The Latest

Finding a Great Mentor in College

When I first went to college, I was lost. I had grown up in a tiny town where virtually everyone around me had started factory jobs straight out of high school. I literally knew no one (other than my teachers) who had attended college at any level. I more or less guessed at a major …

Categories: Careers, Education

Splurges, Habits, and Projection

I recently wrote about the “connection” between quality of life and consumer spending, concluding that it’s financially healthy to derive a sense of quality of life from things that aren’t consumer purchases. The post generated a lot of discussion (well over a hundred comments), with many readers seeing both sides of the coin – that …

Categories: Spending Money

A Step-By-Step Guide to Making Big Goals Achievable

Here are a few recent emails I’ve received. From Connie: Over the last few years, I’ve taught myself to play acoustic guitar and lately I’ve started writing a lot of songs. I’d like to record them and share them with others and maybe eventually start playing concerts, but every time I think about it, I …

Reader Mailbag #55

Each Monday, The Simple Dollar opens up the reader mailbags and answers ten to twenty simple questions offered up by the readers on personal finance topics and many other things. Got a question? Ask it in the comments. You might also enjoy the archive of earlier reader mailbags. As usual, we’ll start things off with …

Categories: Books and Reading

Review: I Will Teach You to Be Rich

Many of you will probably remember the little debate between myself and Ramit Sethi a few weeks ago about the usefulness of frugality. Ramit stated that the best move a person can make is to focus on the “big five” – identify the five biggest way to save money in your life and make them …

Categories: Books and Reading

Saving Money on a Road Trip with Kids

Our life is fraught with road trips. Roughly once a month, we make a four hour road trip (one way) to visit either my parents or my wife’s parents for the weekend. We usually make a several hour road trip (one way) or two each year to visit the Chicagoland area, where we have a …

Categories: Frugality

The Hows & Whys of Our Car Purchase: A 2009 Toyota Prius

If you had told us a year ago when we started our research that we would wind up settling on a new car for our car purchase, I would have laughed at you. We’ve been strongly committed to buying a late model used car for a long time, since we viewed it as the best …

Categories: Automobile

How I Use Credit Cards … And Why

Sasha writes in with a typical question: A lot of different personal finance bloggers have different ways that they use credit cards. Some of them don’t use them at all. Others seem to use them a lot. Where do you stand and why? I started off answering this question for the reader mailbag, but then …

Categories: Credit Cards

Sports Illustrated’s Fifty Years of Great Writing – Free!

I love reading essays. There are few things better than kicking back with a small piece of great writing that can both educate and entertain you, yet you’re finished in just one sitting. For many, many years, Sports Illustrated was the home of the best in sports essays. For many years, I was a faithful …

Teaching a Three Year Old How to Save

Over the last few months, my three year old son has received quite a few $1 and $5 bills from relatives for various reasons – his birthday and Christmas chief among them. Prior to the past few months, we would simply allow him to “spend” the money in a very simple fashion. He would take …

Categories: Family, Getting Started