The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Fantasy Baseball League Payoff Edition

I entered a fantasy baseball league this spring with the owners of several other personal finance blogs. While I did well (my pitching staff had almost 100 combined wins. led by Ryan Dempster, Johan Santana, Carlos Zambrano, Ben Sheets, Adam Wainwright, Jake Peavy, and John Maine – yep, I had ‘em all, and all won at least 10 games), my hitting was atrocious and I came in in the middle of the pack.

Anyway, as a “friendly wager,” we all agreed to highlight some of the best posts of the blog of whoever the winner was. Since we all like each other’s blogs, we thought it’d be a great way to reward the winner and show off some of that blog’s best work.

The blog that won was Lazy Man and Money, and per the wager, here are five great articles from his blog, followed by a few more interesting articles from other blogs I found in the last week.

35 Ways to Save on Gas I tend to think the best approach is to get a fuel efficient car right off the bat. When I bought my truck, for example, gas was barely over $1 a gallon, so I didn’t worry about that as much as I should have. How I wish I had those days back.

Seven Things You Must Do to Prepare for an Emergency One big thing he doesn’t note – have several gallons of drinkable water on hand. If things go completely disastrous, that can be vital.

Cutting the Cable TV He makes a pretty good argument here for dropping his cable bill, even though he watches a lot of television. Sounds solid to me.

15 Products That Save Time, Money, and Space I wholeheartedly disagree with the Roomba, though most of the rest of the list makes sense. We’ve had nothing but wars with ours, and it’s not been worth the time invested making it work. The only positive I can say is that when it’s working, our kids will sit on chairs on the edge of the room and watch it go around and around for quite a while.

MonaVie Scam? This is why I tend to avoid anything that has even a whiff of MLM associated with it. I’ve seen way too many of these scams floating around.

And here are three interesting articles from other sites.

Six Times It’s Easy to Ask for a Discount He’s talking about retail stores here, not yard sales or pawn shops where you’re practically expected to bargain at least a little. A friend of mine has told me many times that the best time to shop for a car is the week before Christmas, for example. (@ free money finance)

Finding a Work-at-Home Job As long as you understand the constraints of most work-at-home jobs, this is some really solid advice. (@ money saving mom)

Drama in Real Life: Foreclosure! I like stories like this – they illustrate personal finance very well. (@ get rich slowly)

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  1. Fantasy sports are a lot of fun as long as noone takes it too seriously. The wager was probably just enough to keep everyone interested, but not too much to invoke any bickering or hard feelings.
    I’ve just entered a fantasy hockey league with much the same rules.

  2. Ian P. says:

    His article “Cutting the Cable TV”, describes how to put a Slingbox at a friends house and watch his cable TV over your internet connection. That’s essentially “stealing cable”, and although you’ll never be caught, it’s not really a good solution.

  3. Trent, you are one of the last of the good guys. It is very unselfish of you provide links to other people’s sites, not to mention picking interesting articles for us to read. I think EVERY web strategy I’ve ever read advocates capturing and keeping your audience on YOUR page, not sending them to a competitor who might profit from their visit.

    You are a quality person.

  4. Jessica says:

    Trent, what problem do you have with your Roomba? My husband put one on our wedding registry, and as much as I thought no one would buy it for us, someone bought it for us. We haven’t had a problem with it as long as we kept the insides cleaned and remembered to lift the curtains off the floor. The first couple of time we used it, there was definitely no time savings, as we were quite amused by it and just simply watched it do its thing, but now I’m used to it.

  5. Elisabeth says:

    Aw. I love my Roomba!

  6. Tracy says:

    You must have a defective Roomba. Ours has been awesome, providing you keep it cleaned out and replace the brushes once in a while. Every morning at 9:00am, it wakes up and vacuums the entire upstairs of our house, returning to it’s charger when it finishes. Every two days I empty out the collection bin and clean out the brushes.

  7. Kevin says:

    I won a little over $400 in our fantasy hockey league last season. Unfortunately I finished just out of the playoffs (7th overall, top 6 make it) for the recent baseball season after being in the top 6 all year until the last week.

  8. Tori says:

    Trent, I feel your pain. Our Roomba is dying a slow painful death. We bought it two and a half months ago! For example, it cleaned the north half of our living room last night and docked. That’s all.

    These death rattles have come even after my boyfriend faithfully cleaned out the Roomba every night. He installed new brushes for last night, too. He thinks he needs to clean the sensors to give the Roomba a new lease on life. Good old vaccuuming is looking better and better.

  9. KC says:

    I bought my Acura (premium fuel) in August of 05… right before the steady climb in fuel prices. Now I pay $4/gallon for gas on a regular basis. Needless to say I’m not happy about this. Many people have suggested I use regular gas instead of the premium the user’s guide recommends – personally I’m not willing to take the risk of destroying a $5k engine to save 25 cents a gallon. But I also realize I’ve got a really nice car, that is paid for and gets pretty good mileage overall (22/32). To me that’s not worth getting a smaller car that doesn’t ride as well. To each his own I suppose, but I’ll keep my hog.

  10. Mitch says:

    @KC – As long as the owner’s manual says premium fuel “recommended” (as opposed to “required”), there is virtually no chance you will damage your engine. At most you will probably experience a very slight decrease in power and occasional (and harmless) knocks and pings when you first start the engine. I remember reading about this in “Click & Clack” or a similar column.

  11. Cory says:

    The 3-rights seems suspect to me. I can only think of a very limited number of cases where this would work. ie: a very busy intersection with stop lights and difficult left (or a long line to turn left). Then passing the intersection by a block and making 3 rights might speed things up.

    Otherwise it seems you’d end up trying to cross a busy road instead of making a left off of it.

  12. Jen says:

    Trent! You forget that most people have at least a gallon in their homes at all times – it sounds a little disgusting, but the tank (not the bowl, the tank on the back!) of your toilet has clean, drinkable water in it. If you want to be really careful, you could boil the water, just to be safe.

  13. BigMike says:

    @KC – if the engine starts pinging you can always revert back to premium. Otherwise, you can try a fuel additive. I run non alcohol gasoline in my Harley (Air Cooled) and just buy the big container of Lucas Octane Booster and poor it into the smaller 2 oz bottle and keep one with me on my bike.

  14. BigMike says:

    I agree, those Roomba’s are junk. My Boss had two of them and they both crapped out. They were a cute idea, but not designed for the long haul. I like our Dysan, works well for pet hair especially.

  15. Eric says:

    Cut the cable for the sake of your brain and reclaiming your wasted time.

    We cut our cable COMPLETELY in June. Haven’t missed it, and I suddenly have found time for all kinds of things, from learning guitar to learning electronics, woodworking, walking, and reading.

    The electronics/woodworking hobby has definitely had a cost, but I expect at some point, I’ll be able to sell what I make. Even if not, at least I’m creating, instead of being passive.

  16. Lara says:

    Hi Trent!

    I just wanted to post a quick comment and say how much I appreciate your blog! I’m a writer and photographer and my husband is an actor and we live in Southern California, a really expensive place to do what you love! Your blog has been invaluable as we start our married lives together and start sharing finances. Just wanted to say thanks for your advice and fantastic posts. We even started making our own bread after reading your post! It’s nice to see a foodie can still have the good stuff and stay on the cheap. :)

    I feel like I’ve been a blog voyeur for too long and wanted to send you something that’s really helped us. My mother-in-law gave me this cookbook you should really check out since you’re into cooking. You’ve probably already seen it, but we’ve started making more recipes from it and have cut back on how much we consume and how much we spend on groceries. Just wanted to share since it sounds right up your alley!

    http://www.amazon.com/More-Less-Cookbook-World-Community/dp/083619263X/ref=pd_cp_b_0?pf_rd_p=413864201&pf_rd_s=center-41&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=083619103X&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1W9R8FHYKW4Z7GTR68SR

    Thanks, Trent! You’re inspiring!

    L

  17. I just want to say that the mental picture of your kids sitting on the chairs and watching the Roomba is making me laugh! My kids would totally do something like that too.

  18. Our Scooba must be like your Roomba. Our Scooba works about 20% of the time that we want it too.

    I should have had water on my emergency list, but in San Francisco I’m concerned about an earthquake. In such a case, I want to be outside the apartment as quick as possible and several gallons of water is going to slow me down. Still it’s good to have in case of other disasters.

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