The Simple Dollar Time Machine: May 1, 2010

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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 25 – May 1, 2009)
Thoughts on Work, Personal Life, and Frugality We all have a lot to balance in our lives. That’s a big part of the reason why I’m a fan of “one-shot” frugality, the kinds of things you can do once and enjoy the savings from over a long period. Like installing a programmable thermostat and setting it properly, for instance.

Eyes on the Prize You’ve got to keep your focus on your goals if you want to succeed at anything. Don’t let the stupid things in life distract you.

The Frugal Rainy Day Box We have a “rainy day” box for our children with a ton of art supplies and other materials in it. It’s so popular, in fact, that our kids often want to get it out on non-rainy days.

Five Frugal Lessons from My Parents My parents taught me a great deal about how to live frugal. I wish I had used it more often in my twenties.

Do Personal Goals Have a Dangerous Side? If you let a single-minded focus on a goal get in the way of better choices and opportunities in your own life, you’re making a mistake. Having focus on a goal is great – having such focus that your eyes are closed to other changes and opportunities is dangerous.

Two Years Ago (April 25 – May 1, 2008)
Are Rechargeable Batteries Really Cost Effective? They are if you use them consistently. It takes several charges for good rechargeables to be worth their money.

Dealing with the Things Left Undone It’s easy to get overtaken by a giant list of things to do. Don’t let yourself fall into a funk because of the things left undone.

The Recession Diet: Why Fears of Recession Might Trigger Poor Food Buying Decisions Buying the cheapest food might allow you to escape the supermarket with a lower bill, but it has other long-term costs.

The Five Ps: Breaking Down Big Dreams Into Little Steps If you’ve got a big dream but think it’s unreachable and don’t know where to start with it, this is a must-read article.

Hyundai’s “Dollars and Sense” Ads: My Take Should personal finance writers appear in ads that don’t reflect solid personal finance choices? It’s up to them, but I think it reflects on the value of what the people say.

Three Years Ago (April 25 – May 1, 2007)
Defining and Accomplishing Microgoals Microgoals – ones that can be accomplished in a week or less – can be incredibly valuable in terms of setting yourself up for success.

The Longest Night This is the story of the night when I hit financial bottom. It’s painful.

Don’t Fear The Higher Tax Bracket (Or Why A Reader Needs More Cowbell) Ever wondered how tax brackets really work? Here’s an explanation – and reasons why “avoiding a higher tax bracket” is usually a pretty dumb reason to avoid more income.

How To Start An Electronic Financial Document System For many documents, it’s well worthwhile to simply save electronic copies rather than keeping them all in paper form. Here’s how to get started.

How To Define A Tangible, Reachable Personal Finance Goal Specifying a goal is a good start, but here’s how to make one that will really help you succeed.

If you’d like to browse through more of the archives, visit the chronology, where all posts are listed in chronological order.

Nine Ways to Get More out of The Simple Dollar
This is kind of a FAQ for new readers and is posted each week along with the Time Machine. Here are nine great ways for new readers to dig deeper into The Simple Dollar.

1. Subscribe by email or RSS. Visiting The Simple Dollar’s website is great, but for many people, it’s more convenient to receive the articles in another form. It’s easy to join 60,000 other subscribers and get The Simple Dollar’s content by email or in your RSS feeder (if you’re unfamiliar with RSS, check out Google Reader.

2. Comment. Each article on The Simple Dollar has lively discussion. Just click on the green square in the upper right of each article on the website and join in!

3. Read my story of financial meltdown and recovery. The Simple Dollar isn’t based on what I’ve read in books or learned in school. I’ve made a lifetime of financial mistakes – The Simple Dollar is a record of what works for me during the process of getting my life on a better track.

4. Download my free 49 page e-book. Everything You Ever Really Needed to Know About Personal Finance On Just One Page is completely free. It summarizes all of the key lessons I’ve learned along the way about personal finance in one tidy package – in fact, all of the main principles can be found right on the cover.

5. Follow me on Twitter – or other social networks. I post tons of interesting articles, quotes, follow-up material, commentary, and other material on Twitter. Follow me! If you’re unfamiliar with Twitter, it’s essentially an open discussion forum for people to share ideas and thoughts with other like-minded folks – you just choose the people you want to listen to and their ideas and thoughts are all delivered to you on a single page.

I also participate on several other social networks. Feel free to check me out on del.icio.us (it’s where I collect links, from which I select the ones that appear in my weekly roundups), wakoopa (what software I use), GoodReads (what books I’m reading), Facebook, and FriendFeed (which aggregates everything). I also have an irregularly-updated personal site, TrentHamm.com.

6. Dig through “31 Days to Fix Your Finances.” 31 Days to Fix Your Finances is an article series that outlines how you can get a grip on your finances over the course of a month.

7. Send me your questions and suggestions. Send me an email and let me know what you’re thinking, what you’d like to see, and any questions you might have. I try to respond to as many emails as possible and I read them all. I may even use your question in a future article!

8. Become a “Friend of The Simple Dollar.” If you find the stuff on The Simple Dollar valuable and are willing to spend five minutes or so a month to help me out with small things, please consider signing up to be a “Friend of The Simple Dollar”.

9. Email a great article you find to a friend. Find an article that you think your friend would love? At the bottom of each article, you’ll find a link that says “Email this” – just click on that, type in your friend’s address, and send it right along to them!

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