• 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 23, 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 …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: One Percent Edition

    One interesting part of writing a blog on personal finance is that I’m constantly on the periphery of ideas like “the 1%” – the idea that the people in the world who are in the top 1% in terms of wealth have different motivations than the remaining 99%. The advice I give is all about …

  • Five Steps You Need to Take If Bill Collectors Are Contacting You

    This article first appeared at U.S. News and World Report Money. You failed to pay a bill when you were out of work or you forgot about an old debt. Suddenly, debt collectors are contacting you through the mail and on the phone. It can be frightening, particularly if you’ve never been in such a …

  • The Crossover Point and Frugality

    A long time ago, I wrote about a concept called the “crossover point”. The “crossover point” describes the point at which the returns from your investments exceed your living expenses, which means you can begin to fully live on your investment income and not have to work. To give you an idea of what the …

  • Letting Up

    When people find themselves first recovering from financial disaster, they often bear down very hard on every dime. They scrutinize every expense and every receipt, looking for a way to squeeze a few more dollars out of their life so that they can push down those debts a little bit. At that point, fear is …

  • Reader Mailbag: Dreams and Ideas

    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. Comparing passive investments 2. Handling mistakes 3. Turning down guardianship 4. Am I being paranoid? 5. Disposable homes 6. How much for retirement? 7. To move …

  • Seven Tactics to Avoid Wasting Food

    I was stunned by this article in the Washington Examiner that states that Americans waste 133 billion pounds of food each year. That adds up to about 400 pounds of food wasted per American man, woman, and child each year. If our family met that American average, the five of us would waste a ton …

  • Failing at Frugality … or at Life?

    It’s easy to look back on my history of frugal experiments and see a lot of failures. Not too long ago, I attempted to fix the toilet on our main floor. After three hours of grumbling and several broken pieces, I wound up calling the plumber, which would have been cheaper to begin with. Once, …

  • The Fleeting Luxury

    I’m not a big fan of sweet stuff. I’ve always been the type of person that prefers savory flavors, and my favorite thing in that regard is cheese. I love trying new kinds of cheeses. Every once in a while, I’ll splurge and buy a chunk of cheese that I’ve never tried before. Extra mature …