Given all of the things I write about on The Simple Dollar, some people tend to assume that all of this just comes easy for me and my family. To put it simply, it doesn’t. Just like everyone else, we struggle with decisions at times and find ourselves flailing at things that seem easy on paper. The Five Financial Problems My Family Deals With Clutter / Keeping Too Much Stuff I’m a collector of things that are important to me …

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Many newer readers of The Simple Dollar haven’t been exposed to the hundreds of great articles in the archives of the site, so this is a weekly series that highlights the five best posts from one year ago this week, two years ago this week, and three years ago this week. I call it … the Time Machine. One Year Ago (April 11 – April 17, 2009) Personal Finance 101: Charge Cards Versus Debit Cards Versus Credit Cards – Pros …

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Mal writes in: I loved your post about how little you save by not flushing. You should do the same thing about your favorite bugaboo, rewashing Ziploc bags! Rewashing Ziploc sandwich bags is something that I’ve joked about being a frugality “step too far” since the first days of The Simple Dollar. In March 2009, I completely prepared a post on this very topic, intending to present it in a very tongue-in-cheek fashion on April 1, 2009, but I never …

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My Five Year Goals

April 16 2010

One suggestion I frequently give to readers who write in unsure what to do with their money is to plot out some long term goals. The big question I usually ask them to think about is where would you like to be in five years? Over the last few months, my wife and I have done some soul-searching with regards to that very question in our own lives. We’ve come up with a small handful of five year goals for …

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Jennifer writes in: My husband grew up in an area that often had summer droughts and water rationing. Because of that, he was trained as a child to stick to the “if it’s yellow let it mellow if it’s brown flush it down” mantra. We’re married and live in an area that doesn’t have any water issues at all. In fact, we live near an immense reservoir. My husband still sticks to that same mantra, but now he claims it’s …

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Reader Mailbag: Taxes

April 15 2010

Today is the official due date for federal income tax returns in the United States. It’s also the due date for the first quarter of estimated taxes for those of us who are self-employed or run small businesses. Thus, for a lot of us, April 15 is the most expensive day of the year. It certainly is for us – we had to pay in on our returns and pay the quarterly estimated tax. Ouch. It always hurts to watch …

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As many of you know, over the last year, I’ve been writing a book outlining the specific details of how exactly I went from being tens of thousands of dollars in debt and working at a job that caused me to miss my family and made me long for the career I wanted to doing exactly what I wanted to do: writing, spending a ton of time with my children, and living without the anvil of debt hanging around my …

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Over the past year, I’ve been experimenting a lot with my personal website, TrentHamm.com. Should it just be a puff piece that promotes me? Should I have some long essays or short stories on there? What I eventually realized, though, is that the thing I enjoy doing the most is simply sharing interesting links on all kinds of stuff – sports, science, politics, personal growth, religion, books, and so on – and then adding my own comments. I realized this …

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Replacing Things Early

April 14 2010

Recently, I took a serious look at our non-stick skillet, the one we use to cook sticky things like eggs. While it was still very usable, I found that in one place a bit of Teflon was beginning to peel away. I immediately tossed the pan into the trash. A few weeks ago, I replaced a perfectly good filter on our car – or at least it seemed like a perfectly good filter. I looked it over, tossed it in …

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The People Around You

April 13 2010

The single biggest advantage I’ve had in my life is that I’ve largely been surrounded by supportive people. My wife, my parents, my closest friends – all of them have always been incredibly positive towards everything I’ve ever chosen to do. My mind continually goes back to the period in my life where I was trying to convince myself to make the leap into being a full-time writer. Rather than saying it’s something I couldn’t do or shouldn’t do, all …

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