Bad Spending Habits

Online Buying, Impulse Control, and Amazon.com

Recently, I listened to a story on NPR (for the life of me, I can’t find a link to it on their website) where developers at Amazon.com were discussing their goal in shaving seconds off of the time it takes for a person to come to their site with a desire in their head and …

Splurges, Habits, and Projection

I recently wrote about the “connection” between quality of life and consumer spending, concluding that it’s financially healthy to derive a sense of quality of life from things that aren’t consumer purchases. The post generated a lot of discussion (well over a hundred comments), with many readers seeing both sides of the coin – that …

Navigating the Hazards of Impulse Purchasing

This Christmas, I received a 32 GB iPod Touch as a gift – yes, it was the main gift I received this year. Unsurprisingly, after receiving such a cool gadget, I spent much of the last week playing with it – I can now Twitter with it, check my email on it, have a feed …

New Year’s Resolution Workshop #2: Spend Less Money

Over the next few days, we’re going to take a look at five common New Year’s resolutions that people often adopt for their finances, evaluate some of the traps that people fall into with regards to that resolution, and come up with some real actions that can turn a challenging New Year’s resolution into a …

The Least Important Bill

Recently, I happened to be leafing through Elizabeth Warren’s worthwhile personal finance book, All Your Worth, when I stumbled across an interesting statement on page 244: “If things get really tight and you don’t have enough to cover all your expenses, pay the most important bills first.” Obviously, Warren intended this advice to be given …

Addiction and Personal Finance

I’ve watched one of my childhood heroes throw his life away to a methamphetamine addiction. I remember him surging with vitality, going to school full time while simultaneously working at a full time job to make ends meet. He had the future open to him – college scholarships, a killer work ethic, and a quiet …

Dealing With A Bad Day Without Spending Money

In the “bad old days,” I used to respond to a bad day by spending money on something. The immediate perk of acquiring something new was usually enough to raise my spirits at least a little, and that little raise in spirit would be enough to help me finish off the day and rise for …

Stumbling on the Simple Things

When I write on The Simple Dollar, I often write about tips and techniques that I’ve found useful for saving and investing money. I’ll talk about the big things – like always spending less than you earn – but I also list things like ten ways to avoid financially responsible buying. I have very little …

Six Habits I’ve Given Up In Order To Save Money – And How Much It’s Saved Me This Year

When most people think of giving up a habit, they think of quitting smoking or something to that effect. However, there are a lot of little habits that people pick up in their daily routines that they rarely even think about. At the start of the year, I made a concerted effort to give up …

Musings On Spending $3 On A Candy Bar

I spent $3 on a raspberry chocolate bar the other day. The three of us sat in the parking lot in the rain, breaking off little pieces, giggling, singing along to Gnarls Barkley on the radio, and watching the rain drops bounce on the hood. Was that $3 an effective use of money? Of course …

Forty Ways To Cut Your Monthly Expenses

One of the biggest challenges in personal finance is figuring out ways to reduce the regular bills that eat up your monthly budget. These continuous regular expenses simply fill up our budget, leaving us less money to invest for the future – and also less money to spend on things that we enjoy. 40 Ways …

Overcoming A Strong, Sudden Bad Spending Impulse

Yesterday morning, I went to a Target just as it opened looking for some baby wipes for my son. As I strolled through the store, I noticed a small, excited crowd in the home electronics section, so I walked over to see what was going on. The store had received a new shipment of Nintendo …

Financial Freedom Is Making Me Rethink My Life

It was last April, a year ago now, that I really suffered the worst of my financial meltdown, and I finally woke up to the realization that I needed to make some drastic changes in the way I spent my money. I cut a ton of fat out of my spending, paid off all of …

Talking Yourself Out Of Unnecessary Spending: How I’m Doing It With Five Things I Really Want

Many people (myself included) often want items that they can afford, but by buying it they are really hurting their potential savings for the future. I know personally that Item I Want: A Nintendo Wii Tactic I’m Using: Realizing I’ll rarely use it Whenever I think about buying a Wii, I picture playing it with …

Insights Into My Mind: A Recent Interview

In the last few months, I’ve been interviewed several times as a result of the success of this site. One recent interview, however, really stood out because the interviewer went immediately into questions a lot more interesting than “why do you write about money” and “how popular is your site” (the usual questions, in other …

Ten Ways To Avoid Financially Irresponsible Buying

In this modern era, we are surrounded by an almost infinite opportunities to spend money – and an almost infinite number of enticements to take up those opportunities. Advertisements trick us into thinking our lives will be better if we just buy this one item. Our neighbors look happy enjoying their latest luxury. Our friends …

How To Get Off The Paycheck-To-Paycheck Treadmill In Just Six Months

It’s scary: according to Money Magazine, 65% of Americans are in a financial situation where they are less than one paycheck away from financial meltdown. In other words, the majority of Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck and would be approaching a major crisis in less than a month if one of the family …

I Used To Be Just Like Them: Thoughts From A Recovering Spending Addict

I used to be just like them, I think to myself as I watch the line at the coffee shop extend almost out the door. I used to stop there almost every day for a hot chocolate and a bagel with cream cheese in the morning, something to perk me up just a bit before …

Money and Depression

I have a confession to make. The last few months have been the happiest for me in several years. I am convinced that the biggest reason for the turnaround is that I finally have some grasp on my money which I never really had before. For years, I wondered seriously whether or not I was …