• An Unhealthy Dose of Optimism

    It isn’t very hard to come across stories of people who thought they had everything planned out, only to see everything come apart at the seams. They lost their job. Their car fell apart. Their apartment building burned to the ground. They got sick. Their child or spouse got sick. Someone stole their identity. They …

  • Reader Mailbag: Field Trips

    What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. More retirement savings 2. Value of shorter commute? 3. Dishwasher versus hand washing 4. Twenty-something decisions 5. Buying razors for life 6. Value of shorter commute? …

  • Wasting Your Life

    Every few months, I get wrapped up in a deep melancholy – one might even describe it as something like a mild depression. I become convinced that I have somehow wasted my life, that the thirty five years I have spent on this Earth amount to very little in terms of making the world a …

  • The Jar of Life

    A new month is about to start. Let’s try something different. This month, get a giant jar along with a notepad and pen. Put it somewhere where you’ll see it all the time. Whenever something good happens in your life, write it down on a piece of paper. Fold it up and put it in …

  • Separating Happiness from Material Things

    When I graduated from college and got my first “real” job, I realized I needed a vehicle of some kind to get back and forth to work. Prior to that, I had been a poor college student – I didn’t own a car and used the bus system to get to my classes and to …

  • Ten Pieces of Inspiration #171

    Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well. 1. Francis Bacon on hope “Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.” – Francis Bacon Hope is a powerful starter, but it takes more than hope …

  • Nine Free Resources for Inexpensive Home Exercise

    My recent article, Five Inexpensive Gym Alternatives for Exercise, resulted in a small flood of feedback from readers offering up their tips for home exercise. I reviewed the many links and ideas that readers provided and found nine really great free resources if you’re trying to get in shape (or stay in shape) at home. …

  • Making an Unconventional Choice

    Currently, we have exactly one television in our home. I use that television approximately two hours a week. If it were solely up to me, I would simply disconnect it and go without a television. To my extended family (and probably to quite a few readers), this is just bizarre. My parents have four televisions …

  • The Best Credit Monitoring Service for 2014

    With identity theft on the rise, now is the time to find the best credit monitoring service so you can protect yourself before it happens. According to the most recent “Victims of Identity Theft” report published by the Bureau of Justice in 2013, approximately 16.6 million persons (7% of all U.S. residents age 16 or …

  • Avoiding Doing It Yourself

    I like doing things myself, whenever I can do it. Yesterday, when I posted a list of eight DIY tasks for spring, I relish the opportunity to do things like that. Sometimes, I even go beyond what I think I should be doing … in fact, that’s why our basement toilet has the water supply …

  • Reader Mailbag: Participation

    What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Small business advice 2. Cost-effective couponing strategy 3. Living paycheck to paycheck? 4. 401(k) withdrawal advice 5. Husband cheating – what now? 6. Old toothbrushes 7. …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: March Madness Edition

    As usual, I submitted the same exact bracket to a bunch of different NCAA bracket contests. This year, I’m doing really, really well, though I’m not perfect. My bracket percentage is 90.3%, believe it or not, as I have guessed 47 of the 52 winners so far correctly. I guessed right on most of the …

  • How to Find the Best Free Checking Account in 2014

    The Internet has equipped banks with the ability to offer a free checking account online to almost anyone who qualifies. Fortunately, the government mandates that a checking account can’t be marketed as “free” if the consumer could potentially be charged a maintenance or activity fee. So what does “free” actually entail? The term “free” is …

  • 15 Items That Are Always Worth Buying in Bulk

    This article first appeared at U.S. News and World Report Money. Buying items in bulk can be a great way to save a little money. If you’re able to reduce the cost per unit of a purchase, then you’re opening the door to reducing your household expenses over the long haul. The trick? Sometimes bulk …

  • Eight Simple Money Saving Do-It-Yourself Tasks to Do This Spring

    Spring is here! (At least, according to the calendar. We received about an inch of snow overnight, which I hope will be the last snow until the late fall.) For the five of us in central Iowa, spring means that it’s time to get outdoors again after a long winter. We usually gorge on the …

  • Little Excuses

    I’m not going to set up my Roth IRA today. It’s complicated and I feel kind of tired. I’ll do it tomorrow. I’m not going to exercise today. My leg is a little sore and I have this project I’m working on… I’ll exercise tomorrow. I’m not going to shop around for insurance today. I …

  • Personal Finance 101: What Is a Dividend?

    A few days ago, I was working on an article where I referred to dividends. Since I didn’t really provide any sort of explanation of what dividends were, I went looking for an article where I explained in detail what a dividend actually is and, to my amazement, I never found a good, thorough explanation …

  • Reader Mailbag: Diagnosing Computer Problems

    What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. IRA or savings account? 2. Rental properties 3. Why risk money? 4. Aggressive mortgage repayment? 5. The Billion Dollar Bracket 6. Freebies and ethics 7. Emergency …

  • Five Inexpensive Gym Alternatives for Exercise

    In my area, the cheapest gym I can find for exercise is one that charges about $15 per month and charges additional fees for every class you might take. The $15 per month just gets you in the door and gives you access to the facilities. Other gyms that offer training programs and such accelerate …