The Latest

Are Ethanol Fuels a Bargain?

Ethanol Added and Premium Fuels Are a Questionable Bargain Over the last year, I’ve been keeping careful track of the fuel efficiency of my 2004 Honda Pilot. You know the vehicle – it’s the one I bought off of Craigslist a few years back. My driving in the vehicle is an almost equal mix of …

Categories: Automobile, Frugality

Reached Your Financial Limit? Fourteen Key Steps To Turn Your Finances Around

One of the interesting parts of running a popular website like The Simple Dollar is that you get to see the terms that people type into Google when they’re searching for your site. So, if someone types “money management” into Google and then eventually click on my site somewhere in the results for that term, …

Categories: Getting Started

Parents and Children and Other Things

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. Parents and gifts 2. Balance transfer question 3. Best free children’s educational programs 4. Non-monthly budget items 5. Acorns? 6. Product codes 7. Mortgage strategy 8. …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Building a Meaningful Life from the Bottom Up

One of the biggest struggles of modern life is the search for meaning and purpose. Most of the time, we go through our day-to-day lives just accomplishing the things we need to get done and relishing the spare time that’s left over. It can feel a lot like jogging on a treadmill, where life is …

The Razor Experiment: Smart Tactics for Razor Blades

I’ve been clean shaven for almost my entire adult life (aside from a disastrous beard experiment in college). Over those years, I’ve tried a number of different solutions for keeping a clean shave and, over the last several years, I’ve focused on ways to keep my face cleared without breaking the bank. These experiments have …

Categories: Frugality

Sixteen Tricks for Maximizing a Small Home or Apartment

When Sarah and I were first married in 2003, we moved into a pretty small apartment. According to what I could find online about it, it measured in at about 550 square feet. We viewed it as a temporary solution. It was okay for just the two of us, but we wanted a family and …

Categories: Housing

My Timeless Strategy for Buying Electronics

I write for a living, mostly for websites. It’s not surprising that I have a great deal of use for a number of electronic items. I have a smartphone, a reasonably modern computer, a laptop, and an iPad Mini. Almost since the day I graduated from college, using computers and other electronic devices has been …

Ten Steps to Cut Food Waste Expense

One of the biggest frustrations I have as a money-conscious person is when I waste something 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 most …

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

Should I Lease or Buy a Car? 3 Situations Where Leasing Makes 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 Immediate Gratification

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 I Dropped My Excuses, I Found My Results

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

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