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The Simple Dollar Time Machine: November 14, 2009

Many newer readers of The Simple Dollar haven’t been exposed to the hundreds of great articles in the archives of the site, so this is a weekly series that highlights the five best posts from one year ago this week, two years ago this week, and three years ago this week. I call it … …

Categories: Books and Reading

Some Thoughts on Black Friday

In a little less than two weeks, Thanksgiving will be upon us, immediately followed by “Black Friday,” the busiest shopping day of the year. Black Friday is quite often the day that pushes retailers over the line into profitability for the year (from the red to the black), hence the name. Naturally, since it’s the …

Categories: Shopping

The Second Life of Food

This morning, I was doing a bit of advance planning for our dinner this evening. It’s Friday, which is traditionally homemade pizza night at our house, but tonight we were intending to use some left-over beef stew and transform it into a beef pot pie using a pie crust and some corn starch for thickening. …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Give Experiences This Holiday Season

The holiday gift-giving season is upon us once again. For many of us, that means stress. What gift can we give to the people we care about that actually means something? Why do the holidays have to be so expensive after we buy gifts for everyone on our Christmas list? Then, on Christmas Day, we …

The Power of Analyzing Your Life

Over the last month, I’ve mentioned a technique I call “the five whys” two or three times. The technique itself is simple: when you see something in your life that’s not working like you want it to, you start asking “why” until you come to something where you can’t say “why” any more. When you …

Is the Dollar Store Really a Bargain?

Before he passed away a few years ago, my uncle Ken (who I still miss greatly) was a fanatic shopper at dollar stores. He did most of his shopping at a pair of local dollar stores, where he would buy virtually all of his household supplies and quite a bit of his food. He was …

Categories: Frugality

The Hawthorne Effect and You

We all do it. When we know we’re being watched, we’re on our best behavior. We often tend to perform better and we usually tend to make better choices, too. Then, when we think the focus is off of us, we relax and sometimes make different choices. This effect, in which we act “better” when …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Post-Book Lull Edition

After turning in my book a week ago, some of my friends who had already published books wrote to me with an interesting point. “After your book is done,” they said, “you’ll find that you go through a bit of ‘writing burnout.’ You won’t want to write anything for a while.” At first, I didn’t …

Categories: Books and Reading

Using Net Worth as a Psychological Carrot

I like keeping score. Keeping score is an easy way for me to know how well I’m doing. It lets me judge, in a very clear way, whether I’m improving and whether I’m making forward progress towards my goals. For a long time, I was obsessed with keeping score in various aspects of my life …

The Meaning of the Dow Jones Industrial Average

Mickey writes in: In the last week, the Dow Jones Industrial average closed at a thirteen month high and, at the same time, unemployment hit double digits for the first time since the early eighties. I thought that the Dow Jones was supposed to represent how the economy was doing, but that’s not the case. …