The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Mad Men Edition

Recently, I dug out a copy of Mad Men: Season 1 on DVD that I’d received for a gift a long time ago and never watched. And now I’m thoroughly hooked.

For once, the hype was right on. The only problem now is that season 3 is airing on television and I’ve yet to see season 2. I’ve watched a couple season 3 episodes, but there are clearly some pieces of the puzzle missing.

Guess I know what I’ll be spending my “mad money” on next month!

Work to Live or Live to Work? What are you working so hard to achieve? Are you sure you don’t already have it? For me, I worked very hard to build a great career so that my children could be secure, but I found that my children were actually LESS secure because of all the time I was investing in that career. So I walked away. (@ bargaineering)

Get Less Done: Stop Being Productive and Enjoy Yourself This article points to the same place that many such articles on doing less point: IGNORE the urgent but not important tasks in your life. I’ve been doing this by strongly applying email filters so that I don’t have to even look at a lot of emails. Doing this means you have time for the “important but not urgent” things in your life, like true leisure. (@ zen habits)

A Cheapskate’s Guide to Eating Out There are several good tips here for reducing the cost of a meal out, but a few of them wind up in something of an ethical gray area. I agreed highly with seven of them, but felt the other three ideas really merited some further thought and discussion (but that’s what comments are for, right?). (@ wisebread)

Rethinking the ideology of carrots and sticks Rarely do traditional motivators work over the long run. Instead, the best motivator is freedom. If you want someone to excel, give them the freedom to do so. I think this works for a lot of people, but some people simply function better in an organized hierarchy with clearly defined tasks. (@ presentation zen)

Cooking from Scratch: Where’s the Work? The “work” for me cooking at home is the chopping. I’m just not very good at it and as a result I usually dread recipes like ratatouille, where there’s a lot of chopping (even though I love the finished dish). My solution is usually to look for “cheats” for chopping (like overusing the food processor) or to try to offload it to someone else, like my wife who’s better at it and doesn’t mind it as much. (@ wisebread)

You have an income crisis, not a spending problem Some people truly have cut all they can, but they’re in a living situation where their baseline cost of living approaches their income. That’s an income crisis, not a spending problem. In that case, you need to focus on earning more – get a second job, try to jump-start a side business, or even do odd jobs. (@ gather little by little)

When You Try To Be Frugal And Hit The Wall If you “hit the wall,” you might not be doing frugality correctly. Similarly, if you “hit the wall” with a diet, you’re probably not dieting right. Frugality shouldn’t be like a crash diet, but should be a steady process of maximizing the value in your life. (@ queercents)

The Seven Enemies of Financial Success Lack of discipline, materialism, debt, taxes, inflation, investment mistakes, and emergencies are the seven enemies. I think some are much bigger than others – lack of discipline and materialism top the charts, in my opinion. (@ get rich slowly)

How to Respond to Criticism – Learning from Dr. King This is a great essay on how to deal with criticism, inspired by Martin Luther King’s “Letters from a Birmingham Jail.” One passage still gives me chills: “when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people.” (@ four hour work week)

Why you should outsource your chores I think, in some cases, it does make sense to outsource your chores. The real key to all of this is to get a firm grip on what your time is worth in AFTER TAX money and also how valuable you believe time spent doing things like Twitter etc. to build your business really is. (@ msn moneycentral)

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