The Latest

Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Frugal Living

The simple maxim of spending less than you earn stands at the heart of personal finance success. If you can consistently do that one thing, you’re going to succeed when it comes to personal finance. I repeat that idea all the time because it’s so true – it’s the core of everything. People get into …

Categories: Frugality

Twenty Powerful Tips for Discussing Money Topics with Your Partner

Throughout our engagement and the first few years of our marriage, Sarah and I never really sat down and had a real conversation about money. We each just more or less followed the pattern we learned from our parents. We dealt with any shared issues that were absolutely required in the briefest way possible. Needless …

Categories: Communication, Marriage

Summertime Reading

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. Moving in together 2. Paying no-interest bills ahead 3. Extra car keys? 4. Retirement basics 5. Do I need financial advice? 6. Home ownership questions 7. …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Twelve Career Development Tricks For Work Downtime

Career development is often a tricky subject, especially when we get busy. When I used to work in an office environment, my days consisted of working on little projects and tasks that would fill half an hour or an hour or so, then I’d have a bit of downtime. I would either be doing some …

Categories: Careers

The Value of Handwritten Notes

Whenever I happen to stop in a Hallmark store, I’m just astounded as to the wide variety of greeting cards on display in there. There are cards for birthdays, wedding anniversaries, bridal showers, engagements, weddings, new babies, job promotions, new jobs, good-byes, graduations, passing a big test, recovering from illness or surgery, sympathy, apology, christenings, …

Categories: Frugality

50 Free Activities For Kids

One of the most popular articles I’ve ever written for The Simple Dollar is 100 Things to Do During a Money-Free Weekend. In it, I touch upon the idea of a “money-free weekend” – one in which you consciously avoid the active spending of money – and then drop a long list of activities you …

Categories: Family, Frugality

Are Ethanol Fuels a Bargain?

Ethanol Added and Premium Fuels Are a Questionable Bargain Over the last year, I’ve been keeping careful track of the fuel efficiency of my 2004 Honda Pilot. You know the vehicle – it’s the one I bought off of Craigslist a few years back. My driving in the vehicle is an almost equal mix of …

Categories: Automobile, Frugality

Reached Your Financial Limit? Fourteen Key Steps To Turn Your Finances Around

One of the interesting parts of running a popular website like The Simple Dollar is that you get to see the terms that people type into Google when they’re searching for your site. So, if someone types “money management” into Google and then eventually click on my site somewhere in the results for that term, …

Categories: Getting Started

Parents and Children and Other Things

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. Parents and gifts 2. Balance transfer question 3. Best free children’s educational programs 4. Non-monthly budget items 5. Acorns? 6. Product codes 7. Mortgage strategy 8. …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Building a Meaningful Life from the Bottom Up

One of the biggest struggles of modern life is the search for meaning and purpose. Most of the time, we go through our day-to-day lives just accomplishing the things we need to get done and relishing the spare time that’s left over. It can feel a lot like jogging on a treadmill, where life is …

The Razor Experiment: Smart Tactics for Razor Blades

I’ve been clean shaven for almost my entire adult life (aside from a disastrous beard experiment in college). Over those years, I’ve tried a number of different solutions for keeping a clean shave and, over the last several years, I’ve focused on ways to keep my face cleared without breaking the bank. These experiments have …

Categories: Frugality

Sixteen Tricks for Maximizing a Small Home or Apartment

When Sarah and I were first married in 2003, we moved into a pretty small apartment. According to what I could find online about it, it measured in at about 550 square feet. We viewed it as a temporary solution. It was okay for just the two of us, but we wanted a family and …

Categories: Housing

My Timeless Strategy for Buying Electronics

I write for a living, mostly for websites. It’s not surprising that I have a great deal of use for a number of electronic items. I have a smartphone, a reasonably modern computer, a laptop, and an iPad Mini. Almost since the day I graduated from college, using computers and other electronic devices has been …

Ten Steps to Cut Food Waste Expense

One of the biggest frustrations I have as a money-conscious person is when I waste something that could have been used if I had just planned better. It’s painful whether I’m tossing out something that’s rusty, something that’s water damaged, or something that’s spoiled. This “tossing out ‘could have been used’ stuff” phenomenon happens most …

Categories: Food, Frugality

Site Changes

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. Working during downtime 2. Choosing among retirement options 3. Charge card or credit card? 4. Baseball cards 5. Money left over in budget 6. Is being …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Should I Lease or Buy a Car? 3 Situations Where Leasing Makes Sense

In general, I’m pretty strongly opposed to the idea of leasing a car. In most situations, a car lease is a long-term financial mistake. Compared to a cycle of buying late model used cars and driving them to their replacement point, auto leasing is very expensive. Still, there are exceptions to every situation. A recent …

Categories: Automobile

Are “Rural Opportunity Zones” a Good Deal?

Shelley writes in: My husband and I have been considering moving to the Great Plains in order to enjoy smaller town life and much lower cost of living. I have been reading about Rural Opportunity Zones in Kansas and I am wondering what you think of them. Rural Opportunity Zones are just that – rural …

The Free and the Priceless

What is the financial value of a hug from one of your children? You might scoff at this question or think that it’s somehow foolish, but I’m serious. What is a hug from one of your children worth? Five dollars? Ten dollars? Thousands? Nothing? It probably has a lot to do with your own internal …

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #183

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. Antoine de Saint-Exupery on goals and plans “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery I highly recommend The Little Prince as a children’s …