Updated on 09.01.07

The One Hour Project: One Hour Makes All The Difference

Trent Hamm

Many people think that things that can put them ahead financially involve a lot of work. “I have to make big changes to my lifestyle,” they say, or they believe they have to give up all the things in life that they enjoy, or they’re going to have to start working a lot more than before.

The truth of the matter is that financial success boils down to one thing above everything else: spend less than you earn. It’s one of those incredibly simple truisms that’s easier said than done. This month, however, I intend to show that it’s easier than you think.

During the month of September, I’m going to post a series of thirty posts, each one outlining an hour’s worth of activity that will directly improve your financial status. You can do these in any order, any time you want, but every single one will put you in a better financial state than you were before you started the hour. After that, no lifestyle changes are required at all, but in most cases the activity will slowly put more money in your pocket over time, sometimes over the timeframe of several years.

“How is that possible?” you ask. Most of these activities involve tweaking some aspect of your life in a subtle fashion so that your day-to-day life is unaffected, but the little savings add up. Other ones will actually build income for you. Every single one is a legitimate and normal activity – nothing strange or unusual – and almost all of them can be done by anyone living a fairly normal urban or suburban life.

Once a day throughout the month, I’ll post an article on this topic entitled “The One Hour Project” – you can’t miss ’em – and link them back here. This article will also link to all thirty of them. At the end of the month, I’ll also post a summary of all thirty – think of that one as a menu for you to choose from when you’ve got an extra hour and are ready to improve your finances.

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  1. Red says:

    “financial success boils down to one thing above everything else: spend less than you earn”

    I suggest that this is setting the bar rather low.

    I realize that there are many people who have spending issues which this needs to be pointed out to, but for many (hopefully most) this is like telling a new mother “if you don’t feed that, it’ll die.”

    Of course you DO have to spend less than you make, but that doesn’t begin to deserve anything I would call success. It’s just avoiding bankruptcy.

  2. Rachel says:

    Ohh I love this idea. Reminds me of how amazed I am every time I take my change jar to the bank. Those pennies really add up! I’m sure the minutes will too.

  3. Seth Miller says:

    you’ve peaked my interest, I’m looking forward to the series.
    And good luck with the big day tomorrow.

  4. Cindy says:

    Great idea! I’m looking forward to implementing some of them!

  5. guinness416 says:

    Great hook, look forward to the series.

  6. Avlor says:

    This will be a great series!

    You have to keep us posted on the arrival tomorrow. (Not necessarily minute by minute coverage. But we’d like to know she arrived safely and that mom is doing well.)

  7. Amanda says:

    Great idea for a series! I am looking foward to it!

  8. Rob in Madrid says:

    good I could use this. Bad month for us, death in the family meant an expensive trip home, just 4 weeks before we were planning on going home (and had just paid for the flights a few days before). So finding ways to cut costs will be a priorty when we get back as this put a really big hole in our budget.

  9. Dennis G says:

    Once again Trent, this is a great series.
    Not only I learn from you how to be more successful financially, also you are a great blogger.

    Keep it up, and looking forward to this whole serie


  10. Mrs. Micah says:

    I really like these posts. One you may have planned is “Find your Networth.” My husband and I just used the Networth IQ site to figure out our net worth and it took us under an hour. We just logged onto our bank, credit card, loan sites, etc and put the numbers into the form there. We’re going to use it to track our debt repayment, investment, etc. I think it probably will take less than an hour to update each month too.

  11. Sannis says:

    I would like to say great article, I can’t really remember how I stumbled upon this site but it just saved me a lot of money. I am a college student and I got a credit card Freshman year with a balance of 2,000 dollars, I kept it clean and by sophmore year they had bumped it up to 3,000, and than I became irresponsible. Unneeded purchases left and right. I have been paying it off since with still 2,000 left and I am now a senior. I no longer buy unneeded things, but when I checked my APR it was a shocking %32.240. It is 4:30 in the morning my time, but I still called and within two minutes on the phone got my rate reduced to %15.74. I am still estactic, thanks so much for this article!

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