The Simple Dollar

Simple, applicable personal finance advice for the modern world.

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Latest Posts from The Simple Dollar (page 332)

Reader Mailbag: Unfinished Business

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. Strange credit card fee 2. Handling sudden income increase 3. Great job, next financial move? 4. Children’s movies 5. Keeping papers 6. Determining ownership percentages 7. Taking control 8. Stuck in a condo? 9. […]

Make Your Own Dishwashing Detergent (24/365)

The reason that my photography intern and I decided to use virtually the same exact picture for this entry as entry #18 in this series (outlining powdered laundry detergent) is because the two recipes are very similar. Just simply mix together one cup of borax and one cup of baking soda or washing soda in a tub. […]

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Youth Activities Edition

Sometimes, I wonder what the line is between an appropriate amount of youth activities and too many activities is. My older children have tumbling/gymnastics one night a week, ice skating one night a week, soccer two nights a week when the weather is appropriate, and they both want to join tae kwon do which is one or two nights a week. What’s too much? I don’t think there is an answer. […]

Use the Short Cycle (23/365)

Our dishwasher has an abundance of cycles and options. With just a few buttons, we can choose a light cycle, a normal cycle, a heavy cycle, a steam cycle, and a few other options that, frankly, I’ve never even tried out. […]

Telling Your Story

I think that instinct, that storytelling instinct, rescued me most of my life. – Armistead Maupin Image courtesy of PhotoSteve. As many of you know, I’m spending a lot of my spare time lately working on a pair of novels. It’s been a challenging experience – but an enjoyable one. For me, one of the biggest parts of writing fiction is understanding who the characters are. […]

Only Wash Full Loads of Dishes or Clothes (22/365)

This seems like common sense at first glance. If you run your dishwasher, your washing machine, or your dryer with only half a load of clothes or dishes, you’re losing out in terms of efficiency. Even if you run the machine with small load settings, the machine is still using most of the water and most of the energy of a full load. Let’s look at some actual numbers. […]

Reader Mailbag: Sleeping Toddler

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. Investing advice 2. Good advice for college student 3. International mortgage question 4. Favors as gifts 5. Allowance strategies 6. Life insurance for children 7. Buying local 8. Retirement savings challenges 9. […]

Turn on the Oven Light While Cooking (21/365)

Several months ago, I was curious about how much heat was lost when I opened up the oven to inspect a dish cooking in there. I put an oven thermometer in the oven, waited until the dish I was cooking was almost finished (a casserole cooking at 400 F), then opened the oven door for about ten seconds to inspect it. During those ten seconds, the thermometer dropped almost 20 degrees. […]

Review: Savvy Saving

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance or other book of interest. Also available is a complete list of the hundreds of book reviews that have appeared on The Simple Dollar over the years. I find couponing blogs like Stockpiling Moms to be fascinating places. Most of the time, they’re devoted intensely towards one thing: listing a huge assortment of coupons and discounts. […]

Don’t Use the Stove when the Microwave Will Do (20/365)

Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat. For the specific task microwaves excel at, they’re much more efficient than stove tops and ovens. The basic stats on energy use prove this to be the case. However, the savings are relatively small. […]