woman thinking in stone ruins

Happiness, Low Stress, Pleasure, and a Firm Financial Foundation

It’s likely that at some point, you’ve heard of Abraham Maslow’s well-known hierarchy of needs. If you’re unfamiliar with the idea, let me summarize it

05.31.17
holding tray of muffins fresh baked - frugal gifts

How to Surprise Someone for Their Birthday (or Other Special Event) Without Spending a Ton of Money

Maybe you’re in the midst of a financial turnaround. Maybe you’re having a hard time finding a job. Maybe you’ve just been waylaid by a

man in forest

No One Owes You Anything

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

05.26.17
friends celebrating at a dinner party

How to Celebrate Personal Success Without Breaking the Bank

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

woman hiking

Choose the Life You Want. Your Wallet Will Thank You.

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

driving with a map

Course Corrections

About a week ago, I was listening to a wonderful friend of mine, Heidi, talking about Amelia Earhart. Out of the blue, right in the

looking at the ocean through recycling arrows

The ‘Repeat Players’

Once a week, I go to a community board game night for several hours. There’s usually about 20 people in attendance with a healthy mix of

05.18.17
family busy in kitchen kids

Putting Frugality in Context of a Busy Modern Life

Springtime is incredibly busy around our home. Our children each participate in a spring sport of their choosing (if they want to). They’re also finishing

ant on flower

The Ant, the Grasshopper, and the Child

When I was a kid, my parents had a few relatives and friends that were pretty big spenders. I had a cousin who always had

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A Simple Guide to Getting Maximum Value from Your Credit Cards

Sometimes, the simplest questions are just perfect. How do people even use credit cards without messing everything up? A reader we’ll call Jean sent that

meditating

Using Meditation or Prayer to Help Achieve Financial, Professional, and Personal Goals

It’s not a secret to long time readers of The Simple Dollar that meditation is one of my daily practices. I spend at least 10 minutes

graduate hugging mom

To My Nephew on His High School Graduation

Dear Nephew, After 13 years spent in school, you’ve finally earned a high school diploma, which is basically a ticket for your first steps into the

05.11.17
woman working remotely on porch

Financial Planning for a Digital Nomad Life

A few weeks ago, Sarah and I had a pretty frank discussion about what we would be doing right now if we didn’t have children.

arrows on a hiking trail pointing in different directions

Your ‘Magic’ Interest Rate: Figuring Out Debt vs. Savings

When people first become acutely aware of their personal finances, they’re usually hit with a cavalcade of seemingly incompatible goals. They usually have a number

05.09.17
rosemary in herb garden

My Favorite ‘Little Wins’: 12 Simple Frugality Tips That Just Work

Over the years, I have shared literally thousands of frugality tips on The Simple Dollar. Most of them are useful tips – they will save

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How to Get Back on a Strong Financial Path After a Big Setback

You’ve finally done it. You’ve committed to making some big financial changes in your life. You’re going to plow through your worst debts, build up

toy buckets at the beach - family vacation

Personal Finance and Life Priorities

A few days ago, I was in the midst of a back-and-forth email conversation about organizing a to-do list. I was making an argument on

paying credit card bill

How to Use a Zero-Sum Budget to Pay Down Debt

While there are plenty of different budgeting strategies to try, my personal favorite is the zero-sum budget. This type of budget isn’t hard to implement,