Featured Blog

Product Specifications Influence Consumer Preference

When you make a major purchase, how do you choose between competing products? Do you buy solely on price? Or do you consider features, quality, and brand reputation?

Scrabble Table

Another table to start off our week. This one I like, being a Scrabble fan. Jodie was about to get rid of this old $10 Ikea Lack table but decided it could be salvaged. And here it is.

The Overdraft Protection Racket: Why Banks Want You To Overdraw, And How You Can Get Your Money Back.

By Paul MichaelI know banks are hurting for money right now, but no more than the rest of us. And one aspect of modern banking that I find most disturbing is how banks allow you to go overdrawn so that they can charge you a hefty fee.

Swap baby goods

My daughter is going to be three years old in less than a month. The amount of clothing and other baby products that we have gone through in those 36 months is pretty extensive. We have donated a lot of items to local charities, consignment shops, and friends, but it seems like we still find ourselves behind the curve in the accumulation battle.

How to Use Chopsticks - Become an Expert in 90 Seconds

I once used chopsticks like Papua New Guinea tribesman spear fish. Then I developed a vice-like power technique that often ended with wet seafood catapulting across the table. Both experiences left me with a strong dislike for chopsticks — seriously, why on earth would someone not use a fork? Then I spent a year abroad in Japan during 1992 and 1993. It was a revelation.

Outlie This: Breaking Research Reveals Talent Gene?

In his critically acclaimed book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell shared how a growing lineage of research on greatness largely debunked the myth of talent or a God-given gift, in favor of what’s come to be known as the “10-year rule.”

Reader Mailbag #56

Each Monday, The Simple Dollar opens up the reader mailbags and answers ten to twenty simple questions offered up by the readers on personal finance topics and many other things. Got a question? Ask it in the comments. You might also enjoy the archive of earlier reader mailbags.

A happy bedside table

Alicia gives her Rian bedside table a happy new look. She says, "It's not really a difficult hack, but I covered my Rian table with fabric. All I did was to detach the tabletop with a screwdriver. Lay the top side down on fabric and attach with a staple gun, pulling the fabric tightly. Screw the top back on, and voila." See more of Alicia's Rian bedside table.

WhiteFence Helps You Find Deals on Utilities

I’m a huge advocate of calling your utilities to ask for rate reductions. But some people are uncomfortable making these sorts of calls. It would be helpful if these folks had a way of using the internet to find better deals. WhiteFence is a web-based service that allows users to do just that. From the about page:

Is it still tasty?

Lifehacker’s Adam Pash tipped us off to an invaluable resource to use when cleaning out your refrigerator and kitchen pantry: StillTasty.

Blogging Without Giving It All Away

A friend — we’ll call her “Casey” — came to me for advice recently. Casey’s a writer too, with a nice deal writing a nightlife column for a local alternative weekly, in addition to her other work writing celebrity news for local and national magazines.

Getting Better Sleep – The Google Method

Many articles have been written about getting better sleep. This time, we’ll take a different approach.

A primer on what it would take to fix climate

We've all been seeing what Obama believes is necessary for the economic bailout, but what is needed for the climate bailout?Here are the five policies that, according to New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, the new CEO of ClimateWorks, Hal Harvey, says we need:

Want to be Able to Predict If Someone Will Be Happy In the Future?

I recently finished a terrific novel, Sarah Dunn’s Secrets to Happiness. (How could I resist that title?) One scene caught my happiness-project attention. Betsy is on a blind date with Alan, and they’re both in the mode of sizing up marriagability on the first date.

The Personal Finance Hour, Episode 2

Last Monday I teamed up with Jim from Bargaineering to bring you the first episode of The Personal Finance Hour, our weekly BlogTalkRadio program all about money management. We had fun with this live podcast, and it was great to interact with listeners via chat and on the phone.