My 25 Favorite Simple Dollar Articles

To celebrate the one year anniversary of the launching of The Simple Dollar, I went through the archives and picked out my twenty five favorite articles. These aren’t necessarily the best, but the ones I enjoyed writing the most because they challenged my own thinking and they also brought forth some excellent responses from readers in the comments.

1. The Road to Financial Armageddon

This is an attempt at autobiography, highlighting some of the bad financial lessons I learned in life and how I’ve worked to correct them.

2. Remembering A Painful Childhood Experience – And Trying To Apply What It Means

When I was still a child, the product of a summer’s work was stolen from me. This is the full story of that experience and what it taught me.

3. Battling the Convenience and Cost of Fast Food

One of the biggest drains on my wallet used to be fast food. Here are the basic tactics I used to kick the habit, both for my health and for my wallet.

4. What Can I Do Today To Make Me Rich In The Future?

Here, I argue that little things you do today can dramatically affect the future – and I actually spell out eighteen examples of this phenomenon.

5. Building a Better Blog for 2007

This is a series of articles detailing everything I know about how one can build a blog that will excite others to read.

6. 31 Days to Fix Your Finances

This series was designed to help people who were in deep financial trouble but were willing to sit down and work through it carefully. It was heavily inspired by a wide range of sources, including many of my favorite personal finance books.

7. Deconstructing Robert Kiyosaki

This may be the single harshest thing I’ve ever written on The Simple Dollar. I had just read Rich Dad, Poor Dad and some of his other writings I was very, very bothered by the tactics that Kiyosaki encouraged people to use. I detailed the reasons why, and many of his followers invaded and let me have it (172 comments and counting).

8. The Art of the Thank You Note

This is a passionate argument (and tutorial) on behalf of handwritten thank you notes for professional interactions. I’ve found that time and time again, handwritten thank you notes go a long way towards creating a strong impression of your character.

9. 15 Things You Can Do Right Now To Help Your Career

Don’t ever let yourself just sit idle at work – there’s always something you can be doing to put yourself in a better position for promotion and greater success.

10. Money Merge Accounts: Are They A Good Deal For Home Borrowers?

This is my most commented-on post of all time (814 as of this writing). Why? Money merge accounts are a very hot topic in the mortgage world and lots of people are apparently interested.

11. Why Johnny Can Read: Simpson’s Paradox and the Greatly Exaggerated Death of American Public Education

I had read several articles on the sad state of American public education that presented some very conflicting facts, so I dug to the bottom of it. It turns out that American schools are better than you think.

12. The Simple Dollar Guide to Shaving

I love a great shave, and I also love saving money. That meant it was time to pitch the Mach 3.


Ten Books That Changed My Life

A while back, I wrote a series of essays on books that transformed the way I looked at and thought about the world. These are truly powerful books.

14. Ten Financial Reasons To Turn Off Your Television – And Ten Things To Replace It With

My wife and I still have a television, but aside from a few live events, we barely even turn it on. At one point in July and August, with the exception of playing a Wii game or two, we did not turn on the television for five weeks.

15. Fifteen Free Things To Do During A Money-Free Weekend

Spending a weekend without spending any money can be a lot of fun – my wife and I try to do it two or three weekends a month.

16. 101 Goals In 1001 Days

This is a spectacular way to get yourself thinking about your near-term future and come up with things that you can be doing to make your life better – and certainly less boring.

17. You Don’t Need Six Figures: The Financial Realities of Living in Iowa

I love Iowa – and not just because it’s really inexpensive to live here.

18. Trimming the Fat: Forty Ways to Reduce Your Monthly Required Spending

This is a great collection of tips for reducing your monthly bills, so you can instead begin getting rid of your debts or constructing an investment plan.


Angry Emails: Is Money The Root Of All Evil?

I took on an angry reader who kept insisting that money was evil and thus by extension The Simple Dollar was evil. A lot of readers weighed in as well.


Lessons From My Grandfather In The Garden

I miss him. That’s really all I can say.

21. One Thing You Can Do Today That Will Put You In Better Financial Shape Tomorrow

Something about this one struck a chord with a lot of people – I’ve been emailed many times about how this article made them think differently about what they were doing.


The Stay-At-Home Parenting Question Hits Home – Hard

A painful morning dropping my son off at daycare left me wanting badly to be a stay at home parent.

23. Is The Value Menu Really A Value? Comparing A Homemade Cheesburger To The McDonald’s $1 Double Cheeseburger

This was a great photo essay comparing the two that got a lot of reaction – I had a lot of fun creating it, too.


Making a Major Life Change: Is It Time For Kathy To Abandon The City?

If you live in the city and aren’t sure if you like it, this article is a must-read. Kathy’s story is a compelling one and apparently a feeling that’s shared with a lot of people.

25. Ten Steps To Financial Success For A Minimum Wage Earner

So much of the personal finance advice you hear is targeted towards well-off people. I decided to buck this trend, inspired by a reader.

Here’s hoping I can list twenty five more great articles this time next year!

Trent Hamm

Founder & Columnist

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 and still writes a daily column on personal finance. He’s the author of three books published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press, has contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and his financial advice has been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.