• Reader Tip Tuesday #5

    For any parent on a budget, back-to-school shopping can feel more like a back-to-school spending free-for-all. It’s the same every year. Teachers send out those foot-long lists of “required” and “recommended” supplies, and kids are eager not to be the only student who isn’t touting the latest and greatest backpack, lunchbox, pants, or pens on …

  • Hiring Veterans is Good For Business and Families

    It may or may not come as a surprise to you that the unemployment rate for veterans is higher than the national average. The unemployment rate for veterans ages 18-24 is in fact much higher than the national average: according to a recent study, nearly 1 in 4 18-24 year old veterans are out of …

  • The Remnants of a Past Life

    A few months ago, my parents handed me a small tub of items that they’d found in their home. They had spent some time renovating the upstairs of their home to make it more comfortable for guests and, in the process, they cleaned out a bunch of old things that had been there since I …

  • Do an Insulation Inspection (167/365)

    The more insulation in your walls, the less heat will transfer through your walls. It’s one of those basic facts of home ownership. Insulation is beneficial in the summer when you want the heat to remain outside, and it’s also beneficial in the winter when you want to keep the heat inside. Now, if you …

  • Transitioning Home: Supporting Service Men and Women Looking for Work

    U.S. & the Problem of Veteran Unemployment For service men and women returning from active-duty, a period of unemployment is next to unavoidable. Most veterans make a non-negotiable trade in coming home: the sureties of military assignment in exchange for an uncertain spell of civilian unemployment. For many, landing a job signals full return home. …

  • Sharing Futures, Sharing Scores

    You’ve found your soul mate and you’re goin’ to the chapel and you’re goin’ get married. Congratulations. But are your credit scores compatible? It isn’t a particularly romantic conversation, but talking about your credit history and how to manage your new financial life together is something couples can do to avoid disappointment or embarrassment once …

  • Teachable Credit: Sneaky and Fun Credit-Building Lessons For Kids

    While Congress has passed many measures in the last ten years aimed at reducing the opportunities for predatory credit card companies, the reality is that first-year college students and young adults ages 18-21 are still able to qualify for some cards that offer limits much higher than their incomes can realistically sustain. To be able …

  • The AT&T/Verizon Duopoly (Infographic)

    My name is Nicole and I’m a new guest contributor to The Simple Dollar. I’m excited to begin providing an additional resource for the blog’s readers with a fun and informative weekly consumer-related infographic. I’m eager for feedback on this and future posts, so please let me know what you think in the comments. Our …

  • Personal Finance and Intuition

    A few weeks ago, I was exchanging emails with a reader (who asked not to be quoted, but said I could paraphrase the conversation). She told me that she makes most of her decisions entirely on instinct and intuition and feels that this is why she often gets into financial trouble. Frankly, I agree with …

  • Review: Generation Earn

    Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. I really enjoy reading personal finance books that target young professionals – the one group that I believe could use the personal finance help the most. So many of them are really well-written, but they each take one of two …

  • If You Live in Central Iowa…

    Watch the KCCI (channel 8) evening news tonight (Sunday) at either 5 PM or 10 PM. There’s going to be a story about me, my family, The Simple Dollar, and my book (365 Ways to Live Cheap). I was fairly nervous during the whole thing – I’m not exactly comfortable in front of a camera …

  • The Perfect Christmas Gift

    Each Christmas season follows the same general routine. Throughout the year, I keep my eye open for good Christmas gift ideas for my family and friends. I’ll glance through flyers, look at sales, and stop in at exceptional events like “going out of business” sales with the idea in mind that I’ll find an amazing …

  • Excuses, Excuses

    When you’re entrenched in a large pattern of bad habits and you’re challenged to escape those habits, it’s very easy to fall back on an excuse of some kind to “explain away” and justify your poor choices. I know this from experience. I used many excuses to continue my poor spending habits and I still …

  • Is a Positive Attitude Enough?

    Yesterday, Carrie made a very interesting comment in response to my review of I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This: if being happy is a matter of attitude [...] then shouldn’t people be able to make anything work [...] by simply changing their attitude? Carrie’s question strikes right at the …

  • A Frugal Guide to the Iowa State Fair (or Any Similar County or State Fair)

    One annual end-of-summer tradition in our household is attending the Iowa State Fair, held in Des Moines each year in mid-August. It’s something we look forward to for weeks. Over the years, we’ve found a bunch of little techniques to turn what could be an expensive day trip into something much cheaper. If you invest …

  • Consumer Reports – September 2008

    Consumer Reports has asked me to eliminate the content of my summaries and any other references to the content of Consumer Reports. I have complied…

  • Consumer Reports – March 2008

    Consumer Reports has asked me to eliminate the content of my summaries and any other references to the content of Consumer Reports. I have complied…

  • Consumer Reports – February 2008

    Consumer Reports has asked me to eliminate the content of my summaries and any other references to the content of Consumer Reports. I have complied…

  • Consumer Reports – January 2008

    Consumer Reports has asked me to eliminate the content of my summaries and any other references to the content of Consumer Reports. I have complied…