The Simple Dollar

Simple, applicable personal finance advice for the modern world.

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Latest Posts from The Simple Dollar (page 2)

College Un-Checklist: 10 Things Not to Bring to Campus

The average college dorm room is just 228 square feet — only half of which is yours. So think twice when you pack bulky items, and don’t waste precious space on stuff you don’t need. Photo: Elmira College As the first days of school approach, many new college students are trying to figure out what to bring – and what not to bring – to college. […]

A Detailed Guide for Writing Informative and Entertaining Blog Content

Over the last few years, a handful of readers who contact me regularly have asked for me to write a post about the actual nuts and bolts of writing for a blog and building an audience for that writing. Honestly, most of the same things hold true for things like building a Youtube channel and building an audience for that. Many, many people launch blogs every day. […]

How to Save Money on College Textbooks

Photo: Santa Monica College Bookstore Over the last few days, I’ve heard from a handful of college students that are facing the start of their fall semester in college and are looking for smart strategies for trimming their expenses when it comes to textbooks. Here’s an example message from Jen: I just priced out my books for fall semester and the total was $950 from the campus book store. […]

The Backdoor Roth IRA

Photo: Anders Ljungberg/TSD illustration Earning too much money to contribute to a Roth IRA — and its unique tax benefits — is what most people would call a nice problem to have. Even better, it’s barely a problem anyway, since there’s a loophole that props open a back door to Roth IRAs for high earners. Financial experts are big fans of Roth IRAs. […]

Back to Basics

Photo: GotCredit I am often asked what kind of personal finance lessons I’m teaching my children. […]

Uncle Sam Wants YOU… to Retire?

Image: Library of Congress When I meet with investors, most believe health care will be their single largest expense during retirement. They’re surprised when I tell them if I were a betting man I’d bet that taxes will be. Yes, the T-word—everyone’s favorite topic. […]

Anchor Prices and You

When making a minor purchase such as earbuds, most of us go in unprepared — making it easier to fall prey to retail sales tactics like price anchoring. Photo: Steven W.  Lately, I’ve been thinking about sales and sale prices because of an epiphany I had in a store recently. Sarah and I were shopping for birthday gifts for our daughter. […]

How to Get a Free Flight for Just 4,500 Credit Card Points

You may not associate British Airways with cheap domestic travel, but you can score a free flight for just 4,500 Avios points through BA’s partner airlines. Photo: Mark Harkin One common misconception surrounding airline miles is that it always costs a gazillion points to redeem them for a flight. […]

How to Build a Strong Frugal Mindset

How do you make frugal behavior second nature? One way is to avoid carrying pocket money. Having excess cash or a credit card handy makes impulsive spending that much easier. Photo: Mike Schmid Over the past few years, I’ve developed a surprisingly strong mindset for making naturally frugal choices, to the point where non-frugal choices often feel inherently wrong to me on some level. […]

I’ve Got House Envy, But Is Remodeling Worth the Cost?

A major home improvement project can really disrupt your life — and your wallet. Just like many homes built in the 1980s, ours has two separate living rooms and a floor plan that is far from “open concept.” But ever since we purchased this home in late 2013, it’s never really bothered us. For each thing I don’t love about this house, there are a million things I adore. […]