The Latest

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Road Trip Edition

This summer, my family along with some additional guests are going on a lengthy road trip that will involve visiting an ocean, hitting multiple national parks, and stopping at Disneyworld along the way. Given that the group size would virtually require two vehicles, we spent a lot of time trying to find a way to …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Does Consumption Smoothing Really Work?

Several weeks ago, a reader suggested that I listen to the latest episode of the wonderful Freakonomics podcast. If you have a chance, I highly suggest listening to it – while I don’t always agree with the conclusions, I find most of the topics discussed to be really entertaining and often thought-provoking. Since then, I’ve …

Categories: Getting Started

The Single Most Important Financial Skill

Investing? Frugality? Entrepreneurship? The most valuable personal finance skill, in my opinion, lies under all of these things. It seems incredibly simple, but it’s also incredibly difficult to master. It’s simply control over your emotions and desires. Control over your emotions and desires keeps you from buying things just because you want them in the …

Reader Mailbag: Memorial Day

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. Food pantry dilemma 2. Cheap mortgage, early payoff? 3. Long-lasting soap 4. Job board? 5. Taxes and living off dividends 6. Why no rentals? 7. Dishwashers …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

The Thousand Mile Journey: Making Long-Term Goals Matter in Your Day-to-Day Life

I have a long term goal of publishing a novel. I’ve always enjoyed writing fiction, but I’ll often write short stories or novellas and find myself really dissatisfied with them, so I’ll toss them aside. I’ve written a few novel-length pieces too and felt the same way – I was just never happy with them. …

Categories: Getting Started

Hindsight Bias and Personal Finance

We’ve all heard the old nugget: hindsight is 20/20, right? From the perch we sit on right now, the mistakes of the past look obvious. Why couldn’t we have predicted it? At the same time, we often look back at our past successes and see them as practically inevitable. That’s just how the story goes, …

Five Weekend Adventures That Teach Your Kids Frugality

Almost every weekend, particularly during the summer when I’m working at home and Sarah is on break from teaching, we plan some sort of family “adventure.” The goal of these “adventures” is to either visit some location or engage in some large project at home that will teach the children something useful. They might learn …

Categories: Family, Frugality, Parenting

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #179

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. Thomas Fuller on the differences between people “The real difference between men is energy. A strong will, a settled purpose, an invincible determination, can accomplish almost anything; and in …

The $2,000 Question

If an emergency arrived in your life, could you come up with $2,000 in cash to cover that emergency? Believe it or not, if you’re an American, it’s a coin flip as to whether or not you could pull this off. According to this study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, “approximately one quarter …

Categories: Getting Started

Eleven Tactics from the Meal Assembly Line

A few months ago, I posted a detailed guide to making meals in advance. It’s a very useful guide for preparing full meals, but quite often that’s not exactly what you want. You want an individual meal you can pull out when you want. I want this, too. Often, I eat leftovers, but lately, I’ve …

Categories: Food, Frugality

Spending Time, Spending Money

During a given day, I spend time on a lot of things. I usually spend quite a bit of time doing things to earn an income – writing posts, sending emails, doing research. I spend some time doing household tasks, which generally don’t earn much money but don’t cost much, either. I spend some time …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Failed CEO Bonuses

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. Differing views 2. Jobs and automation 3. Investment management services 4. Handling injury settlement 5. Unusual door prize 6. Sneaking candy into theaters 7. Buy-it-for-life with …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Card Tricks and Life

When I was a teenager, I went through a period where I was obsessed with card tricks. I learned a bunch of them – some that relied on preparing the deck beforehand, some that relied on a bit of sleight of hand, and some that relied on mental math. I was always better at understanding …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Gentrification Edition

An old friend of mine bought a dirt-cheap house in a very rough neighborhood in a large city right after we graduated. He actually lived there, too, and his house was robbed at least once. Fifteen years later, his neighborhood is becoming “gentrified.” In other words, the neighborhood has seen an influx of upscale businesses …

Categories: Morning Roundup

4 Inexpensive Ways to Enjoy a Holiday Weekend

This article first appeared at U.S. News and World Report Money. With Memorial Day coming up – and with a summer that has a Fourth of July weekend in the middle and Labor Day weekend on the far end of things – there are many opportunities for people to enjoy the freedom of a three …

Categories: Frugality

The Air Conditioning Battle

Summer is approaching (though from the unseasonably cool temperatures here, you could have fooled me) and with the approach of summer means summer cooling bills. Many, many households across the United States will be trying to maximize the cooling they can get from their central air units, window air conditioning, and fans in order to …

Categories: Frugality, Housing

Best Business Credit Cards of 2014

You don’t need to have 1,000 employees and a mahogany-walled board room to reap the rewards from business credit cards this year. Small businesses with few employees, sole proprietors, and independent contractors can all use business credit cards to manage cash flow and earn rewards on their spending. In fact, even if you don’t have …

Categories: Credit Cards

What’s Left Behind

Whenever a person makes a significant change in their life, some things are gained and some things are lost. Ideally, the things that are gained outweigh the things that are lost, but that doesn’t mean that the exchange was purely positive. When changing one’s life, there are some things that are left behind. During the …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Graduation Season

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. Auto refinancing 2. New direction 3. Supporting local businesses 4. “Driving into the ground” perspective 5. Bad neighborhood, cheap rent 6. Ups and downs 7. Credit …

Categories: Reader Mailbag