• The Best Credit Monitoring Service for 2014

    With identity theft on the rise, now is the time to find the best credit monitoring service so you can protect yourself before it happens. According to the most recent “Victims of Identity Theft” report published by the Bureau of Justice in 2013, approximately 16.6 million persons (7% of all U.S. residents age 16 or …

  • Avoiding Doing It Yourself

    I like doing things myself, whenever I can do it. Yesterday, when I posted a list of eight DIY tasks for spring, I relish the opportunity to do things like that. Sometimes, I even go beyond what I think I should be doing … in fact, that’s why our basement toilet has the water supply …

  • Reader Mailbag: Participation

    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. Small business advice 2. Cost-effective couponing strategy 3. Living paycheck to paycheck? 4. 401(k) withdrawal advice 5. Husband cheating – what now? 6. Old toothbrushes 7. …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: March Madness Edition

    As usual, I submitted the same exact bracket to a bunch of different NCAA bracket contests. This year, I’m doing really, really well, though I’m not perfect. My bracket percentage is 90.3%, believe it or not, as I have guessed 47 of the 52 winners so far correctly. I guessed right on most of the …

  • How to Find the Best Free Checking Account in 2014

    The Internet has equipped banks with the ability to offer a free checking account online to almost anyone who qualifies. Fortunately, the government mandates that a checking account can’t be marketed as “free” if the consumer could potentially be charged a maintenance or activity fee. So what does “free” actually entail? The term “free” is …

  • 15 Items That Are Always Worth Buying in Bulk

    This article first appeared at U.S. News and World Report Money. Buying items in bulk can be a great way to save a little money. If you’re able to reduce the cost per unit of a purchase, then you’re opening the door to reducing your household expenses over the long haul. The trick? Sometimes bulk …

  • Eight Simple Money Saving Do-It-Yourself Tasks to Do This Spring

    Spring is here! (At least, according to the calendar. We received about an inch of snow overnight, which I hope will be the last snow until the late fall.) For the five of us in central Iowa, spring means that it’s time to get outdoors again after a long winter. We usually gorge on the …

  • Little Excuses

    I’m not going to set up my Roth IRA today. It’s complicated and I feel kind of tired. I’ll do it tomorrow. I’m not going to exercise today. My leg is a little sore and I have this project I’m working on… I’ll exercise tomorrow. I’m not going to shop around for insurance today. I …

  • Personal Finance 101: What Is a Dividend?

    A few days ago, I was working on an article where I referred to dividends. Since I didn’t really provide any sort of explanation of what dividends were, I went looking for an article where I explained in detail what a dividend actually is and, to my amazement, I never found a good, thorough explanation …

  • Reader Mailbag: Diagnosing Computer Problems

    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. IRA or savings account? 2. Rental properties 3. Why risk money? 4. Aggressive mortgage repayment? 5. The Billion Dollar Bracket 6. Freebies and ethics 7. Emergency …

  • Five Inexpensive Gym Alternatives for Exercise

    In my area, the cheapest gym I can find for exercise is one that charges about $15 per month and charges additional fees for every class you might take. The $15 per month just gets you in the door and gives you access to the facilities. Other gyms that offer training programs and such accelerate …

  • Swinging for the Fences or Settling for a Single

    Several different books I’ve read in the last few years – Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers being one – have argued that the best way (without an inherent genetic advantage) to become an “outlier” in a particular skill is to practice a tremendous amount. The number often used is 10,000 hours of practice. If you divide that …

  • A Day of Consumption

    One of my favorite achievements during my early financial recovery was discovering the power of “money free weekends” and, later, “money free weeks.” Money free weekends are a really powerful way to keep your spending in check – and it’s also a great way to discover free things that you enjoy doing. Here are 100 …

  • Ten Pieces of Inspiration #170

    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. I’ve been reading a great deal about Bill Gates in the last week, so this week’s edition is heavy with inspirational quotes from him. The work he’s done with the …

  • The Challenge of Frugality and Good Nutrition

    The other day, I went through a local grocery store flyer and marked items as either being “healthy” or “unhealthy.” I was curious as to whether items on sale were items that provided good long-term nutrition for people or not. Of course, the first problem is defining what “healthy” and “unhealthy” means. Part of the …

  • How to Find the Best Savings Account in 2014

    Looking for places to grow your money without much risk is difficult these days, but finding the best savings account might be a good place to start. Although your money will be safe there, the average American is hardly capitalizing on any gains. According to CNN Money, the average savings account last year had only a …

  • Personal Finance 101: Percentages

    Markie writes in: My biggest struggle with personal finance is the numbers. I am terrible at math. When I look at percentages and stuff, I just want to lock down and tune out. This is actually a pretty common thing. One of the brightest people I know – an amazing writer who is a creator …

  • Ten Useful Things To Do With Your Tax Return Money

    We try really hard to not get a tax return each year. For the last several years, we’ve usually had to pay some money on April 15, which is fine with us – that means more money for us throughout the year. For many people, March and April means that a sizable check will arrive …

  • Reader Mailbag: Reusing 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. Cash out of pension? 2. Store credit card as coupon? 3. Stomaching stock market fluctuation 4. Emergency supply question 5. Food while unemployed 6. 4% for …