The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Family Pictures Edition

Over the last several months, I’ve been creating a huge digital archive of personally important pictures – pictures of me throughout my life, my wife throughout her life, ancestors, relatives, children, and so on. This has been a long, ongoing process, done exclusively on equipment I already owned, meaning it’s been basically a free project except for a bit of electricity and the time involved.

I’ve smiled hundreds of times during this project. I’ve cried more than a few times, too. I’ve been compelled to get in touch with relatives I haven’t seen in years.

Best of all, I now have them all on a rotating picture on my workstation’s screensaver in the office in my home. That office is also home to a rocking chair, and there are many times when my son is waking up from his nap or my daughter is taking a bottle that we’ll kick back in that chair and watch the pictures float by on the screensaver. I’ll tell my son who the people in the picture are, and he’ll always not believe that Grandma was ever that young. And my daughter will lay back with her head against my chest and just watch the pictures of her brother and her mother and her father flicker by as she drifts off to sleep.

A frugal project well worth doing, indeed.

Is Your Gift Card Worthless Because the Company Went Bankrupt? This happened to me a while back, actually – no recourse at all. That’s why I think gift certificates to individual shops (non-chains) are a very risky proposition. (@ queercents)

The Dollar Dance This is something of an expected cultural thing at Midwestern weddings – the bride and groom each dance with most of the adult guests for about ten to fifteen seconds in exchange for a dollar. Unfortunately, it can seem socially awkward to people not expecting it. My solution? If one family is unfamiliar with it, explain it as a cultural thing and tell them they can participate if they want to, but they’re not expected to, but you’re participating in cultural solidarity with your spouse. (@ make love, not debt)

Are Some Lives So Empty That an iPhone 3G Will Fill the Void? In short, yes. If your emotional core is centered around having the coolest cutting edge gadgets, you’re content to keep working for the rest of your life to afford this stuff, and the outrageous costs don’t really mean much to you, then an iPhone 3G probably can help you keep warm at night (@ wise bread)

12 Things to Ask Before the Wedding I think the real key is simply to communicate about financial issues – most of these are great icebreakers. (@ master your card)

Trent Hamm

Founder of The Simple Dollar

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 after developing innovative financial strategies to get out of debt. Since then, he’s written three books (published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press), contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.