Getting Started

Cutting Down On Splurges: How I Did It – And You Can Too

Back before my financial armageddon, I used to splurge on unnecessary stuff almost every evening after work. I’d enjoy things by the armload that I simply didn’t need. Once I realized that I really needed to do something to get my spending in check, I sat down and took a serious look at my daily …

What’s Keeping You Financially From Living Your Dream?

What’s your dream? Close your eyes for a moment and think about what you would be doing if it wasn’t for the obstacles in your life. For me, I imagine myself behind a large mahogany desk near a large window, a stack of books near me, a cup of hot chocolate on the desk, and …

The Land Of Opportunity

Recently, I’ve had some splendid conversations with a number of people from all over the world who are thinking about coming to the United States to live or – in one case – sending their nearly-adult children to live in the United States. I was surprised and interested in the questions they asked me, and …

Categories: Getting Started

10 Lessons The Simple Dollar (And Its Readers) Has Taught Me

When I started this blog, I made a deep commitment to myself that this was going to be the linchpin for building my understanding of personal finance issues in many directions. I’ve spent countless hours at the library researching about personal finance, talking to financial professionals, and talking to other people facing the difficulties of …

What Is “The Fed,” What Do They Have To Do With My Money, And Why Should I Care?

Whenever my wife hears mention of the Federal Reserve on television or the radio, her eyes glaze over and she quickly looks for another station to listen to or watch. Sadly, she’s not alone in not having any interest at all in what the Federal Reserve does or what power it has directly over their …

Categories: Getting Started

Buying Things Lets Me Forget Who I Am For A While

As I was driving around last night, I was listening to a story on National Public Radio in which an immigrant female who was ashamed of her past was recounting some details of her experience. Right in the middle of her monologue, she uttered that line: “Buying things lets me forget who I am for …

Three Money Lessons My Grandfather Taught Me

I was only seven when my grandfather passed away, but during the last year and a half of his life, he made a special effort to take me under his wing and express to me, as only he could, some of the lessons life had taught him. Some of them were hauntingly accurate; others, more …

Why Traditional Budgets Don’t Work: Wiser Actions You Can Take Instead Of Filling Out A Budget Form

Before I faced my financial armageddon, I tried several times to squeeze my life into a traditional budget. I’d fill out some spreadsheet that someone gave me, or fill out a page torn out of a personal finance workbook, and I’d start off with high hopes of organizing my finances. Everything would go well for …

Categories: Getting Started

23 Ways To Save Money This Weekend

With the big weekend coming up, many of us are sitting around plotting all sorts of activities, both fun and not-so-fun. If you’re looking for something to do, here’s a checklist of twenty three things you can work on this weekend that will improve your finances by saving you money. Each one you complete will …

Categories: Getting Started

Free Up Extra Money For Debt Payment & Investments

Every once in a while, I look through my collections of various media (more specifically, DVDs, books, video games, and CDs) and realize that it contains a lot of things that I’ll likely never look at or listen to again. I might have a sentimental attachment to some of the items, but for many of …

Reader Question: College Student Crushed By Credit Cards

Recently, I received an email from a reader of The Simple Dollar who laid out an interesting yet familiar story: My girlfriend is a junior in college and she’s managed to dig herself into about $2500 worth of high-interest debt by accumulating credit cards from retail stores (20-24% interest rates). She always makes her minimum …

The Life Map: Connecting Your Daily Activities And Spending To Your Lifelong Goals And Dreams

Over the weekend, I participated in a really interesting activity that reinvigorated me to keep working towards my lifelong goals and dreams. It took some time (about an hour and a half), but when I was finished, it was worth every second of it. The best part? I had constructed a tool that keeps driving …

Categories: Getting Started

Crisis Management: When A Disaster Causes Your Expenses To Exceed Your Income

Every once in a while, life will deal us a disaster: someone dies, the primary household income disappears, or a major benefactor stops paying for things. Suddenly, you find yourself with more monthly expenses than income and no obvious way to bolster that income immediately. What do you do? Here are eight things you can …

The Money Savvy Pig and My Son’s Allowance

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to teach my son about money. I’ve looked at a lot of different resources that could teach my son about money gradually as he gets older. I have four basic criteria that I’m looking for: It has to be visual. At first, I want my child to …

The Ask MetaFilter “Money” Tag: A Great Place To Read Lots Of Different Perspectives On Money Issues

Recently, I’ve been enjoying Ask MetaFilter, a site that’s much like a more mature version of Yahoo! Answers. Users ask questions and receive sensible, well-written answers from the community. It costs a small fee to ask questions (and also to be able to answer questions), which is how they keep out some of the less …

Categories: Getting Started

When Your Investment Income Covers Your Living Expenses

About a month and a half ago, I read Your Money or Your Life and found it to be a relevatory experience (check out my review of the book). One particularly interesting part was a discussion of a concept that the authors referred to as the “crossover point.” Since then, I’ve seen reference to this …

It’s Not Just Another Raise: Turning That Cost Of Living Increase Into Your Dreams

At the start of 2007, many Americans received a welcome addition to their paycheck: a cost of living raise. This raise is a small percentage (between 3 and 4%) of salary added to keep pace with the increase in the cost of everyday life in the United States. Yet, on a year-over-year basis, many of …

Categories: Getting Started

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 …

Personal Finance For College Students: Ten Tips For Realistic Money Management In College – Without The Nonsense

A well-known writeup on software development stated the following: Your “use case” should be, there’s a 22 year old college student living in the dorms. How will this software get him laid? This frank statement hides some amazing truths inside of it, many of which relate to things far beyond software. The key principle, though, …