Month: May 2014

Turning External Motivation into Internal Motivation

The very first push life gave me to consider rebooting my financial life was an external push. It came from my infant son. Whenever I looked at him for several months, I felt tremendously guilty. I felt as though I should be doing more for him. I knew that my financial fumblings were costing him …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #108

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. Paulo Coelho on ideas for living “Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” – …

Scenario Games

Your spouse comes home this evening in tears. “They fired me!” she shouts. Your oldest child gets sick, goes to the doctor, and has a medical condition that’s going to take a mint to treat. You have a car accident on the way home, totaling your car. The police show up and you’re at fault …

Categories: Getting Started

The Alternative List

Whenever Sarah and I are considering a major purchase, we agree to wait thirty days before making any kind of move. I’m sure that’s a familiar idea to many of you. I’ve talked about it many times and called it the “thirty day rule.” It’s a brilliant way to keep yourself from spending money on …

Categories: Getting Started

The Value of College

Over the last several months, I’ve had conversations with several people about the value they got from college. One person went to college to study chemical engineering and became a high school teacher. Another person went to study agriculture and became a database administrator. Yet another person went to law school and is now an …

Categories: Education

Reader Mailbag: Ongoing Site Redesign

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. Frugal gifts for adult children 2. Eliminating a collection 3. Maximizing income in graduate school 4. Inexpensive learning games for kids 5. House savings in early …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Credit Cards and Account Security

A few days ago, one of my close friends shared a harrowing story with me regarding identity theft. The person had their checking account compromised and found themselves spending a great deal of time working closely with their bank to resolve all of the issues. That person was not entirely sure whether everything was cleaned …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Time Versus Money Edition

Lately, I’ve been struggling with figuring out the value of my time. How much is time really worth? Take laundry, for example. Let’s say I have ten loads of laundry to do at home. There are several days of clothes built up and the sheets need washed and the towels need washed. My time investment …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Revising My “Essential Bookshelf”

In 2009, I made a list of eleven essential books that profoundly helped my career, my finances, and my personal life. These eleven books were ones that I turned to time and time again for advice and ideas. Recently, several readers have asked me whether these books have stayed around and remained the same over …

Categories: What We're Reading

When Your Head Hits the Pillow

At the end of the day, when your head hits the pillow, do you look back on the day that’s just finished and think a bit about the day to come? That’s usually what runs through my head in those minutes just before I fall into a deep sleep. I mostly reflect on my day …

Categories: Getting Started

Five Things That Keep People from Getting Ahead

I’ve kept in touch with many of my friends from high school and college. All of us are roughly the same age (almost everyone in that group is in their thirties), so our experiences in terms of societal changes in our lives is roughly the same, as is the time spent since we’ve become adults …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: The Lesson

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. Businesses and kids 2. Bill pay in advance 3. Cutting own hair? 4. Satellite radio solution? 5. Used sporting goods 6. Treasury Direct today? 7. Retaining …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Six Reasons Why I Don’t Want a Luxury Car – Ever

A while back, I read a “wonderful” article over at Forbes entitled “Ten Reasons to Buy a Luxury Car.” Such important factors as “prestige” and “horses under the hood” were bandied about. Personally, I didn’t really find any of the reasons to be compelling ones for buying a luxury car. Instead, here are six reasons …

Categories: Automobile

Is Self-Employment Risky?

It was just under five years ago that I made the decision to step away from a secure full-time job to become self-employed. It was a very risky decision, but there were several reasons why I made that choice. First, my work had turned into something I didn’t enjoy nearly as much. During the first …

Categories: Entrepreneurship

Some Thoughts on Shopping with Children

I have three children under the age of eight. The prospect of taking them all to the grocery store for a weekly grocery trip is something of a daunting one. While they do behave pretty well overall, they’re also children, and that brings about several problems. Things grab their attention easily. They get bored with …

Categories: Parenting

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #107

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. Michael J. Fox on doing it right the first time “If you don’t take the time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” …

The News Tries to Convince You to Buy More Stuff

I’m a bit of a news addict. I love reading the latest news on a variety of topics and I visit a couple dozen news-related sites multiple times a day. While I love being informed, what I don’t love is how reading the news often creates or stokes a desire in me to buy something …

Categories: Getting Started

Investing with Indirect (or No) Financial Returns

When a person is free from debt and is earning more than they spend, the natural thing to do is to turn to investment advice. Should I invest in stocks or bonds? Should I buy some real estate? The goal of such investments is straightforward: the person simply wants to raise more money. Now that …

Categories: Investing

Living Below Your Means Is a Challenge For Everyone

The single biggest challenge for an individual trying to get control over their finances is not their income level. It’s their financial literacy and their awareness of the problem. Over the course of my life, I’ve lived at a wide variety of income levels. I grew up in a household without much money. I went …

Categories: Getting Started