The Simple Dollar

Simple, applicable personal finance advice for the modern world.

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Latest Posts from The Simple Dollar (page 5)

How a Proactive Bucket List Can Change Your Life

The best ‘bucket list’ items aren’t just about spending a bunch of money. They’re about experiencing authentic joy, which often comes after achieving a challenging goal through your own time, wits, and effort. Photo: Michael Paul Willis A few years ago, I wrote an article about “bucket lists” and shared my own. […]

The Best 529 Plans in America

You don’t have to live or attend school in Virginia to take advantage of one of the nation’s best 529 college savings plans. Photo: University of Virginia via Facebook Saving for college is overwhelming for even the most meticulous financial planners, but the best 529 plans can help you reach your goals. […]

The Rich Man, the Average Budget, and You

It doesn’t matter how much money you make: If you spend money like the average American — using 17% of your income on transportation, for instance, whether that adds up to a used Buick or a Ferrari — you’re going to struggle. Photo: Keith Williams One of the biggest struggles I had during my teen and early adult years was feeling jealous of people who had extreme amounts of wealth. One particular […]

Eight Things to Think About Before You Get Married

The key to a good marriage is honest communication, and that should begin long before the wedding. Photo: J.K. Califf One of the most upsetting and painful arguments that my wife and I ever had came a few months before we got married. We had been dating for six years at that point and had been planning our marriage for more than a year. I was fairly apprehensive about getting married. […]

Questions About 0% Loans, Home Brewing, Insecurity, Everyday Carry, and More!

Photo: Juan Cabanillas 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. 0% loan? Why not? 2. Wedding registry ideas 3. When to retire? 4. Using 401(k) for loan repayment 5. Everyday carry? 6. Reusable freezer containers 7. Insecurity theory 8. […]

Why Choose to Be a Prisoner to an Expensive Home?

Why stretch your finances to the hilt to buy your ‘dream house’ when doing so could squash your other dreams? When Elle Décor ran the essay, “I Made a Huge Sacrifice to Buy My Dream Home” by Sarah Scott a few weeks ago, they couldn’t have anticipated the firestorm that followed. […]

Should Your Parents Have a Say in Your College Major?

If your parents are footing some or all of your tuition bill, it’s not unreasonable to expect some gentle nudging toward a practical major. Photo: Siena College When my husband chose to pursue his first bachelor’s degree in theatre arts, his parents were less than thrilled. […]

Is Financing Furniture With a Store Credit Card Ever a Good Idea?

It’ll look great in your new living room, but is it worth risking the high interest rates of a store credit card to buy it? Photo: Crate & Barrel via Facebook For many Americans, summertime means big transitions: new jobs, new cities, and often even new homes. And as just about any homebuyer can attest, a mortgage is often just the beginning in a series of sizeable new bills. […]

Inspiration from Carl Sandburg, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jon Ronson, and More

‘Do one thing every day that scares you,’ said Eleanor Roosevelt (pictured). Photo: National Endowment for the Humanities Once a month (or so), I share a dozen things that have inspired me to greater personal, professional, and financial success in my life. I hope they bring similar success to your life. 1. […]

The Money Onion: Peeling Back the Layers of Personal Finance Success

At the outer layers, money appears to be at the center of everything. But the true core of personal finance has little to do with money at all. […]