The Simple Dollar Time Machine: September 26, 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 20-26, 2008)

Personal Energy and Frugality Quite often, you have to take some extra personal action in order to trim your spending. For some people who already have their schedule jammed to the gills, an extra fifteen minutes of relaxation has a very high value – and it’s easy to toss out frugality. So, why not focus on the less time- and energy-intense ways to cut spending?

Looking at Your Career as an Investment Your career is an investment. You rack up experience and connections, and those things pay dividends that help your career as a whole grow.

The Twelve Biggest Personal Finance Mistakes People Make Over and Over Again I see these things pop up over and over and over again, in emails from readers and conversations with people.

Managing the Natural Ups and Downs of Your Workweek Everyone’s workdays and workweeks have natural ups and downs. How can you manage those to maximize your productivity? For me, the biggest key was figuring out my own “energy valleys” and “energy peaks” and doing appropriate things in each area.

Why Many “Alternative Income” Ideas Aren’t Worth Your Time – And What You Might Do With It Instead Alternative income is (usually) a scam of some sort, best avoided. Instead, there are a lot of ways to actually legitimately increase your income.

Two Years Ago (September 20-26, 2007)

When A Frugal Life And Social Gift-Giving Come Into Conflict What do you do when you’re expected to give a gift – particularly an expensive one – when you wouldn’t possibly even want such a thing in return? It’s a real sticky wicket.

The Do-It-Yourself Dilemma: When Things Go Wrong Doing it yourself not only teaches you new skills, but it can also save you money. However, sometimes it can fail (and sometimes it can fail miserably). What do you do then?

Is The Value Menu Really A Value? Comparing The Homemade Double Cheeseburger To The McDonald’s $1 Version I followed up the hamburger post mentioned last week by making my own at home, discovering that I could make a truly awesome cheeseburger for about $1.40.

Why Does Everyone Preach About Index Funds? What They Are And Why They’re Good – From The Very Beginning Index funds are my preferred way to invest – they’re low cost and they diversify your investments without much effort. Here’s the complete case for them.

Making A Major Life Change: Is It Time For Kathy To Abandon The City? There are advantages and disadvantages to city and country living. Here, I contrast the two while trying to help reader Kathy figure out which avenue she should take with her life.

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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