About once a day, I hear from someone who lists off a bunch of their investments, says that they don’t think their financial advisor is doing a good job with their money, and asks me what they should do. My first advice to them is usually to dump their advisor and handle their investing themselves. It’s actually incredibly easy to do this given all of the investment tools available to people online today. Don’t get me wrong: there are a …

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Back in 2006, when I hit financial bottom and realized I had to do something, one of the first things I did was clean out my closets and shelves and sell off a large portion of my media collection. Piles of CDs and DVDs and video games went flying out the door in an effort to simultaneously de-clutter (and make our tiny apartment more livable) and bring in some money to quickly beat back the debts facing us down. At …

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Memorial Day is pretty much just confusing to me. It’s theoretically a day to honor fallen soldiers, but most people just go on vacation or play in the yard. What happened to Decoration Day, which is May 30 of each year? That’s the original date created to honor those soldiers that have served our country in times of war, started after the Civil War. As the Civil War veterans began to pass away, it gradually turned into our modern day …

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Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller keeps getting recommended to me over and over again by readers. Initially, I had filed it right next to Margin in my mind as a “great career advice book with heavy Christian overtones,” but so many readers clamored for me to read and review 48 Days that I had to give it a reading. I’m …

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Aaron writes in: I love your cost breakdowns when you calculate the real truth behind some financial choice. I’ve got one for you. Is it really cheaper to ride public transportation to work? I have a bus stop about a block from my house. For about $2 each way, I can use public transportation to get to work, which is about fifteen miles away. But I have a car that gets about 28 miles per gallon and gas is about …

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One of the best articles on self-improvement I’ve ever read popped up recently on the Deadspin blog. Titled The Public Humiliation Diet (note: some language NSFW), it describes how Drew Magary, the author of the post, lost sixty pounds in five months without doing anything too incredibly radical. He just implemented twelve simple rules in his life, and here they are, in summary (the whole article is worth a read, though): 1. I bought a scale. 2. I weighed myself …

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Many newer readers of The Simple Dollar haven’t been exposed to the hundreds of great articles in the archives of the site, so this is a weekly series that highlights the five best posts from one year ago this week, two years ago this week, and three years ago this week. I call it … the Time Machine. One Year Ago (May 23 – May 29, 2009) The Paradox of Thrift: Is Saving Money Bad for the Economy? Saving money, …

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Talking to a Reader

May 29 2010

A few days ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop (my once-every-two-months-or-so visit) reading some of the comments on The Simple Dollar with my laptop. Out of the corner of my eye, I could tell that someone was looking over my shoulder at the screen, so I glanced over at this fortysomething lady. She smiled at me and said, “I love that website.” I couldn’t resist. I said, “Well, watch this,” clicked on the “about me” link at the …

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Five minutes of maintenance can save hundreds of dollars, lots of time, and tons of heartache. For me, maintenance of the things I rely on in life has become a complete no-brainer. Spending a bit of time here and a bit of time there on the valuable things and the important things in my life extends their lifespan. It helps them to keep running great. It makes sure those important things are there when I need them. It extends the …

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I revel in used stuff. I use PaperBackSwap almost religiously. I love shopping at thrift stores and consignment shops. I look forward to yard sales and make a day out of “community yard sale day.” Undeniably, though, there are drawbacks. Sure, you get a nice financial bargain, but no purchase is a perfect one. Whenever I talk about my love of buying things used, I hear from people about the problems of buying used – and some of the same …

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