Dad and baby

How to Prepare for a Potential Economic Recession

Over the last few weeks, I’ve come across a number of articles predicting an upcoming recession: The Winter Is Coming: A Case For A Recession

bowl of instant ramen

Remaining Frugal as Your Income Grows

Like many people, I spent my college years being extremely frugal. I did all kinds of things in college to save money. I ate absurd

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10 New (to Me) Finance, Frugality, and Life Books Worth Reading

If you spend much time at the Ames Public Library, you’ve probably seen me there at some point. I can often be found on the

Distorted view of house through glass

Finding New Culture in Your Own Backyard

“Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.” – Paul Theroux My wife and I traveled to Europe for our honeymoon in 2003. The trip was a

worried woman at table

The Fear of Returning to Poverty

When I was growing up, my family lived on the edge of poverty – and sometimes perhaps over that edge. My father worked in a

sign about the future

The Future Is Coming, Whether You Save For It or Not

When it comes to money and personal finance, there are so many behaviors that seriously grind my gears. For example, it bothers me when people

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Is Financial Independence Possible for Everyone?

I like to talk about financial independence on The Simple Dollar quite regularly. It is the big financial goal on my horizon, a state in

young man writing in notebook

Using a Journal To Solve Financial and Personal Problems

Jill writes in with a really great question: How exactly do you use journaling to solve your financial problems? Don’t get how writing in a

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Six Fresh Ways to Think About Retirement Savings

Most of the ways in which people talk about retirement these days follows along a few narrow lines. Put away 10% of your salary into

retirement mistakes - man sitting on dock by lake

A Daily Commitment to Excellence

When I woke up this morning, I sat up in bed and told myself, “I’m not going to spend any money today at all. I’m

happy smiling woman outdoors

How to Be More Likable – and How That’s Financially Valuable

One of the parents of another player on my oldest child’s soccer team is one of those people that lots of people seem to like.

banana bread

Frugal? Cheap? Financially Independent? Minimalist? What’s the Difference?

During a recent interview I did for an article at CBS MoneyWatch, the reporter took the conversation in an interesting and unexpected direction. She wanted

woman paying cashier at checkout counter - when to use your emergency fund

The Painful Truth About Your Emergency Fund

Let me make this clear: I am a frugal person. I save vegetable scraps to make broth, and soap scraps to turn into lumpy new

woman pulling money out of her wallet

The Magic Math of Paying Yourself First

When my husband and I first started building a life together in our 20s, we treated our money the way too many young couples do: We

man budgeting and tracking spending on receipts

Your Budget Is No Place for Wishful Thinking

Budgets are often presented as being some kind of magical tool that people can use that will transform their day-to-day life from an ongoing slow-motion

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Celebrating Life Events Frugally and Meaningfully

I recently celebrated my birthday with my family and a few friends. It was a decidedly low key affair. We went out to dinner together

spreadsheet numbers

Personal Cash Flow and You

Let’s start out with defining exactly what “cash flow” means. It’s a business term that refers to the amount of money coming into and going


Buying Things Versus Buying Experiences: A Deeper Look

One of the core ideas that I like to share regarding personal finance success revolves around the idea that it’s better to spend your money