• Alternatives to Payday Loans If You Need Cash Immediately

    Payday loans are an incredibly poor deal for the customer. It’s a loan with an absurdly high interest rate. If you take out a payday loan, you’re going to come out the financial loser almost every time. They almost always cause more problems than they solve. Almost everyone knows that payday loans aren’t worthwhile, so …

  • The Danger of Results-Oriented Thinking

    For a month, you scrimp and save. You deny yourself a lot of little treats. You sell a few things on eBay. You make some meals in advance and eat at home a lot more. You make careful grocery lists. At the end of the month, you sit down and reassess your financial situation… and …

  • Reader Mailbag: The “Tool of the Month”

    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. Other investing options 2. Social media and career value 3. Dating expenses and budgeting 4. Struggling with lots of debt 5. Store credit card drawbacks 6. …

  • “Savings Per Hour” and the Power of Frugal Intuition

    Whenever I go beyond intuition and try to evaluate the exact savings found in a particular frugality method, the first thing I do is figure out exactly how much that method saves me regardless of how long it takes. Is this method providing a big savings or a little savings? For me, the tactics that …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Teaching Games Edition

    My oldest son is on a board gaming kick as of late. Most days, when he gets home from school, he requests that we play a board game. He’s able to pick up the rules of many of the games in our family’s collection, more than I would have guessed a few months ago. We’ve …

  • 4 Ways to Minimize Your Home Energy Bill This Spring

    This post first appeared at U.S. News and World Report Money. Winter is over! Spring is here! Spring offers many opportunities to save money. Spring makes it much easier to go outside and get some exercise. You can start a vegetable garden. Plus, when you’re outside, you can turn off all of the lights and …

  • Personal Finance 101: What Is Rebalancing?

    One topic I see referenced quite often in personal finance books – especially books focused on retirement – is the idea of rebalancing. It’s often discussed as though the writer assumes that the reader knows what rebalancing is, but given the confusion I sometimes see in reader emails, I don’t think the idea of rebalancing …

  • How to Get Cheap Life Insurance in 2014

    Finding a cheap life insurance policy that offers the right amount of coverage is at the forefront of any first-time buyer’s mind. The same goes for someone who’s simply looking for a better rate. If you want to get the most affordable life insurance, there are several things you can do to minimize costs. I …

  • 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. …