Recently, I found out that one of my favorite writers has cancer. That person will announce it in due time if it turns out to be untreatable, but that’s her (or is it his?) decision. When you’re a fan of someone’s work and read it faithfully, it’s easy to get caught up in that person’s work. You want a new book. You want a new blog post. You want a new photograph. You want some detail to be corrected. I …

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Read the Manual (30/365)

February 1 2012

When my wife and I first got our Prius, we had a very difficult time getting the car to turn on. Now, this seems like a completely simple issue. Put in the key, right? Well, our Prius has a button on the dash that says “Power” instead of a key. Unfortunately, if you push that button without having a little keychain in your pocket, it won’t work. Even stranger, if you push it with that keychain in your pocket and …

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Banks Are Not Your Friends

January 31 2012

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. – Thomas Jefferson Thanks to William Grootonk for the image. Yesterday, I was stunned to read a news report about how Freddie Mac denied people the ability to refinance, then made investments that earn them more money if people are unable to refinance. “Freddie Mac has invested billions of dollars betting that U.S. homeowners won’t be able to refinance their mortgages at today’s lower rates, according …

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The last two weeks have focused on appliances. Now, we’re going to shift directions and take a deeper look at automobiles. Let’s take a look at two hypothetical cars. You’re looking at a class of cars that, according to the data you’ve researched, get to 150,000 miles pretty reliably before significant problems set in. You drive 25,000 miles per year, so you’re hoping to get six years out of the car. Gas costs $3.25 a gallon. We’re going to assume …

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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. Paying off low interest debt 2. Refinancing question 3. Coaching youth sports 4. Building credit from scratch 5. Buying home without down payment 6. Breakfast question 7. What happened to WaMu? 8. Handling my first large paycheck 9. Collectible toys for kids 10. Retirement fund on low income About three times …

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Just a few days ago, Connie wrote in: It’s been a real challenge turning our financial situation around. My husband seems supportive but he’s having a really hard time breaking his old spending habits and with our reduced income it is really a challenge every month. I finally was able to get about $300 together for an emergency fund and I was really happy with my progress when our hot water heater died. We had to replace it and it …

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Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance or other book of interest. Also available is a complete list of the hundreds of book reviews that have appeared on The Simple Dollar over the years. I’ve had the blog Money Saving Mom bookmarked for years. In fact, it’s been a permanent mainstay on the list of 25 blogs I recommend that appears on every page of The Simple Dollar. The blog has a nice mix of couponing content paired …

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One of the most critical appliances in our home when I was growing up was our chest deep freezer. We kept it in the attached garage, just a few steps out of the garage door that opened onto the kitchen. That freezer would store bag after bag of frozen fish caught by my father, lots of venison and beef that my family would trade for (or, in the case of venison, occasionally hunt for as a food source), frozen vegetables, …

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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. Rodin on what’s worth doing Everything is worth doing if you approach it right. “Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” – Auguste Rodin The challenge always is figuring out ways to actually use the experience wisely. If you view the world from this perspective, life itself is a …

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Let’s cut straight to the chase. The sweet spot for any refrigerator is between 39 and 40 F. This is the temperature at which bacterial growth is inhibited but the difference between your refrigerator and the ambient temperature outside of your refrigerator is minimized. In other words, keeping your refrigerator’s internal temperature at about 39 F will keep your food safe while minimizing your energy costs. Simple, right? Well, not quite so simple. Your refrigerator is one of the biggest …

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