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. As many long-time readers of The Simple Dollar know, I’m quite focused on time management practices. Without good time management skills, I would have never been able to get The Simple Dollar off the ground. One particular facet of time management was always a …

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Quite often, I’ll get emails from readers saying that they’re looking to invest their money and that the money they want to invest is currently sitting in a savings account. What these readers often overlook is that the money in their savings account is already invested. An investment simply means that you’ve put aside a resource for future use with the hopes of gaining a return on that money. A person can invest in anything from baseball cards and stamps …

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Wrapping Paper Alternatives

December 11 2011

One common theme in the emails I get this time of year is the cost of wrapping paper. Many people find it difficult to swallow that they’re investing $15 to $20 into paper that’s simply there to cover a box and will be torn to shreds on Christmas morning – and, frankly, I don’t blame them. For us, that means supplies for multiple homemade gifts or even a moderately priced store-purchased gift for someone. I don’t know about you, but …

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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. Sarah and I spent a lot of time assembling Christmas gifts this week, so our mind was on the spirit of the season. 1. ifttt Have you ever taken pictures with your camera and wished they would automatically show up on Flickr and Facebook? Ever wanted an email sent to you with a note if …

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The Soup Kitchen

December 10 2011

From about mid-October to roughly the end of March, we have some form of soup for dinner two or three times a week. It’s incredibly easy to make, has infinite variations, and is really inexpensive. What’s not to love about it? Here’s exactly how we do it. The Basic Tools Obviously, the most basic thing you need to have is a soup pot or two. We often make soup in these 5 1/2 quart enameled cast iron pots, but any …

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Saving Pennies or Dollars is a new semi-regular series on The Simple Dollar, inspired by a great discussion on The Simple Dollar’s Facebook page concerning frugal tactics that might not really save that much money. I’m going to take some of the scenarios described by the readers there and try to break down the numbers to see if the savings is really worth the time invested. Shaun writes in: This time of year (late fall, early winter), the local hardware …

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Planning a Group Vacation

December 9 2011

Two summers ago, my wife, my children, my parents and I all traveled to Texas together, in part to visit relatives but also to enjoy the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Because we took some time to plan the trip in advance and involved everyone going on the trip in the planning, we ended up finding quite a few free and frugal things to do on the trip. We were also able to save money on the trip by only taking one …

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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. Investing in tax liens 2. How much for housing? 3. Stuck in a rut 4. Choosing an investment house 5. Turning the economy around 6. Investing for youths 7. Reactivating old card 8. Auto loan credit question 9. Handling an inheritance 10. Philosophy reading list I get two or three book …

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Laurie writes in: My main observation though is the constant path of self control and perseverance you seem to follow. I commend you highly for being able to do this. I guess my question is, even though you manage to make it all sound so (sometimes not) simple and using a lot of common sense, how does the everyday person find or learn the right mindset to stay on the straight and narrow so that it becomes more or less …

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Whenever there’s a challenge going on in my life, I find it much harder to write. I find my thoughts drifting away from the words and onto other things. For me, the best solution is to simply spend some time reflecting on that challenge. I put aside feeble attempts to work and focus on that which is bothering me. If I do that, I tend to find resolution much sooner, and once I find resolution, the words and the focus …

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