Updated on 12.15.08

Six Ideas for Future Directions for The Simple Dollar – Your Thoughts?

Trent Hamm

Every few months, I like to open up the doors for suggestions on future directions and post ideas for The Simple Dollar. I often conceive of new areas to cover and ideas to try, but it’s really you, the readers, that decide whether or not those areas are really worth pursuing or not, because if I go down a path that no one wants to read, no one will read.

So, below, I’ve listed six ideas I’ve had for future posting directions for The Simple Dollar. Please let me know in the comments which directions you like and which ones you have no interest in. I’ll likely dabble in all of the areas that show little opposition, but I’ll likely avoid anything that most people seem to dislike and I’ll focus on areas with a lot of interest.

Economics books Several people have wanted me to add an occasional review of an economics book – along with discussion as to how it applies to everyday life – to my weekly book review rotation. Some titles I’ve been considering reviewing include Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman and The Age of Uncertainty by John Kenneth Galbraith.

Detailed visual how-tos Articles on topics such as how to make your own laundry detergent and how to make homemade bread were really popular with some, but others have objected, saying they could go to Instructables if they wanted such things.

Interviews I’ve considered conducting interviews not only with personal finance writers, but also with entrepreneurs in my community as well as individuals who provide financial services in the area.

Do-it-yourself projects Would you like to see longer series about larger do-it-yourself projects, such as constructing and developing a kitchen box garden? I’ve got a few ideas for how to do these, but they go quite a bit beyond a single post.

Personal anecdotes I really enjoy writing personal anecdotes from my own life that illustrate some point about personal finance (like this one), but most of the time these seem to not attract much interest.

Tip lists Occasionally, I compile long lists of tips because I know lots of people like to download them and print them off for their own use, but again, these lists tend to draw some pretty strong negative backlash, too.

Please let me know in the comments which of these ideas appeal to you the most – and the least – as well as any other ideas you might have.

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  1. Scordo.com says:

    Tips and personal anecdotes are my favorites, Trent. I think they offer real value to any audience.

    The above is the focus of my blog, but I think a well rounded blog offers the most value to users (it’s essentially what you have been doing, so maybe you don’t need to change any thing!).

    http://www.scordo.com/blog/blog – a practical living blog

    Vince Scordo

  2. Scotty says:

    I personally think interviews, How-To’s, and anecdotes are the most appealing. Book reviews are interesting, but personally what I find least interesting at TSD.

    I really enjoy your bread, soap, and other homebrew recipe posts, so keep them coming.

    Your personal anecdotes are also always interesting, but it would be nice to possibly hear of some other people and what they have to say about their experiences.

    My personal favorite part of TSD? Monday mornings’ mailbag. The questions are always interesting!

  3. Margaret @ love God, not money says:

    I agree with Scotty. I think the book reviews are my least favorite part of TSD; I mostly just skim through them. I like recipe posts, and I like personal anecdotes. Interviews would be interesting if they were with “regular” people.

    Monday morning mailbags are my favorite, too!

  4. Amy says:

    Like your first commenter, I too love the mailbag posts and am a little less interested in book reviews. Mostly I would like to see how-to’s and do-it-yourself posts (whether a single post or a series), tips, and anecdotes.

    Specifically, if you do something like a kitchen box garden post, I’d love if mentioned alternative techniques for those who have no carpentry skills/tools, if that’s possible.

    Really enjoy your blog — thanks!

  5. Scott says:

    Personally, the interviews and tip lists are what I like to read. I also like posts that make you think and reevaluate your current position on things.

  6. Kevin says:

    The book reviews are OK, but honestly, you do so many there is no hope that I could ever read even 1/4 of what you do.

    I’d like to see a how-to/DIY project – perhaps in series format like you’re doing with the Intelligent Investor review.

    The anecdotes and other personal experience are why I read TSD daily, your writing style really shines on those.

    Finally, on the interviews – I’d rather hear you interview people you’ve mentioned in blogs that have affected your personal finances rather than Joe Blow from Edward Jones or Schwab or whatever.

    I’m not much on tip lists, they seem to be pretty recycled from blog to blog (i.e. not really much new content).

  7. Christian says:

    I like all these ideas. I read the blog because of the broad range of subjects presented your unique and thoughtful perspective on them.

  8. Ian P. says:

    Interviews sounds interesting. You know what your readers like, so you know what questions to ask. I trust that an interview you give would be relevant and interesting.
    In an interview you could inquire about someone else’s personal finance anecdotes and even ask them to recommend a book.

    The projects and how-tos aren’t really necessary, but feel free to keep recommending do-it-yourself stuff like bread and soap for instance. But you’re right, we can find the actual steps elsewhere.

    By the way, IMO, your personal anecdotes are what separate you from every other writer/blogger in the world. I think all good blogging includes personal anecdotes. You aren’t writing for the Wall Street Journal here. It’s a blog. It’s a form of informal, casual writing. Make it personal.

  9. Alex says:

    Interviews can be good if you have good interviewees. I’m sure the questions would be thought provoking as well.

    I enjoy the anecdote posts you currently post, and the how-to’s were very well put together. I personally am not a fan of the Instructables format, and do not frequent that site, so getting that information elsewhere is helpful to me.

    I have skipped over the book reviews almost entirely since you changed the book review format a few months ago. Less of those wouldn’t change my readership.

    The mailbag is one of the best things on the site.

    Lists of tips, i.e. “10 Great Ways To Reduce Dependence at the Pump” are bad in my opinion. They may be good to have as filler, and for people to get a quick bite, but I personally skip over those on all websites.

    Economic book material would be nice. A more technical look at things is always appreciated.

  10. Jamie says:

    I really like the interviews idea. You can also post about personalities that you admire, and what are the lessons we can all learn from their lives.

    Personally I enjoy the most your thought provoking writing so I’m not big fan of tip lists

  11. Detailed visual how-tos are always a really great winner with readers and I love these the most. Sometimes blogs can get a bit text heavy (although that is inevitable to some extent) but I’d love to see some more visual stuff as that is a powerful way of communicating simple ideas. Thanks for consulting

  12. Andi says:

    I do enjoy the book reviews and have found several good thought provoking reads after reading the book review and summary here – it helps me decide if I want to invest the time in locating the book and reading it.

  13. Carrie says:

    I love the way you conduct interviews, Do-it-yourself projects would be interesting, and please keep writing your anecdotes – your $3 candy bar post was absolutely wonderful. You have a way of making the important things in life very clear for the rest of us.

  14. Ann says:

    I’m also not too interested in book reviews unless the book was just so on-point, but even if I read that review, I probably wouldn’t really buy the book anyway.

    I agree with Kevin about interviews, I don’t really care for interviews from employees of large companies. I’d rather interviews with people that were having tough times and found a way to make it work. But, still, I rarely read interviews. I’d rather the information be presented in another format.

    I love picture, step-by-step how-tos. Anything over the course of one post would lose my interest. I love anecdotes and other personal experiences. One of my favorite posts was when you wrote about your wife and how she writes the best part of her day in her journal.

    As for tips… I always like them. As long as they aren’t too frequent or repetitive…

  15. Lenetta says:

    Actually, I’d be in favor of seeing all of those things. I’ll admit to not usually reading the book reviews, but occasionally you hit a book that really interests me.

    Bottom line, as was noted above, we’re here because you write it, so make it personal. Write about what you want to write about (and try some new things along the way, and tell us if it works for you or not). I think it was the laundry soap and bread tutorials that got me over here – I kept coming across links to you and liked what I saw, so I subscribed. I just don’t comment very often. :>)

  16. Chris Eaker says:

    I like the book reviews, because I am a big reader. One author you should include would be Thomas Sowell. I would like to see books that compare the different theories of economics, such as supply-side, Keynesian, and maybe the differences in micro and macroeconomics.

  17. Simone Quaglio says:

    I’d really enjoy reading more reviews on SD, and adding economics to the current mix sounds very good to me. I’ll throw myself in those reviews.

    On the other hand, I think detailed how-toes only help a tiny minority of readers, who are actually going to put into practice that kind of instructions.

    Finally, I have always read with pleasure your tip lists – they are easy to read before going to sleep or during a quick break.

    I’m looking forward to following you on the months to come!

  18. Kristina says:

    The posts I find most interesting are your anecdotes and tip sheets. I would enjoy reading some visual how-tos as well! Book reviews on any topic would also be useful, but whether I get around to reading them is another story!

  19. Aaron Griffin says:

    I personally find how-tos and overall financial info to be enough reason to read here. I personally hate book reviews, but a “recommended reading list” might be nice. Say, make it a monthly thing with a handful of books and a little blurb as to why you liked each.

    On the subject of “tip lists” – most sites that host them tend to be low on content. I prefer to read actual writing instead of a bullet list of incomplete sentences.

    Tip Lists:
    * Are annoying
    * Have little content
    * Require little writing ability
    * Suck

  20. Mike says:

    Book reviews are without a doubt my favorite.

    Tips lists I could live without.

    And thank you for asking! :)

  21. ggw_bach says:

    I really like the personal stuff; it gives the articles substance and a sense of realism.

    especially when you dig back into the music box of the past to bring relevancy to something happening in the now.

    audio interviews could be an awesome way to go too. Break out into the mass-market of iTunes.

  22. Vroobelek says:

    1. Reviews! I enjoy the level of detail and honesty in the way you talk about books.
    2. Anecdotes.
    3. Tip lists.

  23. TPol says:

    Your blog is one of my favourites. I would love to see interviews, more personal experience and anecdotes. I like your book reviews too. As for DIY stuff, I am not handy at all and in my country hiring help is still cheap but, I am sure there are other people who benefit from those. Great blog!

  24. Dean says:

    I enjoy reader mailbag (though more than once per week would likely be overkill), interviews are good but shouldn’t dominate. Anecdotes are interesting.

    Lists of tips are ok.

    Detailed how-tos are sometimes interesting. It depends on whether or not I’m interested in the subject.

    I skip over the book reviews, and I’m someone who reads. I don’t understand people complaining, it’s the click of a button to not read an article.

  25. Sean says:

    I agree with some of the above commenters- personal anecdotes are where it’s at.

    I could read tip lists, how-tos, or book reviews anywhere. The personal stuff is what makes your site unique. It grounds all the advice and tips, and brings home how to make personal finance work in real life.

  26. KAD says:

    I’m all for anecdotes, both yours and others’ (perhaps from interviews). Love the mailbag. I agree that the underlying content of tip lists does tend to be recycled from blog to blog, though I imagine some people do find them useful. Perhaps you could handle tip lists in a sidebar, and just point to new ones in the main entry whenever you put one up?

    I read most of the pf book reviews, though I think you could make them less exhaustive and more concise. They have also become a bit formulaic(“So, does Personal Finance/Self-Improvement Book X have anything to tell us? Let’s dig in and find out!”.) I’m less interested in the productivity than in the finance book reviews.

    Obviously you can’t please everyone! With such a big following, perhaps you might want to divide your time: some entries for people newly on the path to financial self-control, and some for those who are farther along and are maintaining their trajectory. In all cases, I imagine, people read your blog because they seek membership in a community of like-minded people, for inspiration and reassurance, and to help reinforce their struggle against the message of consumerism (which is still sounding loudly even in this economy!).

    Why don’t you take a poll and ask your readers which pf issues they want to hear most about?

    I look forward to seeing what changes you make!

  27. Marilyn says:

    The reason I read personal finance blogs is to give me ideas of how to improve my own financial situation.

    I like hearing from other people how they got out of debt, because I am up to my eyeballs in student loan debt because of going to professional school. I’ve referred to your bulk cooking of burritos idea. Lists are good if they provide something refreshing. I’m not so into the book reviews. I do like anecdotes because it gives me some insight how to make decisions.

  28. I’m in agreement with Comments 1 & 2, so I don’t have much to add! Thanks for the site and info!

  29. Laura G says:

    I like all of these ideas, but some more than others.

    The idea of adding economics books is a great one, but I agree that you do plenty of book reviews already. I suggest you add economics books into your typical routine, rather that adding an extra day of reviews.

    As for interviews, I very rarely read them anywhere. Interviewing people is important, but I’d rather see their perspecitves and quotes in a full story then just look at a Q&A.

  30. Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy says:

    Here are my preferences in order (starting with what appeals to me the most):

    1.Interviews – This one piqued my curiosity most because I can’t recall ever seeing you do an interview. This will all depend on the quality of your interviewee and how good you are at getting to the heart of the subject as an interviewer. But I think it’s a great idea and I’d love to see how it pans out.

    2.Detailed Visual How-To’s – Although I may not necessarily find value in most of these, I think this kind of post is at the heart of what TSD is all about. Your ability to break down, in detail, practical ideas of how people can save money in their own lives is priceless and visual how-to’s are always fun to read.

    3.Personal Anecdotes – This is another aspect that I feel is essential to the Simple Dollar mantra. Without this kind of personal touch, TSD would be just another personal finance blog.

    4.Tip Lists – As long as they’re sprinkled in conservatively here and there, tips lists are always great ways to really sum-up an over-arching theme or simplify a very complex subject.

    5.Do-it-yourself Projects – I probably wouldn’t be too into this, but for hard core do-it-yourselfers, I’m sure there would be value here.

    6.Economic Books – I have no interest in this and will probably skip these posts.

    Request: For my own selfish reaons, I’d like to see more posts on entrepreneurship, productivity, and insights into the specific ways you manage your life and different projects.

    Looking forward to another great year!

  31. Kelly says:

    I have to agree that it is the broad range of topics that all seem to relate to frugal living and personal finance that keep me engaged and coming back day after day. I love it when you review a book I’ve heard about on NPR, and I like the quick tip lists when I’m pressed for time. Interviews would be a treat! I can’t think of anything I haven’t enjoyed yet. Please continue your personal anecdotes, and how-to’s; that’s the hands on “how do I really apply this to my life”, personal example that I appreciate. So, I vote “yes for everything”. And thank you for TSD!

  32. Tonomoshia says:

    I really love the tip lists. Also, the reader mailbag always has at least one q&a that I find really useful and/or informative.

    I like the anecdotes that are illustrative of an idea you have shared with us, but I don’t save them for future reference like I do with the tip lists.

  33. Jesse says:


    I’m a relatively new reader and love your site. From the items you listed, I’d be particularly interested in seeing more about:

    Economics books (particularly things average Joe’s can do during this current fiscal crisis)
    Do-it-yourself projects
    Personal anecdotes
    Tip lists

    Thank you for all the hard work and time you put into running this blog!

  34. Catherine says:

    I read everything daily, except the book reviews – but I do use them! I tend to search through your book reviews when I’m thinking of one for a gift, or as a way to gage whether I should read it. You have so many now!

    In order of preference: Personal anecodotes (I especially like when you tie in your own experience with an insight), do-it-yourself projects, interviews, economic books, tip lists, visual how-tos.

    I think people enjoy the personal anecdotes, but don’t feel as compelled to comment. (You can’t argue that that $3 bar of chocolate was anything but a wonderful experience.)

    Everything you write is interesting. Your wide variety of subject matter keeps me coming back! thanks!

  35. brooke says:

    in order of appeal:
    diy projects
    tip lists
    personal anecdotes
    visual how-tos
    economics book reviews

  36. beth says:

    Wow, what a difference of opinions so far!

    Personally, I like all of the options. One of the things I like about TSD is that every post is a little different; it isn’t just another blog with another Top Ten list every day.

    I often skim or skip the book reviews if the first few lines don’t interest me, but if it catches my attention, I read the whole thing and go add it to my Amazon wishlist. I definitely like tip lists, and yours are often better than most sites out there, but it’s so easy for them to become generalized and fluffy. (why, yes, we all do know that converting to CFLs will save energy, as will washing on cold and caulking leaky windows, etc.) And with the personal antecdotes, I’m always a sucker for Midwestern stories– always reminds me of both what I miss about it (things like playing in the woods until dark and borrowing a cup of sugar from the neighbors) and why I’m glad I left (SNOW & ice & sleet, everybody knowing everybody’s business)! :-)

  37. Michael G.R. says:

    I love a good personal anecdote. It usually carries information in a way that is much more memorable, so it has more chances of being actually used.

  38. Rich G. says:

    I’ve found myself actively looking forward to your Reader’s Mailbag Mondays as my favorite posts, and your book review’s my least favorites.

    To me books on this topic just drive me to distraction, I can’t read them, wouldn’t read a real one… too dull. Your posts are great, not so long as to drive me away, and informative enough to hold my attention. There’s a barely-greater than zero chance I would ever read a personal finance book though so those do nothing for me.

    The parts where you make the blog personal, and not just dry “look how to save money by…” are what hooked me. If it were to lose that personal touch the blog would lose loads of readers I’m sure. I live in Iowa and work near you… I keep thinking it’d be cool to meet you but then I think… how? over coffee? He’d more likely blog about how public meetings are one thing, but meeting at a Five-dollar-coffeebucks is craziness lol. I’d rather not be the cause of a blog post.

    So, keep up the good work, big thumbs up on Reader’s Mailbag and ‘meh’ on the book reviews :)

  39. Rich G. says:

    GAH! wish there were an edit function – yes interviews would be a good feature. I’d love them available as a podcast format as well though… give Jan Mickelson a run for his interviewing money :)

  40. Bob says:

    The reader mailbag is my favorite. That would be great if you did this more than once a week. I was also wondering what happened to your Sunday conversation. I really enjoyed reading those. The interviews are a great addition because it is nice to have individuals with specific knowledge in many different areas. Keep up the good work. I really enjoy reading.

  41. Bob says:

    I am also interested in more post about passive income.

  42. Lisa says:

    I love the book reviews – I don’t read as much as I used to and use these reviews to get ideas and a different perspective. I think adding an economics book once a month instead of a productivity or finance book would be wonderful – or maybe even a biography?

    I don’t know how you track “interest” in an article, but I also enjoy the anecdotes. I don’t tend to comment unless I have something to add or it is controversial, so I would be unlikely to comment on those posts.

    I find the how-tos interesting – even if I don’t follow along, it reminds me that maybe there is something I currently buy that I could do myself. Even though I don’t use your recipe, I have brought out my bread machine and started making bread again.

    One of your goals for the year was to lose a pound a week. I would be interested to see how that impacts your budget / productivity. Are you able to save money by eating less – or are you spending more on diet related foods? Are you more energetic (I hope!) – able to focus better? Or using hired help (cleaning?) to get more time to exercise.

  43. becky says:

    I like the idea of the interviews a lot. I also like the review of economic books, tip lists and personal anecdotes. love your website.

  44. Becky says:

    I love the personal anedotes, the how to’s as well as the reader mailbag.

    The book reviews are most definitely my least favorite.

  45. Kimberly says:

    I’d like to see Economics Books and longer DIY projects. Tip lists are also sometimes interesting.

    I skip over interviews, although personal anecdotes are okay (in limited doses).

  46. Bobbi says:


    I’m glad your readers are giving their input. I think you do a great job. I don’t read everything your write but that’s OK. If I get one good tip a week, I’m happy. Bottom line – you can’t please all the people all the time. Keep up the good work.

  47. kz says:

    I, too, like the reader mailbag, although I sometimes wish that questions were given their own post (of course, I’ve never mentioned it in the comments, so I guess that’s my own fault for not letting you know).

    I also really like the step-by-step tutorials. This is mainly because I’ve learned over the last year or so that I can ‘trust’ you. I’ve tried to find other tutorials online and am often less-than-enthusiastic about the results. It’s not something I’d want all the time, but once a month, or even less frequently than that, I’d be perfectly happy with.

    The personal anecdotes don’t bother me; they often make you more accessible and, therefore, more readable. I can get all sorts of personal finance information from the web. I come here most often because it’s not totally dry.

    I, personally, never ever read the book reviews. I’m actually a little sad when I open the blog and realize that’s what the latest post is. I’m not suggesting that you not offer them – because others obviously really like them, but please please please don’t do the series ones anymore. Those were, IMO, the biggest drag.

    I also don’t get much from tip lists. Once in a while is fine, and there are sometimes items I haven’t already thought of or read elsewhere, but generally it’s just highly recycled content (no offense – it’s true of everyone’s. At least yours are well-written!)

    Good luck getting a consensus!

  48. tiphaine says:

    I really enjoyed the how-to and anecdotes . (I now do my own laundry detergent, without borax..) I think it keeps the tone of your blog more personal, less “know it all”.
    I really really enjoy your posts about personal changes or evolution. Such as investing in local comunity, your posts about your life’s change, the posts about deciding to work from home… The post about that girl who changed her life after reading TSD…
    All those help me to know I’m not alone out there trying to get a healthy life, without money pressure to buy this and that… I also like to send some of those posts to my husband (like which size of house is the best, the post about balacing your needs and desire so you don’t end up with a hugfe house too big to clean up just to impress neigbours and family…

  49. Kate says:

    I think I would like to see a DIY most. I am least interested in the economic reviews. I don’t usually read the reviews unless I am really interested in the book

  50. Amanda says:

    I like everything, but am wary of the interviews. A few other commenters have mentioned something along the same lines as this: talking to financial professionals (who are usually salesmen & saleswomen) is nearly pointless. I’d be interested in interviews (have you thought of video interviews?) of other peoples’ relations to personal finance…professors, businesspeople, housewives, stay-at-home dads, etc. I’m sure you have more ideas than these, but I’d instantly skip over interviews with a majority of “financial professionals.” Now…if you could get John Bogle–that would be a different story!
    Good luck!

  51. Aaron says:

    I’d enjoy all but the interviews and long lists.

    Interviews can get boring to read as the tone is hard to convey. Long lists are only worth the usual 5-10 things I’ve not heard of which you offer nicely in shorter paragraph form with anecdotes from your life. You also provide these long lists usually via links to other blogs and I can click on them if I’m interested.

  52. Jessica says:

    I love to read TSD and I am very open to all of these ideas. I was just thinking about how happy I am when I get my daily email with your blog posts. :o)

    Personally, I like to read personal anecdotes b/c they often apply to my own life and help to tie together the PF values and daily living IMO. I always look forward and enjoy posts of this nature. Like Kevin said previously, “The anecdotes and other personal experience are why I read TSD daily, your writing style really shines on those.” I think some quality interviews would fall along these lines as well.

    I like the visual how-to posts b/c a picture can really be worth 1,000 words! It’s a nice change from the “normal” blog. DIY projects are great too. The tip lists are often helpful as well.

    Whatever direction you choose to take, good luck and keep up the good work. :o)

  53. Jacob says:

    I really like the pictured how-tos, as well as the idea of DIY projects with pictures. Though sites like Instructables has this type of stuff, there’s alot of chaff to get through. Here, we know the article would be well thought out and articulated.

  54. Camille says:

    Economic books – So-So
    Interviews – So-So
    Do-it-yourself projects – Yes (this could be interesting!)
    Personal anecdotes – Yes
    Tips lists – YES!!!

  55. Dorothy says:

    DIYs would be excellent! I’ve been wanting to start an indoor kitchen herb garden….

  56. nmb says:

    Another thumbs-up for the picture how-tos, I’m a very visual person and like the images of how to do things. Yes, you can find those same things with another internet search – but I would’ve never thought to search for “how to make your own detergent, or oatmeal baggies” or whatever so having new ideas on how to save is a big appeal.
    Pictoral DIY posts would be great too.

    I also am not a huge reader of the book reviews but I do skim them and have put a couple on my to-be-read list.

    Maybe including links to more other frugal sites (like you have the links to PBS throughout postings) would be nice.

  57. Tay says:

    I liked all of them, except the bottom two. I also always scroll past the reader mailbag, but that apparently isn’t up for review :p heh. I especially want economic book reviews and DIY projects! Keep them for frugal purposes though, there’s no point in making something yourself if the materials cost more/the same than just buying it.

  58. Mark says:

    I’d like more personal anecdotes. This could include some entries about experiences writing your book and future books.

    Those other ideas would annoy me, unless they’re quite rare. I think they’d mostly feel like clutter or linkbait.

  59. nmb says:

    Oh, I wanted to add, the personal anecdotes are what keep many regulars reading….they make the blog more “real”, and it’s nice to see. IMO. Maybe the don’t “draw as much interest” because they aren’t as likely to include phrases or terms that are googled?

  60. Donna says:

    Yes to detailed visuals for making laundry detergent and bread.

  61. B. Watts says:

    I think you should write whatever is comfortable for you. You cannot please everybody and no one should even try. If something doesn’t apply to me or my life, I simply delete and wait for the next Simple Dollar. People of all ages, economic situations and lifestyles read your site, so not everything is going to apply to all. I love lists of things that make sense to me, and, yes, I print them out for future reference. Reviews, do-it-yourself projects, and just plain down-to-earth ways to make my life work are what I read your site for. Keep up the good work!

  62. Leslie says:

    I really like the anecdotes and tips and pretty much everything except reviews of economic books. I was an Economics/Finance major only because I couldn’t major in Finance alone…I hated Economics! granted a basic understanding is nice but most of the time they books are too dry. Now if you find one that is easy to read and makes it easy to understand, definitely throw it out there!

  63. Camille says:

    I will add my vote to the bloc that says “All of the above!” I enjoy the variety of your blog, from the weekly mailbag to the homemade bread.

    Interviews sound interesting, although as I am a selfish blog reader, I may be asking, “How does this apply to ME?” An interview with a banker might be interesting if he or she provides insight on how to prepare to apply for a mortgage, or the best way to get fees waived. I’m less interested in what investments they recommend or their opinion on the markets; such opinions are everywhere.

    Anecdotes are fine; they may not generate a lot of feedback, but they are what makes your blog uniquely yours. The personal touch can bring home a point, trust your instinct on that front.

    I’m somewhat less interested in economics books and tip lists, but hey, I’m not going to object if you throw in a few from time to time. Again, I like the variety. You’re never going to please all your readers with every single post, so you might as well experiment with what interests you.

  64. joshuarule says:

    i think the frugal food blog would be great. That is the single area that I can spend or save the most money.

  65. Tall Bill says:

    Hey Trent…

    If you can find just one economics book that references what the government is doing at this point without violating just about every rule in economics 101, I’m certain it would be one of your most popular ever. A weekly how to tip for self support and or how to project would make sense at this time of pulling in and battening down the hatches so to speak. I scan all your posts, read most & reread some when putting into practice. Keep them coming.

  66. Kellye says:

    I personally need tip lists like air. I have snowballed into about $3000 dollars worth of debt and am desperately trying to free myself…

  67. Michael says:

    You don’t know much about economics so please don’t review those books. Some of your how-tos have been interesting when in the style of the $1 cheeseburger. I would like interviews if the interviewees were exceptional or notable in some way.

  68. pima says:

    economic books- yes
    visual how to’s – not so interested
    interviews- yes
    do it yourself projects- not so interested
    personal anecdotes- yes, yours and others you interview
    tip lists-yes

  69. BudgetBride says:

    I like the Tips, Book Reviews, and Personal Anecdotes best. I never comment on the anecdotes, but I find them very informative and useful in making my life better. DIY projects would also be interesting/appreciated.

    Something else I’d like to see (unless it falls under Personal Anecdotes) is Lessons In Personal Finance For Those Who Weren’t Paying Attention The First Time. I was very fortunate to have well-grounded parents who taught me all sorts of wisdom like how to balance a checkbook and to watch for the gotcha in tiny print on a credit card offer and why you should have an emergency fund and when to use it (car accident, yes. one-day sale, no). However, my fiance never learned these things. I’m sure his parents tried, but he just didn’t get it. And I’m having trouble explaining, because in my world it’s just obvious.

    Thanks again for a great resource blog!

  70. Another Elizabeth says:

    I like to see a variety. I primarily would like you to stay on target with the personal finance theme, but beyond that I really enjoy the variety of subject material. I think that reading the discussions in the comments can be quite stimulating as well. Having some people who disagree with you is not necessarily a bad thing because it provides balance in viewpoints. Thanks for the opportunity to offer input.

  71. Natasha says:

    I love the visual how-tos, a DIY project on a kitchen herb garden would be AWESOME, and I like the personal anecdotes.

  72. Sydney says:

    I pretty much enjoy all your articles, but if you really want an opinion, here is my order of interest:
    Tips lists
    DIY stuff
    Book reviews (all financial topics, not just economics
    Detailed how-to’s, especially if they help save money, time or the environment
    Personal anecdotes
    Interviews (only if the person interviewed has a really inspirational story, or a new slant on an issue)

  73. Beth says:

    Personally, I would love how-to projects, even if they take more than one post. also like the lists. there is my 2 cents….

  74. Anastasia says:

    It seems to me that you repeat yourself a lot. From a reader’s standpoint, I’d rather see you talk about almost anything new rather than give the same piece of advice for the 20th time. I would guess however that you are using your reminders of motivation, of frugality, etc, to help keep yourself on track. If that’s one of your goals, then go for it. I just get tired of reading them :)

    I don’t have a problem with how-to’s and other things that people may see as peripheral to personal finance. I probably would be less interested in interviews and economics books. On the other hand, I’m not terribly interested in personal finance books either. I would say find things that are creative and go with them. …and don’t worry about the negative feedback, cause you can’t please everybody all of the time.

  75. BirdDog says:

    Since you asked, I thought I would offer my two cents. I read your blog daily and I have grown weary of all of the book reviews. I have begun to skip reading the intelligent investor pieces on Fridays. I read often and enjoy the book reviews. However, I read blogs for other people’s experiences dealing with their financial struggles/victories. I can visit my library anytime to pick up books, which I often do.

    I enjoy the tips, the how to’s, and anything that deals with your personal experiences. But the book reviews and personal productivity sermons are just getting a passing glance from me these days.

    Overall, I love your blog. Yours is the only one I read religiously. Keep up the good work Trent! And I hope that you are recovering nicely from your recent round of illnesses.

  76. anne says:

    Economics books – Don’t mind these. I read the reviews of books I think I might be interested in. Others I just read you take on the book and, if you really liked it, I’ll go back and read the rest sometimes.

    Detailed visual how-tos – Sure. Could be fun, especially with things like recipes, a price book, etc. It’d be cool to see some of that since you clearly have a passion for food/cooking.

    Interviews – Eh. I’m neutral on these. Except your interview with Amy Dacyczyn. That was awesome. Can you do another one? Pretty please? I finished the Complete Tightwad Gazette and… there’s no more.

    Do-it-yourself projects – I would read them. I would just resist the urge to go too far beyond what most people could do. Hammer necessary? Sure. Table saw necessary? Eh…

    Personal anecdotes – I really like these. It’s a nice view into how someone else does something. Interestingly I really like reading these from people who aren’t like me (Trent, a bit older than me, married, kids, house = fascinating) but I hate reading them, so I don’t read them, from bloggers like me (single girl, mid 20s, apartment, no kids = omg she’s doing it better I must be a failure!). I guess I don’t comment on them much because it’s so personal that it seems silly. That’s how you do something and unless I see a vastly better way to do it I don’t want to intrude.

    Tip lists – I like these. The only thing I would say is that some of yours are almost too long. It’s too much information all at once. In the future you could spread these across several posts?

    I also love your more philosophical posts getting deeper into the psychology of money, spending, saving, etc. Those are really great reads.

  77. Marti says:

    I’ve greatly enjoyed your blog and have read it exhaustively these last 6 months when my interest for personal finance and investing suddenly became insatiable. I’m nearly 40 and although with minimal debt (3K), have not planned well for retirement. I’ve learned much!

    I rely on your blog primarily for understanding personal finance concepts and investing as well as PF book reviews. I’ve read several of the books you recommend and plan to read many more.

    At this point in my finance journey what is of most interest to me is continued learning and understanding, in layman’s terms, of investing for retirement. It’s almost embarrassing to admit that investing is still a bit of rocket science to me but I stay the course. As a matter of demographics; I am a SINK with an annual income of 35K-ish.

    I also enjoy the empowerment I gain from you and other folks exercising respect, independence, and discipline of your monies.

  78. There’s nothing you’re planning to include that would annoy me; I wouldn’t leave your list because of getting too many book reviews, for example, even though those are posts that I usually skip over.
    Personal anecdotes — the more the better. I get the greatest value from seeing the same lessons, the same reminders appear in many facets of life.

  79. Koby says:

    I’m a fan of the tip lists, but this is the only site I read for articles like that. You do seem to have a good filter for things like that. I’d be less keen on interviews and the economic book reviews. I tend not to read books (bad I know), and interviews are great when you have great subjects, as others have said. Not sure how many great people there are left to interview. But maybe they could work.

  80. Barbara Herrick says:

    Book reviews, interviews, and personal anecdotes are not what I want. How tos, lists, & DIY material are what I prefer.

  81. Matt says:

    I would like to see economic books reviewed. I suggest Thomas Sowell’s economic books as well.

  82. Valerie says:

    Here are my preferences, in order:

    1) Interviews can challenge your creativity (borrowing from an earlier post) and we all like “stories.” I know you are creative enough to offer an interesting voice in delivering an interview

    2) Lists – simple, memorable, fast (efficient or economical?) reads

    3) DIYs – expand your readers’ creativity (!)

    4) Perhaps a hybrid of your Book Reviews – Readers’ picks (a poll of top reads with occasional guest reviews — or an interview of a guest reviewer)

    Thanks for asking for the voice of the customer (VOC).


  83. Misty says:

    Economics books- I don’t read many of the book review postings unless the title or subject matter catches my eye, so less of the book reviews (of any subject) would be ok
    Detailed visual how-tos: I like these and like comparing mine to yours as I am doing the project.
    Downloadable instructions could also be helpful for something as I don’t have a laptop :)
    Interviews could be neat, especially if it is a relatively younger person in a sucessful career as I always wondered what they did to get there (and what should I do to help me?)
    Do It Yourself projects could also be fun as long as I have the space and time (so depends on the project I guess…)
    The personal anecdotes are what makes your blog. The one that you wrote about sitting in the car with your family eating a candy bar sticks in my head, as well as the Aldi cockroach story. Most of them make me think and are able to be applied to my life in some way.

  84. Kathryn says:

    My favorite posts tend to be the ones where you tie a personal story or observation to the bigger picture of living a thought-full and meaning-full life. I also enjoy the Personal Productivity books you review as well as your own personal development and productivity stories. I would like to see a few articles about getting involved in community, creating community, volunteering, taking part in politics/social issues on a local level, finding people who like to discuss all kinds of issues, etc. You have a great website Trent and I find it very heartening that so many birds of this feather are out there! Thank you.

  85. Karen Taylor says:

    I agree with #37 above. Can’t please everyone and if you post something I am not interested in then I just skip it. But an indoor herb garden would be da bomb. Also some kind of small outdoor garden – going to try that this year instead of pots. Keep up the good work.

  86. Noble says:

    Trent, first – congrats on your book! I’ve been meaning to write to you and let you know how valuable I find this blog. I constantly find ideas to share with family and friends. You do an excellent job of presenting information – I really enjoy your writing style.

    With respect to the future of your blog, here are my votes (ranking ideas from top to bottom as you’ve posted them):
    1. Yes – great idea
    2. Negative – there’s enough of this out there, let’s not muddle up your nice blog with step by step how-to’s
    3. Great idea – but I suggest filming these and putting them on YouTube – I can’t stand reading interviews – it doesn’t feel like you get to meet the person
    4. Not sure about this one – seems like #2
    5.Keep these coming
    6.Do it!

    Thanks again and Merry Christmas.

  87. Anna G. says:

    I’m a big fan of the tip lists! I also just made (for about the 20th time) the recipe you posted for a big batch of casserole. Obviously it’s a big hit around here and I wouldn’t mind seeing more simple recipes like that on here.

  88. Katie says:

    Do-it-yourself projects!

  89. Katie says:

    I really like the sound of interviews, especially with entrepreneurs–not so interested in local financial planners, unless there’s a really outside-the-box take. And I appreciate your skill at breaking projects into do-able steps. I haven’t responded before about your personal anecdotes, but they generally give me a lot to think about. Thanks!

  90. Katie says:


    Some of your book review really strike a chord with me. Others, not so much.

  91. Sue says:

    Do It Yourself projects would be great – especially how to start your own kitchen box garden, and other such things which would contribute to a healthy and frugal lifestyle.

  92. Tip lists overwhelm me…it’s too much to digest at once. I’d rather have ideas put forth one at a time.

    I’m not a big fan of book reviews…you do a LOT of those already, so more wouldn’t be an improvement, in my opinion.

    I like how-tos, though(I do a lot of those on my own blog!). And I think personal anecdotes are good…it gives your blog more personality when you do those.

  93. Carol Jackson says:

    1. If you venture into economic books, please be brief with the main points.

    2. Prefer no visual how-tos.

    3. Interviews need to be short or I lose interest.

    4. Definitely more do-it-yourself, even if it takes more than one post.

    5. Always enjoy hearing your exploits on the front for more sensible living.

    6. Agree with most other posts, tips tend to be recycled.

  94. Tom says:

    As repeatedly said, your anecdotes rock. DIY garden projects and the like are for another blog,not a personal finance blog me thinks. Thank you for your daily source of education and entertainment. Raising a glass, “To your health.”

  95. Suzie says:

    I like:

    1. Anecdotes.
    2. Interviews.
    3. Tip lists.

    In that order. The rest aren’t bad but I’m not wild about them. The thing I really like about TSD is the personal touch, so do keep that up! I tend not to really read the book reviews (I’m just not that into personal finance books right now). How-to’s and DIY projects would be quite fun, but not too often – just an occasional treat!

    I do think, though, that the important thing is that you post what you enjoy posting and want to tell us. I don’t mind if there’s a post or even several in a row about something that I’m simply not interested in. I’ll just skip it and come back the next day. Pas de probleme.

  96. Patricia Tucker says:

    Thank you so much for this web site. I love it.

    As for which I would like to see:
    1. I like the book reviews – especially when you describe on book in one reivew. The ones in chapters I have a hard time with. Detailed economics feels over my head.
    2. No so much the visula how-tos or DIY projects. I like knowing that I can make stuff or should think about making certain things. But, as some say, you can find it elsewhere on the web.
    3. Interviews – it would depend on who you interview.
    4. Personal anecdotes – I love. It makes me think about my own life and examine it in different ways.
    5. I love the Tip Lists. One person mentioned how many times do you need to be told CFL are helpful. That is true. However, with every list, there is usually one thing I take away and I feel it was way worth it.
    6. Anytime you talk about personal philosophy about money, saving money, spending money, and attitudes about money – I love. I have been doing a lot of thinking about why I want to spend money. We just hit a bump when we had a large drop in spendable income causing me to rein way in my spending. And I experienced all kinds of attitudes about it. I have been looking at why I like to spend money and what I spend it on and what I get out of it. I love when you talk about that stuff.

    Since I am new to the column, it all seems great to me. And from the comments, I don’t know how you are going to figure out a consensus for the new year. Good luck.

  97. robina says:

    I think there are ways you can incorporate all six of these ideas into TSD. I personally don’t read the book reviews as much, but I’m sure involving economics into your list would benefit those who read them regularly. Interviews can also have their place with readers who are business owners themselves, or involved in decision-making at their job. There’s also many established how-to websites out there (eHow, WikiHow, Instructables), but for some of your tips or occasional how-to’s that you provide now, having visuals to go along with them would be great!
    Honestly, I think what works best with TSD is that you have a variety of aspects & posts, so really, if you incorporate any of these into what you already do, I’m sure you can have success.

  98. sabrina says:

    I’ve enjoyed the book reviews as I am interested in the topics and have a difficult time getting to non-work reading. Plus, it’s nice having another perspecitive on these books.
    The how-tos are are time consumining for someone who has a full time 8-10 hour a day job plus volunteering. I’d rather have time saving tips (like clean the living room 1x a month ‘cuz no one luses it).

  99. Economics books: I skip most book reviews, to be honest, but I echo the idea of adding economic books into your rotation of personal finance books.
    Detailed visual how-tos: I’ve liked these in the past. Never implemented yet, but they were always fun to read.
    Interviews: These are good human interest posts. Keep them.
    Do-it-yourself projects: These sound interesting along the lines of the how-tos.
    Personal anecdotes: These make your blog. It helps us as readers relate and make reflections into our own lives and how it mixes with personal finance.
    Tip lists: I usually read through these and I’m sure they are pretty popular draws for search engines. Some tips become a bit repetive, but something will be always new to someone.

    P.S. I also agree with most previous commenters that the weekly mailbag is a fun read.

    Thanks for asking for input; even if there’s no pleasing everyone!

  100. jaf says:

    I liked your how-tos for finance stuff-excel stuff, setting ING accounts and the like. Making your own cheap alternatives is a bit too “whoo-whoo” for me to get excited about it. Besides, I own the Tightwad’s Gazette. . .

  101. pat says:

    I pretty much read all the ideas you come up with, but I’d kinda like to see the bigger then life, do it yourself projects….for example..for years, I had wanted to have cabinets in my kitchen, and I didn’t intend to go $5-6000 in debt for them…I looked on the internet, I looked at books, but I could ever seem to find, was high tech…I needed all these special tools,and their mumbling about #s like 3/16..7/8, 3/8th of a inch…and of course, their talking about all this special expensive wood I must have, blah, blah, blah….ad all these cute lil designs I could put on the doors…it just seemed impossible…

    I didn’t want the cabinets from home and garden magazines…I wanted simple cabinets..that went to the ceiling…nor did I want fancy designs in the doors…all those things are just dust catchers in my mind….

    then I came across a retired carpenter on the internet…and thru his instructions via email, I got those cabinets up made of plywood…and they look very very good…Even he was proud of the work I had done…when I sent him pictures….but like I told him….”when it comes to measurements, use 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 or 1″ I don’t want none of this 3/8, 1/8th” crap, because I will never acheive that….”

    my tools??? circular saw, cordless drill, small table saw and miter saw…along with the normal…screwdrivers, saw horses, tape, etc etc..

    but it took alot of emails back and forth, it is nothing one can do in one lesson, because you need pics sometimes to explain things…

    now I am of the ancient variety, female, and I have never somuch as bilt a doghouse, so this was quite an accomplishment for me…but if he hadn’t h elped me??? I still wouldn’t have cabinets….

    and you can’t please everyone…I pretty much like what you are doing right now myself…

  102. Steph says:

    I don’t find interviews very interesting, and wouldn’t be likely to read them.

    The economics books would be very interesting, so long as each book was limited to a single post review. Any book reviews that go for multiple posts cause me to lose interest *very* quickly.

    I love the visual how-to’s. They’re a great way to show people how easy it is to be frugal, and are one of the reasons that I started to make my own bread!

    I don’t know about the do-it-yourself projects. I’m just not sure.

    I love the personal anecdotes, and would like to see more of them.

    Tip lists are okay, but not too many of them please.

  103. SuSu says:

    I really would enjoy reading about any of the ideas you suggested. I don’t think you should exclude any one type of posting, although you may want to limit the # of any particular type. I think variety is good. Sometimes you post things I am not interested in, and that’s OK with me. I can wait until tomorrow’s post, or I can go back to the archives and rediscover an old post if I need inspiration. I think you do a good job already about regulating the # of any particular type of post (book reviews, mailbag, etc) by keeping these on a regular schedule.
    I also think that people will be pleasantly surprised by the great information that could arise out of the interview posts.

  104. mb says:

    i love the range on this site, but the how-tos are my vote for a future series. the personal anecdotes tend to be the best reads, so please keep writing :)

  105. Griffin says:

    Book reviews can be enjoyable, but many times I just don’t have the time or interest to read a long book review (your recent investment book series is a good example – I read the first one and skipped the rest).

    Here are my picks:
    -How-tos (frugal-oriented cleaners, food etc)
    -Tip lists

    I love anecdotes too, but I agree with others that seeking out other people to add to your own anecdotes would be a good thing to do. I also don’t generally comment on your anecdote posts and I think that might change if there were more guest anecdote writers to mix it up. Especially people recalling how they first started out and how it worked for them. I love a good success story! :)

  106. Trevor says:


  107. Gumnos says:

    Economics books (+0): Nice, but I could read books rather than your blog. I prefer your own thoughts. Sometimes those may be on books, so go ahead, but your site is a lot more than just book-reviews.

    Detailed visual how-tos & Do-it-yourself projects (-0): Nice, but there are sites like Instructables that make good homes for this. You could do them elsewhere and link to them from here though.

    Interviews (+1): first-hand interviews are great — whether with big-names in the financial world, or just neighbors of yours that have a good story to tell.

    Personal anecdotes (+1): This is what makes the site personal and worth visiting, differentiating it from just some dusty finance tome in the library.

    Tip lists (+1): the short-attention span of the internet crowd does love a nice bullet-list :)

  108. Maritza says:

    Tip lists, personal antedotes and how-to’s are definitely the most appealing and useful to everyday life.

  109. Monika says:

    I really like the personal anecdotes, and most guest posts of the same nature.
    Your book reviews are a great feature, even though I probably skim over about 2/3 of them. But I have purchased (or rather, bookswapped) a few after having read your reviews first.
    How-to’s and DIY projects are interesting to me, even if I could find the info somewhere else. If you learned something from the experience that maybe wasn’t expected or caused a brief setback (which may fall back into the category of personal anecdotes, too, i think) I think those articles offer something to be learned.
    Interviews interest me about the same as the book reviews do: skim article first, then read all of it later if it looks interesting.
    And the idea of economics books would be very helpful to me.

    I read a lot of blogs on a daily/weekly basis that cover a lot of different subjects. I’ve always liked TSD for it’s depth, and wide range of subjects.

    I like knowing I can open my email and learn something that I may never have come across myself. Keep doing what you feel is genuine.

  110. H says:

    More DIY. Love the bread post. Also, I don’t like instructables. The pictures are too small and I don’t like having to go to a new page for each step.


  111. Aubrey says:

    The book reviews are the least interesting to me, but I really like everything else. I made the laundry detergent and hope to someday get to the bread. I like the occasional how-to post because when I go to wikihow or other such sites I get overwhelmed at all the options. A couple of well thought how-tos that someone else has vetted is very beneficial. As others have mentioned, I like the variety. The mail bag brings up things that you don’t discuss in the “simple dollar” category but add to the interest of the blog.

  112. sara says:

    yah i think the step by steps are really interesting, and they compel me to attempt a new frugal activity, (like baking bread) because I can see how simple it really is. Especially when they are for really unusual projects, that I wouldn’t learn anywhere else (like making laundry detergent!)

  113. todo es bien says:

    So far, I enjoy just about everything you post. I would read all 6 of your ideas, but since you asked here is my list, from most preferred to less preferred:
    Tip Lists
    Visual How to
    Economics books

  114. PChan says:

    How-to’s, DIY’s, interviews, and personal anecdotes. Yes, people can go to a specialized website for how-to’s, but not everyone knows about the websites. Also, some folks don’t know what they don’t know. For example, solar box cookers: folks may not even know to go look up how to make one if it exists as an option. Also, for those on the fence about doing some things (such as making detergent), they will see that a) it is truly cost-effective and b) other people have done it and it has worked well for them (and newbies won’t feel like the lone thrifty ranger).

    Interviews with local entrepreneurs and others because it just sounds interesting!

    Personal anecdotes because it shows that we have all been there.

  115. TStrump says:

    Personal anecdotes are my favourite because they are easy to relate to.

  116. Amy says:

    I like personal anecdotes as well as lists. They are my favorites.

  117. Melody says:

    I echo the others who have said the book reviews don’t do much for me, but that’s because I don’t read a whole lot right now.
    I also would like to ‘see’ interviews rather than read them, and I echo that getting yet another ‘tow-the-line’ perspective on finance is pretty much counter-point to this whole website.
    You personal touch is absolutely, like everyone has said, why people come here. I’m a really new newbie, but I rarely devote the time to a blog that I devoted here. Mostly it’s because I can ‘feel’ you, to use a bad slang word. I believe you are about my age, with almost my same family situation (though I only have 1 child, but her medical problems make it financially like having 2!) and that does help me to see how others in my situation not only view things, but are able to ‘practice’ them. That’s what I see lacking in some many other places where advice is spouted from the golden fountain of their keyboard.

  118. Cathleen says:

    Definitely anecdotes – I enjoy reading them as I always like to see what other people are doing to save money.Interviews similarly.
    Tip lists are good – there’s always something new.
    Any DIY need to have pictures- I always find it’s not as simple as it looks, so the more information the better!
    Economics bores me to tears – I had to study it for 3 semesters and it wasn’t till the last one that we actually looked at the real world!

  119. R. Anderson says:

    Do it yourself projects & tips lists & personal anecdotes – my top 3

  120. texasaggiemom says:

    Love all the ideas. Don’t understand the strong negative reactions to certain posts—if it doesn’t interest you, don’t read it.

  121. imelda says:

    Your detailed visual how-tos are awesome! As are the personal anecdotes, definitely.

    I generally don’t read the book reviews; certainly not the long multi-week ones.

    Keep up the good work, though, Trent–you’re doing great!

  122. Melissa says:

    I like the personal anecdotes the best – like other commenters mentioned, your mailbag is one of my favorites. Even though those posts might not have as many comments, I would bet there are a lot of readers who benefit from them. Your personal take on things is why I keep coming here.

  123. Stephanie says:

    I love all of your ideas except for the book reviews. I don’t mind them on a monthly basis, but weekly is a bit much for me. The remaining ideas are equally awesome to me.

  124. sylrayj says:

    I don’t enjoy the reviews of economics books, even though I know I *should* be trying to appreciate them more.

    I like hearing about how you have made your detergent and bread. I don’t know that more detailed visuals are needed, but I would read them here over other sites because you have greater diversity with your topics. Some how-to sites don’t leave a space at the left margin and I need that separator – so I don’t look at those sites.

    I don’t read any of the interviews at The Happiness Project. I might if they were more in the format of personal stories and anecdotes instead of q/a.

    A do-it-yourself project might be nice on occasion. I have a minimal back yard almost completely covered in shade all summer long, so I expect some of what you plan will not be applicable to me directly, but one day I won’t be living here and might be able to use what you’ve taught.

    I like personal anecdotes. Some aren’t of interest to me, but most have been. I’ve enjoyed some of your tip lists too.

  125. Anne says:

    In order: How-to’s; Do-it-yourself; tip lists. The others I could take or leave.

  126. Sharon says:

    If you do go to podcasts, be sure to also provide the content in writing, too. Lots of us don’t hear so well. I boycott ALL podcasts because they are too hard to hear and they are also too lazy to provide their oh-so-important information so that everyone can read it if they can’t hear.

    Besides, almost everyone can read a whole lot faster than anyone can speak!

  127. Marcia says:

    The Simple Dollar has become one of my favorite newsletters. I get it via email, not on the web, so I am unlikely to post comments. I love your writing style — very practical and conversational. I forward to interested parties when a particular item is outstanding. I like some book reviews, but am not an avid reader either. I did actually purchase “Do it Tomorrow” and thoroughly enjoyed it. The visual do it yourself probably wouldn’t interest me that much, interviews would be okay if they are informative and creative. I think personal anecdotes are great and really drive home a point with a personal application. Everyone’s life is different but your experience is like a word picture to a potentially hard to understand or relate to item.

    Keep up the good work!

  128. Jess says:

    Economics books :(
    Detailed visual how-tos :)
    Interviews :/
    Do-it-yourself projects :)
    Personal anecdotes :D
    Tip lists :)

  129. Kate says:

    The illustrated step-by-step articles can be interested (and I might be interested in one for a simple windowbox herb garden!), but they can be a pain for those of us on slow dial-up connections, as can anything with too many graphics. So I hope you won’t do TOO many of these.

    On book reviews, I’m interested in the ones on personal growth as well as finances. For economics, though, PLEASE find ones that avoid jargon and the standard alphabet soup of financial reports and the like. (Or else find ones that define them in simple standard English!) I can follow nuclear physics FAR more easily than I can the endless nattering about P/E ratios and leveraging and mortgage points!

    My favorites are the anecdotes, although I also often enjoy the lists and the interviews. A suggestion: combine these forms! Interview entrepreneurs, not just financial gurus, and get some of THEIR lists, some of THEIR anecdotes.

    And one particular topic, since I’m sure I’m not the only one who has trouble with this: how can one overcome a habit of self-destructive failure? A friend once told me I suffered from “fear of success” and after having royally screwed up numerous times at things I’m actually very GOOD at, I suspect she’s right. So how can this problem be handled?

    Thanks, and keep writing! BTW, I bought two copies of your book… one for myself, another for a friend whose husband just had to take a major reduction in pay because of problems in his industry.

  130. borealis says:

    Trent – You post so much that I would like you to keep all the options. The photo how-to’s seem off-subject, but I loved several of them, so I wouldn’t suggest dropping them.

  131. sarah says:

    hi trent,

    keeping in mind that every option is going to have haters and lovers both, my two cents (plus) are these:

    1. personally, i love to know how you are integrating advice into your life.
    2. people mentioned podcasts but i’m a reader, so i tend to ignore them.
    3. downloadable checklists and planners would be awesome.
    4. maybe talk about how-to-s and DIY’s but link to the corresponding instructables to save yourself time and effort.
    5. interviews once in a while would be cool.


  132. Amy says:

    In order of preference:
    interviews (I love this idea)
    economic book reviews (I find your style of reviews very appealing)
    DIY projects – was going to say I could do without until you mentioned the kitchen box garden; I guess it depends on the project;
    Tip Lists
    Visual how-twos

  133. Courtney says:

    Economics books: enh. I can read for myself, and the reviews on amazon.com can help me decide if one is useful.

    Detailed visual how-tos: These are ocaisionally entertaining, but not really why I read this. YouTube does visual how-tos best.

    Interviews: are interesting, but (sorry!) you’re not likely to get somebody of national importance on here.

    Do-it-yourself: DIY projects are good, but that sort of scatters the direction of your blog.

    Personal anecdotes: personal anecdotes are my favorite part of the blog. I generally don’t comment on them, but anecdotal stories illustrating some point of personal finance are what I find most useful. Keep in mind that you don’t have to always use your _own_ personal anecdotes. ;)

    Tip lists: are good, but perhaps more focused ones? 10 things for the newbie, and so on.

  134. Kevin says:


    Thanks for asking. Although I’m a reader, the book reviews aren’t a favorite. For me, the personal anecdotes which make a larger point – either implicitly or explicitly – are the best, followed by DIY posts. The actual financial stuff is of less interest… but that’s just me.


  135. na0 says:

    i’ve been an avid read of the simple dollar for about a year now.
    i honestly do not come here for the book reviews. i actually skip over them.
    i like the how-tos a lot!
    i think more would be great!!

  136. Jackie says:

    Maybe round-ups of instructables and visual how-tos you find around the web, the way you do with your favorite posts from frugal blogs? FYI, my favorite how-to cooking blog is at ThePioneerWoman.com (cooking tab).

    I love the anecdotes too, and I think interviews that focus on how people deal with frugality and financial issues in their own lives and careers (instead of just experts) would be great. One of the aspects of other financial blogs that have turned me off in the past is when the voice of the blog authors is too didactic or preachy. I like your accessible, grounded tone, and whatever you can do in TSD that maintains that voice is fine by me.

    DIY projects and tip sheets/lists/planners could be interesting and useful, if they are written well (like you always do) but are also not above the level of amateurs.

  137. Karen says:

    Not interested in:
    Visual how-tos, DIY stuff, interviews

    Very interested in:
    Econ reviews, tip lists, personal anecdotes.

  138. susan says:

    i think it great to explore new directions. i liked most of the categories you suggested, except for the book reviews. great job, i really look forward to reading your posts!

  139. lynette says:

    I vote for DIY and tip sheets. I never seem to read the interviews on morningstar…

  140. Laura says:

    I like the tip lists, how-to’s, and do-it-yourself projects.

    Not a fan of the book reviews and personal anecdotes.

    Thanks for letting us give input!

  141. Bay says:

    Here are my two cents!

    I already breeze through the book reviews so more wouldn’t be my suggestion.

    All of the rest are great ideas, an interview would be a way to inject some new views onto the site & some people might think “tip lists” are fluff, but yours are useful and good for passing on to friends or family that could use more basic tips. Personal anecdotes are the best–it really gives the blog more flavor and makes it a bit more fun for the regular readers.


  142. Caroline says:

    Variety is good – I like all of the ideas. I enjoy the personal anecdotes the most. I get a lot out of the book reviews – mainly because you review so many books I would never pick up myself, but end up interested in because you posted on them. I guess if a lot of people aren’t interested in them, you might still include (more brief?) reviews? At least occasionally!

  143. Pearl says:

    More interviews, fewer book reviews.

  144. gabrielle says:

    For me, interviews/personal anecdotes are very inspiring. It’s always lovely to get reinforcement that this path is completely do-able and examples of how folks made their dreams come true. In the same vein, I like the How-Tos, not so much for the instruction, but for the ‘ideas’ that they provide. Explaining the How often gives me ideas about how to apply that thinking to another, entirely different problem.

    Thanks for asking our opinions!

  145. Sarah says:

    Economics books- I’m a reader, but I tend to trust my own judgement on books. I read your reviews if your intro or summary makes me feel I may have an interest in the book, but otherwise I skim or skip them entirely (especially those chapter summaries). Also, I personally love economics, but talk about snore potential! Extra work has to be done to make it interesting. Thanks, no.

    Detailed visual how-tos: Ask yourself if pictures are really necessary to the information you’re posting. Do you need a picture of each step? Probably not. Mostly no on this one too, except where a picture might explain better than text.

    Interviews: Interviews for more advice – bad. Interviews to get someone’s personal story/viewpoint – good

    Do-it-yourself projects: I like them just fine. They’re part the personal finance knowledge I want to have.

    Personal anecdotes: Love ’em

    Tip lists: So-so

  146. Stephanie S. says:

    I say that if you have any positive response, then the post is worth it. It has helped someone. Isn’t that what you are trying to do?

    There are posts that I don’t care for or don’t apply to me, I just don’t read them. I would never say, “hey that didn’t apply to me, so don’t ever do it again!” How rude.

    It’s your site, you want to help others, so do it. I like what you do, keep it up.

    Oh, and I like the book reviews.

  147. Susan Page says:

    I love the tip lists and detailed how-tos. I have been making my own laundry soap for a year and a half and have gotten friends hooked on it as well–that was one of your best.

    The economic book reviews sound interesting. Personally, I don’t think I would watch interviews, and I don’t really care for anecdotes. I don’t know about larger project how-tos. There are other sites that deal with just that, and after all this is the SIMPLE Dollar. I’m all for keeping it simple and a quick read.

  148. Lisa says:

    I like the book reviews. I don’t read books, but you are doing that for me. If I ever decide I have the time and want to read a selfhelp/finances book, I would refer to TSD to help me choose.

    I am interested in more how to stories on your GARDEN since that is something I want to start next year. How about some chickens?

    Also, I think there is a lot to be said on raising kids frugally (both in teaching character and in keeping them fed and clothed). I think they would be easy for you to write since you are living it. Of course, not all of your readers would be interested in that niche.

  149. Broke MBA says:

    I like your book reviews. I don’t make the time to read as many books as you do, but that’s why I like your reviews. I trust your advice when looking for my next read. I would definitely be interested in those covering economic books. For example, I recently read “The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman. From the looks of it, you have too, but I would definitely read these type of posts.

  150. Saver Queen says:

    I would love the visual detailed how-tos, the DIY stuff and the personal anecdotes! Thanks!

  151. Mike Sty says:

    A little of this, a little of that – keep the site the way it’s been going. It’s unique. There are tons of DIY sites, and tons of book review sites, and tons of frugality/advice sites, but your place is the heartiest medley of them all and I mean that sincerely.

    Keep things DIVERSE, just like your portfolio!

    But interviews sound really interesting!!!!!!

  152. John says:

    I vote for interviews and personal anecdotes. I can check other sources for the other ideas, but I think the listed two would be unique. (OK, anecdotes are everywhere, but most aren’t as well written as Trent’s stories.)

  153. Steve says:

    I really like your how to’s, do-it-yourself projects and personal anecdotes!

  154. jerry toman says:

    I like the how-to do posts, making your own laundry detergent was how I found this blog. feel the mix is good for all.

  155. Jillian says:

    I think it’s a nice mix already. As many others have said, you can’t please everyone.

    I find DIY projects really interesting but only if it’s something the writer really wanted to build and not something they’re just doing for the sake of the blog. It’s far more interesting to read about a real problem thought out and solved in a creative way than some Martha Stewart “let’s make this look pretty” thing.

    Also, even if I’m not planning to make something similar myself, it’s reassuring to know I’m not the only person in the world who builds their own greenhouse out of old bookcases or turns their old t-shirts into shopping bags :-)

  156. T. Kelley says:

    The biggest reason I subscribed to The Simple Dollar in the first place was because it had a great mix of helpful material. It is the same reason that I still read every post. I like it just the way it is!

    I enjoy your how-to’s, and anecdotes are the most appealing. I appreciate hearing how you are finding new ways to live more economically. I skim most of the book reviews and usually find that they aren’t of interest to me. I’m not much on economics… However I do find some that are interesting and I really appreciate your summaries. I’ve ordered several, based on your summaries.

    I have gotten a lot out of your recipe tips – I’ve been using the laundry soap for months! Keep those coming!

    Thanks for all you do!

  157. Ken Oatman says:

    Can you tear apart the pros and cons of household renewable energy options, along with general tax/utility credits and options?

    I love your personal approach on all your other subjects, but haven’t seen you cover this, and it seems that solar panel prices will be dropping, Obama might be plowing money into a Green New Deal, local governments and utilities are piling up and/or taking away other incentives…

    …most of all, we “frugalistas” _could be_ energy independent, with all that implies, if Trent could dig in and provide the usual sage advice. Or not.

    Thank you for listening!


  158. Gena says:

    I would be most interested in detailed visual how-tos, DIY projects and personal anecdotes. I would be least interested in economics books and tip lists.
    I LOVE the mailbag concept. Maybe you could have it more often? Once a week for money-saving tips and once a week for how-to ideas?
    I like your blog because of the ‘real person’ perspective it provides. I read you and Get Rick Slowly daily, but GRS is starting to get way too focused on investing and concepts for people who HAVE money socked away already. I really like that your blog seems to cater to those of us trying to eventually get to that point.

  159. iddy says:

    personal anecdotes!
    that one about collecting aluminium cans really hit me.. and i enjoy moral stories, so my tick for the anecdote box

  160. David says:

    I think that I would enjoy reading any of the options you’ve suggested, however, what makes the Simple Dollar unique from the many other blogs out there is your own personal experiences, which is why I’m casting my votes (never mind the hanging chad) for your personal anecdotes and the visual how-to and do-it-yourself items that you’ve done and had personal success. Keep up the great work!

  161. Lisa says:

    I would be interested in:

    Detailed visual how-tos
    Do-it-yourself projects
    I especially love the Personal anecdotes.

  162. Marcus says:

    I recently read The Intelligent Investor with the commentary by Jason Zweig. I believe Jason Zweig has written a book on investor psychology which I think would be worth reviewing. Haven’t read it yet. Love the blog…
    Merry Christmas to you and the family,

  163. labyrus says:

    All good ideas, but my number one vote has to go to larger DIY projects – this is the sort of thing that having some detailed guidance on can make it a lot easier to see happening, and plus they’re just fun.

    I also really find it interesting (and helpful) when you analyze the economics of a frugal tactic or project. It’s the kind of number-crunching I don’t really have the patience to do myself and gives me a better idea of whether something like, say, making your own laundry soap is worth it (by the way, it definitely is, I’ve been using your recipe for the past few months with great success). I probably would not have bothered if your post hadn’t had a dollar value for the frugal tactic attached to it.

    I don’t think the photos on the how-tos add much, but the how-tos themselves are interesting. Video might be a different story, for an example of what I mean, look at the videos on breadtopia.com, no offense but they’re a lot more helpful than your photo guide to baking bread. On the other hand, one of the things I like about The Simple Dollar is that it’s almost all text and easy to navigate.

  164. SAB says:

    I would like:

    more pictures
    detailed how-tos/do-it-yourself
    interviews with other experts

    I love your blog!

  165. steve says:

    I skip the book reviews mostly because I am interested in essays that originate and develop directly from your actual life experience.

    Mostly they serve as a jumping off point for engaging with the Simple Dollar “community” and as a springboard to see what others have to say about the issue and as an opportunity to make my own voice heard a little through a commment (or, in my case, sometimes 2 or 3).

    I think that’s inherent in the blog format–while the post should be as solid as is reasonable, and the better written and researched the better, it’s actually at least as important that there be some kind of “hook” , some kind of controversy or issue, or just that it be about something that has wide interest, and invites a comment. The ones with the most comments are the most interesting, not just because the original post was good, but because the quantity and quality of comments, and the feedback between the commenters, is richer on those posts.

    (I have been known to pull up some of the older popular ones and see what people have added to the conversation since I last looked at it.)

    That being said, I’d say if it ain’t broke, there’s nothing necessarily to fix. Sure, some days I skim over The Simple Dollar instead of engaging in it, because the feature or format of the day is less interesting to me than my favorite features, which are the personal essays, but I come back. And I don’t think it’s always necessary for have a personal essay every day. If you have something good for me 2 out of 7 days that’s a really good overall record. Keep in mind, some of the best heavy hitters only hit .200 on average. And that’s the same for writers.

  166. David says:

    Trent, my vote would be for some interviews. Thanks!

  167. Tory says:

    The Personal Anecdotes are by far the best. I think when you tell about your own experiences and you come across as a down-to-earth person (like most of us from Iowa!) it always motivates me by reminding me that “If he can do this, I can do this, too.” The personal anecdotes really help me with my motivation. All the great tips and the best interviews in the world won’t help ANY of us if we don’t simply have the courage to START. I enjoy everything you write.
    Thank you for asking for our feedback!

  168. Jenny says:

    My personal favorites are the personal anecdotes, and I would also love to see the how tos and the do it yourself projects. I don’t have much interest in the interviews or the book reviews. I would enjoy reviews of a couple of books that you found especially good/helpful, but not reviews of all the books that you are reading. Tip lists are good if they have new ideas, but so many of them are just rehashing and rearranging of the same info.

    Thanks for asking for reader input.

  169. Gareth Marshall says:

    I enjoy the book reviews – although I must admit I often find myself skipping down to your conclusion rather than reading the whole review every time.

    I’m not a big fan of the tip lists, mainly because it often feels like too much to take in at once – if you spread them over a couple of mini-lists (say 5 things you can do to get a lower rate, 5 ways to save money on laundry, 10 ways to eat better, or what ever) I would find them more useful. I know that there are other people who prefer to have a whole long list in one place though – perhaps you could publish long lists as an e-book for the people who what the whole lot in one place?

    I’ve enjoyed your howtos, although I must admit I probably haven’t ever done any of them. It’s a kind of vicarious handiness for me. (I guess I do bake bread every now and then – but I was doing that before your post any way).

    I enjoy the personal anecdotes – even if they don’t provoke a great deal of discussion, they make me feel like I know something about you, which is part of the whole reason I prefer to read blogs rather than articles on some magazine type website.

    I’m interested in economics, so if you review economics books I’d definitely enjoy that.

  170. Brigitte says:

    I don’t really read a lot of interviews. Sometimes I might skim to get a gist of the content, but if the title isn’t catchy (as in, not a subject I personally am interested in) I just skip it.

    Book reviews I almost always skip entirely, but I haven’t read any on this site yet (as I just joined). I read blogs because I have time for tidbits, not a whole book. Synopsis? great. List of things you gleaned from it? even better. “I liked it and the writer really talked about some personal stories but I’ll let you read it for yourself” type of reviews really bother me.

    Detailed visual how-to’s aren’t very useful, IMO. If you do a search and find that the topic isn’t covered anywhere else ever on the web, then fine. Otherwise, simply mentioning it and linking even to a list of steps is good enough. Similarly with DIY projects.

    But your own examples, your personal anecdotes, those are what make each blog different. So you have 10 ways to save money and/or time on your grocery bill? cool. Even if the ways themselves might be the same as someone else’s, the examples might be different, and the different example might help someone identify with that idea who didn’t before.

  171. danielle says:

    Interviews sound pretty good!

    My ideas below not listed in your 6 tho I guess it could be tip list type

    Frugal Ideas for insanely insanely busy people!

    how being in shape saves you money.

    how to make a from home lunch you can eat while driving (I still cant figure this out!)

    how to get the most out of freecycle.

    I never get to read! So econ book reviews I would skip, no offense!

    I love reader mailbag and some of your do it yourself stuff!

  172. danielle says:

    Oh another thing that would be great would be like a “reader financial audit” where they open up to you their situation in detail and you can pick apart their budget,habits etc and see how they can save more $$ then they report back in a month or something and add in some personal stories but anonymous info, a little like “one family’s money” in money magazine but simple dollar style.

    heck I could be a guinea pig!

  173. Matthew Sage says:


    I read the Simple Dollar regularly for personal anecdotes and the reader mailbag. I started reading because of the analysis of frugal ideas. Many sites provide an interesting idea to save money. You always break it down to dollars and cents.

    I skip all the book reviews. I might skim the interviews. But then, everyone is here for different things.

  174. Jeff Rene says:

    I like the idea of reading interviews with entrepreneurs but I would say that I don’t really enjoy visual how-tos and DIY projects.

  175. Martin says:

    Economics books would be really interesting, as well as interviews. Possibly also do-it-yourself projects, depending on what the specific project…

  176. Anna says:

    Trent, I LOVE your tip lists. Thay are my favorites at TSD.

    I never read the book reviews, or the interviews. Personal anecdotes always stay in my mind for the rest of the day and make us understand who the author of this blog is and who he bacame this person.

    Keep up the good work and Merry Christmas!

  177. Christie says:

    I love the detailed visual how-tos and I would love to see DIY projects. I love personal anectodes from you and I think it would be interesting to incorporate anectodes into interviews. I always like to look at a good tip list. As far as the economic book reviews, I would definately check them out but I am a little less interested in those.

  178. Danny says:

    I would love to see more do-it-yourself and how-to stuff! Instructables is great, but you have a nice personal touch and thrifty perspective that you can’t find over there!

  179. Denise says:

    Trent, thanks for this post. Instead of the do-it-yourself article, why dont you tackle a money saving project and then write about it. Was it really money saving, how long did it take, where there hidden expenses…? That way we could decide to try or not the project and you are good at finding nuances that others might miss. As for negative back-lash or poor numbers on your postings, occasionally it is good to help the other five percent and maybe expose your readers to things that they wouldn’t ordinarily think of. After all, this is Your blog.

  180. Bridget says:

    Hi, I enjoy the personal stories and I agree with the second poster who suggested others giving their personal stories. I don’t really like the DIY laundry detergent etc. But there may be a way to incorporate those elements by directing people to a subsection of the blog or to extend your blog and accommodate people who are interested in that way. It’s not that they’re not good ideas but they dilute the central message of the Simple Dollar a little bit.

    I like the idea of asking entrepreneurs or financial experts for their two cents worth. While I rarely read the detailed book reviews I do read the overviews that you write and some of the overviews of interviews. I think that one of the most valuable things is that I trust your intentions and your judgement and reading about books, and interviews at the Simple Dollar saves me time and helps me with my life. It’s also an enjoyable way to spend my lunchbreak.

    Best wishes

  181. AK says:

    Articles of the subjects mentioned above have been my favorite articles on tsd. But I can see how it is somewhat off subject from tsd. Maybe start another blog, one which you only have to update a couple of times a week.

    Either way, make sure to include these types of articles somehow.

  182. Dangerman says:

    Ranked in order of most wanted:

    1. Personal anecdotes – write what you know.
    2. Economics books – your book reviews are great, try to find some out of the way ones too, in addition to the classics.
    3. Tip lists – concise and helpful.
    4. Interviews – but ONLY if the person has an interesting story, PLEASE no interviewing other bloggers. That’s the worst.
    5. Do-it-yourself projects – not really what most people come to this site for, IMO.
    6. Detailed visual how-tos – not really what most people come to this site for, IMO.

  183. Víctor N. says:

    I’m a new reader of TSD and from what I’ve gathered so far posts regarding economics and interviews could be the way to go. I believe most people fear economics as it sounds complicated if you get deep about it. The treatment you would give it should give economics an interesting spin. Interviews should add good value as readers would be aware of other people’s experiences beside your own. I personally like tip lists and I’d hate to see them go. Hope this helps a bit.

  184. Eric says:

    I think that you have a good thing going with this blog. All of the potential ideas sound interesting, with the exception of ‘detailed visual how-to’s’. I’d be very anxious to read some reviews on the economics books. You should consider reading ‘Freakonomics’ by Steven Levitt.

  185. Christine says:

    I love reading and I look forward to all your book reviews because my time is at a premium – so I know if I want to bother reading something after your detailed outline and recommendations. I like the longer book discussions too, but I rarely have time to read all the threads.

    I like your detailed analysis of how much savings something really bore out. I love the how-to articles. They are always interesting even if I don’t see myself doing it. And some I have tried out on my own (but wouldn’t have without an involved set of instructions).

    The tips posts just get too detailed for me – I’m not going to implement 10+ things at a time and I don’t like to sift through it all, but that may work for others.

    Interviews and personal anecdotes are a mixed bag for me. Sometimes they contain a pearl or two, but others don’t really come close to my situation. They are probably good to keep in though, since I’m sure your readership is very diverse.

    Overall, I wouldn’t drop anything – after all, to keep going with your blog, you have to keep enjoying yourself doing it. However, maybe you can adjust ratios of posts based on interest.

    Good luck, and keep going – I always look forward to your posts.

  186. K says:

    Economics books – might be interesting but I am also not a fan of the book reviews, so I wouldn’t add more review posts, but add these and keep the same frequency

    Detailed visual how-tos: I LOVE THESE

    Interviews: Maybe if they are interesting – not too often though

    Do-it-yourself projects: I would keep it to a single post unless people have more questions in the comment section, but I like the idea.

    Personal anecdotes: They are ok

    Tip lists: These are good but not too frequently

  187. Sandy says:

    Thanks for asking. I’m not a fan of the book reviews…I rarely read them.
    I guess the bottom line reason for me to read your blog regularly is to learn new ways for m to save money in my daily life…things that are very easy changes. Like your bread recipe…I’ve made my own pizza crust for years. I never realized that baking bread was just a few more steps, and a little more time than that. Like the baking soda list, or other how-to columns.
    Loved the Amy Dasczin interview, also, having been a fan of hers for 20 years!
    You’re a good writer, Trent, and have obviously got a huge readership, so keep going with your gut!
    Good luck.

  188. Mark B. says:

    I think book reviews in general are boring, and seem to attract the least amount of interest. Book reviews related to economics would be even WORSE.

    All of the other ideas I like.

  189. Dan says:

    I’ll tackle them in the order provided
    Economics Books – It could be interesting. Give it a shot and see how it goes. If it doesn’t go over well in the first 2 or 3 then drop it.

    How tos – I particularly liked the homemade detergent one, I believe its what drew me to this site originally. As they can be overdone very easily I’d say keep them to no more than 2 a month.

    Interviews – Interviews with big names come out too rigid for me. I prefer the more open-ended interviews with less well-known people. I would personally like the interviews with entrepreneurs, and not just the successful ones. Sometimes we learn more from a failure than a success.

    Do it yourselfs – If you are going to do them, please, keep them original. So many simple things have been done to death.

    Personal Anecdotes – Yes!

    Tip Lists – Overdone in blogs. I’d rather get 2-3 gems and details than a list of 100 things that I have to look through. It just takes energy away from the best ones.

    Personally one thing that I used to like was the workplace tips. I realize that you now work from home but for most people the 9-5 is still a large part of life.

  190. Victor says:

    I like the following in order of importance
    1. Interview
    2. Personal anecdotes
    3. Economics book review

    I find interview is a good way in understanding/tapping other expertise in understanding their field of interests. It’s a good way to let people know something more about the interviewee. Suggest to ask reader to submit the question in advance in order to make it more relevant to the reader. That’ll make it the Charlie Rose version of blogger’s interview

    People learn more via personal anecdote and thru life experience. I look forward to learn more from you on this.

    Why more economics book review ? There’s so much economy issue in the world that we need more understanding about the topic then getting an economic degree ourselves. Hope to tap from your expertise based on the review then.

  191. Trent, all of your ideas sound great. I think you should just let your intuition take you in whatever direction it will. You have exceptional insight and a strong awareness of the interests of your readers.

  192. Can says:

    I’m all for How-Tos, DIYs, and anecdotes.

  193. Grad Student says:

    I LOVE the book reviews. Please continue providing them!

    I would be interested in hearing yout thoughts/ideas about how to live green and frugally.

    Thanks for all you do!

  194. Roger says:

    I would like to see an analysis of a Health Savings Account. I am currently participating in one through my employer and have discovered many advantages to the plan:
    – contributions are exempt from federal income tax, state income tax, and FICA (most people don’t know about the FICA exemption)
    – tax exemptions change depending on your method of contribution (payroll deduction vs. non-payroll – FICA and some state tax benefits are lost)
    – The HSA is treated like a 401k once you turn 65 with the exception of being required to take minimum distributions at age 70.5.

    It would be interesting to see an analysis of HSA contributions lumped in with 401k, employer-matched 401k amounts, and ROTH contributions. The FICA exemption could make this interesting…

  195. jen says:

    Economics books – No interest

    Detailed visual how-tos – very interested!

    Interviews – eh, not much interest

    Do-it-yourself projects – Yes! very interested

    Personal anecdotes – Very interested. This humanizes the site. I like how you talk about your mistakes and successes

    Tip lists – sure, why not

  196. Jane says:

    I would like to see more interviews on people and how they get through the humps in their lives. By the way I Love your blog. I will still read it.

  197. Kay says:

    Love the do-it-yourself/home recipe articles, that’s what got me into this website!
    I also really enjoy the personal anecdotes.
    Not a big fan of the book reviews.

  198. Allie says:

    I like all except more book reviews. I think you do a great job with what you have but more would be overload.

    Personally I’d love more detailed visual how-tos as well as do-it-yourself projects. And a tip list is always welcome! The personal anecdotes are wonderful and help us get to know you. They really make the site more enjoyable.

    BTW, good luck with your new book! I’ll be looking for it in my local library!

  199. John says:

    Trent – great blog. Keep up the good work! My recommendations are to continue the detailed visual how-tos, Do-it-yourself projects, personal anecdotes, and tip lists.

  200. Paul says:

    I prefer the instructionals and interviews. I would not like to see any financial book reviews.
    Hope that helps. :)

  201. Sara says:

    I’m most interested in how-tos and do-it-yourself projects.

    Least interested in book reviews and interviews.

    I don’t usually get much out of the tip lists (I’ve seen most of them before, so I’m either already doing them or I’d never do them), but I don’t mind them, and sometimes they do give me new ideas. The occasional personal anecdote is ok — it adds variety.

    My personal favorite posts are the ones where you analyze the numbers of money-saving ideas (many of these are associated with how-tos). For example, you recently wrote about how much money you can save by using various techniques for reducing water use. I also liked your cost analysis of making your own instant oatmeal packets and using cloth diapers (I don’t even have kids, but I still found this interesting!).

    P.S. I’m still waiting for your cooking blog!

  202. Money Beagle says:

    I would like to see some of the interviews. I’d also recommend that you use your popularity to help other people who are new or looking for a jump start to blogging. You were kind enough to publish a link to one of my articles a couple of weeks back, and it sent my numbers to high levels that since returned back to normal. I did see a slight rise afterwards both in daily hits as well as subscribers. Since you’ve got what amounts to a great deal of ‘power’ over readers, I think that myself and others would be greatly appreciative of a little ‘blog philanthropy’. You could pull in some guest posts and feature fellow bloggers and write about their ‘stories’. Of course, I’d have to ask that you consider me first to pilot this idea :)

    Great job, as always!

    Money Beagle

  203. Suzie says:

    I had another thought – I think the reason I don’t read the book reviews is because your reviews are so detailed when you summarise it. I just feel like I might as well go out and read the actual book (I read fast). I do tend to scan your comments at the end, though.

  204. Sara says:

    I really actually enjoy the personal anecdotes, like the kid’s birthday party one. These show how to make your real life more financially stable.

    I also enjoy the tips list and otherwise…including the ones that go step by step like the laundry detergent post. The do-it-yourself projects sound like a good idea, but please only post if you actually try it yourself and let us know how it turns out for better or worse.

    The book reviews are nice, but I would not like to see them go up in frequency, as the more personal things are much more interesting.

  205. Ro says:

    I’m sure I’m departing form what most of your readers would say, but I would like to see you dial it down as far as posting goes….one post per day would be fine. Leaving us hungry for more rather than overfilled seems like a good idea.
    As far as posts themselves, I like the mailbox ones best, but once a week is great for that. I used to read all the book reviews but now it seems like there are so many that I don’t bother to do so. I would be less likely to read a review of an economic book than I would a personal finance one…I’m not uninterested in economic theory, exactly, but more interested in how it related to my own life. I like tip lists OK, even if they are recycled, it’s a good reminder. I enjoy personal ancedotes quite a bit. DIY….would like smaller projects like an indoor herb garden but not big stuff like remodeling a kitchen.

  206. Rob says:

    I like the personal anecdotes and the tips. Although the “podcast” mention would be interesting as well.

    Keep up the great work, and happy holidays!

  207. Jay says:

    Economics books- You do great book reviews, but I don’t find them to be the most productive/useful/entertaining part of the site. I agree with others, though, in that it couldn’t hurt to try adding a few RELEVANT econ books to your review schedule.

    To be honest here though I wish you’d cut back on reviews a bit and focus on other topics.

    Visual how tos & DIY projects- good for an occasional (maybe biweekly?) thing. I liked your laundry thing, and they mix it up a bit for your blog, but don’t lose the PF focus.

    Interviews- all about who you interview. I need to be convinced in the first two sentences of your intro to the interview that the person is 1) interesting/genunine, 2) has useful/productive ideas, and 3) is relevant to my situation. Be very careful with who you interview and about what. I wouldn’t mind some of these, but don’t add to many, especially not too many irrelevant ones.

    I REALLY like the personal anecdotes, and learn a lot from your reflections on them. Keep lots more of them coming!

    Tip lists- okay as an occasional thing, but one of the things I like about your blog, unlike many other PF blogs is that you don’t just regurgitate tip lists.

  208. Nica says:

    The appeal of the list is the variety. I don’t understand the complaints; quite frankly my inbox is pretty full and if all the messages were interesting every day I would do nothing else! You will never be able to spoon feed everybody every day to their satisfaction, so you have my permission to quit trying. You seem pretty successful with what you have.
    This reminds me of the infamous “why you should bathe” post. Some were offended – but I guarantee you, the world smelled better the next day because of it! The others should have just hit delete on gone on.

  209. Amialya says:

    I vote DIY projects, anecdotes and tip lists. The rest I will read but I will not appeal to me as much. Regardless, I love your site and read it daily. Your direct non-nonsense writing style, mixed with your musings about your Iowa family life, really give your blog it’s humanistic flavor. Just keep writing! We’ll tune in. :)

  210. mike says:

    your anectdotes are what make the simple dollar effective.

    The book reviews are good. the problem is that when its a book i know i won’t like or want to read i just ignore that blog which i think causes some kind of diconnect. it feels like its just junk in the way. but when its of interest then its relevent and appears integrated as part of your blog.

    I know you’re running low on your ability to to write spend less than you earn, hence the mailbags and requests. and as you become more successful and in control of your own financial matters you’ll find it less interesting to discuss how to save $.05 on a pound of cheese.
    But I have enjoyed reading your blogs to this point. nothing stays the same things have to evolve. best of luck.
    P.s. maybe its time to move onto a more professional scope of finance.

  211. Vikki says:

    I don’t argue with your other readers that mention we could go to other sources for book reviews, instructions, lists, ect. In some ways, your content isn’t all that unique. But the reason I come back to read your blog so frequently is that I don’t KNOW what’s going to be here everytime. Almost every visit makes me consider something new or sparks thoughts about how to do something better.

    For example, I love to cook but would never have connected baking my own bread with my desire to pay down my debt. The seemed like two different topics to me. I thank you for continually reminding me that frugality is lifestyle choice; one that’s about making conscious choices regarding consuption of goods, services, time and personal energy. To that end, I believe what you write is a lifestyle blog, which means you should create your entries about topics that are meaningful to you. As long you are finding better ways to utilize your resources and sharing them, I’ll be reading.

  212. CyanSquirrel says:

    Trent, I enjoy the variety you currently have in your posts. All of these ideas should be pursued, in my opinion. They all provide useful information and a personal touch that you can’t get from other websites. I come to TSD for variety, never knowing what to expect in a given day. If you are looking to pigeon hole yourself into a “type”, you risk losing that variety. I agree with the posters that say go with where your gut leads you. If I wanted formulaic websites, I’d visit them. TSD is a refreshing jumble of change, smiles!

  213. Susan Cogan says:

    I agree with commenter #5. I like the mix. I don’t read everything but I don’t have to. Neither does anyone else. I think the book reviews are mostly boring, but I ordered one of the books you recommended for children. Which means I read the review. I’m already pretty frugal so I usually skip over the penny-pinching ideas–except the alcohol spray bottle windshield de-icer is brilliant and I’d never heard of doing that. See? Don’t worry. Keep doing it all.

  214. Steve says:

    Personally, I enjoy reading more philosophical, thought-provoking material from you than “how-to” types of things, though some of those are fun and interesting as well. I think you have it in you to tackle more difficult ideas about money, and would hate to see that creativity stifled because you limit yourself to book reviews and “how-to” articles. Branch out!!!

  215. Allison says:

    I most enjoy your posts on food. They are what brought me into your blog, actually, and are of the most interest to me – frugal food is great.

    I would love to hear instruction on a kitchen box garden, particularly with information for those with smaller space (apartment-patio garden, perhaps?).

    I enjoy your personal anectdotes – it adds spice and I personally enjoy hearing about your family (your son makes a regular appearance, given his role in your financial breakdown).

    I think you do a lot of book reviews – I often don’t read all the way through, but I wouldn’t mind an economics book or two.

    The tip lists are good.

  216. Laura in Atlanta says:

    Love the book reviews as an overall idea, but not too crazy about the detailed chapter to chapter reviews. I generaly skip reading those.

    Would love for you to review more books like OUTLIERS . . .

    I’d also love to hear about some of the occasional non business books you read. Fiction that you enjoy.

    Love the Q&A from readers, those are always fascinating.

  217. Caitlin says:

    I really appreciated your interview with Amy Dacyczyn and would be interested in more interviews with authors. As well, interviews with regular people are also interesting.
    I also like your how to segments. I appreciate practical day to day frugal living techniques, like making laundry soap. I also really like it when you do cost comparisons for things like cloth diapers vs disposable.
    I have been reading your blog almost since day one and my husband has ordered your book for me for Christmas! Keep up the good work!

  218. Warren says:

    The DIY and Tips sections would be very helpful.

  219. Beth in Orange County says:

    Detailed visual how-tos and do-it yourself projects are both big wins for me.
    Your site is very valuable for my family. I love that you remind me that there is big difference between need and want.
    My husband thanks you too, I bake our own bread regularly now.

  220. T.B. says:

    I’m a new reader and I like detailed visual how to’s and Do-it-yourself projects. I hope you won’t stop those. If someone doesn’t want to read it they can just skip that part can’t they?

  221. Sarah says:

    Interviews could be interesting. I would also probably enjoy some DIY and some tip lists (within moderation). I personally enjoy reading your personal anecdotes.

    I do not, however, tend to read the book reviews. I don’t find them very interesting/relevant to me since I haven’t read the books myself and don’t really plan to. Once I realized this, I stopped reading them. I’m more interested in reading your thoughts on the topics presented in these books than I am in actually hearing a critique/synopsis of the book.

    I love your blog and can’t wait to see more in the future. Thanks for all your great hard work!

  222. Sarah says:

    Oh, sorry I didn’t add this before. I noticed so many people above mention podcasts, even though you yourself didn’t, and I’d just note that I tend to read blogs during breaks at work and always skip videos and audio posts. I’m sure many others do the same. I find writing much more valuable and easy to come back to if there is a point I’d like to review. I just can’t process audio efficiently enough for it to be useful, and I can’t have sound on while at work.

  223. C.I says:

    John Kenneth Galbraith has some very intelligent books. He is a graduate of my current university, U of Guelph, in Canada. We read his book ‘The New Industrial State’ in my fourth year Capitalism from a Canadian perspective course this past semester. Even though it was written in the 60’s, everything he talks about happening applies to our society today.

    Another excellent author is John Raulston Saul, with the other two books we read in the class beingThe Collapse of Globalism, an exceptional read, as well as The Unconscious Civilization.

  224. Joyce in Maine says:

    I also vote for all of the above! The Simple Dollar is something I look forward to everyday. I have made the soap, the breads, used so many of your suggestions and yes, bought six of the books, maybe it was eight. I am very old and live alone in northern Maine. I would very much enjoy more personal stories, anecdotes etc. You seem very much like family to me. I wonder what your special Christmas present will be this year!?
    Thank you very much.

  225. Suzanne says:

    I started reading the comments so I wouldn’t say too much of the same but that was just overload. So, here goes…

    Personal anecdotes, what you’ve learned, what you should have done but didn’t (meaning still capable of making mistakes), etc. are what make me remember your day’s post the most. Along the same lines, I like when you dig deeper into the psychology of what we do, why, etc. For instance, I recently enjoyed “Are You Insuring the Irreplaceable?”

    I tend to skim over the lists unless they are thought-provoking, rather than action-oriented.

    I read your book reviews, and have learned a lot, even without having read the book. However, the idea of “heavier” reading, i.e. economics or investing, are not things I come here to read.

    With that said, I am a daily reader and enjoy your site as is. Thanks for looking for input to only make it better. I wish for another successful year for you in 2009!

  226. James says:

    I like the idea of more personal anecdotes. Some economics book can be rather void of any life or feeling. A comparison to someones real life experiences and their ability to apply ideas to a problem I think is much more valuable.

    More do-it-yourself projects would be good too. Something that is a bit lighter and fun to do and would mix it up a bit.

  227. For book reviews, I go to amazon for the details and read through a few pages to get a statistical distribution of what different people think (or more often feel) about the book. To me a twitter-review would suffice: “This book is good”, “This book is not so good”, “Everything in this book has been seen before”, etc. What I would be looking for here are books that are not trivially related to pf; those I could just grab off of a best seller list. I’m looking for alternative angles e.g. what can boating tell us about finance, what can biology tell us about finance— maybe that’s just me though.

    For howtos, I think the value here is not so much in the step-by-step but that it shows that you are actually doing these things and that they are worthwhile. I also go to youtube or howto sites for these so no need to make them incredibly detailed. It is not so much the hand holding as the leadership by example that these serve, I think. For example, most pf bloggers seem to be rather well off compared to their same-aged peers. Why is that? What is it that they do that others don’t? Do they think differently? Do they act differently?

    For interviews, I would be interested in interviews with out-of-the-box individuals, not in-the-box finance professionals. I get enough of the latter on the phone trying to sell me target allocated index funds. “So out of the funds your company manages … your fund managers … how many called the current credit bubble” … “None, really?!” (and then it just goes downhill from there :-D )… What I’d like to see is … like with the book reviews … an assortment of different opinions. E.g. get a climate expert in and ask if he invests differently based on what he knows about future effects of global warming with water shortage, species loss, etc. Or do a three-way … get a salaried employee and a contractor to discuss if they handle money differently given that their cash flows are different.

    For longer DIY projects … see howtos. I’m currently running one of those 30 day series. It seems to work surprisingly well in terms of interest, so I must admit they are popular.

    Personal anecdotes are … the original point of blogging. I know full well the tendency we have to go from blog style writing to “I can’t offend anyone, I must be broadly appealing to my ‘customers'”-magazine writing and some of us even go into the (gasp) “I have no opinions whatsoever”-textbook writing. Definitely keep the anecdotes. I think personal anecdotes also help people to identify stronger. I like to write a lot of theoretical and philosophical posts, but a personal anecdote will beat those hands down in terms of reader interest anytime, all the time.

  228. Dean Lund says:

    I’m atypical,I think. 78year old retiree, and really love the how to articles, do-it yourself projects and tip lists. I respect and encourage your work for those who are in the process of creating material security, but doesn’t grab me.
    I am a financial imbecile, and am currently looking for the BEST and simplest book explaining the whole American financial system (HAH!). I’d be fully content if you kept doing just what you are doing. I just wish I could know you in person as a friend.

  229. katy says:

    Book reviews!

  230. Katherine says:

    My two cents:

    I won’t read any of the economic book reviews, and I might or might not read the interviews but I would be interested in everything else. I would also love to see you cover what Ken mentioned above: renewable energy sources and tax credits, options etc. I also think you should link to instructables when available but what your site does that those DIY sites don’t is it puts a person behind the project and that makes your take on it valuable and unique.

    I love your site. Thanks for all your hard work.

  231. TopazTook says:

    I don’t comment much, but I love the personal anecdotes. (As a former resident of the Hawkeye state, I especially like it when you talk specifically about Iowa connections.) I also find the idea of interviews really exciting and intriguing.

    I think a longer-term DIY project could be interesting (perhaps similar to J.D.’s ongoing garden posts at Get Rich Slowly?), but I wouldn’t come to The Simple Dollar for videos, if that’s what you mean by “detailed visual how-tos.” I like the tips lists, not very interested at all in the economics books reviews.

  232. Daina says:

    Your personal anectdotes are one of the main reasons I read this blog. Please don’t stop them!

    I also LOVE your how-tos and would love to see these expand into do-it-yourself project descriptions. I’m not as interested in the visual element as the written description myself. However, if there is already a truly excellent description out there on how to do something you’ve done, I wouldn’t mind one bit if you just linked to it, as long as you shared your personal experience on why the project might be worth doing.

    The idea of interviews with entrepreneurs is intriguing, depending on how it’s done. Hard to say what I think without seeing one.

    Book reviews would be fine, but it’s not what I come here for. And tip lists are DEFINITELY not what I come here for, though I am tolerant of them.

  233. Susan says:

    I caught on to this page because of the frugality via reacknowledging the how-to’s of the past. I believe there is a vast amount of ideas from the past that we, as a spendthrift society, have forgotten. I have been hoping to see the post on the homemade humidifier using salt, charcoal and a pail and screen. Knew it years ago but have forgotten how to place it together.

  234. lilacorchid says:

    I read this blog because I like to know how other people do things. I like your do it yourself stuff and your personal posts. I skip over the book reviews unless it’s something I’ve read or have heard about and considered reading. I like the linky posts as I can find something new and interesting. I also like the mail bag, but I think more than once a week would be too much.

    Overall, I like how this blog is run which is why I come back every day. I like reading about you.

  235. Andy says:

    I like reading your blog on a daily basis. I believe having a balanced amount of different articles keeps it interesting. I personally would like to see more visual how-tos. I have made your bread recipe and laundry detergent with great success.

  236. Battra92 says:

    I love the How To’s personally.

  237. Robin says:

    Economics books – I generally just skim the book reviews, but occasionally they have inspired me to go out and read the book. Economics is interesting.

    Detailed visual – eh, I like how to’s, but not visual. I just feel like it’s not necessary.

    Interviews – I don’t read these at all

    Do-it-yourself – hmm, I like this idea. Maybe in a “mini series” format

    Personal anecdotes – these amuse me

    Tip lists – I’m not really a fan.

  238. Nic says:

    interviews with other entrepreneurs would be great.

  239. Crystal Tillman says:

    Economics books / Book reviews: I love reading the book reviews, and I do read the books when I can get my hands on them. I would be interested in some economic books as I only have a very rough knowledge of how economics works.

    Detailed visual – I loved the bread, and I like the oatmeal ones. Maybe keep making these, but only once and awhile.

    Interviews: I like to listen to interviews, but I can’t stand to read them. Most methods to format them are chunky, and don’t flow well. So I skip them completely, the information isn’t worth the annoyance to me. So If you decide to do interviews please label them as such, so that they can be skipped by people who don’t like them.

    Do-it-yourself: These are always interesting to me. I like to read them, because I never know what I’ll learn to do that might be useful.

    Personal anecdotes: Those are one of the main thing that attracted me to the website. The stories that go with the information help me to apply it, and how me how it works out. Please keep those.

    Tip lists: I’ve gotten really burnt out on these because they were so popular awhile back. There’s only one site that I subscribe to that still uses these, and I only read it once and awhile. Also I don’t feel that they fit the site’s tone. Please avoid these when possible!

  240. Andrea says:

    I like all of the ideas you mentioned. Economics generally bores me to tears unless you can make it relevant…but then I had an Econ professor in college that had a handlebar mustache. I spent more time in his class thinking about cutting his mustache than I did about supply and demand. Needless to say when the word “economics” comes up that’s where my mind goes even twenty years later. LOL

    I enjoy the tips and the how-to visuals and do-it-yourself stuff. I also enjoy your personal anecdotes and reflections.

    As a longtime lurker, I think what you have done so far is excellent so I say go with what makes you happy to write! If you mix it up I will always find something I enjoy reading. :)

  241. Billy says:

    I’d be most interested in Interviews, followed by economics books, anecdotes and tip lists.

  242. Jessica says:

    The detailed visual how-to’s, do-it-yourself projects, and the tip lists are of the most interest to me.
    I’ve enjoyed your book reviews, but only of the non-economic books -reading about economics in book form hasn’t been an interest yet.
    Interviews and personal anecdotes are a toss-up for me -some I enjoy, others don’t quite click for me.

    Keep up the good work, I’ve checked your blog on a daily-weekly basis for a few years now!

  243. Misa says:

    I read a lot of books every year, but the detailed book reviews here don’t really do it for me. I would prefer a “lighter” review – maybe doing a monthly book review post, with only a couple of sentences about each, whether you recommend reading it (and if so, by who), as well as maybe ordering it from favorite to least favorite or something. I’m not sure why the book reviews don’t do it for me, but they really don’t.

    I LOVE the detailed visuals. I read the interviews, but wouldn’t miss them if they went away. I like the DIY idea, but maybe in a series rather than one big post. I LOVE the personal anecdotes. Tip lists are nice, too, even if I have seen a lot of them before.

  244. jana says:

    hi trent. my take on these:
    Economics books – very interested!
    Detailed visual how-tos – not very interested
    Do-it-yourself projects — not very interested
    Tip lists – no opinion, depends on the topic

  245. Terese says:

    I like how-to’s and frugal tips, especially when you break down the cost-per-use of the expensive v. frugal options.

    It is especially nice when you show pictures, like for your bread/laundry entries. It would be good to have more pictures of things like your garden/falling apart truck, etc. so that those of us who are visual learners can take the message home.

    It would be helpful if book reviews were formulated a little differently, such as at least tabbing the beginning of each chapter, since it’s hard to read such long entries.

    And finally: I would love it if you would interview your wife or have her do an entry now and then. For those of us in relationships, it would be nice to see what she thinks/where you differ. Obviously she’s your partner in all this.

  246. I’d love to see more of everything on your above list, but especially detailed visual how tos, interviews, and tip lists.

    Thanks so much!


  247. Gary Hardin says:

    You have a “thoughtful” perspective in your writing that is missing from most PF blogs. I like that about you. Don’t lose that quality!

    Book reviews are my least favorite part of the blog. Like others who have expresses comments, I wouldn’t have the time nor money to read all those books.

    I’d be interested in interviews, too.

  248. Swaroop says:

    +1 for economics books, personal anecdotes and tip lists.

  249. Nienke says:

    The main reason why I read your blog is to remind myself how rich you can be living a simple and frugal life. I therefor hope your future articles will reflect this, no matter in which way they get ‘poured’. I like any of your suggestions (but the economics books reviews), as long as they reflect the philosophy rather than the economy.

  250. Catherine in Miami says:

    Trent, As a fellow writer, I know everyone loves a story. As several posters have said, your personal anecdotes and day-to-day honest commentary really make this different from other sites.

    I don’t care for the podcast or illustrated-by-video ideas. Your directions for the DIY projects are extremely clear. There’s enough “dumbing down” today…your readers are intelligent. They can figure out the DIY projects, and they also want to read.

    Your site is valuable to me because it is one voice against the rampant and mindless consumerism that has been a cornerstone of the American pysche since the 1950s. When the economy was expanding and there were competent people at the helm of government, that was fine. But neither condition exists today and who knows how long it will take Barack Obama to right this sinking ship?

    Thanks for showing that consuming less can have infinite benefits for one’s bank account, one’s peace of mind and family unity, and the Earth itself. I enjoy your story so much…keep it coming!

  251. sabrina says:

    I vote for the interviews. Thanks for asking!

  252. SteveJ says:

    I’m catching up on posts so a bit late to the party.

    Truthfully I’ll read just about anything you throw up here. You’ve earned my trust that I’m not wasting my time, plus I’m an OCD completionist that way.

    The mailbags are by far my favorite. I’ll read all the articles when I have time, but I’ll drop everything monday morning.

    I also enjoy the book reviews, it’s gotten me into looking for more kinds of books on my library trips, rather than reading the same 25 authors I’ve been reading for the last decade. I miss the consumer reports articles.

    I’m kinda burned out on tip lists, I’ve got so much stuff to try that I’ll never do most of it. The internet is list heavy and I’m sure those pull in good traffic. I like the idea of the series of DIY posts.

    Interviews could be interesting, often a new perspective on the same ideas can suddenly drive something home that you’ve just not quite attached to yet.

    And definitely keep the anecdotes. Much like the interviews, adding a personal context to anything usually makes it easier to understand and adopt. You have an interesting perspective that keeps my attention.

  253. Ed says:

    I know I’m pretty late with letting you know what I think, but I’m also finally all caught up on my blogs!

    I would really look forward to some DIY projects and I always love when you have anecdotes since it really helps me to get to know you, as I’ve never met you in real life.

    I also would like to see some tip lists. Perhaps not extremely lengthy ones, but 5 quick tips would be great.

    I’m not jazzed about econ books or interviews (I usually skim over them, if I read them at all).

    Keep up the great work and have a beautiful holiday with your family!


  254. Christy says:

    You could try putting things on a cycle. If something is really popular you could write on it weekly. If something has medium interest bi-weekly and so on.
    I am not a huge fan of the book reviews. The only reason I read them is to get a Cliff’s notes version of a book I probably won’t take the time to read.
    Money saving tips are helpful but keep the lists a manageable length and seasonal.
    I like your anecdotes because they deal with the mind set behind frugality more than hands on issues.

  255. T says:

    My favorites from the list:

    Detailed visual how-tos
    Do-it-yourself projects
    Personal anecdotes
    Tip lists

  256. angela says:

    all of the above! your articles are personal and thought provoking. i doesn’t matter to me which subject(s) you are writing about, i always find something of value that challenges my thoughts/ideas.

  257. Evan says:

    I would like to see more DIY stuff.

  258. Steve says:

    I was wondering how you used the information in the comments… looks like people are all over the place – as expected. You don’t have to respond here. You may shoot me an email when you get a minute. I enjoy pretty much everything. I am a bookie, so I love book reviews, but most of the posts are great and are up there with the book reviews.

  259. M says:

    We would like to see some posts for advice on what to do if you have no debt and are saving and investing. We save about 95% of our income (free housing situation for the past couple years and for at least one more year). The savings accounts are becoming rather large (even with full 401(k) and Roth contributions) and we have no idea what to do with it! We are incredibly fortunate; our only expense is food. We would enjoy reading posts that are more relevant to people in our situation: good incomes and almost no expenses.

  260. Jennifer says:

    I like all of these!

  261. Nefretete says:

    I vote for interviews and econ books.

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