Questions About Coffee Grinders, Overdrafts, Gym Memberships, 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. 401(k) checkup? 2. Prioritizing early retirement 3. Is coffee grinder worth it? 4. The point of frugality 5. Frugal foot odor options 6. Buying weights or gym membership? 7. Replacing local news on streaming? 8. […]

How Recent Grads Should Prepare for Student Loan Payments

Morehouse College commencement speaker Robert F. Smith made headlines in May of this year when he announced he would completely wipe out the student loan debt for every single member of the class of 2019. Nearly 400 graduates from Morehouse now find themselves debt-free as they begin their... […]

A self-made man

My father died twenty-four years ago today. As I drove to the airport this morning — I'm on a short trip to San Diego — my mind drifted back to him and what he was like. I don't think of Dad often anymore, and when I do it's mostly superficial stuff: Dad was fat. His hair was wild and wavy. He could be gruff. He was funny and had a contagious laugh. Sometimes he wasn't a very nice guy. […]

Don’t buy a new car without this cheat sheet!

Congratulations — you’re about to snag a new ride! We’re assuming that you’ve already done some research: You know how much you can afford to spend, which car you want to buy, and the true market value (what other people are paying) for that car in your area. And now you’re ready to buy. […]

Them: The Failure of the Blame Mindset in Financial Improvement

Before I started The Simple Dollar, I started a few other websites on different topics that I was passionate about at the time. I had a Magic: the Gathering website. I had a parenting website. I had a “how to learn data mining from scratch” website. I had big dreams about these websites being huge successes. […]

5 Money Moves to Make Before You Turn 40

Turning the big 4-0 is a perfect time to reflect on how far you've come in life, the milestones you've surpassed, and the relationships you've built. But for some people — especially those who don't have their financial ducks in a row — it's a time when panic sets in.  After all,... […]

My plan for purchasing a new car

It's funny. Fifteen years ago, daily personal finance was a chore for me. I didn't understand how to go day to day making smart choices that were aligned with my values. I wasn't even sure what my values were! Today, things are much easier. Sure, there are challenges. Sometimes I make poor choices. But mostly, what I spend aligns with what I want out of life. […]

Making Homemade Condiments and the $6 Bottle of Mayochup

As I mentioned last week, we were recently camping in Colorado when we stopped by a local Safeway to restock our food supplies. […]

My Vision of Retirement – and Why I Want To Retire Early

In the last few months, I’ve received several specific questions on how exactly I envision my own retirement / financial independence and why I value it as a goal so much. […]

Ask the Readers: Who Do You Go to For Money Advice?

If you want professional help with managing your money, a good financial advisor would be your best bet. But there may be other people in your life that you can turn to for general tips and guidance on budgeting, retirement, investments, and other money matters. Who do you go to for money advice?... […]

Questions About Car Repairs, 401(k) Early Withdrawals, Frozen Grapes, 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. Early withdrawal from 401(k)? 2. Relationship strain renting to children 3. Reclaiming frugality 4. How target retirement fund works 5. Food spending question 6. Buying rental houses as investments? 7. […]

How to Get Your Spouse on Board With Budgeting

Money is the most common cause of stress in relationships, according to a study conducted by The Harris Poll, and fights about finances are often cited as the reason for divorce. Couples struggle to get on the same page about their finances because they don't have a shared budget or regular... […]

State of the blog (and: Introducing Apex Money!)

Okay, enough with the navel gazing! I've been very introspective around here lately. While that was necessary (and cathartic), it's time to get back to work, to turn our attention to money once more. Before we begin, though, let's talk about some changes to my workflow. […]

Being Frugal with Food When You Don’t Have the Space to Cook

Jennifer writes in: I live in a single room efficiency apartment. The entirety of things that I have available for cooking are a sink, a table, a microwave, and a mini fridge. I simply don’t have the space or capacity to do dishes or prepare meals or anything like that. I can’t even really eat convenience frozen meals because there isn’t room for more than one or two in my mini fridge. […]

Here's How Much Money You're Losing With Your Regular Savings Account

There are few events in life more boring than shopping for a new savings account. And since we all lead busy lives, it's easy to let this type of chore fall to the wayside. But if you simply stick with what you have and never look around for a better deal, it's safe to say you are leaving money on... […]

Identity economics: Who are you? And how does it affect your spending?

“Who are you?” my cousin Duane asked me on Saturday afternoon. We'd spent the day playing nerd games together and were taking a break for pizza. “What?” I said. I wasn't expecting a philosophical question over supper. “I don't think you know who you are,” Duane said. “What do you mean?” I asked. “I don't think you know who you are,” he repeated. […]

Free and Inexpensive Things to Do While Vacationing in Colorado

As I mentioned in other recent articles, my family and I recently spent almost two weeks vacationing in various parts of Colorado. We mostly spent the time camping, with a few days staying in a cabin owned by a family friend. As is usual on our family vacations, we were able to explore a wide variety of free and low cost activities, some of them good and some of them not so good. […]