Updated on 07.30.14

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Winging It Edition

Trent Hamm

Writing The Simple Dollar is a lot of fun. I truly enjoy sharing my thoughts with you, and I love reading the comments that all of you leave. They’re insightful and often thought-provoking.

Where I get into trouble is when I try to figure out new avenues to go down. I have enough breathing room now to start another major initiative. Should I start a new blog? Should I focus on writing another book? Should I try one of my other crazy ideas?

Right now, I sit at a crossroads, trying to figure out how I can reach the most people with my thoughts and ideas.

I guess I’ll do what I did when I started The Simple Dollar. I’m going to wing it – and see what happens.

Stay tuned.

How Cheaply Can You Brown Bag Your Lunch? Leftovers. Leftovers are always the key. Of course, these ideas are solid, too. (@ all financial matters)

Work-Life Balance Is a False Choice I think that most people who struggle with a work-life balance haven’t yet figured out what is the most important thing in their life. They’re pulled between conflicting desires, but haven’t resolved things yet. (@ brip blap)

Organize Your Finances: Take Just One Step… That’s really the key. Take one step. Then when you feel confident in your footing, take another. That’s the key to any journey in life, and personal finance is no different. (@ pt money)

How and Why to Freeze Your Credit I’m linking to this because a reader recently wrote to me with an identity theft scare and I suggested she try this. An hour later, nickel posts about it. (@ five cent nickel)

Stupid Mistakes and Escaping Paycheck to Paycheck We all mess up. That’s why emergency funds can be vital. (@ mrs. micah)

Five Tactics for Pursuing Voluntary Simplicity I feel, more and more, that I’m headed down the voluntary simplicity path in my own life. It’s not necessarily by active choice, but more like a boat slowly changing direction in the water. (@ get rich slowly)

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  1. Frugal Dad says:

    Nice roundup! I look forward to hearing more about your new project. By the way, I saw Simple Dollar mentioned as part of PC Magazine’s article, “15 Web Sites for Managing (and Saving) Money.” Congrats on the mention!

  2. I totally agree with you on the leftovers, Trent! My grocery store has been running this campaign in their deli that says, “Save money! Pack your lunch!”, and while it’s certainly true that packing a sandwich is cheaper than buying a sandwich out, it’s also not NEARLY as cheap as bringing leftovers(and leftovers are really easy too, as they’re already made!). Deli meat is insanely expensive in my opinion(when else would you ever pay $6 a pound for turkey breast?) and so a deli meat sandwich is just not the cheapest way to go. If you need a meaty sandwich, it’d be better to make one with some grilled chicken or leftover roast beef or something.

  3. writer dad says:

    Write a book! Throw yourself into something totally different than what you’re used to. Make people up and have them say funny or interesting things to one another. For me, the hardest thing about getting my first novel finished was the daily rhythm. You’re already comfortable with that because of the blog. Whatever you decide to do, I’m sure you’ll do it well.

  4. Eden says:

    There are a lot of blogs out there already. I think writing more books or e-books would be great (I’d vote for e-books). There is a big need for collecting valuable information into an easy to find format. You’ve written so much great stuff on this site, but how many readers have the time to dig through it all (or even know they need to be digging)?

  5. Rick says:

    I had always been looking forward to the food blog. I need to learn how to cook, and I was hoping the blog could help me towards this end.

    But whatever you do, I’m sure you will be successful.

  6. Janna says:

    I second the food blog! I am pretty clueless in the kitchen, but I want to learn how to cook (and how to do it cheaply!) I have been following the cooking section of thepioneerwoman.com, and her instructions make it easy for beginners like me. If you did something like that (could have fewer pictures, and more emphasis on frugality), I would be hooked!

  7. silver says:

    Do the cooking blog that you’ve been taunting us with!

  8. Joseph Lyons says:

    Crazy idea! I vote for crazy idea!
    Trent, your blog has been a wonderful addition to my morning reading for months now. You provide the kind of financial advice that I don’t get anywhere else and people need you as a resource. Not just each of us as individuals, but as a society – we need your simple, honest, and sometimes brutal steps to take care of our money.
    And as nice as all of that is, I say do something crazy – that no one’s done before – that will rock the world – that will send a shockwave through you or through us…

  9. PT says:

    Best of luck with your decision…or indecision. Sometimes, allowing yourself to casually fall into your next passion is best.

  10. Sheila says:

    I’d love to see a great food blog for those of us on a budget. I don’t keep white truffles in my kitchen.

  11. Mrs. Micah says:

    Good luck winging it! I second the motions for a cooking/food blog. I’m a pretty decent cook, but I know I have plenty of room for improvement too.

    Thanks, too, for mentioning the paycheck to paycheck post. Before it got straightened out, I was feeling very grateful for our savings.

  12. Andy says:

    A food blog would be great, but I also kind of agree with writer dad to try something completely different and just see how it goes.

    Also, for everyone looking to learn how to cook, take a look at Start Cooking. It has some great tutorials on the basics. Or (shameless plug) check out mine – I am always open to suggestions if there is anything that you’d like to see.

  13. Suzanne says:

    Please don’t start another blog!!! The market is saturated and though you have valuable material to present don’t choose a blog as the outlet.

    If you are tempted to start another blog, like the cooking blog, consider creating a set of ebooks instead. You can produce greater quality material worth committing to print and give your audience the option to obtain a hard copy through on demand printing.

    If you run two blogs one will surely suffer. I know you wouldn’t be happy with that and could possibly get a bit obsessed about it. That’s not good business, and you are your own business.

    All that said, anything that further develops the “Trent Hamm” brand will be worthwhile. Ask yourself, “Is this activity going to add value to me and my family?” If your answer starts with the word “well” then it’s not a good choice because you’re about to justify it.

    You should take my advice because I’m an MBA student and that makes me smart. *laughs with herself*

  14. Anjanette says:

    I can hardly believe you have energy to think about *another* project. My husband and I were just talking last night about how amazing it is that you have so much content on here and yet you still think of more to write about!!

  15. Andre Kibbe says:

    It sounds like your upcoming book will make a great launchpad for public speaking. You’ve mentioned the value of “learning to present” a few times, so it seems like building the “Trent Hamm brand,” as Suzanne put it, would be a step in the right direction.

  16. Trent, I think you should advertise yourself to producers about a reality show. I am ABSOLUTELY SERIOUS. Can you imagine the ratings that your show would get in this day and age in America? Everyone is trying to save money and cut corners. A reality show on network TV about one of the most frugal families in the nation!

    In order to get you started, you should start a daily video blog!!

  17. Mia says:

    So, what’s happening with the email? It’s flooding my in box. I know you’re trying to get the word out, but sheesh! ;)

  18. Alexia says:

    ok, yeah I know you didn’t email THE SAME THING 20 million times, so NO I’m not unsubscribing… I mean that would mean punishing you for something being wrong… Just letting you know (in case you didn’t already) that I also got the repeats this morning. No it hasn’t happened before!

  19. BonzoGal says:

    I’m with Anjanette- I can’t believe you not only do this blog, but you update posts several times a day! One post a day would be great, but you do two or three. Bonus for your readers, but it must be tough on you.

    I vote with the folks who say write a book.

  20. SP says:

    Many cooking blogs don’t update daily, which if you do start one, I think you should not. Even if you write one or two quality entries a week, you could be successful. I do not think many cooking blogs out there focus on average ingrediants for the frugal family. Truffle oil? no thanks.

  21. gillgirlk says:

    I vote for the cooking blog! Like SP says, 2 entries a week can add up over time to many cheap, delicious, easy meals!

  22. Brip Blap says:

    Thanks for the mention, Trent. Personally, I’m not pulled at all – I’m exceptionally family-oriented – but I wonder about whether I’m TOO family oriented, so maybe I’m pulled after all. A balance does need to be achieved. I have two kids at home and my combined family hours-at-work is about 35 per week, so I wonder if I shouldn’t be working harder. Tough questions, if nothing else.

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