• Reader Mailbag: Teaching Emotion Management

    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. Renters insurance 2. Mint and security 3. A question about blenders 4. Network marketing question 5. Yard sales waste of time? 6. Career shift misery 7. …

  • Four Frugal Technology Recommendations

    Readers often contact me asking for recommendations for technology items at a low cost. They have a use in mind and they just want the item that will fulfill that use at the lowest price without any serious negative drawbacks. Four of these requests tend to repeat themselves quite often, so I thought I’d just …

  • Best Travel Credit Card for 2014

    Updated: April 3, 2014 As my wife and I were looking at our schedules and budgeting for our 2014 vacations, I thought about what might be the best travel credit card to open. If you’re like us, with two young children, your budget might be stretched so thin it’s hard to figure out how you’ll …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Daylight Savings Time Edition

    The clock shift in the spring is almost always difficult on our family. However, this year showed us a great little trick that really helped with the switch. It turned out that Sunday – the day after our clocks moved forward an hour – was a really nice day outside. We spent quite a few …

  • Walking the Tightrope

    I was really affected by this story about Travonn Barnett, a young man working for $10 an hour as a security guard and struggling deeply with his money. When you figure up the numbers, he’s walking a financial tightrope every day. Here’s his reality: His weekly checks range from $189 to $308, after taxes and …

  • The Distraction Sheet

    There are many moments in my professional and personal life when I need to bear down and concentrate for a little while. I need to write an article. I need to do my taxes. I need to finish a book chapter. I need to review my investments. When I’m doing these things, I don’t want …

  • Affordable Online Colleges: The 10 Best Value Schools in 2014

    Finding the most affordable online colleges comes down to looking for the best value, not just the lowest cost. You want to get what you pay for and then some, especially given that any degree is a two- or four-year investment. When choosing the top 10 online colleges, price was the focal point, but other …

  • Don’t Let Your Investments Get Spooked by World Events

    Over the past few weeks, the world has watched as events have unfolded in the Crimean peninsula. Will Crimea be allowed to secede and join Russia? Will there be a civil war? Will other nations be dragged into the situation? All of this has tumbled right onto the investment pages. Some advisors encourage people to …

  • Reader Mailbag: Civil Disobedience in Toddlers

    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. Personal loan question 2. Everyone else has more money 3. Spice question 4. Child credit question 5. Huge warehouse club bills 6. Miserable at well-paying job …

  • A Deeper Look at Dave Ramsey’s Seven Baby Steps

    I would estimate that as many as 10% of the emails I receive from readers reference the books, classes, or radio shows of Dave Ramsey. For those unfamiliar, Dave Ramsey hosts a weekly radio show on personal finance topics and focuses on straightforward but tough plans for handling personal finance challenges. The centerpiece of Dave’s …

  • The Last Bit in the Container

    It happens over and over again in life. You’re using a tube of toothpaste and you’ve used enough so that it’s becoming difficult to squeeze out the remainder. You’re eating a bag of chips and all that’s left are a bunch of crumbs at the bottom. You turn over your shampoo bottle to get a …

  • A Great Weekend

    My three year old son loves to cuddle with me first thing in the morning. He’ll climb into bed, find a warm spot next to me, and then lay there for a while. He’ll whisper things in my ear and squirm around, but he mostly lays still and sometimes dozes a little bit. I’ll see …

  • Ten Pieces of Inspiration #168

    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. Steve Jobs on today “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, …

  • Establishing a Difficult but Rewarding Habit

    The process of moving from spending all that you earn (or more) to spending significantly less than you earn is an absolutely essential part of gaining control over your finances – and it’s not easy. It involves upsetting a lot of the habits that you’ve established in your life. At the same time, you also …

  • Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2014

    Updated: April 10, 2014 Changing credit cards can be a challenge, but finding the best balance transfer credit cards for your situation can be the key to transitioning effectively. I wanted a credit card ever since I got my first job. I saw credit cards as a great way to manage cash flow and build …

  • The Greater Implications of Frugality

    Maria writes in: Do you ever write about the political and social implications of frugality? When you choose not to spend and instead invest your money, you’re either supporting the banking industry or brokerages. Every dollar you have makes some sort of statement, even when you choose to save it. Maria makes a good point. …

  • The Hows and Whys of a Target Retirement Fund

    You’ve finally decided that you need to start saving for retirement. You’ve taken that first step of signing up for a 401(k) or a 403(b) or a Roth IRA. The next step is a doozy, tough. You see tons and tons of investment options. How do you know which one to choose? You turn to …

  • Reader Mailbag: The Discarded Dreams

    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. Starting a business 2. Spreading hobby costs socially 3. General life insurance question 4. Making major financial decisions 5. St. Patrick’s Day frugality 6. Buy it …

  • Does Good Debt Exist?

    A long while ago, I wrote about the idea of good debt and bad debt: There are several fairly similar definitions of each kind of debt, but generally they either revolve around the terms of the debt (low interest rate debts – usually below 7% or so – would be “good debt”) or the purpose …