The Simple Dollar Time Machine: January 23, 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 (January 17 – January 23, 2009)
Financial Success and Sacrifice We only have so much time and energy. Each choice we make that helps us take a step forward in one area is often met with a step backward in another. What are we willing to step backward in?

How I Look at Economic News: Beyond the Talking Heads Most of the people parroting “news” on television are just feeding us storylines to amplify our emotions – making us more open to buying products. Here’s how to get past that and dig into the real information.

A Reader Asks About His Checking Account and Bernie Madoff Is a basic checking account at risk due to unscrupulous bankers? Not if you have FDIC insurance. I answer some basic questions about this here.

Personal Finance 101: How Much Money Is That Investment Really Earning Each Year? Once you break down the costs, investments really don’t earn nearly as much as we like to think they do.

Frugality, Freedom, Hard Work, and the Best Life Has to Offer We all want the best out of life. What exactly does “best” mean, though? We all have different definitions. This post explores that a little bit.

Two Years Ago (January 17 – January 23, 2008)
The Ballad of the Rusty Bumper The bumper on my truck has still not been replaced. It’s got more rust spots than before, but still looks largely good.

Preparing Your Own Skillet Meals In Advance Skillet meals are a popular convenience food, but you can make your own and store them in a Ziploc. They’re quite a bit cheaper – and quite a bit healthier, too, and often tastier.

Personal Finance and the Fundamental Choice What do you really value in life? Personal finance is almost always a choice between different values we all have. The question is whether or not we can dig deep enough to make the right choice.

The Value of Customer Service How much is good customer service really worth? Here, I try to break it down into dollars and cents – with some interesting conclusions.

Video Games and Frugality Can video games be a frugal hobby? Indeed, they can be – but a big part of it is separating your enjoyment of video games from the pervasive “cult of the new.”

Three Years Ago (January 17 – January 23, 2007)

Deconstructing Dave Ramsey This article still pretty much sums up my thoughts and feelings towards Dave. In a nutshell, he’s high on my list of mainstream media financial gurus. I agree with his message 90% of the time.

Photo Diary #1: A Trip To The Grocery Store The pictures of my son at about sixteen months just make me smile whenever I see them. He still unabashedly loves his goldfish, too. For the most part, though, this is a good walkthrough on how to compare prices and sizes.

Personal Finance 101: Charge Cards and Credit Cards Quite often, the two terms are used interchangeably, but they’re actually two very distinct things. This article explains the difference between the two in clear detail.

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!

8. 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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