The Simple Dollar

Simple, applicable personal finance advice for the modern world.

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Latest Posts from The Simple Dollar (page 327)

The Gift-Card-As-Payment Dilemma

Recently, I was using TurboTax to do my taxes for the year. For the last several years, I’ve been paying in a bit each year rather than receiving a return because I’m self-employed, which means I have to handle my own personal taxes and I usually make my quarterly tax payments on the lower end of what’s reasonable. […]

How Your Commute Affects Your Bottom Line

A friend of mine works at a Home Depot about ten miles from her home, which means she has a daily round trip of about twenty miles for her commute. She makes more than minimum wage – let’s say $8 per hour after taxes – and she seems pretty happy there. As far as I can tell, she works five shifts per week, seven hours each. She drives herself back and forth to work on each of those work days. […]

The Danger of “Needing” a Job

I am close to quite a few people who live a “paycheck to paycheck” lifestyle. They drive nice cars and trucks, have tons of expensive toys, and are paying down hefty mortgages. A few of them have student loans and other expenses on top of that. One of these friends in particular works for the state, and he goes into panic mode any time there’s even a hint about any sort of possible job loss. […]

A Health Insurance Disaster: Falling Down the Medicare Donut Hole

Today, we’re continuing the TSD writers series with health insurance insider, Jennifer McCarthy’s costly health insurance disaster. Be sure to read Jennifer’s guide to health insurance and her articles on student health insurance, health savings accounts and health insurance loopholes. […]

Reader Mailbag: The Arrival of Spring

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. Parents and loans 2. Moving back in with parents 3. Handling my tax refund 4. Advice for military son 5. Income for an expectant mother 6. How much house? 7. Decision-making process for couple 8. […]

When “Happy” Means “Having Money to Spend”

I’ve been a pretty avid journal keeper since Christmas 1991. If you’re wondering how I can be so accurate with the date, it’s because my first entry in my first journal was on that day because my first journal was a gift from my grandmother. Anyway, most of the time, these entries are pretty worthwhile descriptions of whatever issues happened to be weighing on my mind at the time of the entry. […]

Could Cyprus Happen Here? What Can We Do?

Several readers have sent me rather concerned emails over the past week over the banking situation in Cyprus, where the government, facing a deep financial emergency, essentially took money from every bank account in the country, anywhere from 6.7% to 9.9% depending on the size of your balance. […]

Does Amazon Prime Actually Save Money?

Charlie wrote in with an interesting question. I wanted to see if you could run the numbers on this. My family is considering signing up for a year of Amazon Prime for $80. I can see a lot of situations where it would save us a little bit of money, but I don’t know if it adds up to enough money to make it worthwhile. The value of Amazon Prime really, really depends on your buying habits. […]

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #120

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. James Baldwin on reading “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the world, but then you read.” – James Baldwin To me, books make the world much smaller, not bigger. […]

Your Tax Return Is Not a Christmas Present

Over the past few weeks, many people have started receiving their tax returns if they filed their income taxes early in the year. It can be an exciting time, particularly if your income tax refund check is the largest check you receive all year. […]