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The Simple Dollar



Financial talk for the rest of us



Last Build Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2016 21:23:07 +0000

 



15 Super-Cheap and Super-Simple Snacks, Sides, and Meals to Fill Your Belly

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 14:00:59 +0000

Two years ago, I wrote an incredibly popular article entitled 26 Favorite Cheap and Easy Meals. The post consisted of a big pile of my favorite inexpensive and pretty easy meals that I’ve prepared for myself and my family over the years. Almost all of them are far below $1 per serving and they’re all quite easy to prepare, too. (In fact, just yesterday, I wrote an article discussing how to use a $1 per meal strategy to save big ...

The post 15 Super-Cheap and Super-Simple Snacks, Sides, and Meals to Fill Your Belly appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




The Personal Canon: Core Works of Art We Return to Time and Again for Inspiration

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 10:00:00 +0000

By Jon Gorey, Drew Housman, and Trent Hamm There’s something beautiful about the idea of refining an experience — that you can take the same walk to work every day, but improve what you get out of it each time. Maybe you learn to distinguish the different bird calls, or you start to identify the trees you see, or you discover the incredible history behind the corner bakery and its 80-year-old owner. The familiar can become new again or reveal even deeper beauty when you ...

The post The Personal Canon: Core Works of Art We Return to Time and Again for Inspiration appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Tips for Getting Cheap Internet Service

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 04:04:43 +0000

Internet access has become such an important fixture in our lives that, in most American households, it’s considered a required monthly utility, along the lines of the electric or phone bill. And as more people cut the cord to cable TV, cable companies are looking to their internet subscribers to make up for lost revenue. So perhaps it’s no surprise that the average cost of broadband internet service has been climbing quickly, approaching $50 a month in 2015.   While that’s not a terrible price ...

The post Tips for Getting Cheap Internet Service appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Using the ‘$1 Per Meal’ Strategy to Save Big Time on Food Costs

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 14:00:17 +0000

A few months ago, I answered a reader mailbag question from Randu about what constitutes a reasonable food budget for a family of four. Here’s Randu’s question and my response: What is the minimal food budget for a family of four? – Ragu The USDA “thrifty” family cost of food estimation for a family of four is $558 per month with young children and $639.60 if you have older children. We have a family of five (two adults, two “older” ...

The post Using the ‘$1 Per Meal’ Strategy to Save Big Time on Food Costs appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




How Long Does It Take to Build Credit From Scratch?

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 10:00:00 +0000

Everyone starts out with a blank slate when it comes to their credit reports. The trick, of course, if you have never established any type of credit, is to learn how to go from “no credit” to “good credit” in the shortest amount of time possible. How long does it take to build credit? Establishing a good credit history doesn’t happen overnight, of course. But with the right strategy, you can certainly expedite the process. You Don’t Start from Absolute Zero A ...

The post How Long Does It Take to Build Credit From Scratch? appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Questions About Meal Plans, Body Wash, Time Management, Country Clubs, and More!

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 14:00:53 +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. Body wash in foaming dispenser? 2. International stock market index funds 3. Country club membership 4. Inexpensive hobby for kids 5. Time management tools 6. Repeating the same meal plan 7. Pay off which card first? 8. Bean soup? 9. Chicago Cubs 10. Water conservation and money savings ...

The post Questions About Meal Plans, Body Wash, Time Management, Country Clubs, and More! appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




What is Your Biggest ‘Savings Win’ So Far This Year?

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 10:00:39 +0000

With the fall season in full swing, it’s only natural to take a closer look at our financial goals for this year. There are only a few short months left, after all, and those months include the busy – and expensive – holiday season. With a brand new year on its heels, it’s smart to take stock: Did you accomplish everything you hoped? If not, don’t despair. If I’ve realized anything about money over the years, it’s this: Success – and especially ...

The post What is Your Biggest ‘Savings Win’ So Far This Year? appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Where to Exchange Currency Without Getting Fleeced

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 09:00:04 +0000

As a former professional basketball player who had to buy things in Israel, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Russia, and Germany, I became quite familiar with how hard it can be to find a good deal when exchanging currency. I’m pretty sure I’d be retired right now if I hadn’t been taken for a ride in so many airports exchanging my Shekels for Euros. But when you’re young and dumb, using the high-priced airport exchange kiosks seems like the best option. ...

The post Where to Exchange Currency Without Getting Fleeced appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Nine Employers That Will Help You Pay Off Your Student Loans

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 12:00:50 +0000

When searching for a new employer, most people look at the full package of benefits they’ll get in return. How much will your new salary or hourly rate be, and will you have paid vacation, health insurance, and dental? After those considerations, things like company culture, long-term career objectives, and your daily commute come into play. But, what about other benefits? With private pensions going the way of the dinosaur, employees typically look for a 401(k) – and a company ...

The post Nine Employers That Will Help You Pay Off Your Student Loans appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




What Should I Do With My Life? The Fundamental Question of Personal Finance – and a Surprising Answer

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 14:00:47 +0000

For most of my life, I’ve just drifted. I would work passionately at one thing for a while, then I’d burn out on that thing and move on to something else. I felt like I had a good grip on what I needed to do today, but in terms of thinking about the big picture of my life, I just didn’t have any idea. I would often hear people ask questions like “What do you want to do with your ...

The post What Should I Do With My Life? The Fundamental Question of Personal Finance – and a Surprising Answer appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




How to Get the Lowest Mortgage Rates Possible

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 13:00:59 +0000

When it comes to financing your home, a basic understanding of certain financial principles will help you get the lowest mortgage rates. For example, you should know that your credit score might determine what kind of mortgage rate you qualify for. Also, it’s crucial to understand the different types of mortgages available, what their drawbacks and benefits are, and which ones come with the lowest rates. Seven Ways to Get the Lowest Mortgage Rates There are several ways to get a lower rate ...

The post How to Get the Lowest Mortgage Rates Possible appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Can You Pay Off One Credit Card with Another?

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 12:00:31 +0000

If you’re unable to make the minimum payment on your credit card, using another credit card to pay your bill might sound ideal. By paying off one credit card with another one, you can avoid paying anything out of pocket for an entire month. Does it get any better than that? Before you move forward, however, you should know how this works, how much it costs, and the consequences that arise when you shuffle debt around instead of paying it off. While ...

The post Can You Pay Off One Credit Card with Another? appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Why Don’t More Retailers Accept American Express? Merchant Fees.

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 18:00:49 +0000

If you carry an American Express credit card, you probably already know the drill. Once you’re done shopping and ready to make a purchase, you approach the checkout counter at some random store. But instead of swiping your favorite AmEx card, you catch a peek of the one sign you didn’t want to see – “American Express not accepted.” This is an unfortunate scenario, but it’s one that plays out time and time again. Due to high American Express merchant fees, many retailers ...

The post Why Don’t More Retailers Accept American Express? Merchant Fees. appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Five Strategies for Finding Other Frugal and Financial Independence Minded People

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 14:00:55 +0000

One of the biggest concerns that people have when they’re financially rebooting their life is how they’re going to find people to fill their social circle. Many, many people have social circles that engage in activities that are expensive – a constant cycle of going out for dinners, drinking at bars, going clothes shopping together, and so on – and while you might be fine with stepping back from those activities, it’s often much more challenging to step back from ...

The post Five Strategies for Finding Other Frugal and Financial Independence Minded People appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




31 Days to Financial Independence (Day 6): The Big Boost

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 14:00:39 +0000

“31 Days to Financial Independence” is an ongoing series that appears every Thursday on The Simple Dollar. You might want to start this series from the beginning! Last time, we put together a lot of pieces and created a picture of our lives, one that shows how many hours a week we spend just to keep running in place and how few hours per week go toward building any sort of future. This shouldn’t be an altogether surprising picture. After ...

The post 31 Days to Financial Independence (Day 6): The Big Boost appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Five Ways to Get the Job When You’re Overqualified

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 10:00:00 +0000

There are plenty of reasons you might want a job for which you’re overqualified. Maybe you’re trying to break into a new industry, and you’re willing to take a step back. Or perhaps you tried being the boss, and decided that you have more to offer as an individual contributor. You might need something a little more low-key while you develop a business idea or deal with some demanding aspects of your personal life. Or, maybe you just need to get ...

The post Five Ways to Get the Job When You’re Overqualified appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




The Closet Lesson: What the Stuff in Your Closet Can Teach You About Personal Finance

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 14:00:25 +0000

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a long-term project of cleaning out the various closets and storage spaces around our home, determining which if any of the things I find need to be kept, putting the things back in a sensible fashion, and then figuring out what to do with the remaining things. Yard sale? Craigslist? Goodwill? Trash can? Hand-me-down? There are a lot of options. In the process, a lot of objects have passed through my ...

The post The Closet Lesson: What the Stuff in Your Closet Can Teach You About Personal Finance appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




First-Time Home Buyer? Check Out These Helpful Programs

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 10:00:00 +0000

If you’re a first-time home buyer, you undoubtedly have that mix of excitement and fear we all experience. The thrill of owning a house coupled with the anxiety of making sure you can afford it can lead you to the medicine cabinet for a couple of antacid tablets. Before you pop open the Tums, take a look at the plethora of programs available to first-time buyers. Being able to take advantage of one of these resources will save you money ...

The post First-Time Home Buyer? Check Out These Helpful Programs appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Attentional Bias: Why You Talk Yourself Into Buying the Thing You’re Obsessing Over in Your Head… and How to Stop It

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 14:00:17 +0000

Every few days, my attention will be grabbed by some new thing (or, on occasion, some old thing that had slipped my mind). Maybe it’s a movie. Maybe it’s a board game. Maybe it’s a new gadget. Maybe it’s a book. Whatever that thing is, something about it sucks in my attention. I’ll read an article about it or watch a video related to it and suddenly that item is on my mind. I’ll think about it as I go ...

The post Attentional Bias: Why You Talk Yourself Into Buying the Thing You’re Obsessing Over in Your Head… and How to Stop It appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Business Credit Score Basics

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 10:00:42 +0000

If you’re a business owner, especially a small business owner, there are likely many concerns that occupy your mind on a day-to-day basis. Business owners wear many hats, so you may be used to handling payroll, figuring out your taxes, managing employees, dealing with customers, fussing with inventory, and a host of other daily activities. However, amidst this whirlwind of activity you may have overlooked the fact that you should probably be paying attention to your business’ credit as well. Business ...

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