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The Simple Dollar



Financial talk for the rest of us



Last Build Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2017 12:52:02 +0000

 



Eight Key Strategies to Help Keep Overbooked Families from Overspending

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 12:00:17 +0000

This time of the year, our family always feels incredibly overbooked. Our three children are each in a couple of activities all throughout the year that are really easy to manage. Musical practice once a week paired with martial arts practice twice a week in the evenings isn’t a problem. I participate in a couple of community groups, as does Sarah. This is all easy to manage along with the normal routines of our life. In the springtime, however, things ...

The post Eight Key Strategies to Help Keep Overbooked Families from Overspending appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




How to Compare Banks and Credit Unions When Looking for a New Financial Home

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 13:00:13 +0000

Let’s say you’re moving to a new community and thus need a new home for your banking and checking services, or let’s say you’re in a situation where you’ve lost faith in your current bank and wish to move to a new financial institution. You need a new bank for your primary checking account and savings account. If you’re in a city of any size at all, you’re probably flooded with banking options. There are likely several local banks with ...

The post How to Compare Banks and Credit Unions When Looking for a New Financial Home appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Some Thoughts on Impractical Urges on the Path to Financial and Professional Success

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 14:00:32 +0000

Recently, Ayana Mathis published a wonderful article entitled On Impractical Urges. The focus of the article was squarely on the “cult of success” in America and whether or not a person’s background can alter their path to realizing their ambitions, even to the point that a person’s background can prevent them from even recognizing that it’s possible for them to have big ambitions. “We have a cult of success in America. We believe that if we just work hard enough, ...

The post Some Thoughts on Impractical Urges on the Path to Financial and Professional Success appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Is Pinterest the Enemy of Your Finances?

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 10:00:39 +0000

Earlier this year, my husband and I ordered a wooden shed for our yard. This decision took more than a year to make, mostly because we were hesitant to spend the money. A convergence of events led us to pull the trigger. We had to take a few trees down for starters, so we lost some privacy (but gained a perfect spot for the shed). My husband also decided to set up his weight bench in our garage, which meant we ...

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Best Rewards Credit Cards of 2017

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 17:33:12 +0000

If you want to earn rewards quickly (who doesn’t?), it’s important to choose a card that aligns with your spending habits and goals. With the number of cards out there, it can be difficult to narrow down the options — but don’t worry. We’ve done the research to make finding your ideal rewards card quick and simple. The Best Rewards Credit Card Combo for 2017 We recommend pairing the with the to maximize your earning potential. Here’s how. Our top ...

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Six Money Lessons I Learned From My Kids

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 10:00:23 +0000

While my husband and I have always worked hard, we didn’t really care about money until our late 20s. We felt the money we earned was there to spend, so we happily spent our paychecks and then some. And it never bothered us to make minimum payments on student loans, car loans, or credit card debt, either. But then it happened: We got pregnant with our first child. In an instant, we started viewing the money we earned in a ...

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A Guide to Rucking, My Favorite Low-Cost Exercise Activity

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 14:00:04 +0000

Over the last few years, I’ve become more and more interested in improving my physical fitness. The reasons are simple. I want to live longer. I want to be able to participate in more active things with my children as they grow older, helping them to practice their sports and other activities without passing out in a heap. I want to feel better and more energetic. I’ve tried a lot of different tactics with varying success. I’ve joined a couple ...

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A New Credit Score Is Coming: What You Need to Know About VantageScore 4.0

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 10:00:00 +0000

A new credit score will be finding its way to a credit bureau near you very soon. VantageScore Solutions, a joint venture of the three credit reporting agencies (CRAs), announced that the fourth generation of its credit scoring software will be released in the fall of 2017. The new score has been aptly named VantageScore 4.0. Why should consumers and lenders get excited about another new credit score — one that will stick to its existing range of 300 to 850? ...

The post A New Credit Score Is Coming: What You Need to Know About VantageScore 4.0 appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Questions About Sneaky Fees, Upgrading, Lifestyle Inflation, Eating at Home, and More!

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 14:00:08 +0000

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. Struggling while near financial independence 2. Sneaky fees from investment firm 3. Ailing mother and financial struggles 4. Service work for lifestyle funk 5. Depositing checks 6. Investing and market timing question 7. Landlord unexpectedly not renewing lease 8. Getting into home eating routine 9. Buy now or ...

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Two Pieces of Unconventional Wisdom in the Traditional vs. Roth IRA Debate

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 10:00:00 +0000

There are some flaws in the conventional wisdom surrounding the traditional vs. Roth IRA debate that may be costing you money. The conventional wisdom says that when deciding between a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA, you should compare your tax bracket now to your expected tax bracket in retirement and make your decision according to the following rules: If you expect your tax bracket to be higher in retirement, contribute to a Roth IRA. You sacrifice the deduction today ...

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House Hunting? You Might Want to Wait Until Winter to Buy a Home

Sun, 16 Apr 2017 12:00:49 +0000

As the weather gets warmer, millions of Americans are gearing up to buy a new home. We’re entering peak real estate season, as May, June, July and August account for 40% of the total number of homes sold throughout the year. But, if you want to be a savvy consumer, you’ll start your search for a new home closer to Thanksgiving than to Memorial Day. House hunting in the winter has several advantages, such as decreased competition for properties and ...

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Comparative Advantage and Smart Frugality

Sat, 15 Apr 2017 12:00:19 +0000

Whenever I see a long list of frugal activities, I immediately toss out most of the items on that list, not because the list is bad, but because I filter the items on that list pretty quickly. First of all, there are items on the list that simply aren’t “worth it” for me. They don’t earn enough of a financial return for the time and effort invested to make me want to do it. One great example of this is ...

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Assessing Your Financial Progress With Honesty but Without Negativity

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 14:00:03 +0000

I’m going to let you in on a couple of dark secrets about financial improvement. First of all, it’s a slow road. Once you get past that initial burst of changing things around, automating your savings and some of your bills, selling off a bunch of stuff to eliminate a few debts quickly, and taking a few big frugal steps that are essentially the “low hanging fruit,” it feels like your progress slows down. Way down. The reason is that ...

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The Surprisingly Versatile Vegetable You May Be Ignoring (and Nine Creative Ways to Cook It)

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 17:00:59 +0000

“Eat your vegetables,” your mom told you. And she had a point. Federal researchers note that people who eat more natural foods are less likely to develop chronic diseases and more likely to enjoy good health. Eat enough vegetables, researchers say, and you’ll reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, heart attack, and certain types of cancers. And if you go the extra mile to eat vegetables with loads of fiber, you can reduce your risk of obesity and Type ...

The post The Surprisingly Versatile Vegetable You May Be Ignoring (and Nine Creative Ways to Cook It) appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Have an Amazing Family Summer Without Breaking the Bank: 20 Low-Cost Family Summer Activities

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 14:00:38 +0000

We have three children. My wife is a teacher. I have a fairly flexible job that gives me freedom to work whatever hours I like provided that I get my tasks done. What does that add up to during the summer? It adds up to a lot of family time. Each spring, Sarah and I spend a lot of time brainstorming things that we’re going to do as a family during the summer. We come up with day-long activities, afternoon ...

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Transforming a Hobby Into ‘Achievement Collecting’ – and How It Can Save You Money

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 14:00:52 +0000

During the latter days of my video game hobby, I used to love spending time after work playing video games on my Playstation 3 and computer games using Steam. These two platforms had one really cool feature in common, one that kept me playing many games far longer than I might have otherwise – achievement collecting. Achievements in video games and computer games are a simple concept to understand. Essentially, they’re specific goals within the game that aren’t necessarily tied ...

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Seeking ‘The Best’ Versus ‘Good Enough’

Tue, 11 Apr 2017 14:00:50 +0000

Recently, I had the pleasure of reading Tyler Cowen’s excellent book The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream. In it, Cowen makes the argument that in achieving the relative stability that America has enjoyed since the 1970s, we’ve become complacent and mostly just seek to preserve that sense of stability, but that the elements that have made America great have come from periods of instability – World War II, for instance, and the cultural upheavals of the ...

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How to Tell If a Credit Repair Company Is Breaking the Law

Tue, 11 Apr 2017 10:00:00 +0000

By John Ulzheimer and Chad Kusner Regardless of what you may have read or heard about the process called “credit repair,” it’s legal and consumers do seek the help of credit repair organizations with the goal of correcting and/or improving their credit reports and credit scores. The industry has a checkered past and room to improve their reputation, but legally compliant credit repair companies do exist and do help consumers correct or remove information from their credit reports. And while ...

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