Uhaul truck on dirt road

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to summaries of five or fewer words. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Arguing over frugality 2. Selling possessions before big move 3. Maximizing lifespan of blue jeans 4. Cheap deep fat fryer setup 5. Cracked tablet screen 6. Resolving debts to family members 7. Clothes during weight loss 8. Baby advice in tiny apartment 9. Car downsizing as a parent …

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Dollar cost averaging is a popular investment strategy that usually gets even more popular in environments like this, where all-time market highs and political uncertainty have people worried that the next big stock market crash could be just around the corner. And while dollar cost averaging can absolutely be a good way to ease yourself into the market, it’s a strategy whose benefits are often oversold and misunderstood. In this post we’ll explore exactly what dollar cost averaging is, what …

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Camping, in its rawest form, is one of the most frugal vacation options in the world. All you really need is a tent (or some other shelter), something to sleep in or on, basic supplies for cooking and eating, and the means to start and maintain a fire. Beyond those essential furnishings and skills, everything else is free. After all, camping opens the door to a wide range of entertainment provided by the great outdoors – hiking, swimming, fishing, and …

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I recently ran across a letter written by the writer, investment advisor, and politician Harry Browne. It was a letter intended for his nine-year-old daughter and was published as part of his syndicated newspaper column. I want to share it in its entirety: * * * It’s Christmas and I have the usual problem of deciding what to give you. I know you might enjoy many things — books, games, clothes. But I’m very selfish. I want to give you …

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If you’re a homebody who’s into family stay-cations, a credit card that focuses on travel rewards just doesn’t fit. Likewise, a cash back card with no travel rewards isn’t an ideal match for frequent flyers. Choosing a credit card with a rewards structure that aligns with your spending habits will ensure your rewards stack up quickly. You’ll also want to carefully consider redemption options. Do you want to earn rewards you can redeem for free travel? Is cash back more …

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Personal success often translates into a time for celebration. You just got a promotion at work. You just got a great new job. You just got engaged. You found out you’re expecting a child. You paid off your car. You paid off your house. You sold your house. There are lots of reasons that life offers us for a celebration of some kind or another. However, celebration often translates into expense in the modern world. When we think of celebrating …

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Long time readers of The Simple Dollar know that I have a number of hobbies that I’m quite passionate about, most of which are actually pretty cheap if you make smart choices regarding them. Because I wear my hobbies on my sleeve so much, I get pretty frequent emails and Facebook messages from readers asking about how they can get started in those hobbies, too. So, today, I thought I’d share some steps for how to dip your toes in …

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Workplace conflict is inevitable, but it’s not always bad. In this way, it’s much like a marriage. As legendary British anthropologist Gregory Bateson put it: “Too little conflict, and the marriage is dull. Too much, and it’s toxic.” That same notion can be applied to workplace relationships. An office without debates or conflict is a place where no one is pushing forward new ideas. But, if everyone is cutthroat, and people are taking their laptops into the bathroom stall so …

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Whenever I see a headline like that, I can’t help but think that it’s drenched in positive thinking. Then, I look at a day like yesterday. Yesterday, I didn’t really feel like working. At all. The motivation to write was nonexistent. I didn’t feel inspired and the words were simply not coming out. So, I got up and headed over to Ledges State Park. I packed a backpack with a lunch, a full water bottle, some bug spray, and a …

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While I was once willing to do just about anything to save money, I’ve learned that some savings strategies work better than others over time. For example, buying the “cheapest” small appliances usually means having to buy them again in a few short years. Ask me how many times I purchased a $17 coffeemaker from Walmart to figure that one out. The same can be said for clothes. I don’t know how many cheap new outfits I bought from Kohl’s …

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