The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Book Series Edition

A few people have wondered what I’m going to do at the end of the “52 Personal Finance Books In 52 Weeks” series. First, I plan about three summary posts that tie up the whole series. After that, I’m still going to review personal finance books, probably weekly, but not in a “series” like before. I also have one other really big and neat idea that I plan to start in December for a trial run – I think it’s a really cool idea, anyway. What is that one? You’ll have to wait until then to find out!

Save Money On Movies, Music, Television, and Books This is a great compilation of tips on how to save money on home entertainment. I’m actually a very big fan of Pandora for my music needs – free internet radio is a great thing. (@ lazy man and money)

No More Free Money: Pulling The Plug On Credit Card Arbitrage Hot tip: applying for a lot of credit cards quickly is always bad. One thing credit card companies do is check how many times your report has been pulled recently and, no matter your score, if it’s been pulled a lot, they’ll either reject you or give you a low limit. Why? It looks like you’re trying to open up a lot of lines of credit very quickly and there’s pretty much no reason that you’d do that that a credit card company would like. (@ money, matter, and more musings)

The Simple Dollar Retro: The Frugal Geek’s Toolbox The title pretty much says it all.

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  1. Kenny says:


    I have the DirecTV, and learned from an installer that they have a “customer retention department” where each agent is authorized to offer up to something like $100 worth of concessions to keep me as a customer. Apparently it costs more than $100 to get a new customer, so it’s cheaper to spend almost that much to keep me.

    Over the past year, I have successfully gotten $10 monthly credits off our bill each month, and a “free” HD receiver and a “free” DVR as well.

    There are enough glitches in the system that all I really need to do is complain and the customer retention agents practically interrupt me to offer this credit or some other programming discount or bonus.

    It’s probable that cable companies also have these “customer retention” departments.

  2. Josh says:

    That media list forgot video games!

    The best way to save $$$ on video games is to wait about 6 months after the game has come out for a price drop. Used games play just as well as new ones. is full of good stuff (membership required to see forum).

    Also, play games a generation behind. Playstation 2 and Gamecube games are next to nothing at the used game shop.

  3. vh says:

    Wow! Lazyman would profit hugely if he could break the TV addiction. I’ve never paid for cable, not because I’m too cheap (okay okay…MAYBE because i’m too cheap) but because (this is really true!) whenever I look at the television listings I can’t see anything on cable that I want to watch any more than the junk I can watch on the broadcast channels. Very little of what is on TV is worth wasting your time on, and most of what is really entertaining or interesting is on PBS (think “Mystery Theatre” and “Frontline”).

    Besides, it’s a matter of principle: the airwaves BELONG TO THE CITIZENS, not to a few megacorporations. We pay our taxes to maintain & regulate those airwaves. That we can’t watch a TV show without being bombarded with advertising is an insult; making us pay for the privilege adds injury to the insult.

    Buck corporate America, my friends: Cultivate a taste for books. Go outside and play with the kids. Develop skills in slow cooking and spend your free time making wonderful (cheaper!) meals. Go for a walk around the neighborhood or hang out at the local park. Go watch sporting events–high-school, college and amateur games are free or inexpensive. Serve up dinner at the local soup kitchen. With your savings from canceling the cable, buy a Wii and play virtual tennis. Anything but sitting in front of the idiot box!

  4. Lazy Man says:

    Kenny, cable operators do have a retention department. I mentioned it in my article, but I don’t feel right about using it unless I have a legit complaint.

    Josh, I didn’t forget about video games, I purposely eliminated them. I’m not that big of a gamer, except for John Madden Football, so it’s far cheaper for me to buy that one game. Your advice about buying used and staying a generation behind, is central behind an upcoming article on saving on electronics. For instance, a 3rd generation iPod can be had used very cheaply.

    vh, is right that I could probably profit if I kicked away the television. In my defense, I’m never just watching television, unless it’s a football game. I’m always blogging or doing something else on the Internet at the same time. I don’t see anything wrong with watching advertisements to subsidize television. To read this website or my own you are likely paying for an Internet provider and are subject to advertising.

  5. Monica says:

    If you still want to review other books, I suggest reviewing books that have to do with how you spend your money and whether it is in tune with your values. For example, “Big-Box Swindle” by Stacy Mitchell, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver, or “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan. I would like that kind of thing anyway.

  6. Mitch says:

    I like Pandora, too, at times, and it’s fun to see the little “why it matches” texts (search at or visit to see partial lists of the match criteria), but it is also frustrating that I put in amazing, life-shaping music but I don’t get much of anything memorable back out. Very competent, but not blowing my mind. I guess the AI does not yet recognize the terrible crystal.

  7. js says:

    Pandora sounds like a great idea. At present I admit a slight i-Tunes addiction. But really, it’s nothing out of hand, and I just play it on my pc. But the pandora thing sounds great.

  8. Amanda says:

    Second Monica’s opinion. Though it’s only tangentially related to the site topic and might stray too far into the area of politics (I don’t mind, but Trent seems assiduously to avoid any mention of politics, which is probably a good thing) but it would sure be interesting.

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