The Simple Dollar

Simple, applicable personal finance advice for the modern world.

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Latest Posts from The Simple Dollar (page 350)

Use the “One Month” Coupon Strategy (306/365)

One of my favorite tactics in life is to apply the 80/20 rule to everything. In a nutshell, the 80/20 rule states that you get 80% of the benefit of something from 20% of the effort you put into it. The trick is that you have to have a good understanding of what you’re doing to be able to figure out what the 80% benefit is and the 20% effort is. This brings us around to coupons. […]

The Windfall Question

Perhaps three or four times a week, a reader will email me asking what they should do with a sudden windfall that they’ve inherited, whether it’s from a deceased relative, lottery or gambling winnings, or some other source. Almost always, their goal is to keep the money safe for the short term while also earning some level of return on that money while it’s safe. […]

Try Warehouse Shopping (305/365)

Sarah and I have been members of Sam’s Club since we were in college. It’s the only warehouse club within fifty miles of us. Over the course of a few weeks, we’ll build up a list of items that we need to buy in bulk. Toilet paper. Whole grain bread. Paper towels. Snack bars for our children’s backpacks. Pens. Printer paper. […]

Reader Mailbag: Personal Finance and Personal Growth Books

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. Entertainment expenses and singles 2. Charity receipts 3. Daily shaving 4. Self-interest and self-reliance 5. To-do lists online and off 6. Cheap and healthy travel food 7. Wedding gifts and money 8. […]

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Disaster Relief Edition

A large section of the country is reeling from the hurricane. Aside from extending sympathy from the millions of victims, I only have one small thing to say. Send aid, but be smart about it. They don’t need your “stuff.” Don’t try to send blankets or toiletries or first aid supplies. The logistics of getting those items from you to them is more trouble than the value of your item. […]

Discover Craigslist and Freecycle (303/365)

We currently own a 2004 Honda Pilot, which we use for most of our family’s driving needs. We bought it off of Craigslist. We ended up paying substantially less than we would have at a dealership. I have a large handful of tools that were given to me by someone on Freecycle. They cost me nothing. Last year, I purchased several of my children’s Christmas gifts off of Craigslist. […]

Who Are You?

Imagine you’re meeting a person for the first time – say, at a community barbecue. You have ten words with which to introduce yourself. What do you say about yourself? Do you mention your job? Do you mention your religion? Do you mention your family? Do you mention your social connections? Do you mention the area where you live, perhaps nodding to your nice home? […]

Don’t Shop for Entertainment’s Sake (302/365)

Shopping is an extremely expensive form of entertainment. If you go out shopping simply because you can’t think of something else to do, you’re willingly putting yourself in an environment that’s designed to extract money from your pocket. They use clever displays, sights, sounds, smells, demonstrations, and countless other techniques to get you to buy something. […]

Reader Mailbag: Congratulations, Giants

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. Car dilemma 2. Very young children and money 3. Praying for money? 4. Retirement contribution calculations 5. Loans versus Roth IRA? 6. Library book sales 7. Can’t find internal motivation 8. Roth IRA and wills 9. […]