kid camping with family

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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Frank is a reader of The Simple Dollar who has messaged me on Facebook a few times. He has a solid job working for the state and makes about $42,000 a year. He is married and has three children. However, Frank’s wife is pretty ill. She has multiple sclerosis and is now wheelchair bound. It is very difficult for Frank’s wife to do many household chores, either. Frank’s time, then, is eaten up by taking care of his job and …

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Buying a house can be both an exciting and simultaneously stressful experience. One reason the home buying process tends to be so stressful for many consumers — besides the fact that it’s probably the biggest purchase you’ll ever make — is the rigorous qualification process involved in getting approved for a mortgage. If you’re preparing for a mortgage application, it is important to understand that qualifying for a home loan is a very different process than when you apply for most other …

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