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The Simple Dollar



Financial talk for the rest of us



Last Build Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2017 14:00:06 +0000

 



Nine Skills Worth Teaching Your Children to Build Personal and Financial Independence

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 14:00:06 +0000

Two days ago, I posted an article entitled Nine Skills Worth Learning for Any Career – and How to Learn Them. The goal of the article is to point to some fundamental skills that have value in almost every professional situation and offer some suggestions in how to cultivate them for yourself. As I was putting the finishing touches on the article, my oldest son walked up behind me. He’s a middle schooler these days and is beginning to really ...

The post Nine Skills Worth Teaching Your Children to Build Personal and Financial Independence appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Why You Shouldn’t Use a Roth IRA as an Emergency Fund

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 14:00:11 +0000

Nadine writes in: Does it make sense to use a Roth IRA as an emergency fund? It seems like I could contribute money to it, have it build tax free for a while, then I take out the contributions in an emergency and just keep those earnings for retirement. Why not do this? Well, as you can see from the title of this article, I don’t actually think this is a very good idea. While Nadine’s point is accurate – ...

The post Why You Shouldn’t Use a Roth IRA as an Emergency Fund appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Nine Skills Worth Learning for Any Career – and How to Learn Them

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:00:26 +0000

I recently had the pleasure of reading Scott Adams’ book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. At one point in the book, Adams refers to a set of skills that will serve a person well in succeeding in virtually any career path that they might choose: Public speaking Psychology Business writing Accounting basics Design basics Conversation Overcoming shyness Second language Golf Proper grammar Persuasion Technology basics Proper voice technique I found this list quite compelling, but ...

The post Nine Skills Worth Learning for Any Career – and How to Learn Them appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Three Myths About Your 401(k)

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 10:00:00 +0000

With traditional pensions all but disappearing, the workplace retirement plan has become the bedrock of many people’s retirement savings strategy. Four out of five Americans work at a company that offers a 401k (or a variant such as a 403b). And while far too many workers still don’t or can’t contribute to their 401k, it’s a great tool for those who do, for several reasons. For starters, a 401k is one of the easiest ways to begin investing: You don’t ...

The post Three Myths About Your 401(k) appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




10 Smart Ways to Use Leftover Sweet Corn (Smart Staple Strategies #7)

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 14:00:25 +0000

This is the final entry in a short summer series covering smart strategies for using leftover staple foods – things like rice, beans, pasta, and so on. Here’s what you do when you cook a bit too much and don’t know what to do with the rest! Before we dig into techniques for using leftover sweet corn, let’s look back at the earlier entries in this series: 10 Smart Ways to Use Leftover Rice 10 Smart Ways to Use Leftover ...

The post 10 Smart Ways to Use Leftover Sweet Corn (Smart Staple Strategies #7) appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




How to Make Money as a Pet Sitter or House Sitter This Summer

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 10:00:19 +0000

If you started summer with the goal of picking up part-time work, you might wish you had started searching sooner. While it’s still possible you’ll pick up some seasonal employment, most summer job openings have come and gone – at least until next year. But, there are other ways to earn money, some of which don’t require working for someone else. If you could pick up a gig as a dog sitter or house sitter, for example, you could earn ...

The post How to Make Money as a Pet Sitter or House Sitter This Summer appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




How to Learn a New Language with Minimal Expense

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 14:00:07 +0000

One common question that readers send into the Reader Mailbag revolves around learning a particular language without a lot of expense. Most of the well-known methods of learning a language – classroom learning and Rosetta Stone, for example – are quite expensive and, for many people, only really make sense if you have an immediate and urgent need to learn a language for your career path. What if you’re in a less urgent situation, though? Perhaps you want to learn ...

The post How to Learn a New Language with Minimal Expense appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Strange Reasons Your Credit Score Could Change

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

Credit scores aren’t static. They don’t rise and fall like temperature. No, credit scores are simply a snapshot evaluation of your credit report information at a given point in time. But when the information on your credit reports changes, your scores will generally be different the next time they’re calculated. Certain credit events may lead to a predictable difference in your credit scores. For example, if your credit report shows a new missed or late payment, a new collection account, or a ...

The post Strange Reasons Your Credit Score Could Change appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Questions About Water Filters, Credit Limits, Lifestyle Inflation, Banking Errors and More!

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 14:00:17 +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. Income change and credit limits 2. Water filter advice 3. Figuring out lifestyle inflation 4. Upgrading wardrobe to “professional” 5. Finding specific used items 6. Best place for Roth IRA? 7. Value of rice cooker 8. Resolving banking error 9. Parking money in retirement 10. Next step after ...

The post Questions About Water Filters, Credit Limits, Lifestyle Inflation, Banking Errors and More! appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Five Reasons to Consider Investing Your Emergency Fund

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

You probably already know that it’s important to have an emergency fund. You know, money that keeps you out of debt and on track, even when life throws you a curveball. You’ve probably also heard that you’re supposed to keep this money in a savings account, safe and sound, so that you can be sure it’s there when you need it. And while you definitely want this money to be safe, it probably bugs you at least a little bit that ...

The post Five Reasons to Consider Investing Your Emergency Fund appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Why I Quit Having Garage Sales (and What We Do Instead)

Sun, 16 Jul 2017 12:00:58 +0000

Whether you’re trying to get out of debt or just need spending money, there’s something eerily satisfying about selling your unwanted “stuff” for cash. Your old picture frames, unworn or outgrown children’s clothing, and forgotten home décor may not hold a place in your heart any longer, but that doesn’t mean someone else won’t gladly swoop these items up – for a price, of course. Because I’ve always been obsessed with earning extra income, I’ve had a rolling garage sale my entire ...

The post Why I Quit Having Garage Sales (and What We Do Instead) appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




The ‘Coast’ Strategy for Retirement Savings – and How to Implement It

Sat, 15 Jul 2017 14:00:43 +0000

Erika writes in: 23 years old, graduated last summer and finally got a good job in my field making $60K in a good cost of living area. I don’t know what my future holds but right now I am single and live in a tiny low-rent apartment that I am very happy with. I spend most of my time working, hiking, and building professional relationships. So, not many expenses at all. I will probably save 50% of my income this ...

The post The ‘Coast’ Strategy for Retirement Savings – and How to Implement It appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




What Would You Do to Improve Yesterday?

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 14:00:04 +0000

Over the last several years, I’ve come to believe that if you do four things daily, you’ll see steady improvement in your life: meditate/pray, get some exercise, get plenty of sleep, and write a reflective journal entry. I’ve made it my goal to do those four things every single day. Today, I want to focus in on the value of that reflective journal entry. It’s useful for one simple reason: It provides an opportunity for you to step back and ...

The post What Would You Do to Improve Yesterday? appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Life Isn’t Permanent: How to Handle (and Utilize) Impermanence in Your Money, Life, and Career

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 14:00:43 +0000

“‘All conditioned things are impermanent’ — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering.” – The Buddha As anyone who has read this site for very long can probably guess, one of my passions is learning about new philosophies and religions and intellectual traditions in order to see what the wisdom of others can teach me about my own life. I incorporate bits and pieces of many different things that I pick up from books, conversations, and ...

The post Life Isn’t Permanent: How to Handle (and Utilize) Impermanence in Your Money, Life, and Career appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




The Overlooked Job Skill That Could Be the Key to Your Next Raise

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 10:00:22 +0000

It’s time to come clean about something that brings me shame: Up until a few years ago, I was a “hunt-and-peck” typist. I only used five fingers, and I had to look down at the keyboard every few seconds while I worked. I know, I know. I was supposed to learn “touch typing” — all 10 fingers dancing around the keyboard without looking down, choreographed by muscle memory — during a middle school computer class. Unfortunately, I spent more time ...

The post The Overlooked Job Skill That Could Be the Key to Your Next Raise appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




10 Smart Ways to Use Leftover Bread (Smart Staple Strategies #6)

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 14:00:35 +0000

This is part of a short summer series covering smart strategies for using leftover staple foods – things like rice, beans, pasta, and so on. Here’s what you do when you cook a bit too much and don’t know what to do with the rest! I’m a huge fan of homemade bread. I’ve made it at home many, many times, to the point that I could basically do it blindfolded, and it’s always amazing when you pull it out of ...

The post 10 Smart Ways to Use Leftover Bread (Smart Staple Strategies #6) appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Here’s How We Took a $20,000 European Vacation for $3,500 This Summer

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 10:00:34 +0000

More than a year ago, I started dreaming up a plan to take my family on one of our longest trips yet – a nearly three-week vacation to Europe. The driving force behind this trip was somewhat selfish — mostly because my husband and I love Italy so much and were desperate to go back. In the meantime, we wanted to take our kids on a fun and educational trip somewhere new and interesting. Obviously, I wanted to travel affordably, too. But ...

The post Here’s How We Took a $20,000 European Vacation for $3,500 This Summer appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Personal Finance and Life Contentment

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 14:00:14 +0000

One of the biggest struggles I’ve had with my life throughout my twenties and thirties was with this idea that I had to be happy. If I didn’t feel happy, then I was really missing out on life, and that sentiment would often make me feel sad. It would drive me to try to seek some nebulous sense of happiness. Over time, though, I’ve come to realize that genuine happiness is a nebulous and rare thing. It’s something that you ...

The post Personal Finance and Life Contentment appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Does Taking on More Debt Boost Your Credit Score?

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

It’s well known that earning and maintaining good credit is to your benefit. Perhaps because our credit scores have such a big impact on our lives, credit scoring models, such as those created by FICO and VantageScore, receive a lot of unwarranted criticism from consumers, consumer advocates, the media, and many others. When it comes to credit reporting and scoring, almost everyone’s a critic, unless they’ve got an 850 credit score in their pocket. Although misguided, it’s somewhat understandable why some might harbor resentment toward ...

The post Does Taking on More Debt Boost Your Credit Score? appeared first on The Simple Dollar.




Questions About Difficult Frugality, Paper Bags, Small Debts, Friendships and More!

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 14:00:05 +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. Some frugality not worth it? 2. Feeling unmotivated after financial setback 3. Salty, savory, and inexpensive? 4. Destroying documents without paper shredder 5. Edward Jones question 6. Saving old paper bags 7. Pay off small debts first? 8. Really disorganized with mail 9. Unopened stuff from abandoned hobby ...

The post Questions About Difficult Frugality, Paper Bags, Small Debts, Friendships and More! appeared first on The Simple Dollar.