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The Simple Dollar: How One Man Wiped Out His Debts and Achieved the Life of His Dreams

3.5  ·  Rating details ·  579 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Struggling with debt? Frustrated about work? Just not satisfied with life? "Trent Hamm set out to boost his happiness by freeing himself from debt. This account of how he succeeded, and how he was able to construct the life he'd always wanted, will inspire readers to put his ideas to work in their own lives." -Gretchen Rubin, author of the #1 New York Times best seller, TH ...more
Paperback, 255 pages
Published June 19th 2010 by FT Press (first published June 9th 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Jill Miller
Jul 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
The book starts out very promising, but then the author wanders off on a major tangent. I hate to say it, but I get the feeling that the author is pretty impressed with himself. Also, the editing is awful. There are many errors, grammatical mistakes, etc., that really detract from both the reading experience and the credibility of the book. Overall, I was disappointed with this book. If you're interested in this topic, I recommend Dave Ramsey's "The Total Money Makeover," and "Your Money or Your ...more
May 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
I'm a lucky longtime reader of Trent's blog who responded quickly enough to his ARC opportunity. I'll be applying a chapter of my choosing to my life, and will have to respond about how the changes influenced my life.

Trent's book is good. It's well-written and to-the-point, which is consistent with his blog style. I like the personalized anecdotes and interesting tidbits. One thing I'm curious to see is if the aesthetic nature of the book changes with publication; it seems very textbook-like in
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
This is a nice inspirational read if you're looking for advice on big picture goal setting. As a financial model, however, it leaves a lot to be desired. Most of the advice is very basic: pay your debts, start a savings account, and live within your means. Some financial tips were so trite as to be irritating, such as the suggestion that one should make coffee at home and thus save 5 dollars per day. Who is spending 5$ a day on coffee?!

Overall, of you're looking for a book that includes anecdot
May 10, 2010 marked it as abandoned
I'm reading this book before it's been published to kind of review and test out one of the chapters' suggestions. I think I'm going to go with a more introspective, pondering-the-future/pondering-my-career chapter instead of the preparing-for-the-future chapter I was going to do initially. I read The Simple Dollar blog, and I love that his book isn't just rehashing his blogs (although it does tell his story). It includes a lot of research and tips for managing your own financial destiny, and I'm ...more
Nov 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elly by: Trent Hamm
An easy to read book about personal finance, speckled with personal stories. No previous knowledge needed. If you do know a lot about personal finance, it is still an enjoyable read, but you will not learn as much from it.

Key-points: spend less than you earn, learn to recognise what you really want, and then live according to that, and having fun does not need to cost (a lot of) money.
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
Got the free Kindle version. It was a quick read with some useful tips. The authors tries to cover a wide range of topics (not just about money) so there isn't much depth. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my colleague, Andy Oram, was quoted in the book.
Jun 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
Book is long-winded, dull, and horribly repetitive. In fact, several sentences are repeated verbatim throughout the book, not as some sort of mnemonic gimmick, but due to bad editing. Author mishmashes personal finance along with life coaching or goal setting advice to disastrous results. Book would have been more successful if it had been more concisely written.
Dec 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
This book is more about the author's personal advice on life and money with some anecdotes on his journey to being debt-free. Not quite what I expected but well written nevertheless.
Brandon Kessler
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Simple Dollar by Trent A. Hamm is an absolute must read, assuming you are in your 20's. The Simple Dollar is one part self-help, one part memoir, and one part financial advice. The Author uses small anecdotes from his life, interspersed with references to other financial, parenting, and self-help books. The Pro and Con of The Simple Dollar is its target audience - 20-somethings who are just starting out, or who really aren't that far along. Trent references his family, handling financial woe ...more
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately, I was disappointed by this book. The format of the book was that each chapter would begin with a short anecdote from the author's life, followed by an exposition of the idea. However, sometimes there would be multiple anecdotes, or sometimes there would be an additional anecdote in the middle of the chapter, and maybe it was partly that I was reading on a Kindle so the format isn't perfect, but it confused me. (Maybe I'm just easily confused.) Also, the chapter order wasn't entire ...more
Dec 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book on my Kindle. I chose this book because I enjoy reading how other people have gotten out of debt, or walked away from a career they didn't love, etc. My husband and I are on this road as well, and I love to read other people's ideas and thoughts on how they got off one journey they didn't love, and headed in the direction their heart truly wanted to take them.

Mr. Hamm has several different thoughts on changing things about one's life whether it's financial, professional, or pers
I came into this short book with some expectations that I would finish the book with some good, hard guidance on how to start a journey to life without debt. The book didn't meet all of my expectations, though, but I did leave with a few nuggets of information that I think should really get me started, at least. Trent Hamm is both a personal finance and a personal growth author so, even though the title of this book hints only at personal finance topics, he slides a handful or so chapters in her ...more
Aug 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
I was so disapointed in this book. As a reader of the excellent blog of the same name by the same authour I was hoping for more, I expected a lot. In the end this book reads like a somewhat poorly edited collection of his blog posts and does not offer any more information than is on his blog.

His blog is excellent and simply a fantastic resource. It is the only blog that I read and continully read becasue Trent Hamm inspires with his posts. Rather than perscribe a detailed method, gives you the q
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, my-firsttime, kindle
In spite of the fact that I read on a regular basis, I still found this book very interesting and some good quotes. Fortunately, I don't find myself in most of the situations that Trent explains in the book, but it really gives me hope that I am in a good place. If you've never read his blog, I highly recommend it. I got this book as a free ebook from Amazon (Trent mentioned it on his blog) and definitely enjoyed it. The thing I love about the book and his blog is how he talk ...more
Jan 24, 2015 rated it liked it
In this book, Trent Hamm focuses on the philosophy behind his frugality and how he clarified his values. Folks who want specific tips should read his other book or follow The Simple Dollar Blogs. But remember, the tips won't work unless you change your philosophy and clarify your own values. Discovered Trent and The Simple Dollar through links on The Christian Science Monitor webpage. The CSM has shifted to NerdWallet, which is useful, but it's focus is often more about how to save money by spen ...more
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
I found the book interesting, but I think it lacks of good editing. Take for example chapter 1: about credit card debt. It is little bit out of relation with the rest of the reading (in my opinion) or maybe I just didn't get it.

It sounds more to me a move from the author to keep people interested when they browse at the library, bookstore or amazon.

It is a mix of personal finances, experiences and tips. The kind of tips you find in the book are also in Trent's excellent blog.

The Simple Dollar wa
Keith Hughes
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
An interesting take on the struggle of getting out of debt. It covers some of the same ground as Dave Ramsey's The Total Money Makeover, but delves deeper into the psychological issues surrounding our use of money.

Trent did surprise me a bit in suggesting that college students be given a basic credit card, this after talking at length of the benefits of getting out of debt. We don't teach our teens about the dangers of auto accidents by purposely getting them in one, and that is what this advice
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Meh. Used to enjoy the blog before others started writing for it as it was getting prepped to be sold off. Thought the book might be similar to the old style of the blog but alas it wasn't. Meandering style, more o like me bc I'm pretty awesome (itch quotes from other folks) rather than a more insightful approach. Started the book ages ago and just I finished it bc it was o blah. Look elsewhere for a more inspired financial freedom book.
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Hamm's books is okay. There's nothing very unique about Hamm's approach: it's a classic Ramsey-esque: pare down, spend less, eliminate debt type of approach, which is fine. It may not be a particularly creative antidote, but it's hard to argue its not usually the best one. Hamm does try to encompass a bit more in his approach as he talks about lifestyle choices and the place of money in a well lived life. I applaud him for that.
Dec 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-book-list
Solid, simple, practical advice, less of an "earth-shaker" and more like a good refresher to get financial focus back on track. Good chapter on how to give your kids a financial head start, and ideas on how to begin teaching them through practical, hands-on experience at a young age. Definitely highlighted some ideas in that chapter to revisit later. Also a good reminder to plan for retirement - with a twist.
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: in-my-library
This wandering book covers finances, parenting, career planning, self-help, and the author's biography. It doesn't really plow new ground, but is a compilation of advice from a variety of sources. Some good info, some common sense info.

Worldview? It ends with a discussion about Karma, in case you need more motivation.
Terry Koressel
Oct 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
It is actually a good book, but not for a financially conservative CPA with a long-time "no debt" philosophy. I did not learn much from the book that I hadn't learned years ago through my own experiences. Now my kids....this would be a GREAT read for them (not that I could ever get them to read a book like this).
Mar 25, 2011 rated it liked it
This was a free Kindle book from Amazon. I have read Trent Hamm's blog, The Simple Dollar for several years and do enjoy it. I am already debt free except for a small land note, and this book didn't offer a lot of useful financial information for me personally. It is not very well organized or edited. But -- the price was right.
Oct 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
I've followed for a while now and I thought this book would be a lot of the background of Trent's story. It isn't. It's probably a very good book for someone who needs help getting out of debt but the title of the book didn't make me think that's what it would be. I read the journal entry sections and skipped the rest.
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Although the information presented here is usually good it was rather dry and repetitive. I was also, based on the title, hoping for more of a memoir rather than very brief random vignettes from his life presented throughout a book which is otherwise just self-help/personal finance info.
Jan 29, 2012 rated it really liked it

I love that I got this for a buck, especially given the title.

I'm enjoying this. Practical input and some surprisingly modern thinking in spending and saving money. It derails a bit a couple chapters in, but in a positive way, so I'm not complaining. :)
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
I don't think the title is appropriate for the content in the book. I feel the chapters covering what people could do to exploit their interests at retirement age as well as teaching your kids about budgeting a waste of space in this book. I was expecting more solid ideas for clearing debt.
It had a few good bits, but you can get all the content from just reading the 5 bullet points at the end of each chapter. Would not have read it at all, except the kindle version was being given away for free.
Apr 08, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very poorly written. What I learned from this one is: It's possible to change your life and pay off your debts. The most straight forward way is to spend some time writing a poorly written book about changing your life and paying off your debts and selling it to enough people.
Oct 19, 2010 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Trent gives simple advice to regain control of your financial life and I’ve already begun implementing some of the strategies. I would recommend this book to anyone seriously looking to change their relationship with money and stuff.
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I write personal finance articles and books for a living, but I'm currently stretching myself into short stories and food writing, among other things.

I live in rural Iowa with my wife and two children.

I'm using GoodReads to keep track of all of the stuff I read for ~personal enjoyment~ (meaning I'm not counting stuff I'm reading for the purposes of review) from July 27, 2009 onwards (when I joined
More about Trent Hamm

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“If you want something different out of life, you need to try something different and change the rules a bit.” 5 likes
“The most valuable investment today is not in the form of a dollar, but in the form of a relationship.” 0 likes
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