The Simple Dollar

Simple, applicable personal finance advice for the modern world.

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The Pasta Sauce Conundrum

Two or three times a month, my family enjoys an evening meal that features pasta of some kind. We might enjoy spaghetti or lasagna or something else, depending on the mood. However, when I go to the store to buy pasta sauce, I absolutely cringe at the prices. The “cheap” sauces are loaded with high fructose corn syrup and taste overly sweet. […]

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Take Action Edition

A friend recently pointed me to the research work of Jennifer Aaker, a researcher at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. […]

Five Simple Things to Prepare Right Now for Your Estate

This article first appeared at U.S. News and World Report Money. Everyone knows about the big things that people should prepare for their loved ones in the event of their untimely passing. A will. Life insurance. A living trust. […]

Seven Principles of Yard Sale Season

I enjoy going to yard sales. On our free spring and summer weekends, our family will burn part of the day going to these sales, looking for Have a plan. Rather than simply trusting that we’ll find sales by serendipity, we take some time to locate sales beforehand. […]

Drawing the Line

I define “frugality” as meaning “cutting back on the things that aren’t as important to you so that you don’t have to compromise on the things that are important to you.” For example, I don’t particularly value anything about laundry soap except for whether or not it gets my clothes clean, so homemade laundry soap that costs $0.02 a load gets my vote. […]

Reader Mailbag: Spring Rain

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. Car loan versus mortgage 2. Childhood identity theft 3. Shopping in Wal-Mart community 4. Tax refund questions 5. Change fonts to save money? 6. Phantom energy? 7. Are CDs worthwhile? 8. “Fuel saver” programs 9. […]

Rethinking Allowance: Taking Off the Training Wheels

As I mentioned recently, Sarah and I have noticed how our children’s relationship with their allowance has changed over the years. When we first started giving them an allowance, we used a simple strategy where they split their money up among several items – investing, charity, saving for a goal, and free spending. […]

Celebrating Your Achievement Without Undoing Your Progress

At one point, Sarah and I had almost $200,000 in total debt. Several years later, after a ton of hard work, we sent in the last check to pay off our final debt. We had achieved debt freedom. It was really tempting to celebrate that achievement. We had worked so hard for so many years to get ourselves out of debt and it really felt worthy of some sort of reward. What did we do? […]

Heating, Cooling, and Saving

I really enjoyed this talk from Paul Wheaton on the reality of energy savings at home: Essentially, Wheaton breaks down the various ways to heat and cool your home into three groups. He mostly focuses on heat, but these ideas apply almost the same as cooling. The first group includes things that you touch for heat. Think of a heated blanket, for example. […]

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #173

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. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on relationships and risk “Of course I’ll hurt you. Of course you’ll hurt me. Of course we will hurt each other. But this is the very condition of existence. […]