The Simple Dollar

Simple, applicable personal finance advice for the modern world.

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Latest Posts from The Simple Dollar (page 293)

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Old Quarters Edition

Recently, I learned that U.S. quarters minted before 1965 are actually almost pure silver, meaning that due to the high price of silver, the value of the metal in those quarters is far higher than $0.25. For fun, I’ve been going through a jar full of collected quarters, removing any old ones that I find and keeping them separate. Thus far, I’ve found a few dozen of them. […]

Insulate Your Water Heater (156/365)

In most houses, you’ll find a large tank water heater like the one pictured below. If you were to open that tank up, you’d find some form of insulation surrounding an inner tank full of quite hot water. The insulation inside the tank is pretty good, but no insulation is perfect. Try this. Go down to where the hot water tank is located and put your hand near the outside of it. […]

Food and Vacation

Over the next two months, our family is going to be doing some vacationing in various places in the Midwest and Great Plains. The longest trip in that period will be nine days spent in South Dakota and Wyoming with my wife, my children, and my parents. Vacations can be a lot of fun, but they can also be really expensive, and one of the biggest travel expenses is food. […]

Turn Down Your Water Heater (155/365)

Try this simple hot water experiment. Right now, go turn on the hot water in your shower. Turn the hot water as high as it will go with no cold water at all. Give it some time so that the water reaches maximum heat. Now, stick your hand into the water flow. […]

Reader Mailbag: Yard Sale Searching

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. Handling a large gift 2. Free toothbrushes 3. Internet banking and future loans 4. Pieces of inspiration 5. Medical billing problems 6. Getting value from panini press 7. Toilet paper: quality or price? 8. […]

Put All Device Chargers on One Power Strip (154/365)

Like most other electronic devices, the chargers for our wireless devices consume a bit of phantom power, too. Cell phone chargers. Camera battery pack chargers. Portable gaming device chargers. iPod outlet chargers. Laptop chargers. All of these items (and many others) consume a small trickle of energy when they’re left plugged into an outlet. This is a pretty common problem. […]

New York’s Soda Ban and Your Money

On Wednesday, the mayor of New York City announced a proposed ban on large sugared drinks, which essentially limits all drinks with added sugar content to be limited to one pint (16 ounces) or less. Naturally, there was a lot of outcry over this. Overzealous government! Restriction of freedom! […]

Unplug Electrical Devices You’re Not Using (153/365)

Having electrical devices on a switch can make it very convenient to cut power to electrical devices, and cutting power to electrical devices when you’re not using them saves money. The problem is that most of our electrical devices are not hooked up to switches. Instead, they just sit there, plugged in, sucking down some amount of phantom power all the time. […]

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #76

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. Tree devouring a sign Nature is relentless. It will always find a way. Thanks to Jennifer Gensch for this wonderful picture. 2. […]

Turn Off Lights You’re Not Using (152/365)

A single light bulb in your home, depending on type, can burn between 7 watts (some LEDs and CFLs) and 100 watts (a 100W incandescent) of electricity. One light bulb. Our basement has six light fixtures, as does the master bathroom. My office has three (in a ceiling fan), as does our bedroom and the bedroom of our children. […]