The Latest

When I Dropped My Excuses, I Found My Results

Them. It’s easy to blame them. If it wasn’t for them, I would have a good job. I would have a publishing contract. I would have more money. I would have that promotion. If it wasn’t for them, I would have the life I dream of. Here’s the truth: whenever you waste a second of …

Categories: Getting Started

How to Ask for Truly Useful Career Advice

During my long and winding career path, I’ve been stuck at many difficult points, uncertain as to what to do next. In those times, I’ve relied on the advice of others to help guide me down the right path. Most of the time, choosing to accept the advice of others has turned out well. At …

Categories: Advice, Careers

The Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

If your credit is less than perfect, you’ll have a more difficult time obtaining and using a credit card. The flip side is that responsible use of a credit card is a fantastic way to rebuild your credit score. Even with bad credit, you have some great options to start rebuilding your financial future. The …

Categories: Credit Cards

A Brief List of National Parks and Forests I Will Be Visiting Later This Summer

Shawnee National Forest. Daniel Boone National Forest. Cherokee National Forest. Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Pisgah National Forest. Sumter National Forest. Osceola National Forest. Ocala National Forest. Possibly more. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this. National parks and forests are an amazing opportunity to see our nation’s beauty for a …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

How To Maintain Your Professional Networking Relationships

Unexpected twists and turns happen all of the time in our professional lives, having a solid professional network can act as a safety net. Why Your Network Matters A child is born, causing a parent to start staying at home. A side business takes off. A spectacular job offer appears out of the blue. A …

Categories: Careers

Take Back Toe (and Links)

Over the last several days, I’ve had a ton of fun playing Take Back Toe, a simple game that just requires forty markers (you can use anything) and a six sided die. It’s a free game – here are the rules. It takes about fifteen minutes to play and the rules are extremely simple, but …

Categories: Morning Roundup

How to Stop Drinking soda, and Save Some Coin

This article first appeared at US News and World Report Money. Drinking soda (or pop or coke, depending on the region of the United States you reside in) can add up surprisingly quickly, particularly if you have several children. Even worse than that, soda is a way to add a bunch of extra calories to …

Categories: Frugality

How Much Time Do You Invest in Your Job?

When I first started The Simple Dollar, I was employed full time in a research environment. My job mostly involved handling and sharing significant quantities of data – I did a bit of data mining and a lot of software development, among other things. One of the first big realizations I made during the process …

8 Cheap Summer Projects for Kids

Last summer, my two oldest children embarked on a summer-long project that they ended up taking a ton of pride in. In fact, we expanded that summer project and are repeating it again this summer to their great enthusiasm. (What project was it? It’s the first one on this list.) We learned a few lessons …

Categories: Family, Frugality, Parenting

Reader Mailbag: Word Association

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. Retirement and asset allocation 2. Breaking the bar routine 3. Regular or Roth TSP? 4. Game night and small kids 5. Financial seminar scam 6. Income …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Keeping the Pantry Organized

As I’ve mentioned before, our grocery routine is pretty straightforward. I’ll just pull it straight in from our Meal Planning for Busy Families post from last fall: Step 1: Get a Flyer Step 2: Find Sales on Fresh Ingredients Step 3: Do Some Recipe Research Step 4: Create a Week-Long Meal Plan Step 5: Make …

Categories: Food, Frugality

The Financially Underserved and Second Chance Banking

On June 4, Spent: Looking for Change premiered on Youtube. It’s a powerful documentary on the financially underserved in the United States – people without credit and without bank accounts – and the ends they have to go to in order to survive. Here, watch the full thing yourself. There are many reasons why people …

Categories: Banking

When You Repeatedly Fail at Financial Change

During 2004, 2005, and early 2006, I made a lot of feeble attempts at turning our finances around. I’d make these little commitments to myself to stop spending so much money or to start paying off credit cards. It never took very long before those commitments fell apart and, before long, I didn’t even really …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #181

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. Seneca on life’s burdens “I ask not for a lighter burden, but broader shoulders.” – Seneca Everyone has pain. Everyone has challenges. Life is about your ability to deal …

Road Trip Tips: Keys to a Cheap Summer Adventure

This summer, my family is going on a very long road trip to multiple national parks, a stop at Disneyworld, visits with relatives, and many little side trips and journeys along the way. We are going to see large parts of the United States and do it all in an automobile. No matter how we …

The Small Windfall

Every once in a while, I’ll get a big windfall. For example, not too long ago, one of my books was reprinted in Korean and I received a surprisingly nice advance from that, almost completely out of the blue. When I get a nice windfall like that, I usually do smart things with it. I …

Categories: Getting Started

Where Will You Be If Nothing Changes?

Quite often, I encourage people to visualize their future in five years or ten years. I usually suggest that people try to visualize their perfect future so that they have a goal to work towards. However, some people don’t thrive on looking forward at a goal. Instead of running toward something, they make more progress …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Personal Finance Isn’t an Exact Science

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. Buy it for life spatula? 2. Savings question 3. Fun without spending 4. Buying and selling laptops 5. Financial independence and children 6. Teenage entrepreneurial guidance …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

The Unhappy Call

A few days ago, I called my internet service provider. I had an issue I wanted to discuss with their customer service people. Don’t get me wrong – I actually really like my internet service provider. They have fast service when there’s a problem and there’s rarely a problem. The speeds are consistent and don’t …

Categories: Frugality