The Latest

Don’t Waste Food! A Ten Step Strategy to Avoid the Expense of Food Gone Bad

One of the biggest frustrations I have as a money-conscious person is when I toss something out that could have been used if I had just planned better. It’s painful whether I’m tossing out something that’s rusty, something that’s water damaged, or something that’s spoiled. This “tossing out ‘could have been used’ stuff” phenomenon happens …

Categories: Food, Frugality

Site Changes

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. Working during downtime 2. Choosing among retirement options 3. Charge card or credit card? 4. Baseball cards 5. Money left over in budget 6. Is being …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Three Situations Where a Car Lease Might Make Sense

In general, I’m pretty strongly opposed to the idea of leasing a car. In most situations, a car lease is a long-term financial mistake. Compared to a cycle of buying late model used cars and driving them to their replacement point, auto leasing is very expensive. Still, there are exceptions to every situation. A recent …

Categories: Automobile

Are “Rural Opportunity Zones” a Good Deal?

Shelley writes in: My husband and I have been considering moving to the Great Plains in order to enjoy smaller town life and much lower cost of living. I have been reading about Rural Opportunity Zones in Kansas and I am wondering what you think of them. Rural Opportunity Zones are just that – rural …

The Free and the Priceless

What is the financial value of a hug from one of your children? You might scoff at this question or think that it’s somehow foolish, but I’m serious. What is a hug from one of your children worth? Five dollars? Ten dollars? Thousands? Nothing? It probably has a lot to do with your own internal …

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #183

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. Antoine de Saint-Exupery on goals and plans “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery I highly recommend The Little Prince as a children’s …

Best Credit Cards of 2014

At The Simple Dollar, one of our goals is to provide you with the most comprehensive and useful credit card information available on the Internet. Our research started with over 1,600 different credit cards. We collected data on all the best credit cards, organized the cards by type, and then ranked each card based on …

Categories: Credit Cards

The Addiction of Momentary Pleasure and Seeking the Peak

I really enjoy a big gulp of orange juice. That mix of tartness and sweetness across my tongue is just sublime. I relish the feeling I get from pulling the plastic off of a new board game and popping out all of the pieces. The smell, the sound, and the tactile feeling all bring me …

When You Blame Them, You’re Just Making Excuses

Them. It’s easy to blame them. If it wasn’t for them, I would have a good job. I would have a publishing contract. I would have more money. I would have that promotion. If it wasn’t for them, I would have the life I dream of. Here’s the truth: whenever you waste a second of …

Categories: Getting Started

How to Ask for Truly Useful Career Advice (and Other Kinds of Advice, Too)

During my long and winding career path, I’ve been stuck at many difficult points, uncertain as to what to do next. In those times, I’ve relied on the advice of others to help guide me down the right path. Most of the time, choosing to accept the advice of others has turned out well. At …

Categories: Advice, Careers

The Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

If your credit is less than perfect, you’ll have a more difficult time obtaining and using a credit card. The flip side is that responsible use of a credit card is a fantastic way to rebuild your credit score. Even with bad credit, you have some great options to start rebuilding your financial future. The …

Categories: Credit Cards

A Brief List of National Parks and Forests I Will Be Visiting Later This Summer

Shawnee National Forest. Daniel Boone National Forest. Cherokee National Forest. Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Pisgah National Forest. Sumter National Forest. Osceola National Forest. Ocala National Forest. Possibly more. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this. National parks and forests are an amazing opportunity to see our nation’s beauty for a …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Maintaining Professional Bridges

Unexpected twists and turns happen all of the time in our professional lives. A child is born, causing a parent to start staying at home. A side business takes off. A spectacular job offer appears out of the blue. A severe illness occurs. A person is burnt out on their current career and needs a …

Categories: Careers

Take Back Toe (and Links)

Over the last several days, I’ve had a ton of fun playing Take Back Toe, a simple game that just requires forty markers (you can use anything) and a six sided die. It’s a free game – here are the rules. It takes about fifteen minutes to play and the rules are extremely simple, but …

Categories: Morning Roundup

5 Soda Alternatives That Can Save You Money

This article first appeared at US News and World Report Money. Drinking soda (or pop or coke, depending on the region of the United States you reside in) can add up surprisingly quickly, particularly if you have several children. Even worse than that, soda is a way to add a bunch of extra calories to …

Categories: Frugality

How Much Time Do You Invest in Your Job?

When I first started The Simple Dollar, I was employed full time in a research environment. My job mostly involved handling and sharing significant quantities of data – I did a bit of data mining and a lot of software development, among other things. One of the first big realizations I made during the process …

Eight Great Free (Or Nearly Free) Summer-Long Projects for Children

Last summer, my two oldest children embarked on a summer-long project that they ended up taking a ton of pride in. In fact, we expanded that summer project and are repeating it again this summer to their great enthusiasm. (What project was it? It’s the first one on this list.) We learned a few lessons …

Categories: Family, Frugality, Parenting

Reader Mailbag: Word Association

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. Retirement and asset allocation 2. Breaking the bar routine 3. Regular or Roth TSP? 4. Game night and small kids 5. Financial seminar scam 6. Income …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Keeping the Pantry Organized

As I’ve mentioned before, our grocery routine is pretty straightforward. I’ll just pull it straight in from our Meal Planning for Busy Families post from last fall: Step 1: Get a Flyer Step 2: Find Sales on Fresh Ingredients Step 3: Do Some Recipe Research Step 4: Create a Week-Long Meal Plan Step 5: Make …

Categories: Food, Frugality