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This week, The Simple Dollar is conducting a detailed review of the often-lauded personal finance book The Millionaire Next Door. First published in 1996, the book has held a consistently high level of popularity for more than a decade. What valuable insights does this book contain? By the end of the week, perhaps we’ll discover its secrets. The general premise of the book is that the pop culture concept of a millionaire is quite false and that most actual millionaires …

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Recently, I provided some extensive consultation to a couple looking to upgrade their home computer. They had purchased the machine in 1999 and were looking to buy a replacement machine for it with a budget of $1000, and they wanted my advice on how to maximize their purchase. If you are a techie, please note that I am writing this article for home users who are not strongly adept with computer selection and buying. I am not interested in scaring …

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The next time you fill up, spend an extra few minutes at the gas station performing a simple, free task, and you’ll put a few dollars right in your pocket. The secret is air. Most gas stations have a free air pump for your tires available on the side of the station. A lot of stations will also loan you an air gauge to check the tire pressure. The procedure is very very easy and, if you don’t know how …

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I sat down for my monthly financial review recently to see what sort of progress I’d made in the last month. I generally break things down by evaluating my assets, my debts, and then my net worth, and then using these numbers, I attempt to set goals for the coming month. This is a useful exercise for everyone to do, simply so they can keep tabs on their overall assets. Let’s break it down. Assets: My assets increased in value …

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Yesterday, we learned about my immature behavior in handling a large steady income. I was starting to sink further into debt without really acquiring any assets, and I was building up a lifestyle based around extremely poor spending decisions. Yet, I was about to embark on a path that would make matters much worse. I was about to fall in love. I wound up falling in love with an acquaintance from my high school days. We were in different social …

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We wanted to create a first birthday party for our child that would be full of memories for all of the attendees and would make for a great home movie for him to watch later (as he is too young to remember it himself), but since he is only one, we didn’t want to have to spend a lot on it. How did we do it? Our theme involved participation of all of the guests. Our theme for his first …

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Once every few months, I will purchase an item at the store, take it home, and discover a serious problem with it. The bread has a very odd taste, or the tortilla chips are very stale, or the salsa is very very watery, or the Glade plug-in doesn’t work. Most people I know react to this by simply tossing the product, chalking it up as a loss, and moving on with life, and that’s what I used to do as …

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As my net worth sneaks above the break-even point, I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have accumulated a small number of steadily growing assets and my primary debt at this point is student loans. As I look forward to the future, I see a house purchase and another child in the next few years. But when I look at my wife and my son, part of me can’t help but wonder what would …

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When my son was born, I wanted him to have the best of everything, so at first we spent a good deal of money on all sorts of stuff. Rattles, balls, play pens, and so forth – we dumped a lot of money on these things. Do you want to guess what his three favorite toys are, now that he’s eleven months old? My old cell phone (with the battery removed), a simple homemade rattle, and a large red plastic …

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Yesterday, we watched as I stumbled through college making a series of classic financial errors. Yet I finished (albeit in six years) with a pair of degrees, and I was able to find work utilizing both of them. I was suddenly making more money per year than my parents had made combined in any year, ever. Surely the lessons of my childhood poverty would instruct me on how to be thrifty with my windfall? Think again. Rather than living thrifty, …

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