Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. I’ve really enjoyed the “Little Books” series of personal finance and investing books over the years, and I’ve reviewed almost every book in the series – twelve so far. They’ve (almost) always done a great job of breaking down a specific investment topic into layman’s terms so that something seemingly complex becomes something pretty understandable, plus the authors are almost always respected individuals in that …

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A long time ago (summer 2007, in fact), I wrote about once-a-month cooking, in which a person basically spends one solid day once every four weeks or so preparing food for home use so that meal prep later on is much easier. A quick note: I’ve never actually done this before, but I have done big pieces of it. I have prepared large quantities of food for the purpose of freezing it and then popping it out later as convenience …

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One of the nicest houses in our town recently went into foreclosure. The family that lived there seemed to have “everything” on the surface – a gorgeous house, nice cars, nice clothing, expensive cell phones, and so on. In truth, though, they were in debt up to their eyeballs. Now that house that they had sunk so much money into is gone, as is the family. They’re living in an apartment, one of the two parents is jobless, and they’re …

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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 (October 17 – October 23, 2009) Ethical Frugality Week: Hidden Replacements Is it an honest thing to substitute a …

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How to Make Complete Meals in a Jar A simple picture will probably explain things better than any introductory description could. The jar on the left, obviously, is a “Rainbow Brownie” mix, to which you add just a couple liquid ingredients, pour into a pan, and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. The one on the right is a soup mix, to which you add 6 cups of water (and, optionally, 1/2 lb. ground beef) and boil in a …

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This is the sixth entry in a twenty part series discussing the wonderful time and priority management book Making It All Work by David Allen. New entries in this series will appear on Tuesday mornings and Friday mornings through December 10. Earlier this week, we talked about the idea of “capturing” – getting everything that’s taking up space in your head out of your head and into some sort of external form where you can manage them. That kind of …

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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. Living on less 2. Retirement or debt? 3. Strategic foreclosure 4. Help partner or yourself? 5. Which retirement plan? 6. Paying student loans early 7. Exceptional Microsoft Office deal 8. Estimating costs after dependent leaves 9. Debt payment and marriage 10. Stale checks In November, I’m going to participate in National …

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Degrees of Want

October 21 2010

Two days ago, I wrote an article discussing the damage done to my often-used iPod Touch and my decision-making process when it comes to a replacement for it. A great many of you encouraged me to straight-up replace my iPod Touch with a new one, and I appreciate the comments. I thought I’d walk a bit more thoroughly through my replacement decision and discuss what I ended up replacing it with. How I Use My iPod Touch As I mentioned, …

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I just wanted to mention something that I think is a great value for those of you who own a Wii or a PlayStation 3 – you can now get a free Netflix streaming app from the app store on your console. If you have a Wii, just visit the Nintendo Store; if you have a PS3, it should have magically appeared in the Video section of your system menu. Netflix streaming is pretty much replacing cable for us at …

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Understanding Annuities and Deciding If One Is Right for You Sometimes, it’s really no surprise to me that so many people are uncomfortable when it comes to managing their finances. There are so many financial products out there, each with their own benefits and drawbacks and pitfalls, that it can be overwhelming even for me, someone who spends a lot of time following all of this stuff. This brings us to annuities, which is yet another option that people have …

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