The Simple Dollar Time Machine: September 5, 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 (August 30-September 5, 2008)
Creation versus Consumption This is a really interesting way of looking at the world. The more things you do that create and the fewer things you do that consume, the better off you’ll almost always be.

What’s An Appropriate Home Food Budget for a Family of Four? Even though we buy lots of expensive foods (like gruyere cheese and direct-from-local-farm milk and eggs and so on), we still manage to match the USDA’s food spending targets for a family of four.

Why One-Budget-Fits-All Doesn’t Work – And Why It’s Difficult to Compare Spending Between People and Families Everyone has a different living situation and different values. Thus, trying to hit someone else’s budgeting target for how much you should spend in a particular required area (like food or energy) is something of a fool’s errand.

Ten Methods I Use to Keep Productive Wherever I’m At No matter where I’m at, I have the ability to collect and record my thoughts and ideas. The ability to do this has made all the difference in terms of maximizing my work time and my personal time.

Opportunity If opportunity comes knocking in your life, are you prepared to answer the door?

Two Years Ago (August 30-September 5, 2007)

Five Financial Moves I Made Within Three Days Of The Birth Of My Daughter These are good moves to make whenever you have a child – we’ll basically do the same exact things again if we have a third one.

Is An “Entertainment” Coupon Book Worth It? To put it simply, it’s only worth it if you put it front and center and use it. Start off your entertainment choices by looking at that book. If you don’t, this book gets forgotten and it’s not worth the cost.

What Constitutes An “Emergency” Where One Should Use An Emergency Fund? An “emergency fund” really only works when your spending is fully under control and you’re actively spending significantly less than you earn. If that’s true, then it’s clear – emergencies happen when unexpected expenditures go beyond what you have the ability to pay without tapping your emergency fund. But, without the spending control, it’s a moot point.

Is A Roommate Worth The Financial Benefit? A roommate can be a great way to save money if you’re single, but there are caveats – you have to be able to trust them, and just thinking it isn’t quite enough. This is your money you’re talking about, after all.

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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