Updated on 06.02.09

The Simple Dollar Podcast #2 – The Fulfillment Curve

Trent Hamm

The second episode of The Simple Dollar Podcast focuses on the fulfillment curve. I talk about my own battles with overdoing it and finding a healthy balance, and relate some tips for finding good balances in your own life. Also discussed: coffee shop stereotypes, M.C. Hammer, Oddibe McDowell and Gregg Jefferies, a critique of the first season of True Blood, and how my book stands in the pantheon of modern literature. Total length: 14:52

Listen In!

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Though I hope you do subscribe using one of the above methods, don’t worry – each episode will be featured in its own post, much like this one, on Tuesday afternoons. The podcast itself may appear earlier than that, however, if you subscribe using one of the above forms, but the notes won’t appear until I post about it here on The Simple Dollar.

Episode Notes
Here are some additional notes that go alongside the comments in the podcast. Approximate times for the corresponding links and notes are listed.

0:00 – The theme song is a public domain recording of a Camper van Beethoven concert on October 25, 1986. Listen to the concert in its entirety.
0:14 – Background reading: the fulfillment curve.
0:28 – Your Money or Your Life comes up again – here’s a reading guide.
0:48 – Great book suggestion: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
0:58 – Great book suggestion: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
1:06 – Great book suggestion: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
1:14 – Essential book suggestion: 365 Ways to Live Cheap by Trent Hamm
1:34 – Some further thoughts on guilt and spending.
2:04 – Stop! Hammertime!
2:26 – How Fahrenheit 451 had a huge impact on me.
3:55 – Why, exactly, do people like Starbucks? I don’t get it.
4:25 – I wrote about the coffee shop thing before in Splurges, Habits, and Projection.
5:29 – The Fruit Bats are a perfect example of this kind of music. Listen in.
6:22 – Like, this Andrew Jackson biography, or this Augusten Burroughs memoir.
6:40 – Woo hoo! PaperBackSwap! I LOVE THIS STUFF!
6:50 – My mouth got really dry here.
7:02 – I snuck a drink of water here.
7:42 – This second is for you, Carolyn!
8:15 – I’ve actually sold a big pile of DVDs before. Here’s how I did it.
8:23 – I recommend using a very simple Mead pocket notebook for this – it works really, really well and fits nicely in the pocket. Don’t forget a pen!
9:45 – True Blood is goofy and over the top, but very fun.
11:12 – The Baseball Card Blog sums up this passion brilliantly.
11:56 – I actually had to find out if I was pronouncing Oddibe McDowell’s name right.
12:15 – A great discussion of Gregg Jefferies and late 1980’s baseball cards by Dave Jamieson.
13:04 – Slate on the enduring popularity of the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. card – a symbol of the boyhoods of countless guys that are now around age 30.
14:19 – The Frugal Golfer – for all your frugal golfing needs!
14:43 – A preview of next week.

One thing I’d like to do in a future episode is have an audio reader’s mailbag. If you have a microphone on your computer and can record an MP3 of a simple, short question you might have on personal finance, careers, pop culture, or anything else you’d like me to answer, record it as an MP3 and send it to me. Keep the total recording under 15 seconds, please.

Comments and suggestions welcome.

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  1. Dana the Common Cents Coach says:

    You sounded much more natural on this podcast. I hope the next ones are even better!

  2. Nice podcast!

    Just so you know, the track title is still tagged as “Podcast #1 – Credit Card Debt.”

  3. a conscience life says:

    Toward the end of the podcast (discussing golf and expensive hobbies) you seem to imply that if you can’t reduce the money you spend on hobbies and interests, then perhaps they are not fulfilling after all? Perhaps I heard that wrong, but I feel like there have been instances in my life when, after considering things carefully, I have *increased* my spending.

    For instance, my wife and I both have found that we enjoy throwing dinner parties as well as eating out with friends. Neither of these are particularly cost effective (especially eating out), but we have steadily increased our spending on these activities and continue to realize increases in our enjoyment of them. Now, I am not saying that we will reach the place of marginal increasing returns (or even decreasing returns), but we have not yet gotten there — and we are increasing spending.

    It seems that, rather than looking for ways to decrease spending on things you enjoy, you might look for ways to increase your awareness while performing those activities. Perhaps this will take more money. Perhaps it will take less. But the key seems to be increasing you ability to be *present* in the moments that you most enjoy. This is exactly what you found necessary to do with your coffee ‘habit.’

  4. ub says:

    I know you won’t agree with me on this one, Trent, but your college-age viewers might: Bittorrent True Blood.

    I’ve been very surprised recently at what a great investment my xbox360 has been. With PlayOn media server ($40 one-time license fee, you might try Tversity instead, which I believe is still free) and Windows Media Player or Windows Media Center Edition (again, a bit torrentable download) you can stream basically any TV you download, and Hulu and a plethora of other streaming services, right to your xbox, which has an HDMI connection to your television set. I don’t pay for anything but internet.

  5. tentaculistic says:

    I thought you got more relaxed as you went along, so I think doing podcasts are a good way of getting comfortable in a new medium. This is the first one I’ve listened to.

    One suggestion is that there were a number of rough points (like when your throat went dry, you coughed, things like that). Since you’re apparently reading a script (and rightly so), perhaps you can make little mini-sections and record each one individually, then fuse them back together at the end. I would think that would make it easier to re-record if a small segment had a small problem, rather than deciding if this 1 cough means needing to record the WHOLE thing again.

    I hope that was a helpful comment, I am trying to help you in your admirable quest for improvement. Best to you, Trent!

  6. ChrisLSU says:

    Am I the only one who’s getting 95% of the audio on the left speaker? It’s coming through clear, it’s just really distracting to listen to when it’s coming through mostly on one side of my headphones. I don’t think it’s my settings, as my entire audio collection sounds fine, as well as the other podcast I subscribe to.

  7. Saganist says:

    Great podcast, the Fulfillment Curve is definitely one of the most valuable things I got from reading Your Money Or Your Life.

    Thanks for the baseball card nostalgia. As soon as you mentioned Gregg Jefferies, I immediately put my hands on my knees to recreate the pose on his famous Topps “Future Star” card. Oh, how I loved buying, sorting, re-sorting, looking up stats, and sorting some more. I think you’ve inspired me to dig up my card collection so I can sort a few cards for old times’ sake.

  8. Todd says:

    Sounds like you need a pop filter for your plosives. You can purchase one or make one yourself from panty hose and an embroidery hoop.

  9. Todd says:

    great podcast. The content is excellent. My one suggestion would be to reconsider the file name of the mp3. Since I don’t use iTunes or other music management software, I only see file names in the download folder. Imagine if the 30 or so podcasts I subscribe to all were named podcast1.mp3 Thanks

  10. Jeff says:

    Definitely an improvement between the 2 podcasts. One technical suggestion I have is to normalize the sound. The difference in volume between your voice and the music you use blew my ears out. I had the volume turned up to hear you clearly and almost fell out of my chair when the music came on.

    Otherwise, nice job. I look forward to hearing more.

  11. McN says:

    Nice podcasting there Trent, huge improvement from the first one!

    In swedish we actually have a word for the fulfillment sweetspot, “Lagom”. It means “not too much, not to litte”.

  12. Michael C says:

    I love podcasts, and you got so much better this episode. I’m still looking forward to you taking questions, and I’m going to try to record a quesiton to you. (We want to find a way to get Gum on the cheap)

    Anyways, keep it up!

  13. Esme says:

    Camper Van Beethoven. Awesome. :)

  14. Sunshine says:

    Much better. Keep ’em coming!

  15. AC says:

    @Todd: The file name showed podcast2.mp3 for me, it’s the ID3 tags that still have the first podcast’s information stored in them. You can either update those yourself (ALT+3 in Winamp), or Trent can update them before he publishes the podcast.

  16. Dusie says:

    Agreed, this one is much better than the first one. Also re: True Blood – if you want to watch the season as it comes out, legally, you can also purchase a season on iTunes, so if you’re only watching 2 or 3 shows, this might be cheaper than paying for cable, or premium channels, for the entire year.

  17. Holly says:

    Really great podcasts – I listened to them both. The content, length and witty writing make them my new favorite. My only suggestion is to slowwwww down. I can tell you’re reading and I’m sure you’re a fast reader ordinarily. Your reading here is so fast that you’re stumbling a little and some of the best wit is being lost because of the pacing. I do some voice-over work so I know this takes time to get the hang of. My suggestion is read a bit on public speaking. There are exercises that can help.

  18. Mary says:

    Trent, You are going to be great in this. Soon. Do listen to those of us who say slowwww down. Take the time to e-n-u-n-c-i-a-t-e. Don’t be afraid of losing us — we are on your side. Take your time. If it’s worth saying, it’s worth saying carefully, with emphasis. Keep up the good work. Can’t wait for #3.

  19. bsigrist says:

    The fulfillment curve is spot on when applied to so many things in live. I’m finding that the internet and time spent in front of a computer is where I have the most trouble finding the sweet spot as far as fulfillment.

    Thanks for the podcast. I’m liking how this is shaping up!

  20. @ChrisLSU Happening here, too; I also see that a number of people commented on this for episode #1. It’s definitely the file itself.

    I’d also recommend editing out the throat-clearing noises, coughs, etc., if possible — that’s what editing is for ;)

  21. lorax says:

    I agree with the other comments to please S L O W D O W N.

    The content is great, but it sounds like you are using a voice compressor.

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