The Simple Dollar Time Machine: February 27, 2010

Many newer readers of The Simple Dollar haven’t been exposed to the hundreds of great articles in the archives of the site, so this is a weekly series that highlights the five best posts from one year ago this week, two years ago this week, and three years ago this week. I call it … the Time Machine.

One Year Ago (February 21 – February 27, 2009)
A Walkthrough and Cost Breakdown of Brewing Your Own Beer We do this on a regular basis at our house. It saves us a bit of money, but more importantly, it’s a very low cost hobby that provides many hours of enjoyment.

Some Thoughts on Building a Successful Marriage If you’re married, keeping your marriage strong is a powerful personal and financial prerogative. Here are thoughts on what works from my own marriage.

Should You Use a Credit Card As Your Emergency Fund? It’s easy to simply just say “no” to a question like this, but I walk through the reasons why it’s a bad idea here.

When You Go Too Cheap Sometimes we cut spending too much and find ourselves in an unhappy place. Where do we go from there that doesn’t just undo all financial discipline?

Understanding CD Rates A basic discussion of how certificates of deposit work and what the rates banks offer for them mean.

Two Years Ago (February 21 – February 27, 2008)
I Quit This is perhaps the most personally life-altering thing I’ve ever written on The Simple Dollar. In it, I announce that I’m quitting my nine-to-five job to write full time. It was a truly scary leap.

Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Comparative Advantage, and You Here, I dug into some classic economic theory to make a few interesting points about managing your money today.

The Chorus of Voices for Index Funds I dug into a big pile of personal finance books here to discover that many, many writers (even Jim Cramer) strongly advocate the use of index funds for saving and investing.

The Three Basic Money Groups – And Why So Many People Struggle With Their Personal Finances Everyone spends their money on three basic things. A simple small shift from one thing to another thing can make a profound difference in peace of mind and financial stability.

Investing in Yourself: Socializing and Networking I had a long series of “Investing in Yourself” posts. This was probably my favorite one of the bunch.

Three Years Ago (February 21 – February 27, 2007)
An Introduction To Compound Interest With Spreadsheets, Part 1: Getting Started And Defining Compound Interest Spreadsheets are a fundamental part of personal finance today, and knowing how to use them is key.

An Introduction To Compound Interest With Spreadsheets, Part 2: Monthly Compound Interest, APRs, and APYs So, I wrote a three-part series showing some of the basic personal finance uses for a spreadsheet, how to acquire a spreadsheet for yourself, and a step-by-step guide for doing some of these basic tasks.

An Introduction To Compound Interest With Spreadsheets, Part 3: A Simple Mortgage Calculator The culmination of this series was a simple home mortgage calculator. If you understand how this works, you can do pretty much anything with a spreadsheet.

A Beginner’s Guide To Kitchen Equipment Cooking at home is a tremendous way to save money, but many people don’t know what to have in their kitchens. Here’s a “getting started” guide that I would actually pare down even more if I were writing it today. Seriously, I don’t think you need anything but a skillet and an enameled pot in your kitchen.

Dave Ramsey vs. Suze Orman: Which Plan For Dealing With Debts Is Best? Mathematically, Suze’s is a bit more optimal than Dave’s most of the time. Psychologically, I think Dave’s is a bit better. They both work, though.

If you’d like to browse through more of the archives, visit the chronology, where all posts are listed in chronological order.

Nine Ways to Get More out of The Simple Dollar
This is kind of a FAQ for new readers and is posted each week along with the Time Machine. Here are nine great ways for new readers to dig deeper into The Simple Dollar.

1. Subscribe by email or RSS. Visiting The Simple Dollar’s website is great, but for many people, it’s more convenient to receive the articles in another form. It’s easy to join 60,000 other subscribers and get The Simple Dollar’s content by email or in your RSS feeder (if you’re unfamiliar with RSS, check out Google Reader.

2. Comment. Each article on The Simple Dollar has lively discussion. Just click on the green square in the upper right of each article on the website and join in!

3. Read my story of financial meltdown and recovery. The Simple Dollar isn’t based on what I’ve read in books or learned in school. I’ve made a lifetime of financial mistakes – The Simple Dollar is a record of what works for me during the process of getting my life on a better track.

4. Download my free 49 page e-book. Everything You Ever Really Needed to Know About Personal Finance On Just One Page is completely free. It summarizes all of the key lessons I’ve learned along the way about personal finance in one tidy package – in fact, all of the main principles can be found right on the cover.

5. Follow me on Twitter – or other social networks. I post tons of interesting articles, quotes, follow-up material, commentary, and other material on Twitter. Follow me! If you’re unfamiliar with Twitter, it’s essentially an open discussion forum for people to share ideas and thoughts with other like-minded folks – you just choose the people you want to listen to and their ideas and thoughts are all delivered to you on a single page.

I also participate on several other social networks. Feel free to check me out on (it’s where I collect links, from which I select the ones that appear in my weekly roundups), wakoopa (what software I use), GoodReads (what books I’m reading), Facebook, and FriendFeed (which aggregates everything). I also have an irregularly-updated personal site,

6. Dig through “31 Days to Fix Your Finances.” 31 Days to Fix Your Finances is an article series that outlines how you can get a grip on your finances over the course of a month.

7. Send me your questions and suggestions. Send me an email and let me know what you’re thinking, what you’d like to see, and any questions you might have. I try to respond to as many emails as possible and I read them all. I may even use your question in a future article!

9. Email a great article you find to a friend. Find an article that you think your friend would love? At the bottom of each article, you’ll find a link that says “Email this” – just click on that, type in your friend’s address, and send it right along to them!

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