The Latest

Some Thoughts on Marriage and Financial Problems

Sarah and I argue about politics sometimes. We have different perspectives on a lot of political issues and sometimes that will cause us to have rather vigorous debates on things. I tend to be more concerned about civil liberties than Sarah is, for example, and our different feelings on civil liberties and privacy caused us …

Categories: Marriage

Moving with Minimal Money: Nine Tactics for Frugal Relocation

The process of moving from an apartment to our home in 2007 was a big learning experience. We did some things right with that move – but some things we did quite poorly. Since then, we’ve had ample time to reflect on our own move as well as help others with their moving experiences and …

Categories: Frugality, Housing

Breaking Down Your Dreams

One of my biggest dreams when I was younger was to have a huge house. When I was a little boy, I used to draw floor plans all the time of a huge house that I would live in. There would be rooms for all of my family members, a giant library, an indoor gymnasium, …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #178

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. Zig Ziglar on changing who you are “You are what you are and where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You can change what you …

Using Multiple Email Addresses for Personal Finance Organization

A long time ago, I made an offhand mention of how I use a special email address just for customer rewards programs: Get a new, separate email address. I signed up for a Gmail account specifically to collect the mailings that come from these programs. This prevents my normal email from getting inundated with such …

Categories: Getting Started

Looking at Utilities as a Mortgage

A casual acquaintance of mine completed an interesting project several years ago: he covered his roof in solar panels with the goal of generating adequate energy for his home. At the time, the solar panels were more expensive than they are right now and they were also somewhat less efficient. At the time he invested …

“Free” Upgrades Aren’t Always Free

A few years ago, I was stuck in a situation where I needed to rent a car. I had a bit of time before I had to rent the vehicle, so I shopped around. I only needed the vehicle to drive myself around, so I honestly wasn’t really concerned about having a giant vehicle. So, …

Reader Mailbag: Bag Contents

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. Inexpensive family reunion ideas 2. Stay at home parent prep 3. Dollar stores 4. Free software update 5. Beware gift card scams 6. Moving back in …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

The Purge, The Splurge, and Back Again

I love attending yard sales. Our town has a yearly community yard sale and it’s fun to spend the day strolling around town looking at the items. Nearby towns have community sales on other days and we often try to make it to those, too. Having done this for several years, I can’t help but …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Storm Night Edition

A few days ago, an incredibly powerful series of storms hit our town in the middle of the night. There were tornado warnings, severe thunderstorm warnings, loud wind, crazy lightning and thunder, hail, and more than a few items tossed around outside by the weather. Eventually, Sarah and I decided to have our family camp …

Categories: Morning Roundup

6 Tactics for Saving Big on Your Next Major Appliance Purchase

This article first appeared at U.S. News and World Report Money. It’s a big expense that everyone dreads. Your washing machine gives out. Your refrigerator fails. From what you can tell, the repair bill will be quite big and it will just help you to keep using an old appliance for a few more years. …

Categories: Shopping

Making My Wants Few

“I make myself rich by making my wants few.” – Henry David Thoreau Wants. When we wonder where our money went, it went to wants. When our money trickles away due to stuff we don’t need, it’s all about the wants. When we see a credit card bill start to build up, it’s usually wants …

Categories: Getting Started

Seven Simple Tactics We Use to Keep Summer Energy Bills Low

During the winter, we use a number of tactics for maximizing the effectiveness of our energy use. In Iowa, winters can get quite cold – we reached -20 F at our home several times this winter – and knowing how to maximize the energy that your furnace uses can make a huge difference when the …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Mother’s 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. Saving for a house 2. Partner doesn’t trust banks 3. Minimizing grocery store trips 4. Help with investment risk 5. Home disclosure 6. Copying library audio …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Setting Up a Weekly Money Routine

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a weekly routine where I set aside roughly two hours on the weekend to evaluate my to-do lists, take care of some weekly tasks that I’ve overlooked, and do some thinking about my long-term goals and what I’m doing right now to reach them (or not). Naturally, personal finance …

Categories: Getting Started

Roth IRAs and the Fear of Future Legislation

When people realize how incredible the deal is for a Roth IRA, they’re often in disbelief. After all, it lets you earn tax-free income in retirement. No federal income taxes, period, on money taken out of a Roth IRA when you’re at retirement age (and at a few other life opportunities, too). Before we head …

Categories: Retirement

Discovery and Temptation

Anyone who has followed my “Pieces of Inspiration” weekly series knows that I have a big soft spot in my heart for folk and Americana/alt-country/bluegrass/whatever-you-want-to-label-it music. I find new music in those genres all the time that really excite me and when I do buy music these days for offline listening, it’s almost entirely from …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #177

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. Buckminster Fuller on the future “We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in …

Friends as Financial Role Models

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn Excluding my children, the four people I spend the most time with are all in their mid-thirties, they all have professional careers in science and/or engineering, they’re all debt-free, and they all have a serious cheap streak. I’m …

Categories: Getting Started