Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. Better Groceries for Less Cash by Randall Putala has a subtitle that pretty clearly describes what you’ll find inside the covers: 101 Tested and Proven Ways to Save on Food. While organized into chapters, this fairly short book’s main purpose is to simply relate a lot of methods for saving money on food purchases. My wife and I already do a lot of things to …

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What Day Is It?

May 9 2010

It would be easy for me to write some nice platitudes today about my wife (the mother of my children) or my own mother. I could go on for a long time about how wonderful these two women are, the most important two women in my life. But I really don’t need to. We don’t need a special day to celebrate the genuinely important things in our lives. If something is truly important in your life, then it deserves value …

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Most of the time, our lives function along a path of least resistance. We give into social cues because it’s the easiest path, causing us to buy stuff we don’t need and lust after “premium” items. We don’t rock the boat at work because that’s the easiest path, causing us to run in place with our career. We put our kids in the same activities everyone else puts their kids into, because it’s easier than figuring out what’s best for …

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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 2 – May 8, 2009) The Logic of Up-Front Spending If you can spend a little more now …

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What Works?

May 8 2010

Of all of the parenting tactics I’ve tried, nothing has worked better at facilitating good behavior and a trusting bond like floor time. Simply getting down on the floor and playing with your children builds trust and good relationships like nothing else. Of all of the dieting tactics I’ve tried, nothing has worked better than portion control (coupled with not keeping “junk” snacks in the house). The “saucer” strategy, in which you eat nothing at a meal except what will …

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A few days ago, I was reading an article in ESPN Magazine (I started getting a subscription to it a while back after I signed up to play fantasy baseball at ESPN.com) by Vivian Chum that talked about what you would need to do to get a job as an NFL coach (you can read the article online if you’re a subscriber). After reading the article and letting it ruminate in my mind for a while, I began to realize …

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My wife and I use coupons for many of our household products, from toothpaste and garbage bags to toilet paper and Tones spices (yes, I had a coupon for this once upon a time). While we don’t use many for actual food products (since most of the advertised food is more or less junk food), we still do accumulate quite a few of them over time. This, of course, means that an organizational system is helpful. Of course, not every …

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Over the years, I’ve received literally hundreds of requests for a detailed review and discussion of the well-known productivity and time management book Getting Things Done by David Allen, which was a truly life-changing book for me. Without the techniques in the book, I would have never found the time management skills or the information management skills to make The Simple Dollar work. So, in a few weeks, I’m doing just that. I’m going to be running a twice-weekly series …

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Going Up?

May 6 2010

Today, Seth Godin (one of my favorite bloggers who usually talks about marketing) posted a great piece about consumer debt. Two great excerpts: Here’s a simple MBA lesson: borrow money to buy things that go up in value. Borrow money if it improves your productivity and makes you more money. Leverage multiplies the power of your business because with leverage, every dollar you make in profit is multiplied. That’s very different from the consumer version of this lesson: borrow money …

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One of the best little things about having this baby is that my wife is home every day. I get to eat lunch with her every day. My morning and afternoon breaks usually involve chatting with her instead of just stretching and wasting time for a while. I get to hold the baby for a while, too, during the breaks. The Oracle of Silicon Valley A worthwhile read, but one quote really stood out at me. “Money is like gasoline …

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