Personal Productivity / Personal Development

How Low Can You Go? Chicken-and-Corn Fried Rice with Lemon Spinach

In April and May, National Public Radio featured a series on inexpensive gourmet dishes entitled “How Low Can You Go?” Although many of the dishes looked quite tasty, most of the dishes weren’t actually all that inexpensive, often narrowly getting below $10 to feed a family of four, and many involved arduous cooking processes. I …

Ten Unusual Ways to Improve Your Appearance of Confidence That Really Work

I’ve seen it over and over again: the person in the office with self-confidence is the one that gets the plum assignments. The promotions. The raises. The recognition. The others, who sit back quietly, get left behind (and sometimes resent it). For a long time, I was one of the resentful folks. I had a …

How Low Can You Go? Dal, Chilean Style

In April and May, National Public Radio featured a series on inexpensive gourmet dishes entitled How Low Can You Go?” Although many of the dishes looked quite tasty, most of the dishes weren’t actually all that inexpensive, often narrowly getting below $10 to feed a family of four, and many involved arduous cooking processes. I …

Frugal Vacation Notes: Great Free Things to Do in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area

Over the past week, my wife, my children, my parents and I all went on vacation to the Dallas/Fort Worth area (we had planned a longer road trip, but we made an on-the-fly decision to just stick around DFW). While there, we visited family and saw a large number of sights and events in the …

Seven Hidden Lessons from “Getting Things Done”

A few years ago, I first read David Allen’s seminal book on time management, Getting Things Done (here’s the skinny on what it’s all about). To put it bluntly, it was an epiphany for me. Let me make it as clear as possible: without the insights from Getting Things Done, I would have never found …

The Barter Economy: 14 Great Places to Trade Stuff Online

All of us have things we don’t want and, at the same time, want or need other things. Usually, the transition between the two requires selling what you don’t want and buying what you want or need – but often, you lose value on both transactions. A better solution is bartering – exchange something you …

Thoughts on Angel Food Ministries

Over the last few weeks, quite a few readers have written to me asking about Angel Food Ministries. I’ve been very hesitant to discuss Angel Food Ministries on The Simple Dollar for a handful of reasons, but this is clearly a topic that many readers are interested in hearing about, so I’ll do my best …

Review: Rich Like Them

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. Rich Like Them by Ryan D’Agostino follows in the tradition of The Millionaire Next Door and The Difference: it interviews a large group of millionaires in order to figure out what traits they have in common. Rich Like Them takes this tactic and runs …

Playground Equipment: An Example of Sharing Resources with Neighbors

After reading my recent article about cooperating with your neighbors to share resources, my always-sharp wife Sarah made a great point. “You know, we have a perfect example of this at work out in our yard right now.” And she’s right. Here’s a picture of it. The play equipment above sits exactly on the property …

Review: Stimulated!

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal development, personal productivity, or career book. At almost every job I’ve ever worked at, from a minimum wage service job where I helped people print documents to a full time job in a research lab, creativity and initiative have been rewarded. A person who is a …

Review: Throw Out Fifty Things

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal development, personal productivity, or entrepreneurship book of interest. Whenever I see clutter, I see money lost. For one, the clutter itself is usually made up of unused items that have value. Books, decorations, games, DVDs, and so on – they all cost money to purchase and …

A Tour of My Messenger Bag

My laptop messenger bag is basically my mobile office. I take it with me whenever I leave the house for anything more than a trip to the grocery store. The contents of that bag let me quickly get to work anywhere I am, any time I want – and that gives me a lot of …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Survey Results Edition

The survey results are starting to appear from the survey many of you took a few weeks ago (thanks again for doing this). I found three things really interesting. 70% of the readership is between 18 and 39. Which basically means… most of you are my age or close to it. Sometimes, I’m concerned that …

Review: You’ve Got to Be Believed to Be Heard

Over the next several months, I’m giving several presentations and speeches on my story and what I learned about personal finance along the way. Some of these engagements will be paid ones, thus this may be the beginning of a new revenue stream in my life. As with anything new in my life, I’m filling …

A Reasonable Courtship

This is the first entry in a five part series this week on the stages of a relationship and how you can make financially sound choices throughout. Other entries include engagements, weddings, honeymoons, and marriages. It’s a coming-of-age routine that almost everyone goes through at some point. You’re introduced to someone. That person seems interesting. …

Review: Detox Your Desk

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or entrepreneurship book. My desk is a mess. It’s not so much a factor of having too much stuff – virtually everything on it has a purpose. The problem is that I collect too many little pieces of paper and various other items …

Most Time Management Is Rubbish. Here Are Ten Things That Work for Me.

Over the last few years, I’ve read a ton of time management books and tried out literally hundreds of systems and standalone ideas for maximizing the effectiveness of my time, particularly in terms of my work. There’s a huge, direct benefit for me when I find a productivity tip that really works. It enables me …

Review: The One-Life Solution

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or entrepreneurship book. A few weeks ago, I went out to breakfast with a big group. Most of us were engaged in great conversations about blogging and, frankly, Iowa media gossip, but a few people were pretty noticeably withdrawn from the discussion. They …

Review: Presentation Zen

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or entrepreneurship book. Lately, I’ve been working hard on improving my presentation skills. Why? As The Simple Dollar gets more and more popular, more and more opportunities come my way for presentations. I hear things like “Can you give a ten minute talk …