'Basecamp Personal' is a scaled-down version of the full Basecamp web application created by 37signals. The main differences with the full version are that you only have one project, you are limited to 5 users, and you only pay a one-time charge of $25. All the other Basecamp versions have monthly subscriptions, multiple projects and unlimited users. Currently you have to be a Basecamp user to purchase Basecamp Personal, but it seems as though 37signals plans to remove this restriction. If you aren't a user now, I think you will be able to get Basecamp Personal soon.
OK. This isn't really a hack. I am taking the personality of Basecamp Personal and exploiting it for what I want to accomplish. Times are tough, you don't have many projects, nor many people to work on them. Paying a month subscription seems like a deal-breaker; but $25 is doable.
Within Basecamp Personal you have Discussions, TO-DOs, and Text Documents. Text documents are shared spaces/documents that more than one person can work on simultaneously, say planning a presentation. There is also 1 GB storage for uploaded email, files ... see the link to a comparison on the left. The key to using Basecamp Personal for several projects instead of just one, as intended, is the unlimited number of Discussions and TO-DOs you can have. Add to this some consistency in naming projects; and, voila, you have the situation shown in the screen shots below.
This is the Overview of your project(s) showing recent activity, and five most recent Discussions and TO-DO lists.
The view shows how we use Discussions to, well, discuss issues on the project and document status, deadlines, research and so on. When someone comments on the discussion, an email goes out to the other team members if you choose to have it do that.
The view shows an example of how we set up TO-DO lists. By using a project ID as part of the list name, you could easily have multiple TO-DO lists for each project for different phases or different aspects - site, code, etc.
The upshot is that we have have most of the benefits of Basecamp for just a one-time cost of $25. Keep your fingers crossed that 37signals opens up the availability to the public.