The Simple Dollar

Simple, applicable personal finance advice for the modern world.

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Nine Keys to Budgeting on a Fluctuating Income

Freelancers, the self-employed, and salespeople have one thing in common: They struggle to budget given their fluctuating, and sometimes unpredictable, incomes. Imagine planning your monthly spending plan without a) knowing how much you’ll earn, b) knowing when you’ll get paid, and c) knowing how much you’ll make the following month. […]

Questions About Qualified Dividends, Board Games for Kids, Mint, Google Security, and More!

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. Qualified dividends 2. Finding a second job 3. 401(k) and early retirement 4. EE bonds? 5. Interesting lunch routine 6. Mint syncing 7. Borrowing money to make money 8. Board games for children 9. […]

The Best Investment Plan Is Part Science, Part Emotion

What’s the right way to invest? Most people I talk to about money end up asking me some version of that question. Heck, I continue to ask it myself as I try to ensure that I’m always giving my clients the best advice possible. The question comes from a good place. You work hard for your money and you want to make sure that your money is working hard for you. […]

Eight Alternative Ways to Redeem Credit Card Rewards

Depending on the type of rewards credit card you sign up for, you can earn all kinds of free stuff just for being a cardholder. If you get one of the best travel credit cards, for example, you can count on earning free hotel stays, almost-free airfare, and various other travel goodies and upgrades. […]

Financial Independence Around the Holiday Table

After the big holiday dinner has been served and Aunt Beatrice is on her fifth glass of wine and your cousin Will is well into his third mixed drink, family discussions can sometimes go into overdrive. People start talking about politics, finances, and all kinds of things. For me, it’s usually during this time of the day when the subject of personal finance comes up. […]

Our Favorite Strategies for an Inexpensive Holiday Season

Over the last several years, Sarah and I have had a very busy holiday season. We’ve celebrated Christmas with our three children and many different holiday gatherings each year with family and friends. […]

We Couldn’t Find an Affordable Bed, So We Built Our Own

Beds are expensive. The average spring mattress sells for $1,500, according to the slumber gurus at […]

How to Save Money on a Board Gaming Hobby

It’s no secret to longtime readers that one of my primary hobbies is board and card games. I play simpler games with my kids after school many days. I play two player games with my wife fairly regularly. Once or twice a month, Sarah and I also host game nights for our friends. […]

Here’s What Living Cheaply in Another Country Looks Like

American retirees looking for a low cost of living and a comfortable climate are increasingly packing up for cheap, warm countries abroad. Around 615,000 Americans reportedly received their Social Security checks outside the U.S. […]