Welcome to the Carnival of Personal Finance, C-Note Edition! Yes, this is the one-hundredth Carnival. Think of the hundreds of bloggers who have participated over the past almost two years! The hundreds and thousands of posts! The hundreds and thousands and even millions of dollars we've all earned while reading and writing this stuff when we were supposed to be working at our real jobs! (Since a lot of people didn't submit until late in the week, I actually didn't spend that much of my employer's time putting this carnival together-- it just took up an entire sunny weekend instead.)
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This week's Carnival is full of wonderful advice and stories from a wide variety of bloggers-- and yes, there are 100 articles in this carnival! (ok, I had to add a few that hadn't been submitted yet... but it would have been really close even if I hadn't.) I've highlighted some of my favorites, and also tried to flag a few of the newest blogs that contributed. The rest of the posts are organized by topic, in the order they were received. (A couple of submissions were not included, as they were either off-topic, not recent, or had already been in other carnivals.)
100 is a pretty amazing number-- as Wikipedia will teach you, it's very mathematically interesting: it's the sum of the first nine prime numbers, and the sum of the cubes of 1, 2, 3 and 4. And it's an 18-gonal number, whatever that is. 100 is also the number of degrees Celsius at which water boils, the police telephone number in Greece, India and Israel, the record number of points scored in an NBA basketball game, and the number of "Famous Views of Edo" woodblock prints by Hiroshige in one of my favorite art books.
Of course as money is concerned, 100 is the number of sub-units into which most currencies are divided (cents, pence, etc.) and the 100 dollar bill is the largest US currency now in print. And as the ever-quotable Benjamin Franklin once said, "A hundred dollars saved is a hundred dollars earned, and better yet, it has my picture on it." Or something like that.
On to the submissions!
Golbguru from Money, Matters, and More Musings presents Husband, Does Your Wife Know How To Invest? Wife, Does Your Husband Know How To Pay The Bills?, and says, "You can pass on millions of dollars to your surviving spouse (or children) but if you haven’t passed on your financial knowledge to them, those millions of dollars will probably vanish pretty soon. Bottom line: regularly make efforts to communicate our financial knowledge to our partner (or a family member). It's important." A good reminder that information about family finances must be shared.
Lyman from My Wealth Building presents Top 5 Money Leaks in April, a very frank presentation of some money the author wishes he hadn't spent.
David from My Own Millions presents My investments highlight my dual personality, and says, "The difference between my 401k and brokerage account, and how that got me into thinking the importance of diversification." An investor wonders why a down day in the market can seem like both a good thing and a bad thing.
Shannon from Save to Quit doesn't want you to use credit or debit cards, ever! Read her 5 Reasons to Pay with Cash, even if, like me, you prefer to use credit cards for everything. new blog
Jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity provides an excellent guide to replacing your driver's license, passport, mortgage, car title and other important documents: How To Replace Destroyed or Lost Important Documents.
Jackie from Saving for Wealth presents Top 5 Ways that Real Estate Can Help You Become a Millionaire, and says, "A discussion of the advantages of real estate investing." Lots of good information here.
Hazzard from Everybody Loves Your Money presents You Know You Shouldn't Buy A House When...., and says, "An ongoing list of reasons you may want to reconsider buying a house. If very many items from the list apply to you, maybe you should work on your financial fundamentals before moving forward." You'll laugh... and you'll cry, because you know there are a lot of people who still buy houses despite these things!
Yowza, this post is like a carnival unto itself. But I think I might have to print it out and hang it on the fridge, as it provides so many good basic tips that are worth being reminded of. So many that I might need a bigger fridge. The Frugality Cheat Sheet: 147 Tiny Tips to Live Healthier, Happier, Greener and Better from the Frugalist.
Plonkee from plonkee money presents starting a business will not make you rich. A not-often-heard theme in the personal finance blogosphere, and somewhat comforting to those of us who don't have an entrepreneurial bone in our bodies.
At Queercents, Paula presents Sleeping With Money: Communication and Control, saying "The big lesson once you’re coupled is that what one partner does with money affects everyone. That is why communication is key..." I also liked her observation that money problems in a relationship might signify larger overall problems that a couple needs to deal with.
Trent Hamm from The Simple Dollar presents 26 Personal Finance Books - Ranked From Best To Worst, and says, "The title says it all. Your Money or Your Life is #1." Trent must never sleep! He's a very productive blogger, AND he's reading a different personal finance book every week for a year! This post recaps the first 6 months' worth of books.
Silicon Valley Blogger from The Digerati Life presents Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Lessons, Pay Taxes On Your Winnings!, which you should definitely read if you've been wanting to appear on a reality TV show!
S. Shugars at Personal Finance Advice wonders: Am I the Only One That Realizes That Having My Groceries Delivered Makes Financial Sense? and says "I have found that having my groceries delivered has saved me far more time and money than I could have ever done by shopping on my own." (They key here is to actually do your ordering from home, so you don't have to set foot in the store!)
Here's the rest of the posts, grouped by category in the order they were received.
General and Miscellaneous Personal Finance
The use of money is all the advantage there is in having it. -- Benjamin Franklin
- Joshua Dorkin at Real Estate Investing For Real presents How to Protect Your Identity: Stop Giving Out the Last 4 Numbers of your Social Security Number, in which he says you shouldn't give out the last 4 digits of your SSN, but what is the alternative?
- Cheryl from Basenji Mom presents Paycheck to Paycheck, and says, "This is my synopsis of an article printed in the money section of our local paper, which I found inspiring."
- In Financial Maturity, It's Good For Your Money Situation, Monty Loree at Canadian Money Advisor imagines how an 80 year-old might look back at what he's learned about managing his money.
- Plus 6 from Plus6Personal Finance presents Personal Finance Spring Cleaning Things To Do Now, and says, "An article detailing five important spring cleaning things to do now for your personal finances." They're great suggestions for any time of year. new blog
- Junger from Online Savings Blog presents Our Vanguard Roth IRA Conversions Are Done!... despite a few hassles along the way!
- Ellesse at Goal Setting College wants you to think rich: How To Acquire A Wealthy Mindset in 5 Powerful Steps
- Wenchypoo at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket presents The Dark Side of Fuel Efficiency: better fuel efficiency could lead to us all spending more money on gas.
- Jon from The Money Mythos presents How Electronic Fund Transfers Can Pillage Your Bank Account, and says, "A life lesson I shared on the dangers of giving companies permission to draw electronic fund transfers from your bank account." new blog
- ispf from Grad Money Matters presents What is the War on Iraq Costing *You*? . It's always interesting to look at things in personal terms-- according to this post, over $10,000 of my taxes went towards military spending last year. Yikes.
- PT from Prime Time Money presents Blockbuster Total Access - Should You Try It?, with a look into the pros and cons.
- Andy at Money Walks reminds us that Time is More Important than Money: it's not just how much you save, it's when.
- Mike from Clever Dude Personal Finance & Money presents I got diet pills for $109, but never ordered them. A cautionary tale about a debit card scam... but I want to know if he tried the pills and if he lost any weight!
- Jeremy from Generation X Finance presents The Top 5 Ways to Become a Millionaire.
- Henry Stern, LUTCF, CBC from InsureBlog presents Survey: Disabled, which offers "some troubling stats about how (ill-)prepared a lot of folks may be if faced with a disability. It could happen to you."
- Sid from Moneywell.co.uk presents Spend Wisely - Spend Smart, a reminder to save your spending for what's really important.
- Jon from Smart Money Daily presents To Bankruptcy and Back: My Story, the story of a friend who says, ""Hopefully, you’ll never have to face the decision of whether or not to declare bankruptcy. But for those of you who are in a situation in which it’s time to at least consider it, I can tell you from personal experience, it isn’t actually the end of the world, or the end of your financial future. Here’s what happened to me.""
- Wanda from Well-Heeled: 20something life & money presents College Reflection$, and says, "Mom paid for my education, and I'd like to do the same for my future kid. But the cost of a private school education in 25+ years is frightening, to say the least. "
- Holger Jacks at Buying and Selling Your Life Insurance presents What is a Life Settlement?
- Dana from Not Made Of Money presents We’re Hemorrhaging Money - A Good Time For The Emergency Fund, reminding us that sometimes you do have to use that money, and how to decide when that is the case.
- Majic from Krugergold Finance presents Free Audio Resources for Business, Finance and Entrepreneurship. A great collections of links for anyone who would like to keep learning about finance but doesn't have time to sit in front of a computer or read books all day!
- Jjoa from i want a sabbatical year presents financial software for Mac and for the rest of us. A detailed review with screenshots of a Quicken alternative for Mac users. It seems to offer more levels of expense subcategories, e.g. "Addictions> Chocolate> Hazelnut!"
- Ben from Money Smart Life presents Why Your Mom is the Engine of Growth in the Global Economy, and says, "Moms not only raise us, they help drive the global economy. Happy Mothers Day!"
- frugalbabe from Frugal Babe presents Pondering Investments and College Costs, and says, "Since paying for college is such a hot topic in the pf world, I thought I'd mention my thoughts on students shouldering some of the burden (without loans) themselves. "
- NCN from No Credit Needed presents Getting Out Of Debt: 10 Ideas About How To Begin, and NCN is someone who has successfully gotten out of debt since starting his blog, so he knows what he's talking about.
- Boston Gal's Open Wallet observes that Crying Poor Is Not Cute!
- Savvy Saver's tips for Garages Sales.
- Him at Make Love Not Debt says (Un)Happy Mother's Day.
- Tired But Happy on the ups and downs of using Prosper.com, her Favorite Way to Lose Money.
- Fearless Money decides to hire someone to do something he could have done himself, in Getting Help= More Time to Make Money.
- The Frugal Zeitgeist manages to talk herself out of spending money in Lust for Shoes, a topic that will hit home with many women!
- Nina at Sitting Pretty discusses Matters of Life and Death: the Importance of Wills. Making one has been on my to-do list for years.
It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.-- Benjamin Franklin
- From Vince Cordic's Internet Marketing Tactics: Why Do 97% of People Fail to Make Money Online.
- Is your blog not making you any money? Check out 8 Shrewd Ways to Optimize Google AdSense, by Robinson Go at Rob's Blog: Advice for Bloggers.
- FMF at Free Money Finance presents a few suggestions for How to Exit a Job Gracefully
- JD at Get Rich Slowly says that those who are unemployed should not expect to make a quick buck by starting a blog, and suggest some better ways of Coping with Unemployment.
If you would be loved, love, and be loveable. -- Benjamin Franklin
- David at Money Under 30 presents some simple common sense rules for couples considering cohabitation in Unmarried Couples & Money: Financial Tips for Shacking Up.
- David from My Two Dollars presents Love & Marriage - On Combining Our Finances.. Hear how David and his wife took the big plunge!
- CJ from The Coin Jar presents Financial emergency brings one couple closer together.
- Living Almost Large ponders the difference between "cheap" and "frugal" in Being worthy of money...martial argument #4.
- Kevin Surbaugh at Becoming and Staying Debt Free offers us 33 Ideas for Dating Frugally: You've made a love connection, but now you're weary of the wooing process because you're on a tight budget. But don't worry, because dating without much cash is possible and it can allow you to be creative while showing your date a good time. If you think that showing your true frugal colors may be a turn-off, then no need to tell your honey how much money you're saving.
Frugality & Savings Tips
Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship. -- Benjamin Franklin
- SavingDiva from Saving For a Home of My Own presents Scoring Discounts--A Reformed Shopaholic's Methods-- good tips to try on your next trip to Macy's.
- Rich Minx from Rich Minx presents Ladies: You Can Be Beautiful and Cheap, and says, "It can be expensive to look good. Here's some advice on saving money on all your beauty expenses."
- Inswatch at Home Insurance Guide offers up the Top 5 Ways To Reduce Your Homeowners Insurance Premiums.
- Q from $1 Million to My Name presents The upsell - you can say no, save your money!, and says, "This post discusses "the upsell" - your bank or credit card company will often try to sell you extra services because it is extremely profitable for them to do so. I offer a polite way to decline these offers."
- Jack Yoest at Reasoned Audacity is celebrating two anniversaries: his marriage and the purchase of the car he plans to drive til death do they part, in An Anniversary.
- Patrick from Cash Money Life presents Save Money with Discounted Gift Cards; Sell Unwanted Gift Cards, and says, "This post has some info about how to buy, sell, and trade gift cards on-line, and gives some examples of legitimate sites.
- Joe Caterisano at Penny Pinching presents More Questions that Will Prevent Impulse Spending
- The Frugal Law Student presents 3 Ways to Save Money on Your Personal Printer
- Dawn's 30+ Ways to Save a Dollar a Day at Frugal for Life.
- Kimber at No Limits Ladies suggests that you might save money and be happier by not geing a control freak about your wedding planning: Frugal Fridays: Total Control Costs.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. -- Benjamin Franklin
- Loi Tran at Investing Guide presents My Early Retirement Plan: doing the math to get real about retiring at age 45.
- Mr Credit Card from Ask Mr Credit Card's Blog presents 2007 Tax Advantage Retirement Plans Cheat Sheet, all the basic info about contribution limits, etc. for various types of retirement savings plans.
- Jim presents Top 5 Reasons To Save For Retirement Now!, at My Retirement Blog. I especially like reason #2: Old Habits Die Hard, So Start An Old Habit Today.
- KMC from Advanced Personal Finance presents A quick way to tell if you're saving enough for retirement.
- Super Saver at My Wealth Builder compares two hypothetical retirees in Retirement Planning - Focus On SPENDABLE Net Worth.
- The Mighty Bargain Hunter presents Top five ways to kill your retirement dreams, in case you want to be sure you don't have a comfortable retirement.
A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body. -- Benjamin Franklin
- Colonel Cash from Money and Credit presents Debt Ratios- Are they really that important?, an interesting look at how lenders evaluate potential orrowers.
- Broknowrchlatr from Broke now, Rich Later presents Rent vs. Buy: Only rent for the right reasons-- very sensible advice on how to compare renting vs. buying a home.
- Flexo from Consumerism Commentary presents Renting Makes You Richer, and says, "A valid argument that if you're disciplined, there are situations where renting will pay off over and above buying." Another good look at some aspects of the rent vs. buy debate.
- FrugalTrader from Million Dollar Journey presents Top 5 Reasons Why Building is Better than Buying!, and says, "Top 5 reasons why building a home is better than buying an existing home!" One of them is that it might be cheaper.
- Dan Melson at Searchlight Crusade quite reasonably opines that Gravity Is Not a Major Determinant Of Housing Prices: "the graph of housing prices takes place in a mathematical construct world, not on Planet Earth. It's a Cartesian Plane, not a jet plane."
- Steve Faber at Debt Free says you can Get a Mortgage With No Closing Costs That Beats Any Written Offer From Our No Commission Loan Officers, Then Don’t Make Any Payments For a Year!!!!!!!!! ... but like all the other mortgage ad tag lines he warns us about, it's too good to be true.
- Another warning about mortgage shenanigans you should avoid, courtesy of Nigel Swaby at Salt Lake Real Estate Blog: Don't Fall For the New Option ARM Marketing
- Wendell Sherk from Bankruptcy Law Network presents How To Make A Debt Trap, which he describes as "A piece discussing current lending to low-income borrowers that can trap them into a cycle of debt without a way to escape."
- Single Ma has some tough decisions to make in order to keep her Financials Fabulous: now that she has relocated for a new job, should she sell or rent out her home?
An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. -- Benjamin Franklin
- Dan at Everyday Finance from Everyday Finance presents Profiting Handsomely from Takeovers: he's got his eye on the knot.com.
- Average Joe at Investment Jungle tells us how to find a good dividend-paying stock in Screening for Quality Dividend Paying Stocks.
- Shadox from Money and Such presents Beating the Market or Faking It?, and says, "This post is a story demonstrating how it is impossible to know whether the fact that someone's portfolio is outperforming the market is due to skill or due to simple dumb luck..."
- TJP at Investor Trip is wondering: TD Ameritrade Online Trading: Good or Bad?
- Tate Dwinnell at Trading Stocks - Self Investors gets into the nitty gritty of trading in Live Trading Room Case Study: Day Trade in Force Protection (FRPT)
- The Money Diva from A Canadian and her Money presents I am an Impulse Shopper!, and says, "Two large stock purchases this week on "impulse" led to this not-completely-serious post..." I like the idea that people might be able to satisfy their shopaholic urges by buying stocks!
- Kevin from Personal Finance at KMull.com presents Locking in Stock Gains, and says, "An article explaining how to lock in stock gains with stop limit orders."
- Michael K. Dawson of The Time and Money Group thinks it's a good time to be investing in the mining industry: Mining Merger Mania: Say It Three Times Fast.
- Yoroku from Yoroku's Notes on International Index Investing presents Mental Preparedness of Cooks and Investors, where he compares his investing philosophy to that of a cook who tweaks a recipe to his own taste.
- Blunt Money presents The cost of not investing, reminding us that if you do nothing, you're not just keeping your money, you're losing it.
- Mark Rosner from capitalAI: the artificial search for better returns presents Spider-Man 3: Personal Finance Lesson? Yes!, and actually does draw a financial lesson from this unlikely analogy.
- Financial Jungle Guy from Financial Jungle presents Debunk Passive Investing as the Holy Grail, in which he says that he Tarzan, you Jane. Oh, and that actively managed funds aren't necessarily a bad choice.
- Sun from The Sun’s Financial Diary presents some very detailed analysis in Generating
- Passive Income with Dividend-Paying ETFs and Stocks.
- Babak at Trader's Narrative presents The Amazing Four Year Stock Market Cycle: "The four year stock market cycle can pinpoint great investing opportunities (includes a graph of the Dow Jones Industrial Average showing each the 4 year cycle going back to 1900's)."
- Clint from Accumulating Money presents Fundamental Indexing vs. Traditional Indexing, and says, "Today, one of the biggest idea battles in investments is between fundamental indexing and traditional indexing."
- JLP of All Financial Matters on What Do You Do When You're Too Scared to Invest?
Creditors have better memories than debtors. -- Benjamin Franklin
- Matthew Sevenson at Food for thought, by archangelG presents The price of credit, a look at the cost of using credit cards with high APRs.
- John Place of johnplaceonline.com presents The #1 Mistake Consumers Make with Credit Cards. I think we get a few extra mistakes beyond #1 too-- all good reminders about the pitfalls that can come with using credit cards.
- DDL from Make Your Nut presents Advice for New Graduates: Credit and Financing, and says, "I’m writing to those soon-to-be graduates who have little or no credit history, who need to start building a positive credit record while avoiding the quicksand of consumer debt abuse." The good news is that you're allowed to buy your own toilet plunger rather than borrowing one from your parents.
- FIRE Finance tells you how to Avoid Credit Card Fees and Interest Rate Increases!
- Jonathan from My Money Blog presents Surprising Truths (and Half-Truths) About Credit Card Debt, and says, "You’ve probably heard that the average American has over $8,000 of credit card debt. It’s been quoted all over the place. But does that single stat accurately explain the whole picture? I dig deeper and find some surprisingly facts." Interesting stats and charts here.
Next week's Carnival of Personal Finance will be hosted by FIRE Finance. Don't forget to follow the submission guidelines, and make the host's life easier by using the form from the Carnival homepage, adding a comment that summarizes what your article is about, and submitting early so the host has time to assemble the carnival! And remember:
Time is money. -- Benjamin Franklin