The Simple Dollar

Simple, applicable personal finance advice for the modern world.

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Latest Posts from The Simple Dollar (page 2)

Best Solar Panels for 2016

That 30 percent tax credit on solar panels that was supposed to expire this year? It’s been extended, all the way to 2019. I feel like we just got an extension on a term paper — but if we don’t start writing now, the deadline is going to be here again before we know it. To get the full Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), we’ve got to get our panels purchased and put up in the next three years. […]

A Letter to Anyone Who Wants More Than They Have Right Now

Dear friend, Several years ago, I was incredibly dissatisfied with my life. I was in a great deal of debt. I lived in a tiny apartment with my wife and infant son. I had a job that was slowly changing from something I loved into something I didn’t like any more. I was unhappy in many ways. I wanted something more from my life. […]

Our Nine Biggest Missteps on the Road to Financial Independence – and How We Are Fixing Them

Over the past 10 years, my wife and I have paid off literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt on salaries that, except for one exceptional year, were well below $100,000 annually. We had three children as well, moved into a house that we now fully own, and currently have zero debt. […]

Four Best Credit Cards to Take to the Grocery Store

You may not care much about credit card rewards or think you spend enough to justify using them, but the truth is most people could benefit from a really solid rewards card. […]

The $15 Retirement Plan

Some days – in fact, many days – I spend $15 in a way that isn’t the smartest. I’ll go out to eat for lunch, perhaps. Maybe I’ll buy a book from the Kindle Store, or buy a beverage when I fill up with gas. Some days I won’t spend that extra $15, but other days I might spend even more on something unnecessary that isn’t that memorable. […]

Why Taking a Pay Cut Was the Best Career Move I Ever Made

When it comes to job offers, most of us are encouraged and conditioned to follow the money. And why wouldn’t we? Adding even a few hundred bucks to your annual income can help you widen the gap between what you spend and what you earn. Plus, your starting salary can have a major impact on your long-term earnings, because that figure has a way of compounding on itself. […]

25 Free Things to Do to Make Today Feel Awesome

Here’s a key truth I’ve come to realize about my spending habits. When I’m unhappy with myself or my life, I am much, much more prone to make spending mistakes. I’m much more likely to spend money beyond what we’ve budgeted. I’m much more likely to waste my monthly budgeted “personal spending” money on something completely dumb and wasteful. […]

Best Mortgage Lenders of 2016

Ah, the world post-housing bubble: Lenders are lending again, and interest rates are low, for now at least. But buying a home is huge — possibly the biggest financial decision you’ll make in your life. […]

Questions About Credit Reports, Parenting, Surgery Payments, and More!

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to summaries of five or fewer words. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Credit report and mortgage payoff 2. Surgery payment options 3. Selling a car with lien 4. Selling pet insurance from home? 5. Basics of investing 6. Why emergency fund? 7. Other investment options 8. […]

Crossing the Line From Frugal to Cheap

When I was playing professional basketball in Israel, I would go to the grocery store every Wednesday after practice. I liked going to the huge, Costco-like store. It was one of the only places in the country I could get a particular brand of dark chocolate that I loved. The chocolate was so good, it must have had an addictive substance in it (besides caffeine and sugar). […]