The Latest

6 Ways to Save Money at Summer Concerts and Music Festivals

This article first appeared at U.S. News and World Report Money. Bonnaroo. CMA. Firefly. Lollapalooza. The summer calendar is filled with amazing festivals for music fans, where attendees have the opportunity to hear live performances from dozens of great musical acts in just a few days. Unfortunately, attending concerts and festivals can really add up. …

Categories: Frugality

Buffett’s Prediction Versus the Past: Why Can’t We Expect 10% Returns?

A few days ago, I was running some errands and listening to a real estate guy on talk radio. He was arguing about investments with a caller and along the way, he made a statement that stuck with me. He said that if you go back and look at the history of the stock market, …

Categories: Investing

Using an Inexpensive Streaming Video Box to Replace Cable Television

There is an astounding amount of quality movies and television series available on Netflix. There’s a shocking number of great channels available on Youtube. Add on top of that the many, many other streaming services out there, both free and paid, and you begin to realize that there is far more than enough television content …

Reader Mailbag: Book Club

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. $82 a day for retirement? 2. Wedding photography 3. Passive income 4. Trick for fuel saver programs 5. Value of nice restaurant 6. Frugality and context …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Planning a Great “Stay-cation”

This summer, my family is going on a fairly expensive and lengthy road trip throughout the southeastern United States. It’s definitely going to be one of our pricier vacations, all told, so we’re already thinking about ways to make a much less expensive summer vacation next year. Our plan? A “stay-cation.” We actually did this …

Categories: Travel

The Pictures

Yesterday morning, I played a fun little game with my two oldest children. I think one of them picked it up at school. It’s a simple game, really. You start off by writing a very simple sentence of the form [adjective] [noun] [verb] [noun]. So, for example, you might write “The big dog chews on …

Categories: Getting Started

Retirement Age and Changing Lifespans

Not too long ago, I was at the library researching an article on Social Security and the value people could expect to get from it using historical numbers. (I decided not to do the post because it requires some prediction of the politics in the future.) As I was looking for information, I came across …

Categories: Retirement

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #180

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. Maya Angelou on people “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we …

There Is No “Magic Bullet”

Whenever I face a problem in my life, I want to solve it. Now. The sooner the better. When Sarah and I first started to face up to our financial troubles in 2006, I wanted a solution. Now. The sooner the better. I went to the library and checked out a mountain of books. I …

Categories: Getting Started

Credit Card Interest Typically Compounds Daily – Here’s How to Take Advantage of That

A few weeks ago, I posted an article on the idea of interest that accrues daily. Here’s a brief explanation; check out the full post for more details: Some banks will accrue interest daily. Some even accrue it continuously. Rest assured, the more often a bank accrues interest on your debt, the worse it is …

Categories: Credit Cards, Debt

Building a Better Day

On Tuesday, I woke up, got the kids ready for school, spread organic fertilizer over our back yard, got in contact with a local Congressional campaign about volunteering for them, spent two hours at the library doing research, wrote three articles, read a few chapters of a challenging book, played with my children for a …

Reader Mailbag: The Walk

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. Space heaters 2. Trader Joe’s 3. Too cheap around friends 4. Keeping funds separate 5. Parenting and work 6. Clark Howard thoughts 7. Dealing with partner’s …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

How Does “Pay Yourself First” or “Bank on Yourself” Really Work?

I often see and hear ads for programs that involve the ideas of “banking on yourself” or “paying yourself first.” They’re pretty prevalent on talk radio and you’ll sometimes see ads for programs like these in the newspaper or in the back of financial magazines. The claims made in the ads seem extraordinary. Many of …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Road Trip Edition

This summer, my family along with some additional guests are going on a lengthy road trip that will involve visiting an ocean, hitting multiple national parks, and stopping at Disneyworld along the way. Given that the group size would virtually require two vehicles, we spent a lot of time trying to find a way to …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Does Consumption Smoothing Really Work?

Several weeks ago, a reader suggested that I listen to the latest episode of the wonderful Freakonomics podcast. If you have a chance, I highly suggest listening to it – while I don’t always agree with the conclusions, I find most of the topics discussed to be really entertaining and often thought-provoking. Since then, I’ve …

Categories: Getting Started

The Single Most Important Financial Skill

Investing? Frugality? Entrepreneurship? The most valuable personal finance skill, in my opinion, lies under all of these things. It seems incredibly simple, but it’s also incredibly difficult to master. It’s simply control over your emotions and desires. Control over your emotions and desires keeps you from buying things just because you want them in the …

Reader Mailbag: Memorial Day

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. Food pantry dilemma 2. Cheap mortgage, early payoff? 3. Long-lasting soap 4. Job board? 5. Taxes and living off dividends 6. Why no rentals? 7. Dishwashers …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

The Thousand Mile Journey: Making Long-Term Goals Matter in Your Day-to-Day Life

I have a long term goal of publishing a novel. I’ve always enjoyed writing fiction, but I’ll often write short stories or novellas and find myself really dissatisfied with them, so I’ll toss them aside. I’ve written a few novel-length pieces too and felt the same way – I was just never happy with them. …

Categories: Getting Started

Hindsight Bias and Personal Finance

We’ve all heard the old nugget: hindsight is 20/20, right? From the perch we sit on right now, the mistakes of the past look obvious. Why couldn’t we have predicted it? At the same time, we often look back at our past successes and see them as practically inevitable. That’s just how the story goes, …