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Please note that the Borders Rewards program has changed significantly since this was written. I leave this post up as a primer to demonstrate that customer rewards programs can be quite financially lucrative. It has been repeatedly shown that purchasing books online is substantially cheaper than buying books in brick and mortar bookstores, and for obvious reasons: online supply chains and number of customer service workers per shopper are much smaller than brick and mortar stores. Yet, as an avid …

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Earlier today, I discussed methods for parents of young adults to talk to their children about money. Now, I’m going to tackle the opposite direction: how can a young adult (a college student or a young professional) discuss financial matters with their parents? Many college students dread talking to their parents, mostly because they believe they’ll be perceived as failures and let their parents down. Thus, when a major talk comes, they go in with a combative attitude and things …

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The Simple Dollar offers a month-long plan for fixing your finances. All you need is an open mind and an hour each day. There is one final point that merits discussion before we close out this month, and that is the logic behind paying cash for any purchases smaller than a home purchase. This includes automobiles, appliances, furniture, electronics, and so forth. To most Americans, this concept is almost alien, but if you take nothing else away from this month, …

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Many of my friends during my college and early post-college years were swimming in debt, some of them to the point of being scared to open the mail. Whenever I would suggest talking to their parents or guardians about it, their faces would freeze with an additional layer of fear, as though it was the last thing on earth they wanted to do. They feared lectures, the feared they feared letting down their parents. Since I’ve entered adulthood, I’ve had …

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This week, The Simple Dollar takes a look at David Bach’s The Automatic Millionaire. I enjoyed Bach’s earlier book, Smart Couples Finish Rich, but will I like this one, too? Let’s find out. The sensational title of this book is a big eye-cather when you see it on the shelf. In fact, this book was one of the first books I read when I was in financial armageddon and I was stumbling about looking for answers – I couldn’t help …

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To celebrate three months of The Simple Dollar (it’s a quarter of a year old!), I’m giving away a copy of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money! This is Jim’s newest book and is fresh off the presses; it’s currently #25 in sales (as I write this) among all books at Amazon.com, and I’m giving it away! What do I have to do to enter? All you have to do is leave a comment on this thread that contains the ticker symbol …

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Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand Changed my life in October 1994 I spent my high school years reading approximately two books a day, many of them quite lengthy. I eschewed having a lot of friends then because, well, I simply had no interest at all in most of the high school social games. I generally kept completely to myself, but made a point to be friendly and social enough to enough people so that I was generally left alone to follow …

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Recently, my wife and I have come to appreciate the huge amount of free community activities and entertainments available in our town. We used to find such things to be “lame,” but quite often that was a result of not knowing the huge array of things that were available to us and also a basic unwillingness to even try them out – we believed we knew better. Instead, we just found ourselves spending money on all sorts of activities when …

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The Simple Dollar offers a month-long plan for fixing your finances. All you need is an open mind and an hour each day. Today, we’re going to talk about planning for your passing in the form of a will or a trust, something that many people haven’t done. The truth is that it’s not something that’s necessary for everyone – but if it is necessary, you need to set aside a bit of time to get it done. First of …

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As I’ve discussed before, I’m a big fan of sensible coupon use. I rarely enter a grocery store without a shopping list with fifteen coupons paperclipped to it, and people in line behind me are often shocked as they watch my shopping total go down, down, down to sometimes amazingly low amounts. I wouldn’t want to even speculate how much I’ve saved in the past month with grocery coupons, but I’d be willing to bet that it’s reduced my food, …

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