The Road to the Fortress of Solitude

A few years ago, a movie called The Gambler came out, starring Mark Wahlberg. It was a decent movie – I’m not here to do movie reviews – but there was one portion in the middle where a minor character played by John Goodman gives a monologue about what a person should do if they find themselves up a couple of million dollars. Here’s that speech, but be aware – it’s full of adult language. […]

Doing Versus Consuming

At an earlier point in The Simple Dollar’s history, I went through a period where I reviewed a new personal finance book each week. […]

Saving for Retirement: Highlights From Our Chat With CalSavers

CalSavers joined us for our #WBChat on February 21st to share insights on saving for retirement. Our #CalSavers #WBChat featured awesome tips and CalSavers' expertise helped our participants learn more about saving for retirement. In total we had 91 participants, reached over 265k people, and had... […]

14 Frugal Failures, or When the Bottom Dollar Isn’t the Best Answer

My usual approach to any spending decision – any time that money leaves my checking account – is to make sure I’m getting the most value for the dollar. Almost every time, I’m happy with the overall outcome. I got the result I desired with close to minimal expense. There are times, though, when things don’t go quite as planned. […]

How a Simple Mortgage Refinance Saved Me From Credit Collapse

Refinancing a mortgage won’t cure all of your financial ills, but it can be a great start. I first learned about refinancing a home several years into my first stint as a homeowner. At age 25, I decided to use the money I’d managed to save from my first job as a copy editor and buy a condo. […]

Join Our Tweetchat on Thursday 2/21 at 12pm PST for a Chance to Win $200 in Prizes!

Join our Tweetchat Thursday 2/21 at 12:00 p.m. Pacific/ 3p.m. Eastern for lively conversation and a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card or one of two $50 Amazon gift cards! Use #WBChat and #CalSavers to participate. This week's topic: Saving for Retirement! Learn about retirement issues to watch... […]

Case study: Deep in debt but scared to take action

Last night, as I do from time to time, I met with a GRS reader. Actually, Debbie doesn't read this site but her sister does. And Debbie means to. Although I met Debbie's sister last year at a Camp FI event, I'd never met Debbie before. “So, what's your situation?” I asked after our waiter had brought us each a glass of wine. […]

My Strategy for Making Large Purchases

As I’ve mentioned before, when I’m making a purchase that clocks in at above the $20 mark or so, I tend to invest some time in that purchase to make sure I’m making the right decision. I don’t want to make a purchase that isn’t going to work for me, nor a purchase that isn’t going to work well over the long run. This process is basically the same for any significant purchase. […]

Money and Marriage: Four Tips for Successful ‘Matrimoney’

It’s a fairly well-known fact that money can be one of the biggest sources of strife in a relationship. In fact, according to a survey of professional certified divorce financial analysts, it’s the third leading cause of divorce in North America (behind basic incompatibility and infidelity, respectively). February is among the most popular months to get engaged, so there’s no better time to review […]

3 Things You Should Consider Before Selling Your House for Cash

In August of 2017, an investor called us and offered to buy our condo for cash. We didn't have it listed for sale. The condo was in great condition, the rent we charged covered expenses, and it was in a very nice area that consistently attracted stable tenants. My husband and I took about five... […]

Tax Identity Theft: Protecting Your Credit and Finances

Tax season is here, and though you technically have until April 15 to file your returns, you might want to submit yours sooner than that — at least if you want to avoid potential identity theft (and a whole lot of hassle). Tax-related identity theft is a growing problem in America, and the more security breaches, information hacks and digital business we do as a society, the more consumers who fal […]

Building Financial Momentum When You’re Struggling to Make Ends Meet

This past weekend, I was cleaning out the closet in my office when I came across some of my old journals from the late 1990s and early 2000s. In that timeframe, I barely had any money at all. I had a minimum wage part-time job and was trying to work my way through college. […]

Keep Your Receipts When You Pay With a Credit Card: A Cautionary Tale

Over last year’s holiday break from school, my husband and I took our kids on a cruise. We planned our trip diligently for more than six months prior, shopped around for a good deal, and thought up all kinds of ways to save. […]

Ask the Readers: Do You File Your Own Taxes?

You don't want to get your taxes wrong, but if your finances are fairly simple and you're usually pretty organized, it's pretty safe to file taxes on your own. Do you file your own taxes? What do you think is the most complicated part of the process? What advice would you give to someone who is... […]

The end of the road: Preparing to buy a new car

Yesterday, Kim and I joined my cousins for an afternoon trip to the Oregon Coast. Our aim was to harvest a bounty of clams. We came home with zero. We managed, however, to harvest a bounty of mussels. Plus, the dog had fun. My cousin Duane carpooled with us to and from the beach. […]

Questions About Taxes, Work Lunches, Books, Cold Basements, and More!

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to summaries of five or fewer words. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Book buying habit 2. Lifestyle inflation and workplace lunches 3. Spending in line with values 4. Why did taxes change? 5. Research materials after major project 6. Why not buy rental properties? 7. […]

Various Forms of Day Trading

The following is a guest post by Alexander from It has been proven that long-term money investments offer the best returns concerning the time expenditure associated with such investments. However, even speculative investments with a very short time horizon can generate profits. Day trading is one of the most popular speculative investment strategies. […]

Exploring the Connections Between Your Mental and Spiritual Life and Your Financial Life

This is the second entry in an eight part series exploring the connections between your finances and other areas of your life. Last week, I started a series exploring the connections between personal finance and the other “spheres” of my life. […]

16 Little Perks I Use To Boost My Mood When I’m Down Without Spending Money

The winter blues strike me hard each year. When the Iowa winter reaches a point where it’s fairly miserable to go outside and the days are short to boot, I wind up spending far too much time inside. […]

Making a Long-Term Committed Relationship and Financial Success Go Hand in Hand

Today is Valentine’s Day, and for millions of couples around the world, it’s a day spent finding ways to share in some form of romantic bliss. It can be deeply meaningful for some and stressful for others. Sarah and I will celebrate today in a pretty low key style, not ignoring it but not going all out in any way. […]