Getting Started

How to Build Accountability for Your Financial Goals

It’s really easy to set a big goal for ourselves that expresses a major change we’d like to make in our lives. My goals are often related to finances, fitness, and learning. Yours could be anything. At the same time, it’s really hard to follow through on those goals for a number of reasons. First …

Categories: Getting Started

Investment from the Inside Out

When we talk about investments on a personal finance site, we’re usually discussing things that you can buy for a certain amount of money that will, in theory, provide a return on that money. Stocks, bonds, real estate, porkbelly futures – you get the idea. Such investments are a valuable thing to know about, of …

The Tools for Declaring Independence

At first, our big financial goal was simply a matter of escaping a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. After that, it was getting rid of all of our credit card debt. After that, it was buying a home and then becoming completely free of all debt. Now, our goal is financial independence. In our eyes, financial independence simply …

Your Game Plan for Escaping the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle

Right off the bat, I want to say that I understand that this article won’t appeal to all of my readers. Many of you have escaped this cycle and are rolling along toward financial independence. However, I’m willing to bet that many of you have friends or family that are stuck in this cycle and …

Five Money Mistakes We’ve All Made

It can be hard to admit you’ve made some financial mistakes, especially when those mistakes had embarrassing and expensive consequences. Using myself as an example: Exhibit A: When I was 21, I financed a $25,000 Mitsubishi Galant with no money down. Even worse, I only made around $8 an hour at the time. Exhibit B: …

Inspiration from Serial, George Bernard Shaw, Barns, and More

Once a month (or so), I share a dozen things that have inspired me to greater personal, professional, and financial success in my life. I hope they bring similar success to your life. 1. Carol Dweck on the power of believing you can improve From the description: Carol Dweck researches “growth mindset” — the idea …

Categories: Getting Started

Books With Impact: The Millionaire Next Door

The “Books with Impact” series takes a deeper look at specific books that have had a profound impact on my financial, professional, and personal growth by extracting specific points of advice from those books and looking at how I’ve applied them in my life with successful results. The previous entry in this series covered Voluntary …

Categories: Getting Started

A Look at My 2015 Resolutions

At the end of a year, I like to look back on the year that’s gone by, both in terms of my achievements and failures. What good things have I done? What things have I left undone? How can I make the coming year better than the previous one? Often, these end up taking the …

The Secrets Behind Successful Budgeting

Budgeting is one of the trickier issues of personal finance. It can be very tricky to make a budget work for you. For starters, you don’t need a budget to be financially successful. I like to compare a budget to a power screwdriver. You can definitely get that screw into the wall without that power …

The Truth About Your Future Self

In the moment where you simply want something, it’s really tempting to find justifications for it, and one of the easiest justifications is to simply say that your “future self” will pay for it. You can use a credit card, after all, or some kind of payment plan. The actual payment won’t happen today or …

Categories: Getting Started

Why We Strive to Be Financially Responsible

When this article appears on The Simple Dollar for the first time, many readers will be celebrating Christmas morning, hopefully surrounded by family and friends. I hope to be doing the same exact thing with my own family. For me, the Christmas season is also a time for reflection. It’s such a unique opportunity during …

Categories: Getting Started

What I Carry Every Day

A few weeks ago, I finished up the weekly reader mailbag column with a question about what I carry every day. Here’s the question and the answer, reprinted for you I love seeing “everyday carry” articles where people show off what they carry around with them every day. It usually reveals items that the person …

Categories: Getting Started

What Do Frugal People Genuinely Do For Fun?

Over the past six months, this is probably the question I have heard the most often from readers. “What do you do for fun?” “Frugality seems so boring because it takes away all the fun.” “What can I do that’s fun and cheap?” Behind all of these questions lies a simple problem: people perceive “fun” …

Making a “Daily Practice” Work for You

The single best idea I’ve learned this year came to me courtesy of James Altucher, who I heard as a guest on Episode 139 of the podcast Gweek. On that episode, Altucher talked about his book Choose Yourself, but also elaborated a bit on an idea he called the “daily practice.” Simply put, a daily …

Categories: Getting Started

The Single Biggest Money Mistake People Make

Let’s just cut right to the chase. The single biggest money mistake that people make is that they put too much emphasis on the short term and not enough on the long term. Whenever you splurge, you’re choosing the short term over the long term. Whenever you buy something you don’t really need, you’re choosing …

Categories: Getting Started

Ending the Cycle of Excuses

During my second and third years in college, I made some poor decisions regarding which classes to take. Those poor choices, during a period when I was no longer sure about my major, ended up tacking an extra year onto my college experience. My response should have been to talk to advisors and figure out …

Categories: Getting Started

How to Prevent Financial Relapse

It’s a pretty common story. You have some debt. Maybe some student loans or a big home mortgage. You have a good job, but you want more. So you put some stuff on a credit card. Then some more stuff. Then you get another credit card. You sign up for a fat data plan for …

Categories: Getting Started

Wants Don’t Last

In 2011, I sat down with my two oldest children and the three of us each made a list of things that we wanted for Christmas. I used it as a way to get some ideas to share with grandparents and aunts and uncles, but more than that, it was a way to get them …

Categories: Getting Started

Figuring Out the Path Forward

Most of the questions I get from readers about their finances have some things in common. They’re at a crossroads of some kind. Whether it’s triggered by a major life change or not, they have a sense that their current direction in life isn’t perfect for where they think they want to be going. They …

Categories: Getting Started

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