The Simple Dollar Time Machine: May 22, 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 (May 16 – May 22, 2009)
Video: How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent I happily use this all the time on my own clothes.

10 Resources for Finding Free and Cheap Things to Do This Summer Our summer schedule is already loaded with things like community festivals and municipal concerts. Who needs to pay for really good entertainment?

The Power of Transferrable Skills – And Six Areas to Work On I actually riff on this topic for a few pages in my upcoming book. Transferable skills are invaluable elements for any successful career.

Some Thoughts on Angel Food Ministries I did a bit of “investigative reporting” into Angel Food Ministries here and came up with some serious unresolved questions.

How to Make a Quadruple Batch of a Tasty Casserole Easily, Quickly, and Cheaply I use a comfort food from my childhood as an example here, but the principle works for virtually any casserole you might want to use.

Two Years Ago (May 16 – May 22, 2008)
Make Your Own Kind of Music I’m still carrying through on the advice from this post as I move forward with my own piano playing skills.

Frugality and the Impression of Poverty You don’t appear poor by what you wear. You appear poor by how you act.

Some Notes on Our Experience with Skype – And Why It Will Work for Some and Not for Others I use Skype for my business line and I absolutely love it. It perfectly meets my needs for a ridiculously low price.

PearBudget: An Effective Way to Dip Your Toes into Budgeting This is the best free budgeting spreadsheet out there. Pick it up if you know how to use Excel and want to get control over your money.

The Essential Bookshelf: The Only Eight Books I’ve Kept (After Hundreds of Reviews) I’ve kept a few more since then, but these really are great books.

Three Years Ago (May 16 – May 22, 2007)
Ethanol Blends: Are They Worth It In Your Tank? It’s actually pretty much a wash in most states where there’s an “ethanol discount” on the gas. You lose gas mileage – that makes up for the “savings.”

The Value of Networking and Friendship As time goes on, my thoughts on the value of these things goes up and up.

Figuring Out Exactly How Much Your Time Is Worth I think people value their time in a very fluid fashion… they’re much more likely to spend their time doing something that saves money if it’s also fun.

Calculating Net Worth: What Should One Do With Their Primary Residence? We don’t count ours, which means we still have a negative net worth when, by many other accounts, our net worth would be well into the positive realm.

Did You Receive An Unexpected Windfall? Here’s Where To Put The Money Keep it away from you while you come up with a plan. A lot of money without a plan winds up in someone else’s hands.

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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