Updated on 07.30.08

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Aged Thirty Years Edition

Trent Hamm

This week’s roundup comes very close to my thirtieth birthday, which I’ll be celebrating this coming weekend. Considering this is something of a milestone birthday, I’ve been reflecting a bit on how much has changed during each decade of my life.

When I turned ten years old, I was in the midst of a summer vacation between my fourth and fifth grade years. I was particularly baseball obsessed that summer and I remember spending countless warm afternoons listening to Cubs baseball games on WGN AM 720.

When I turned twenty years old, I was doing a summer internship between my sophomore and junior years in college, where I spent my days sifting soil and some of my evenings doing technical support for scientific illustrators. I actually remember my birthday that year – it was pouring rain and I rode through the town I was staying in on a bicycle wearing a red poncho in the middle of that rainstorm, just enjoying all of it. This was very close to the time I made my biggest money mistake, actually.

Now? I’m married with two kids, own a house in a small town, and write for a living. When I was ten, I couldn’t have imagined what I would be doing when I was twenty. When I was twenty, I couldn’t have imagined what I would be doing when I was thirty.

What will I be doing when I am forty? It’s truly impossible to guess at this point. I think I’ll just let it come.

The Diary of an Un-Frugal Weekend: A Lesson in Being Prepared Sometimes even the best-laid plans for living frugal just completely go awry. At least Lynnae deals with it well. (@ being frugal)

Should Your Standard of Living Rise? An increase in standard of living results in only a temporary increase in happiness, so why should you raise your standard of living at all? (@ wise bread)

Personal Finance Kata Mindful reading is a valuable thing. (@ gather little by little)

In Memory of Randy Pausch: Inspirational Videos to Watch When You Are In a Rut This one always tears me up, especially since I had a son of my own. It doesn’t matter how much money I make in life or what I “achieve” – what matters is that I can be there for my children at that moment when they need me. (@ frugal dad)

A Great Life Need Not Cost The Earth It need not cost money, either. Great visual explanation of the value of simpler living. (@ no impact man)

Don’t Make Money Blogging This is pretty accurate stuff, actually. A must read if you’re thinking about earning a ton of money blogging. Hint: you won’t. (@ shark investor)

Lower Your Grocery Bill Without Clipping Coupons Lots of good tips here. I’d recommend not just shopping at Aldi by default – I’ve found that Fareway is actually quite comparable to Aldi around here and has a much better selection. (@ money saving mom)

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  1. Frugal Dad says:

    Thanks for the link, Trent, and an early Happy Birthday to you! I celebrated the big 3-0 last year, and it was a reflective time for me, too. The 20’s were good to me, as it sounds like it they have been for you. Finishing school, starting a family, starting a career, and making a financial turnaround were just a few mutual milestones accomplished from the last decade. My 30’s will mostly be about milestones for my kids…junior high, high school, driving, proms, college searches, etc. Ok, now I’m officially depressed!

  2. Trent, in another 10 years I think you are going to more successful than you ever imagined. I bet you’ll have another few books published by then, your house paid off, and plenty of money in your children’s college funds.

    You are a humble, forward-thinking guy with a gift for communicating helpful information. You’re not afraid to reveal your failings and you have the guts to follow a plan of sacrifice to attain a worthwhile goal. You’re also not afraid to take a stand on issues where others shirk moral responsibility. You are very good about giving your wife credit for your success and how much you value her.

    You seem real clear about the path you wish to follow and how you will treat others along the way. I wish you much prosperity. Thanks for all of your timely posts.


  3. Jules says:

    Happy Birthday!

    What strikes me as funny is that anybody thinks they can make money by writing, photography, illustrating, or any artistic endeavor. What’s even funnier is that I’m trying to do just that–I’m currently trying to angle my way into the good graces of a photographer. What’s downright hilarious is that I just got paid for my very first Helium Marketplace article–and that I think the piece I wrote is utter crap.

    I’m not saying that to be modest. It truly is utter crap. *I* wouldn’t buy it from me.

  4. lady coveted says:

    30? wow… gosh, i thought you were older *sorry* for some reason, well, only because i’m older, and nowhere near as mature. not even close….

    30 was a milestone, but with life, there are many milestones.

  5. Johanna says:

    Happy birthday, Trent, from yet another of your 30-year-old readers. But I don’t remember my 10th birthday at all, and even my 28-year-old self would not have believed what I’d be doing now. Life happens fast. Enjoy the ride.

  6. writer dad says:

    Now? I’m married with two kids, own a house in a small town, and write for a living. When I was ten, I couldn’t have imagined what I would be doing when I was twenty. When I was twenty, I couldn’t have imagined what I would be doing when I was thirty.

    FIrst, wow. I pictured you ten years older; you certainly have a good deal of wisdom. Second, it looks like we’re in similar places at similar times. Well, my town’s really not that small, but everything else – check. I turned thirty on my last birthday; it’s been a fantastic ride so far. Happy birthday.

  7. Happy birthday Trent! I’m two years older than you and yet you are so much wiser. =)

    Thank you for including Wise Bread on this very special edition of The Simple Dollar.

  8. Mac says:

    I’m surprised about the rain on one of your birthdays. My birthday is also coming up this weekend (unfortunately for a more advanced age). I’ve advised friends to choose the date for their weddings because in the northeast it very rarely rains on that day.

    Very best wishes for your birthday and the years to follow!

  9. KC says:

    Happy Birthday – to you an me. I turn 35 on Friday. When I turned 30 it didn’t really feel like a milestone, although I do have to say I felt “officially” like an adult cause I was no longer in my 20s and there was no turning back. But 35 has been tough, luckily you won’t go through this. I’m 35, female, married, and NO KIDS. You’d think it was the end of the world. Everyone keeps telling me my chances of having kids over 35 is greatly reduced, chances of birth defects are greater, blah blah. Fortunately I live 8 hours away from nagging family so I don’t have to hear this all the time. And I’m not sure I want to have kids and I’m not sure I don’t want to have kids (“well you better decide quick!” is another phrase I hear quite often.) But truth be told all this bellyaching by family makes me side on not having kids – but we’ll see, cause, after all, I have to make up my mind quick, don’t I ;)

    Anyway happy 30th and thanks for listening to the rant!

  10. paula d. says:

    I wish I’d had your wisdom at thirty, and now at 57 I’d have a much more comfortable life. We all have our lessons, and I’ve learned alot about what not to do!

    I hope you have a great birthday, you’re well on the way to attaining some of those goals I’ve been reading about. It’ll be interesting how many you’ve reached by 40 and then 50.

  11. clint says:

    aw I rembere when I hit 30 I was just starting to get out of the rat race. You are way ahead.

    Great job and thanks for the Links to some great sites.

    Clint Lawton


  12. Susan in CA says:

    Happy Birthday and have a great weekend of celebrating!

  13. Tori says:

    Happy early birthday. I’m proud of you.

  14. Happy Birthday, Trent! I turned 30 this year too(although I have four kids. lol). When I was 20, I had no kids(although I’d been married for a year), so life is a lot different at 30 than it was at 20, that’s for sure. I was frugal then, though, and I’m still frugal now(even more so!). Maybe I will be exceedingly skilled at frugality by the time I’m 40!

  15. Lynnae says:

    Happy Birthday! I remember my 30th birthday seemed like such a big deal at the time, and now I can’t even remember what I did to celebrate! You have accomplished a lot at such a young age, and I wish you many more years of success!

    Thanks for the link!

  16. DD says:

    Happy Birthday!!!

    It was fun to read your reviews of your milestone B-Days. I’m a few years older than you and had a similar feeling when turning 30. I looked back and couldn’t believe how I got to where I was.

    I can’t wait to see where I’ll be when I’m 40 :)

    Thanks for the great links.

  17. Jan says:

    Happy B-day Trent!

    I hope you’ll continue producing helpful information for a very long time and have fun doing it!

    I recently turned 40 and finally all pieces of the puzzle are coming together: a clear plan has formed in my mind and the future is beautiful.

  18. NED says:

    Happy birthday Trent. Great job on the loan repayment loan, is the number gotten at before inflation or after, i.e. is that the value of the loans in 2006 or the sum of all the repayments you made?

  19. Salsaram says:

    Happy birthday Trent. Have a great weekend and enjoy everything you have in your life: mainly family and friends as the other things don’t really matter!

  20. DivaJean says:

    Happy Birthday!

    You’re far ahead of the curve- At thirty, I was still trying to be queen of the world and spending like I already was. At 40 (and 2), I have 4 kids, a more realistic outlook on my life and expectations, and am so much happier!

  21. Happy Birthday Trent!

    How nice to know that you have a meaningful milestone (paying off the last of the student debt) to celebrate as you pass an arbitrary milestone (birthday).

    Enjoy them both!

  22. Movingonup! says:

    Happy Birthday Trent! I had just realized how much money $17,000 of debt was on my 30th birthday. Have a sweet b-day!

  23. KellyB says:

    Happy Birthday Trent (and others!) My birthday also happens to be this weekend – Aug. 2. Is yours the same day? Just wondering, because I know so many people with that same birthday I honestly think it is the most popular day to be born LOL (Any way to check that?) I am significantly older – I’ll be 47 (yikes!), but like the others have said, because you are doing the right things now your future will be bright – and your future self will thank you!! I’ve always saved what I could and stayed mostly out of debt, and I am grateful to be in the situation I’m in now. Of course we always wish we could have saved more, but I’m happy with the experiences I spent the $$ on as well as the amount I’ve saved for my future. Have a great one!

  24. oldmiter says:

    Happy Birthday! I’m just a tad older and have learned a lot from your wonderful site. I’m wondering like KellyB if your B-day is Saturday too, because mine is that day. My best friend from grad school has the day before. Her husband’s is the same as mine along with my last roommate too (all the same year!) I’m trying to collect them all I guess, LOL.

  25. T says:

    Happy Birthday!

    I turned 29 today!

    I am grateful for everything I have, but I would like to meet that special woman and raise some children soon… we’ll see.

  26. Gayle RN says:

    I too become reflective on my birthday, looking at all the changes in life. I have found that the “5” birthdays show the most profound changes, such as 35,45,55. For my 45th birthday I was celebrating in London, with what I thought was the trip of a lifetime with my husband, also celebrating our 25th anniversary. Ten years later, on my 55th birthday I had been divorced several years and was following my dreams in a way I had never imagined in a place I had never thought I would see, Africa. Didn’t see that one coming. I wonder what 65 will bring?

  27. Gigi says:

    Happy Birthday Trent!
    I pray you have many, many more! Thank you for always have such wonderful information for us all. I’ve learned so much from you and your experiences. I wish someone would have taught me all of this before I ever hit my 30’s (that was a long time ago), but as 50 approaches I find I’m much more likely to pay attention to the lessons!
    God bless you and yours!

  28. reulte says:

    Happy Birthday Trent. I read TSD whenever I can and find a lot of great advice, informative writing and essays which really touch me here.

    KC Comment #7 — Family usually stops nagging about kid when you turn 40-42 or so. So you’ve got a few more birthdays of wanna-be-grandparents nagging. However, …

    …. life often serves up surprises … on my 43rd birthday I was single, childless, quite happy and just accepting a new job with lots of travel involved (just what I wanted) and no debt but schoool loans.
    On my 44th birthday — I was married with a baby boy and newly arrived in Berlin!
    On my 48th birthday I was filing for divorce while in Argentina and heavily in debt.
    Three days ago — on my 50th birthday my boy gave me one of his stuffed toys as a present, I’m in North Africa contemplating quitting my career and going back to school to complete my Masters and will be totally debt free by the end of two more weeks.

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