The Simple Dollar Time Machine: June 12, 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 (June 6 – June 12, 2009)
Buying Something to Force Yourself Into a New Behavior Doesn’t Work: New Rules for a New Routine Stuff doesn’t change behavior. Changes in behavior come from within. A $150 pair of running shoes won’t make you into a runner.

Some Thoughts on the Sunk Cost Fallacy If you’ve already spent $50 on a ticket, that money is gone. All it has done for you is open up the possibility of attending that concert on a given night. It doesn’t matter whether you go or don’t go, you won’t get that money back. So don’t make yourself attend things or use things just because you’ve sunk money into them.

15 Ways to Get Started on Snowflaking Snowflaking is an incredibly powerful personal finance strategy that really enables you to blow right through debt repayment and saving for big goals.

Prolonging the Inevitable Many of the personal finance tactics discussed out there – shifting around your debt and so on – just prolong the inevitable situation where you’re near a financial meltdown and panicking. You’re better off taking charge now than risk falling over the precipice.

Gift Registries: Tactics and Good Taste Gift registries can sometimes be seen as a demand for gifts. There are much better ways to handle this type of thing than printing “Gift registry at TARGET!” on your wedding invitation.

Two Years Ago (June 6 – June 12, 2008)
Making Frugality a Game Channeling your competitive spirit into frugality can make a huge difference in terms of how much you’re able to save and cut your spending. You can compete with anyone – your spouse, your friends, even yourself.

Is Your Career Really Your Most Valuable Asset? I Say No Your health is more valuable. Your skill set is more valuable. Your career is mostly a reputation with a company that views you as expendable.

My Entrepreneurial Inspiration My father is my entrepreneurial inspiration. He was constantly – and I mean constantly – coming up with side hustles of all kinds when I was a kid – and still does it now.

Sixteen Ways to Go Out on the Town on the Cheap A night out doesn’t have to be really expensive. If you apply some sensible tactics before you go and while you’re out, you can have as much fun as you want without the painful credit card bill later on.

How to Budget Using ING Direct (Or Another Full-Service Online Bank) The tool set provided by a bank that offers full-service online banking and bill pay is more than enough to enable you to do all of the budgeting you need to online using a close approximation of the “envelope” strategy.

Three Years Ago (June 6 – June 12, 2007)
Eight Free Things That My Family Uses In The Community We use all of this stuff even now – and more. My son is heavily involved in the free services offered by the parks and recreation department in our town, for example.

I’m Making All The Right Moves, But I’m Still Unhappy Happiness doesn’t come from making “all the right moves.” All the right moves simply give you a foundation from which to find the things in life that truly make you happy.

What Aspects Of Personal Finance Bring You Happiness? For me, it’s knowing that no matter what happens in the short term, my family will be just fine. Because I’m sensible, there will be food on the table and clothes on our backs and a roof over our head.

The Present Versus The Future Being a bit more sensible in the present (often in ways that don’t disrupt anything you want to do) means a much, much brighter future.

Eight Frugal Father’s Day Gift Ideas My vision of an ideal Father’s Day doesn’t involve gifts at all. Unfortunately, it does probably involve kids a bit older than the ones we have now.

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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