Tony writes in: About two weeks ago, I lost my job. I was being paid cash to do some maintenance work but the guy hiring me couldn’t afford it. A few days after that I tried to use my credit card to buy groceries and I was over my credit limit. Right now I have $20 in my wallet and that’s all the money I have. I have a five year old kid and we don’t have much food in …

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Our family has been walloped by some sort of stomach bug the last few days. Our daughter got it, then I got it, then Sarah got it. The three of us spent most of yesterday in the family room, trying to determine who could move less. Thankfully, I feel a bit better now, though I’m not sure about the others (they’re still asleep). Measure What Matters If you’re focused on improving some aspect of your life, there are few better …

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Tying Up Loose Ends

March 9 2011

It’s much easier to keep your spending and personal finances in control if you’ve done what you can to get your personal life under control. The fewer loose ends and anxieties given to you from your personal life, the less stress you find yourself under and the easier it is to both keep your eye on the ball and enjoy the life you have. Over the past few months, I’ve been working on journals for my three children. In each …

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A few days ago, I read Jason Fried’s wonderful article How to Make Money in Six Easy Steps. The article details Fried’s growth as an entrepreneur from a young child to running the successful software firm 37signals. Fried’s “six easy steps” are as follows: 1. Understanding the buyer is the key to being a strong seller 2. It’s all about passion 3. Charge real money for real products 4. There are different pathways to the same dollar 5. Bootstrapping 6. …

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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. Save or pay off debt? 2. Friends burdened by my frugality 3. Motorcycle questions 4. Basic tax questions 5. What’s next after debt payments? 6. Writer’s block 7. Tax moves 8. Credit card cancelling maneuver 9. Impact of credit card change 10. YouTube channels Over the weekend, I posted a presentation …

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Review: Enchantment

March 7 2011

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance or other book of interest. Also available is a complete list of the hundreds of book reviews that have appeared on The Simple Dollar over the years. One of the biggest perks (for me) of writing The Simple Dollar is that sometimes, when I’m interested in reading an upcoming book that’s potentially connected to The Simple Dollar’s topics, I can write to the publisher and request a review copy – and …

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The other day, I was chatting with someone and I told them that I was a personal finance writer. That person’s eyes got big and they said, “You mean like Dave Ramsey?” I told them that I supposed so. She then proceeded to tell me all about how a great plan for debt repayment had really turned her life around and that everyone should be doing this. I nodded, because I agreed with what she was saying. At that point, …

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Let me make it simple. I do not like mixing financial relationships with friendships. I do not want to be friends with the person that is selling me a product. I do not want to be friends with my banker. At the same time, I don’t want my friends to be selling me products or asking me for loans. Please, do not put me in a position where I feel obligated to lend money from you or buy something from …

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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. Winston Churchill on environment “You shape your houses and then they shape you.” – Winston Churchill You choose your friends, but then their continued presence influences you and alters your direction. The same is true for almost every major element of your life: your job, your hobbies, your home, your spouse. Choosing such things …

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Veggie Fried Rice with Artichoke Hearts Artichoke hearts are one of my favorite foods on earth. Whenever I see fresh artichokes on sale at the grocery store, I buy several, then look for ways to use artichoke hearts in every dish I can think of. What I usually do is take the artichokes home, remove the hearts, braise them, then save them and use them in dishes over the next day or two. I usually make a simple dish (like …

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