The Simple Dollar

Simple, applicable personal finance advice for the modern world.

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Latest Posts from The Simple Dollar (page 290)

Shop Online for Better Price Comparisons (317/365)

It seems pretty common to use online sources to comparison shop for the big items. The internet is a powerful tool for finding the best bang for the buck on automobiles, homes, televisions, cameras, and so on. Yet that’s just a starting point. I use the internet to comparison shop for anything non-perishable that will cost me more than $20 or so over the course of a year. Garbage bags. […]

Six Simple Gifts to Make Between Now and Christmas

Two years ago, I ran a fall article series on homemade gifts, which I then gave out to relatives that Christmas. Naturally, some of the gifts were bigger hits than others. […]

Shop on Your State’s Tax-Free Holidays (316/365)

On the first Friday and Saturday of August each year, Iowa has a sales tax holiday on “select clothing and footwear,” which actually translates into “virtually all clothing and footwear.” It’s at a great time of the year. […]

Reader Mailbag: New Phone

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. Old houses 2. Student loan interest deduction 3. Interest rates and debt freedom 4. Mortgage or car payment? 5. Parents misused my SSN 6. Partial payoffs of credit cards? 7. 457(b) or Roth IRA? 8. […]

Don’t Buy Any Item in the Checkout Aisle (315/365)

Grocery store designers are smart people. They know that when you check out with a cart load of groceries, you’re going to be standing in that spot for a while. They also know that sometimes you’re unfortunate enough to have children with you. Thus, they stock the checkout aisle with things that are perfectly selected for you to just toss on the conveyor without a second thought. Magazines. […]

Fleeting Moments

A few days ago, I watched some old home videos. I watched a video of our wedding day. We looked almost impossibly young in that video. We were freshly out of college and the love we had for each other on that day still shines brightly. I saw the video of the day our first child was born. I was almost scared to hold him. […]

Only Buy the Specific Item(s) You’re Shopping For (314/365)

Yesterday, I mentioned the idea of using a “time limit” to keep yourself from spending too much time in a specific store. It’s a tactic I find useful, particularly when I visit a store that’s full of temptation for me where very few things are items I actually need, like a bookstore. In other stores, though, I find such a “time limit” to be difficult. […]

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #99

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. […]

Set a “Time Goal” When You Walk in the Door (313/365)

As I’ve mentioned many times before, when I walk into a bookstore, I can easily get distracted and find myself with my nose in one book or another. I’ll walk in, intending just to spend a few minutes, and find myself an hour later sitting in a reading chair surrounded by books. I dawdle. I browse. I find interesting new books I just can’t live without. […]

When You Can’t Afford All the Stuff You Want

If I had infinite money, I can think of a few things I would buy. I’d own some land in the country with a nice house on it, probably with a gaming room and a library (in other words, space for my big hobbies). I’d probably own a newer car than our current Pilot, which is pushing ten years old. There are smaller things, too. I would buy more original artwork for our walls, for one. […]