Getting Started With The Simple Dollar

Over the last several months, The Simple Dollar has picked up a lot of readers, as you can all probably tell if you’ve been watching that subscriber number on the upper right corner of each page. Because of this, I thought it would be worthwhile to step back and give an overview of The Simple Dollar to those who are new to the site.

I’ve been reading a long time! This is boring! If you’re a long time reader, please leave a comment about how you found the site and any posts on here you thought were particularly good and encouraged you to become a reader. In a few days, I intend to highlight this post on the site for new visitors to read so that they can find some great material to start with.

My Background

My name is Trent Hamm. I live in rural Iowa with my wife, my son (who is 21 months old as of August 2007), and soon, my daughter (who is due in September 2007).

Throughout my life, I made a lot of financial mistakes, which I illustrated in detail in my series Road to Financial Armageddon. In April 2006, I almost went bankrupt and was drowning in debt, but my infant son inspired me to start turning things around and learning about personal finance. In October 2006, I started The Simple Dollar to record many of the things I was learning and to put myself out there as an example of how to turn one’s financial life around.

I think part of the appeal of The Simple Dollar is that I’m willing to put myself out there. If I make mistakes, I don’t mind talking about them. If I make good moves, I don’t mind talking about them, either. I share what I learn and I share my bad moves, too. If my readers think I made a mistake, I don’t delete their comments – I leave them up there for everyone to read because anyone that might visit the article in the future might want to learn from it. I have a tendency to debate, though, and will often pop in in the middle of comments, particularly on controversial posts.

What Else Do I Need To Know?

Almost always, I post four times each weekday, twice on Saturday, and three times on Sunday. Each weekday starts off with a Morning Roundup, a brief collection of interesting articles I found the previous day along with some commentary. I also generally review a personal finance book each Friday and lately I’ve also been reviewing a personal development or productivity book each Sunday evening (the “third” post on Sunday).

If you have a question, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You’re also strongly encouraged to leave a comment any time you have an opinion on a post, whether it be an agreement or a contrary perspective. Please do note that if your message doesn’t ask a question of some sort, though, I may not respond – I get tons of messages each day and the best way I have for dealing with them is only responding when a response seems obvious, and sometimes it’s difficult to even do that.

What Should I Read First?

I’d probably start with Road to Financial Armageddon, which gives a brief outline of how I got where I am today. It’s a pretty chilling tale and I think it’s also familiar to many twenty- and thirtysomething Americans who are going through the same experiences. Another insightful post about my early financial experience is this one.

Another series well worth reading is 31 Days To Fix Your Finances, which is basically a month-long program to re-evaluate your financial situation.

I’d also check out the posts recommended by readers in the comments here.

If you enjoyed reading this, sign up for free updates!

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  1. I found the Simple Dollar through Digg.com and I have to say that what makes me read every post every day is this: the content is pragmatic. No matter the topic or subjects broached its practical. I don’t feel like I’m reading someone who has always done it right and will look down on me as a reader, but instead someone I could sit down with and have a coffee or beer with and we could discuss real life and real finances. I would wager that its not expensive beer and that the coffee just came out of a home system and we’re not drinking expensive coffee… but its the best beverage ever because it was time well spent.

    My favorite article to date is this one about getting ahead tomorrow with a choice today.

  2. Cindy says:

    I subscribed to your feed on April 14, 2007. I arrived here because I did a search on Dave Ramsey. I had listened to some of his radio shows while I was doing a HUGE organization/clear out of our financial documents. I was curious about what other people thought of his advice and style. I found yours and Get Rich Slowly, and they were the very first RSS feeds I subscribed to! :)

    The first post I found was:
    Is Dave Ramsey Making Up Stuff About The Stock Market? The Simple Dollar Cracks The Numbers

    Thanks, Trent, for a great blog!!

  3. Nikhil Vora says:

    I came across this site through the ‘Stumble Upon’ add-on for Mozilla Firefox. I am glad I found this place, and being a student I get some time to sit back and read some of the things that Trent writes on here. It’s a great resource for students, working-people, and even retired people.

    The content is not entirely about finance, rather it contains figments from all aspects of life – from family and values, to time-management and how-to-improve-your-daily-lifestyle.

    It’s a place where one can visit and leave with a feel-good state of mind, or even begin to have a different perspective towards life.

  4. Derek Epperson says:

    Like Cindy, I’m a Dave listener/reader and I too wanted to know more of what was out there. Your site has been a great investment of time for knowledge gained.

    I’m not sure if my readership is registered on your numbers, but I have your blog and Get Rich Slowly delivered to my ThunderBird RSS Reader.

    Thanks a ton!

  5. Ben Harrison says:

    I came across this site through a link on del.icio.us. I found the site really informative, honest, and useful. What really struck my interest though, after looking through the books section, was the review on Mere Christianity. It really felt like I hit a gold mine to come across a finance blog by a Christian author.

  6. Monica says:

    I don’t remember when I started reading your site. I think probably I did a Google search for something related to personal finance. I don’t subscribe to your feed (or any other feeds — because that makes me feel like I have to read everything in the feed reader, when I’d rather just bookmark blogs for looking at if/when I have the time). What I like about your blog is that you seem like an ordinary person I can relate to. I prefer when the advice is not *too* specific to your situation, as I don’t have kids, I’m not American, I live in a big city, etc. I like posts about frugality and everyday things. I usually skip the book reviews and anything about productivity.

  7. Connie says:

    I think I found The Simple Dollar through a well-thought-out article on Yahoo Personal Finance. I’m not in your target demographic, but when I was I was definitely going through similar growing pains. In my later stage of life, having just turned 50, my concerns are: growing a small service business, being newly divorced, managing my IRAs, financing my son’s college beginning next year, and managing a rental property out-of-state. I also have had more than my share of natural disasters, which I am proud to say I not only survived, but prospered (relatively speaking)from. You are providing a valuable and much-needed service.

  8. dave lamport says:

    while i don’t agree with some of trent’s beliefs, i do enjoy his weblog. he has a nice personal touch to his work, gives some good advice, admits mistakes when they occur and does not censor comments that have a go at him. new readers, give him a go. also try ncn, get rich slowly and clever dude. also trent. what about a podcast???????

  9. Lisa says:

    Thank you for creating this blog. I found this blog one day through an article in MSN, and have been hooked on reading here ever since. I like your blog because it is easy to read, and I feel like I can relate to your down-to-earth ways of dealing with money and life matters. I also like your family values and personal ethics reflected in the articles. I am not living in America, but I can still apply many ideas and concepts that you present very effectively, so I appreciate that you work so hard to give others advice and inspiration to have a better life. I like your articles about frugal living, such as the ones on cooking, the best.

  10. Liz says:

    Though I came here from “Stumbling” on the 31 Days series (and that’s what kept me here, if you get down to it) I read no longer read daily because of the posts themselves. After all, how many times can you be reminded to put CFLs in your light sockets? (I kid!)

    I do love Trent’s writing style and his practicality, but I stick around for the lively comment discussions – even though I rarely participate.

  11. james says:

    i found this site when I took a second job and needed a game plan to pay off debt. So far, I’ve been visiting this site on a daily basis.
    Best Finance Blog site EVER.

  12. Mariette says:

    I really enjoy your blog, a lot of good financial info and inspiring stories – and not too dry or number focused. My friend Matt over at Boulevard R told me to check you out and that’s how I found you.

  13. Jason says:

    Trent, it would be interesting to know your educational background and current occupation to gain some perspective. Why don’t you include it? Also, does this blog generate a income? If so, how much?

    Also, love your site. Very well written and informative. I found it a few days ago searching for articles on Dave Ramsey. Keep up the good work.

  14. Andy says:

    I found this site through Lifehacker, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m especially fond of the blogs on specific measures for frugality, since they’re usually pretty easy. It’s all the little things that count. Being an incredibly nerdy engineering student, I also enjoy buzzing through the posts that have a mathematical basis, and trying to see how Trent’s number’s work out (or don’t).

    I think the best thing about this site is its honesty. The Simple Dollar isn’t some “you can be rich, you’re just doing things wrong” site. It’s an honest, practical approach to educating yourself about personal finance, regardless of financial situation.

  15. FrugalTrader says:

    Trent, I have no idea how you can post so much content and work a full time job at the same time. Whatever your secret is, keep it up!

  16. Debora says:

    I came across The Simple Dollar by following a link from another blog (3 Things About Money). The first post I read here was entitled Important personal finance lessons my childhood taught me – it reflected many of my childhood lessons, as well, and so I was intrigued.
    The best posts are the reviews, especially the invaluable book reviews. The stuff that interests me the least are the detailed posts about stocks.
    Thanks for providing this comprehensive service.

  17. I found The Simple Dollar about a month ago – maybe via a carnival, I’m not really sure. I immediately subscribed and have read almost daily since.

    I haven’t had a chance to check out the series you mentioned but I did want to say that I find your book reviews very helpful.

  18. Joe says:

    I found this website when I first started using google reader. I think there was a link to your page from one of the personal finance carnivals. I found the page when I first started working as a lawyer after graduating from law school – I am 25. In the past year, I have paid off over $45k in education debt, have an emergency fund, and well on my way to saving for a down payment on my first house. I really appreciate the candidness of your posts and enjoy all the time you put in this website.

  19. I’m part of the personal finance blogging community and everyone in this community of course, knows The Simple Dollar. I actually started my blog around the same time as Trent as one who has always loved the subject of finance. I come here because Trent’s writing style is friendly and accommodating and enjoy how he shares his own life through his blog. I sometimes wish I could write in the same fashion (both quantity and stylistically) but oh well! :) We do the best we can…. ;) Still am very intrigued and fascinated about how he’s managed to turn his financial life around so quickly.

  20. K says:

    I came across this site from Digg, probably. I’ve got horrendous credit and your site has really helped me change my poor habits. You’ve guided me to cut back on loads of unnecessary spending. I might pay off my collections and credit card debt by the end of next year. :) Hell, I’d go as far as saying you’ve helped shape me into a responsible adult. Thanks for all the great advice.

  21. Vinaya HS says:

    My day starts with The Simple Dollar. Do I need to say more?

  22. Helen says:

    I came here via the Dollar Stretcher community forum, someone had suggested it as a favorite blog. I’m going to read your 31 days series, hadn’t come across that yet.

    I’ve been particularly impressed by your thorough book reviews – I bought Getting Things Done (called How to Get Things Done here in Oz) on the strength of that, and I’m also modifying my approach to book reviews based on this (I sometimes write reviews as part of my day job. I like the way the reader gets some value out of the review itself, and a really good look at what the content is like. Great for me, when I have to buy online and can’t flip through a book myself).

    Like other posters, I like the ‘down to earth’ quality of your writing – I’m not into stock and property gambling and like the way you weigh up options regarding purchases and so on.

    thanks for a great blog!

    Helen

  23. SwingCheese says:

    I arrived via a search for homemade detergent recipes last April and have been a reader ever since. As others have said before me (and more eloquently), Trent makes practical suggestions that go a long way towards reducing debt. I’m a big fan!

  24. Not sure how I stumbled across your blog a few months ago but I’ve been a daily reader since the first visit.
    This was a great post for me because I had no idea of the “31 Days to fix your finances”.
    Thank very the great amount you’ve shown me and the little nuggets I’ve been able to absorb and retain :)

  25. Chris says:

    Found your website through http://del.icio.us/ and have been hooked since.

    Thanks to you, I’ve moved my savings over to ING, where I get 4.5% (beating inflation) Vs. the 1.5% from my local credit union.

    Continue to read the site everyday and gather little golden nuggets of knowledge everyday.

    thanks!

  26. Mitch says:

    I started reading TSD in November. Maybe late October, but definitely by November. I had been googling around for new PF sites to read. It’s a bug that hits me every year or two, that and home organization sites.

    (Most Significant Digit walks by and sees me posting… again… and says “You’re baaaad.” What can I say, I’m introverted everywhere else.)

    Um, so blogs (ranging from diaries to personal columns) have really exploded in popularity the past few years and I ran into this one, English Major’s Money, Queercents, Get Rich Slowly, etc. I like that Trent writes as someone who reads, and that he rules out some books for me with his long reviews (I only read about 80-100 books a year, and mostly not PF). I like that he is willing to come up with his own advice, ideas I didn’t read ten times. He has a couple other convenient similarities to me–age group, living in the Midwest (I even went to preschool in Iowa), somewhat but not extremely frugal.

    One of the articles that really stuck out to me early on was the one about using Technorati to buy Christmas gifts. (pause to go to class, come back, and have a long discussion w/ MSD) I had done research online and purchased gifts before, but I had only heard of Technorati and the article gave me some useful ideas for finding frugal yet thoughtful gifts in a modern cultural setting.

    I don’t use a feed reader, which is fine because as the blog has grown, the comments have become as important to me as the posts. I’d say they’re about even now. If I catch a post early, I’ll often come back later to see if anyone has added anything interesting.

  27. NCN says:

    I see someone’s been reading his problogger, too…
    Keep up the great work!
    NCN

  28. Justine says:

    I subscribe to your feed and I find most of your posts enjoyable. HOWEVER, I am out most of the day and the only time I have to read blogs is at most 15 minutes. I also subscribe to other blogs and reading those takes time also. I find you post TOO much, even though this is probably your full-time job. I would love to read everything you have to write but sometimes I only read 1 of the 3 or 4 articles you write in a day. The only way to make it work for me if I keep checking back at your site several times a day to make sure I don’t miss anything. But my job requires me be away from the computer for long periods of time and I just don’t have that time! But anyway, it’s not your problem. I love your blog the way it is, keep it up!

  29. kristin says:

    Thanks for starting this blog. I also came across it when looking for a homemade laundry detergent recipe. I love your blog the way it is. Keep up the good work!

  30. Maja says:

    I honestly can’t remember how I found the blog, but have been enjoying it daily for a few months now. You have inspired me to save more money than I thought possible in just those few months, allowing me to stay at home with my toddler for longer than I originally thought I would be able to! For that I am really grateful. Your blog is honest and down to earth and I am amazed at your productivity, which inspires me too. Keep writing!

  31. Jeni says:

    I found your site a few months ago through a Google search. I don’t know how you have time to read all of those books that you report on each week! I think I need to take a speed reading class!

  32. I have been reading this blog almost since its inception – got here thru a link from another PF blog. What I like about the Simple Dollar are the book reviews, down to earth advice and of course, the frequency of posts. I’m amazed as to how Trent is able to maintain such a high frequency of posts and still maintain above average quality of posts.

  33. Daisy says:

    I also found this blog while looking for a laundry detergent recipe for school. Though I ended up using another recipe, the practicality of the posts (and the amount of information I was soaking up) kept me coming back.

    And I’m not even in your target demographic! :) Thanks!

  34. Trent Hamm Trent says:

    I don’t mention my job on here because I do research for a company and I am wrapped up in non-disclosure agreements. I majored in something that would help one wind up there (think engineering/hard science).

  35. CHB says:

    I also found Simple Dollar at the same time as Get Rich Slowly and consider them top-notch PF blogs. My favorite posts are the most personal ones about how you live your life and manage your money & home, though I still find it hard to believe that you work full-time, are a doting dad & husband, blog & read practically full time, have done a triple-360 in terms of finances in less than a year, and make gallons of laundry detergent and casseroles on the side. I usually skip over your morning editions unless it’s a theme week, like PF gurus or your fav PF blogs. anyway keep up your superpowers and keep blogging, I’ll keep reading! THANKS!

  36. guinness416 says:

    I’m pretty sure I found this blog via a link from Getrichslowly. And I found JD’s blog via Metafilter; prior to that I had no clue people were blogging about personal finance. The best thing about the Simple Dollar is the quantity and quality of the discussions in the comments section – they’re great, so keep it up commenters.

  37. tambo says:

    I found Simple Dollar about three weeks ago while googling for simple-to-use budgeting software for my Mac. So far, I’ve found most of your advice to be straghtforward and pragmatic, but what got me ‘hooked’ was seeing a photo of the Ankeny HyVee in a post. I shop there too (although the bulk of my shopping is at Fareway or, if money’s really tight, I drive on into Des Moines and go to Aldi’s). Seeing it was a very cozy, homey moment. :)

    Our finances are a mess, because of two completely separate factors (both now behind us, thank goodness), and they resulted in far too much debt, but you have already been helpful in helpiing me figure out how to manage it. I don’t subscribe, but I do stop by here every morning – you’ve become part of my morning internet routine – and a couple of other times a day. BTW, all these comments are making me want to look up your laundry detergent recipe!

  38. Beany says:

    I found your site via the tightfistedmiser.com

    I have enjoyed your personal stories on debt, cooking, and your book reviews. I would really like to see pictures of your food creations :)

  39. Jake Smith says:

    A friend strongly recommended this site and I’ve been hooked every since!

  40. Ted says:

    Long time reader. Boy. New readers all I say is beware of taking this site as gospel. Trent gives some good advice and some bad advice. He mostly give folksy common-sense advice. He is also dangerous with a calculator. I think that’s why I read this site. Its like watching an auto race to see when the accident is going to occur. Trent’s a good writer and often has an interesting and different perspective. I also think his heart’s in the right place. His personal story is compelling and that’s a draw. That’s my take as a reader for entertainment purposes.

  41. Jayowen says:

    I found The Simple Dollar via Lifehacker, I don’t remember which article.

    I started following about when you started looking for a new house, I was also looking for a new place my self, so it was interesting to see how you went about it.

    Yesterday I didn’t like the looks of my cable bill and called to cancle internet service. Instead I changed my plan and am saving $20 a month to a rate I am more comfortable with.

    I also needed to replace the shingles on my roof, I got an estimate 6 weeks ago and put off the decision since I decided to pay cash instead of using my credit card. 3 weeks ago he came back and said he would let me pay over a 3 month period, and I said I would think about it.

    This week he came back and dropped $500 off the price since it was a slow period and he wanted to keep busy. I was comfortable with the first price he gave, but since he needed the job more than I needed the roof replaced I guess it was worth waiting.

  42. Chris says:

    I was once a subscriber, but now I’m not. Why did I cancel my subscription? Because I would leave TSD in an open window and hit F5 (Refresh) every ten minutes or so to get the latest update. I’d say there are 4-5 new entries a day and found that I didn’t need the subscription to be up to date…I was sucked in.

    This blog touches a majority of the financial interests in my life, and it provides another ‘regular guy’ point of view. Some bloggers find a personal finance ideology and tout its merits with no alternative perspectives. How Droll! Has Dave ever taken out a loan or used a credit card? Has Robert ever lived in a house that wasn’t actively making an unquantified boatload of money? Of course they have, but you wouldn’t think it from the blogs of their fan- worshipper-bases.

    While the merits of being debt-free and using property as a stream of income are acknowledged, Trent offers multiple avenues and ideas to get to that point in one’s finances. From frugality to investing to saving for a pleasure purchase (Wii) to allowances to student\car\home loans and credits cards to tax planning to Tbills/Tnotes/Bonds to retirement to estate planning…What a wealth of great material.

    Although I never experienced the level of financial meltdown Trent describes, I feel his blog is encouragement to stay on the disciplined, financially wise path. Excellent work so far, I feel this is probably only the tip of the iceburg.

    Chris

  43. Chris says:

    I found your web site via referral. Unfortunately I can’t remember which one. I keep reading every day because of the common sense approach to life. No quick-fads or adrenaline-junkie testimonials, just real, poignant thoughts. I appreciate your candor. I subscribe to ten “finance” blogs and yours is my favorite.

  44. jon says:

    i used to read this site a lot as i started thinking about personal finance. after a few months though i realize that the articles are pretty repetitive and as long as your smart with your money and plan (big thing) you will be fine. but trent nitpicks at the smallest things that most people will find annoying, leave yourself some leeway for fun unless you want to walk around wiht a calcultor and spreadsheet your whole life.
    plus if you have any bit of a decent job and save you will be fine and the advice probably is for middle to lower class people

  45. Pho says:

    I found out this blog through the Hip Domestics community on Livejournal. I particularly enjoy the book reviews and have been inspired to read several on Trent’s favorite’s list.

  46. Heidi says:

    I started reading when Trent and TSD was featured in an article in the Des Moines Business Record Daily (of which I am a subscriber). Now I read TSD via RSS feed to iGoogle daily (along with about 12 other financial blogs and sites).

    I work in financial services, and I agree that Trent can be dangerous with a calculator, but I read because I appreciate Trent’s voice and insights, even if I don’t agree with what he’s saying. He’s got me thinking about where my money goes and how I can be a smarter consumer.

  47. plonkee says:

    OMG you have 40 odd comments on how people came to read your site and when I first started reading the simple dollar, there were hardly any.

  48. trb says:

    Referred here by We’re in Debt several months ago, after my wife and I had our own moment of truth and discovered we were a few dollars away from a six-figure non-secured debt. Don’t subscribe, but read you and GRS daily or multiple times a day. Like others, sometimes I think the advice is too specific – kids, new homeowners, non-city life – but generally on the mark and always practical. Favorites are the book reviews, both PF and productivity/simplicity, and the serious analysis with spreadsheets. Not really a fan of the morning roundup, as I appreciate your voice more than your websurfing. I do love the references to Iowa, my old home.
    Keep it up, it’s working.

  49. Adam says:

    I found this blog through a posting on Digg. The first article I read was about eating on $10 a month. I’ve been a huge fan ever since! In fact, this blog is the reason I’ve finally buckled down and gotten some control over my finances. Thanks trent, keep up the good work!

  50. laura k says:

    I don’t remember how I got here, but the three things I like about this blog are 1) the quality of the writing: It’s an easy read; there is no stumbling over spelling and grammatical errors to make me lose the train of thought. All the posts flow smoothly. 2) the fact that it’s not just a re-hash of PF-related news: Trent has a lot of ideas, some of which I don’t agree with, but all of which are interesting, and he seems to get inspiration from his readers, which makes it feel like a community. 3) the volume of posts: I have very little to do at work, so it’s nice to have something new to read to pass the time!

  51. blackliquorish says:

    I started reading last week and so far I like the comments, which really expand on each article and give alternate points of view. I need those alternative points because I am self-employed, I have no debt, I live in a city, and the environment is especially important to me, which is not the audience this blog writes for. I also like the frequency of updating on those days when I’m doing tedious computer work and taking lots of little breaks.

    One thing I completely discount is any cooking/recipe advice… I think it’s better to take my own recipes, which have already been optimized for my own health, dietary needs, tastes and allergies and then use more general tips on how to make them cheaper. That, and, I don’t take diet advice from anyone on the internet because I can’t see what they look like or what their physical maladies are.

  52. Bradley says:

    I started reading The Simple Dollar in March of 2007, and I’ve read every article since then! I found this blog by searching for websites on frugality…and the first articles I found were about saving a dollar a day, five dollars a day, and so on. The advice on this blog is practical, and I appreciate the fact that new content is posted regularly.

  53. Golbguru says:

    Like they show it in some movies: an old tired man giving words of (unnecessary) advice to some young fellow and saying – “I have known you since you was a little kid”. :)

    This blog has come a long way since then. Earlier (when Trent started posting 6~7 posts a day), I had my doubts whether “Trent” was actually a group of people blogging feverishly; but, slowly I have come to accept the fact that it’s just one man causing all this action.

  54. vh says:

    Don’t remember how I found this site…probably surfing the Web looking for some finance-related information. But it didn’t take long to get hooked. The writing style is very clean (I’m an editor & I know decent writing); the writer’s voice is engaging; fresh ideas appear more often than on most sites; and I love finding something new every day.

    As an old bat trying to engineer retirement at the earliest possible date, I value the concerns, creative ideas, and discoveries of younger people. Staying in touch with the thinking of people thirty or forty years younger than you is what keeps your brain alive!

  55. Sarah says:

    How I got here: I kept seeing articles show up on reddit or digg. I liked the “Guide to Shaving” in which Trent said, “I place a high value on personal appearance” — I was relieved to see a frugal person say that. I subscribed after I read the Financial Armageddon posts.

    Our life situation is similar to Trent’s: we moved into a new house (in the country) this year, are expecting another baby this fall, and I really love cooking and have tried to cook a lot more from local, fresh ingredients this year. Although we never had an “Armageddon”, we started focusing on frugality when our first was a baby too (and increased it after we bought our current house). So I like all the posts on home maintenance, baby preparation, and food.

    I appreciate the continual encouragement toward frugality – it helps to know we’re not the only people around aiming in that direction. (For example, I liked the idea of an article on “How To Feel Happier About Not Spending Money”, and I came away from a rare mall trip — amazed that my nice car could look so old next to all the shiny SUVs in the parking lot — and read the review of “The Overspent American” with relief.) Thanks!

  56. Caeli says:

    I have only been reading for a short time, but I already feel like I know Trent personally. That’s mostly because he has a great, personal writing style that’s very open and really draws you in. But it’s also because we seem to have a lot in common.
    I am 23 with 2 full time children and a stepdaughter who is only with us part of the week. My central value is also my family. We are in a financial armageddon at the moment. Our bank accounts are collectively in the negative about $1000, we owe about $3000 to various cash advance places, all of our bills are behind, and we have no financial support from any friends or family. We also can’t get any credit.
    We have put ourselves here through poor decisions that we have made in the past (unplanned pregnancies, dropping out of school, skipping college, trusting/expecting others to take care of our finances) and more recently (unstable career choices, cash advances are the devil!!) My husband works very hard but he builds houses, and everyone knows how that is going right now. We are both working full time and attending college part time at the moment, and my husband has had a few side jobs coming up, so we are feeding the kids and just starting to get back on our feet. We are also seeking better employment options. He is applying at pharmaceutical companies for entry level positions in keeping with his major. I am looking for an employer who will pay me a fair market wage–the average for my position and experience is about $6 higher than what I am making after 2 years with the company.
    While things look really awful right now–just thinking about it makes me feel sick–this blog is one of the few things that makes me think maybe there is some hope for us. We are slowly making our way through the 31 days to fix your finances. We would like to do this in only 31 days, but with everything going on, we really don’t have an extra hour a day. We are lucky to have an extra 15 minutes, and we don’t always feel like talking about money when that happens!

    Thank you, Trent, from the bottom of my heart, for giving me hope and some practical advice for getting out of this mess.

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