The Simple Dollar Time Machine: October 3, 2009

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, as well as the five best posts from two years ago this week. I call it … the Time Machine.

One Year Ago (September 27 – October 3, 2008)
A Visual Guide to Saving Money with a Baby This is a photographic journey through some of the specific things we did to trim our spending with our second child (our first was a baby long before The Simple Dollar got started). All of these tricks saved money, particularly if you consider having future children after the current baby.

The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself I wrote this during a period of great fear about the future of, well, the American economy as a whole. In short, I thought the fear was overblown, at least in terms of the average person. Turns out I was right on the money with this one.

How to Find and Utilize a Mentor, No Matter What You’re Doing Mentors are invaluable aids in helping you get started on a successful career or entrepreneurial path. I’ve had several mentors over the years and they’ve all had a huge impact on me.

Some Thoughts on the Fulfillment Curve The fulfillment curve underlines so much of what we choose to do in life. Most of the time, our financial mistakes come from being sorely out of touch with our fulfillment curve, often believing that more is better when, in truth, it’s not.

Thoughts on Children and Rewards for Normal Behavior In general, I oppose rewarding children for normal expected behavior. That behavior shouldn’t be met with a reward, but not exhibiting that behavior should be met with a punishment that’s non-financial. Allowances are great, but using money as a club to enforce standard behavior teaches really awkward money lessons, in my opinion.

Two Years Ago (September 27 – October 3, 2007)
The Backlash Against Frugality This is a topic I touch upon regularly on The Simple Dollar: the sense that culturally, frugality isn’t the normal method of behavior and that, after a while, people resist frugality. I generally think this comes from confusion between frugality (finding the maximum value in something) and cheapness (trimming every last cent from spending).

Review: The First National Bank of Dad This was the first really thought-provoking book I read about teaching children how to manage money. For me, this book was really the beginning of a journey towards discovering my philosophy on how to help my children learn about money and handle it responsibly.

Thirteen Ways To Reduce The Effect Of “Bad Luck” In Your Financial Life Some people seem to suffer from bad luck more than others, but quite often that bad luck is triggered by poor choices. Here are some of those choices. (Yes, the number thirteen was intentional here.)

Should You Give Yourself Material Rewards For Meeting Certain Milestones? It’s great to celebrate when you achieve things, but is it a good thing for that celebration to involve buying things? My suggestion is to celebrate, but find non-material ways to highlight your great accomplishment.

Five Personal Finance Lessons That Rocked Me Like A Hurricane When I Figured Them Out These lessons still rock me, especially when I consider how I lived my life before these realizations.

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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