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The Simple Dollar



Financial talk for the rest of us



Last Build Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2017 14:00:49 +0000

 



The Power of the Spice Rack: How Simple Spices, Aromatics, and Other Simple Additions Can Transform Bland Staples Into Amazing Foods

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 14:00:49 +0000

I am a huge advocate for making low cost meals at home. It’s been one of our biggest money savers over the past several years, trimming our cost per meal for our family well below $1 per meal, which means we can feed a family of five for about $400-450 per month, and we do it with delicious foods that we all like and still afford to eat out or get takeout every once in a while. A big part ...

The post The Power of the Spice Rack: How Simple Spices, Aromatics, and Other Simple Additions Can Transform Bland Staples Into Amazing Foods appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Thoughts Become Desires

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 14:00:49 +0000

One of my biggest work distractions is looking at interesting websites, particularly ones that I think will help improve my life (this might sound an awful lot like you at the moment). Quite often, I’ll stumble across an article that will talk about a particular book or a particular app or a particular item that really seems to click well with what I’m doing in my life, and that article sets my mind in motion. I’m suddenly thinking about something ...

The post Thoughts Become Desires appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




The Dirty Dozen: My 12 Biggest Financial Mistakes of the Last 10 Years and How I Wish I Had Done Things Differently

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 14:00:14 +0000

When I write about my own personal finance experiences, it’s easy to report on the things I did well. Writing about the good moves makes a lot of sense, after all. Those are the moves that resulted in a clear-cut personal finance gain without a lot of sacrifice, and those are the moves that really are well worth sharing. The problem with sticking to that approach is it creates the utterly false impression that my life is one long series ...

The post The Dirty Dozen: My 12 Biggest Financial Mistakes of the Last 10 Years and How I Wish I Had Done Things Differently appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Seven Ways to Stop Wasting Money on Your Job Search

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 10:00:00 +0000

How much does it cost to find a new job? A lot of it depends on your industry, job level, and how long the process lasts. According to Jobvite’s latest data, it takes an average of 28 days from application to hire – but that’s assuming you get that all-important first call for an interview. In addition, the higher up the corporate ladder you go, the longer your job search is likely to take. C-suite executives should expect an average of five ...

The post Seven Ways to Stop Wasting Money on Your Job Search appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Looking for New Work? Five Key Things You Can Do Beyond Sending Out Resumes and Applications

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 14:00:24 +0000

It’s an almost automatic response. You need a job, or you’re unhappy at your current job. What do you do? You start applying elsewhere. You look up online job listings. You fill out applications. You send out resumes and cover letters. While that’s definitely a key step in the process, you’re often just tossing your resume or application into a pile with a lot of other resumes and applications. The question isn’t whether you apply, but how exactly you’re going ...

The post Looking for New Work? Five Key Things You Can Do Beyond Sending Out Resumes and Applications appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Three Big Mistakes Students Make When Accepting Financial Aid

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:00:04 +0000

I graduated college with $145,000 in student loans. The worst part about it? I was willfully ignorant about the amount I borrowed. It would all be paid off by Future Me, right? Besides, not once during my economics courses was there a discussion about the adverse effects of high student debt. How bad could it be? In a word: devastating. A recent study from the nonprofit group American Student Assistance recently took a look at the effects of student loan ...

The post Three Big Mistakes Students Make When Accepting Financial Aid appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Putting the Checklist Manifesto to Work for Better Financial and Personal Habits

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 14:00:20 +0000

Several years ago, I read a wonderful book called The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. I thought highly enough of the book after reading it that I wrote an article about it for The Simple Dollar, but what I didn’t realize at the time was that this book would subtly stick in my head like few others that I’ve ever read in my life. Several years later, I still see this book resonating for me in the personal, financial, and ...

The post Putting the Checklist Manifesto to Work for Better Financial and Personal Habits appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Three Things Nobody Tells You About Your Credit

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 10:00:00 +0000

If you’re like most Americans, you probably learned absolutely nothing about credit as a part of your high school or college education. As a result, many young adults enter the “real” world grossly unprepared when it comes to their credit management skills. This is very unfortunate since credit can have such a profound impact on your financial well-being and success. So how are we learning about credit? Unless you were lucky enough to have a loved one teach you — ...

The post Three Things Nobody Tells You About Your Credit appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Questions About Retirement, Cookbooks, REI, and More!

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 14:00:30 +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. Upside-down on older vehicle 2. Buy house now or later? 3. REI annual dividend question 4. Common knowledge versus perspective 5. Parents without any retirement planning 6. A very hard choice 7. Retiring with less than $3M 8. Eating in airports 9. Side gig brainstorming 10. Unwanted storage ...

The post Questions About Retirement, Cookbooks, REI, and More! appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




401(k) Vesting: What It Is and Why It Matters

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:00:00 +0000

You’ve almost certainly heard that if you’re saving for retirement, taking full advantage of your 401(k) employer match should be your first step. That match represents an immediate 50% to 100% return on investment, which is better than anything you’ll find anywhere else. It’s the standard advice because it’s good advice. Making sure you’re getting the full employer match should almost always be the first step in your retirement savings plan, no matter what other options you have available to you. ...

The post 401(k) Vesting: What It Is and Why It Matters appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Eight Money Mistakes the Middle Class Keeps Making

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 12:00:17 +0000

About half of Americans lived in middle-income households in 2014, according to Pew Research. This demographic includes families with incomes two-thirds to double the U.S. median household income – or those earning between $42,000 and $125,000 (with cost-of-living adjustments for expensive metropolitan areas). America’s middle class includes teachers, firefighters, and plumbers, but also engineers, construction managers, and chefs — workers from all over the economy. The middle class provides and consumes the bulk of services that keep society afloat, driving economic growth ...

The post Eight Money Mistakes the Middle Class Keeps Making appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




A Deeper Look at Check-Cashing Services: Do They Really Provide an ‘Alternative Banking’ Opportunity?

Sat, 18 Mar 2017 14:00:01 +0000

A couple of weeks ago, Business Insider published an amazing article by Alex Morrell on check cashing that I think is well worth everyone’s time to read: An Ivy League professor who spent four months working in a South Bronx check-cashing store says we’re getting it all wrong. The article focuses on the research of University of Pennsylvania professor Lisa Servon, who spent several months working as a cashier at a check-cashing service in order to actually understand why people would ...

The post A Deeper Look at Check-Cashing Services: Do They Really Provide an ‘Alternative Banking’ Opportunity? appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




So You Want to Make More Money? Seven Core Pieces of Career Advice I Wish I Knew Starting Out

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 14:00:59 +0000

Several years ago, I had the chance to work closely with an intern I’ll call Chris. Chris was quite good at the tasks we gave him and you could see strong glimmers of the type of professional he might someday become. Chris interned with us for two different periods, and at the end of the second period, we held a small “going away” lunch for him. We all gave him small gifts. I gave him two tickets to a concert ...

The post So You Want to Make More Money? Seven Core Pieces of Career Advice I Wish I Knew Starting Out appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




31 Days to Financial Independence (31/31) – Bringing It All Together

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 14:00:18 +0000

“31 Days to Financial Independence” is an ongoing series that appeared every Thursday on The Simple Dollar for the better part of a year. This is the final entry in the series. Before we get started with this final edition of the “31 Days to Financial Independence,” let’s make a giant list of all of the entries in one place. If you want to bookmark the series for future reference, this would be the article to save! Getting Started The ...

The post 31 Days to Financial Independence (31/31) – Bringing It All Together appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Three Reasons to Cut or Change Your Commute

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 10:00:30 +0000

The average American commute is now 26 minutes each way, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That means the typical U.S. worker now spends almost an hour each day commuting. Assuming a five-day workweek, two weeks of vacation per year, and 4o years of working full-time, that adds up to roughly a year of your life just traveling to and from work. An entire year. That’s obviously a lot of time to spend consciously raising your heart rate by getting cut off in ...

The post Three Reasons to Cut or Change Your Commute appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




How to Watch March Madness Without Paying for Cable

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 18:00:00 +0000

By Chris Brantner Whether you’re a casual or die-hard fan, the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament is one of the biggest events in all of sports — in fact, it takes in more advertising revenue than even the Super Bowl. They call it March Madness for a reason, since it brings some of the most exciting and dramatic games you’ll likely see all year long. Like other huge, spread-out sporting events — think the Olympics and World Cup — the games sometimes overlap and will be broadcast ...

The post How to Watch March Madness Without Paying for Cable appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




The Imitation Game

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 14:00:20 +0000

“You are the average of your five closest friends.” – Jim Rohn I often use that quote on this site because it really hits home with a lot of truth. Look at the five people who you value the most in this world and most want to spend time with. Take an average of the various metrics of their life: the things they value, how they spend their time, their interests, their financial state, their level of physical fitness. That ...

The post The Imitation Game appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Here’s What Our $150-a-Week Grocery Budget and Meal Plan Looks Like in Real Life

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 10:00:37 +0000

When my husband and I got serious about our finances years ago, our food spending was out of control. We were just two people and a baby at the time, yet we were inhaling $1,000 in food each month – and sometimes more. One fix for our food spending woes was simple: We were dining out at least twice a week, and we knew we had to cut that out. To save money, we opted to set aside one night for a restaurant ...

The post Here’s What Our $150-a-Week Grocery Budget and Meal Plan Looks Like in Real Life appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




12 Ways to Use Spring Break to Tidy Up Your Financial Life

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 14:00:58 +0000

In the coming month, many Americans of all ages – not just children – are going to be enjoying spring break. Students, teachers, school employees, college employees, and many others will enjoy a partial or full week away from the regular demands of their life to recharge and pursue other projects. In my own family, that means everyone but me will enjoy a spring break in the near future, as my children are all in school and Sarah is a ...

The post 12 Ways to Use Spring Break to Tidy Up Your Financial Life appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




What NOT to Do When Selling Your Home

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 10:00:06 +0000

I’ll never forget an open house I visited in 2008. I asked our realtor to look around for some larger homes – possibly a two-story deal or a roomy ranch with a basement. I was thrilled when she came up with a list of six homes for us to see in one day — one of which I’ll call the “Coke House.” It’s not what you might think. The brick ranch wasn’t the home of drug users or unemployed wannabes ...

The post What NOT to Do When Selling Your Home appeared first on The Simple Dollar.