The Simple Dollar Time Machine: November 21, 2009

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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 (November 15-21, 2008)
Investing in Skills (or Fear of an Apocalyptic Economy) My basic argument here is simple. If you’re afraid of investing in anything out of fear of economic collapse, invest in yourself. Build some skills. Skills will always have value, no matter what the currency du jour is.

Christmas Inspiration from a Stick and a Cardboard Box This post reminded me of many of the great Christmases I had when I was a young lad. I would have more fun with the boxes than anything. I remember actually building an igloo out of one.

The Time of Your Life What was “the time of your life”? Why do you value it so much? There might be a useful lesson there.

Tap My 401(k) or Borrow From Family? This is pretty much one of those no-win situations. I had to dig deep to find a solution here.

On Hosting a Dinner Party Dinner parties are a great way to socialize. Here are some of my own tips on hosting a great one.

Two Years Ago (November 15-21, 2007)
The Personal Finance of Fear – And Why I Reject It I hate books that scream FINANCIAL ARMAGEDDON and encourage you to avoid DOOMSDAY. They peddle fear, nothing more, nothing less.

Seven Things You Can Do Right Now (Without Any Capital) To Get Started On Chasing Your Dreams Often, more than anything, it’s getting your head and your heart in the right place.

How Much Money Does Turning Off the Lights Really Save? More than I thought, by quite a bit. Turning off your lights really is worthwhile.

Dealing With Shame About Your Personal Finances (And Anything Else) Quite often, people are ashamed about some aspect of themselves or their lives. Never let shame drive what you do.

The Expenses of a Soda Pop Addiction – And How to Defeat It For me, soda is kind of like public enemy number one, at least when consumed multiple times a day. It’s expensive and it leads directly to frightening health concerns.

Three Years Ago (November 15-21, 2006)
The Value of Personal Appearance There is a lot of value in appearing well-groomed and neatly dressed, but some people take it to extremes and don’t think rationally about it.

Living on Half Your Monthly Income: Could You Do It? We’ve done it many months around here. It’s not as hard as you might think it is – in fact, it’s a pretty lofty and powerful but reachable

The True Cost of Generic Diapers This was before we discovered how powerful of a value cloth diapering was, but the principle still holds true. If you have a 10% failure rate on an item, it’s not worth buying it.

Saving on Home Decor: Self-Matted Photography I fully intend to start filling our home with more photography. We have a lot of great images that would work spectacularly to decorate our living room, our entryway, and our family room.

The Ten Second Rule If you’ve got an item in hand and are about to throw it in the cart to buy it or are about to carry it to the register, stop for ten seconds and ask yourself whether you really need it or if you can’t get a better overall value elsewhere. Quite often, the answer will convince you to change your mind.

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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