The Mental Tools That Actually Work When Getting Through a Challenge

It’s no secret to readers of The Simple Dollar that I am passionate about self-improvement. Our financial turnaround is a perfect example of this, as much of that success came from applying self-improvement techniques to our finances. I’ve tried throughout my adult life to apply similar techniques to other areas of my life, sometimes with … Read moreThe Mental Tools That Actually Work When Getting Through a Challenge

The Lucky Fool

“It manifests itself in the shape of the lucky fool, defined as a person who benefited from a disproportionate share of luck but attributes his success to some other, generally very precise, reason.” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Fooled by Randomness I think we’ve all met some version of the “lucky fool” at some point in … Read moreThe Lucky Fool

Why Internal Solutions Trump External Ones

If you’re reading this, you’re likely a problem solver of some kind, and the problem you identified was likely related to your personal finances. Finding a solution to that problem led you, in some fashion, to The Simple Dollar – maybe it was a Google search or a link from a friend or something else. … Read moreWhy Internal Solutions Trump External Ones

Lincoln’s Axe and Frugality

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln I love this quote from Abraham Lincoln. It’s such a clear analogy about the value of preparation. Cutting down a tree is hard work, and it is much, much harder if you’re using … Read moreLincoln’s Axe and Frugality

What’s the Point of Working Toward Financial Success?

Debbie writes in: Love your blog, but you are too focused on the future. What’s the point of working toward financial success if you’re just going to eventually die? Why have a life if you’re not going to live it? I get some variation on this question about once a month, but something about Debbie’s … Read moreWhat’s the Point of Working Toward Financial Success?

20 Free Things I’ve Done and Enjoyed on Days Off in the Last Year

At the start of last year, I decided to make a list of things I did on the weekends that didn’t cost me any money at all and then mark which ones I really enjoyed. I thought it might develop into an article some day and, lo and behold, here we are. It turned out … Read more20 Free Things I’ve Done and Enjoyed on Days Off in the Last Year

What Is a ‘Backdoor’ Roth IRA? How Can It Benefit Me?

A little while ago on The Simple Dollar, Saundra Latham wrote a nice summary of how a backdoor Roth IRA works. Since then, I’ve seen a number of follow-up questions regarding backdoor Roth IRAs, so I thought I’d write a complementary article explaining some of the things that people were asking questions about. Mostly, these … Read moreWhat Is a ‘Backdoor’ Roth IRA? How Can It Benefit Me?

The Value of Your Time: The Stories of Adam, Becky, and Chris

Let’s do a little thought experiment before we get to some practical advice. In an ideal week, a person has 168 hours to spend. Let’s assume that they spend 50 of it sleeping, another 20 on life management tasks (eating, preparing food, basic housework, basic hygiene), and another 18 on leisure. This leaves 80 hours … Read moreThe Value of Your Time: The Stories of Adam, Becky, and Chris

How to Decide if a Warehouse Club Membership Is “Worth It”

Max writes in with a great question that had an answer that was just a bit too long for the mailbag: Recently moved to and bought a house in a new town where I hope to stay for several years. There is a Costco and a Sam’s Club here. Never lived close enough to either … Read moreHow to Decide if a Warehouse Club Membership Is “Worth It”

The Balance Between Novelty and Stability – and How That Affects Your Dollars and Cents

Recently, I had a face-to-face conversation with a reader (yep, this happens every once in a while; I have a few readers in my local community that I’m not close friends with, but they recognize me and seem to always have some sort of question or topic to bring up in conversation) about the idea … Read moreThe Balance Between Novelty and Stability – and How That Affects Your Dollars and Cents