• Frugality That’s “Outside the Realm of Possibility”

    If you’ve read The Simple Dollar for long, you’ve seen tons of lists of money-saving tips, from 100 little steps for saving money and 100 free things to do this weekend to fifty ways to have fun by yourself on the cheap and my frugal vacation guide to Dallas/Fort Worth, just to name a few. …

  • Are Poor People Lazy?

    About a week ago, J.D. over at Get Rich Slowly posted an article about the difference between high income earners and low income earners. Most of the differences between the two that he listed come largely down to personal effort and personal choices. In the comments, many people jumped to the conclusion that “poor people …

  • I’ll Do It Tomorrow

    Tom left a great comment on the recent article about taking care of your things: How can you fight off “I’ll do it tomorrow”-ness? My lack of motivation makes me lazy, even though I see the benefits of not being like this. Procrastination is a big enemy of financial progress. It’s easy to say “I’ll …

  • Perspective

    Recently, a brilliant little article popped up over at Five Cent Nickel, outlining the idea that one’s take on long-term investment performance is often a matter of perspective. I go even further: almost every assumption that you base your money decisions – and even your other life decisions – on is a matter of perspective. …

  • Review: Get A Financial Life

    Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. Lately, there have been a ton of good books targeting people in their twenties with a burgeoning interest in personal finance, from Dara Duguay’s revised Please Send Money (targeting college students) to Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You to Be Rich (targeting young professional …

  • The Short Term and the Long Term Choice

    For many people, junk food is a serious temptation. It helps them feel a sense of comfort. It provides a quick burst of flavor. It helps them de-stress. It provides an energy boost at an opportune moment. In the short term, it’s a big gain. In the long term, though, it’s a different story. It …

  • The Cost of Free

    Chris Anderson’s most recent book, Free, argues that the future of many forms of commerce revolve around giving away their products to consumers without any financial cost to the buyer. Anderson believes pretty strongly in this principle – in fact, you can read the full book for free over at Scribd. I agree strongly with …

  • Resetting the Scale

    One of my passions is food. If you’ve been reading The Simple Dollar for long, you know that I love spending a couple of hours in the kitchen preparing an interesting meal. My food articles seem to always grab some acclaim – I think it’s because I bring a bit of extra passion to the …

  • 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 …

  • The Total Money Makeover: Debt Myths

    This is the second of twelve parts of a “book club” reading and discussion of Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover, where this book on debt reduction is teased apart and looked at in detail. This entry covers the third chapter, finishing on page 51. The next entry, covering the fourth chapter, will appear on …

  • Ten Great Ways to Make Powerful Visual Reminders of Your Personal Finance (and Other) Goals

    A long time ago, I wrote a brief article about creating a visual debt reminder, something that will help motivate you towards getting rid of debt. Since then, I’ve found myself using such reminders all the time for keeping my finances in order. The Psychology of the Reminder A reminder? If a goal is really …

  • When the Things You Want Become Destructive – And How to Avoid History Repeating

    As I’ve mentioned before on here, my family did not have a lot of money growing up. My parents were always able to make ends meet and keep dinner on the table, but there was never really a sense of getting ahead. Instead, there was always a sense of just barely enough. That’s not to …

  • Some Thoughts on the “Lake Wobegon” Effect

    Where the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all the children are above average. – Garrison Keillor, A Prairie Home Companion Sure, that line is used for laughs on NPR on Saturday afternoons to describe the placid, fictional Lake Wobegon, but the humor points to a rather serious matter: people constantly overrate …

  • Review: Mindset

    Every other week, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal development, personal productivity, or entrepreneurship book of interest. At first glance, Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck seemed to be one of those pop psychology books that I usually avoid – another The Secret or The Power of Positive Thinking. Books along those lines just repeat the …

  • How the Foot-In-The-Door Technique Costs You Money

    A few weeks ago, I received a simple request from a person I know in the community. She asked me to go to a website and sign a simple petition on behalf of a cause she’s passionate about. She explained the cause in detail and provided the URL, making it really easy for me to …

  • Some Thoughts on the Sunk Cost Fallacy

  • Living and Saving in the Moment

    My three year old son loves to go to the grocery store with Mom and Dad. He wanders around with us, listening to our discussions about which products to buy, and quite often expresses his own opinions. He’ll remind us that he loves V8 Fusion (our preferred fruit juice, since it’s 100% and also is …

  • How to Organize and Host a Frugal Block Party

    One of the biggest reasons I like living where I do is that two or three times a summer, someone hosts a block party. The format is pretty simple – bring a side dish, grab a plate, fill up, and talk to people. Yet, I know from watching the hosts, the actual hosting can be …

  • Debt Repayment and Frugality as Obsession: It Depends on How Your Brain Works

    Yesterday, J.D. Roth at Get Rich Slowly posted an interesting article about whether repaying debt should be an obsession. His conclusion, to put it succinctly, was no: When a person decides to make a lifestyle change — financial or otherwise — there’s a temptation GO ALL OUT. With the zeal of a new convert, you …