socks until the toes have gaping holes in them. I will wear t-shirts until they’re beaten into oblivion. I’ll use razor blades until I’m scared I’m going to badly cut my neck or cheeks with them …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Fantasy Baseball Edition

    It’s mid-January. What does that mean for me? It means spreadsheet time. I love playing fantasy baseball, and the people that succeed at fantasy baseball tend to be the ones who find some sort of statistical edge over the other guys in terms of figuring out who the best “bang for the buck” players are. …

  • A Quick List of Free Things My Family Has Done So Far in 2013

    We went ice skating as a family during a free skating day at the local ice skating rink. We found out about this because we watch the local community calendar. We played several board games among the ones already sitting on our shelves. At different times so far this year, all of us have suggested …

  • Some Thoughts on “Expected Value”

    In the middle of last year, I wrote an article on playing the lottery in which I talked about the “expected value” of winning a lottery ticket. In that article, I gave an example of a typical Powerball jackpot and spelled out how the average return you would get on a $1 lottery ticket is …

  • Helping Your Children

    One of the questions I’ve really struggled with over the past several years is how much help I should provide to my children as they grow older, and what form that help should take. When I turned eighteen and left for college, my parents were more or less finished with their role as parents for …

  • Reader Mailbag: Child’s Play

    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. Reverse mortgages 2. Storytelling and profit 3. Refinancing and PMI 4. Short term investing options 5. Children and television 6. Handling old wine 7. Getting a …

  • The Retirement Blues

    Charlene writes in: I’ve been contributing 10% to my 401(k) since the day I started my job fourteen years ago, and my employer kicks in 6%. I’m now 36 and I have about $200,000 in there. I should be happy about that. I’m not. Whenever I look at that money, I just see tons of …

  • Making Work Into Play

    Work, for most people, is primarily a way to turn their time and energy into the money they need to make ends meet in their lives. It’s not something that’s particularly enjoyable for most people, based on job satisfaction surveys. Last week, though, I happened to be on the campus of the local university for …