I wasn’t sure what the turnout was going to be for the Carnival of Personal Finance on the Eve of Christmas, but it looks like we’re celebrating as big a party as any you would expect from our financial online community! I enjoyed so many of these articles, and I found that I had to do less filtering than I did the first time I hosted. I also came across many “new faces” (new blogs) on this list and am eager to have you encounter them here.
This time around, I would like to give this carnival a “whimsical” flavor through the work and art of a woman I admire and whose Christmas ornaments I’ve collected and treasured in recent years. Her name is Patience Brewster. I find her to be an amazingly gifted individual who’s accomplished a lot in her life as a creative artist, writer and well-known illustrator pursuing projects in line with her talents. Read more about her inspiring story here.
In this light, I hope you enjoy our presentation here today of financial articles by folks who would like to share with you their gift of information, education, fun, entertainment, thought, commentary and advice on this special day.
About the posts: Due to the sheer volume of submissions and for the sake of clarity, there may have been a few cases when I took some of the participants’ own words when presenting their articles. Also, if you haven’t had a chance, you may be interested in subscribing to this blog through these measures:
Happy Holidays To You All!
~ Editor’s Picks ~
Revised: Cheap Eating With Cost-Per-Serving @ Wisdom From Wenchypoo’s Mental Wastebasket: An incredible demonstration of how you can lower your food costs by doing some detailed analysis.
I’ve Got Serious Gas @ My Family’s Money: How the price of gasoline is giving Steward a really sore tummy and what he’s doing about it (includes cool charts)!
Returning to China and the Surreal and Dangerous Feeling of Being Wealthy @ The Bag Lady: When you’re in a foreign country, the currency exchange rate can make you feel like you’re spending “monopoly money”. Of course, feeling artificially flush depends on which way the exchange rate goes.
The Best Gift of All — Friendship @ Inside Montana, Your Home At The Range: Some great gift ideas here, that are not of the material. How about giving the gift of yourself, your time or something you can experience?
Women Investors Kick Guys’ Butts @ The Dividend Guy Blog: Some interesting studies have shown that women’s portfolios gained 1.4% more than their male counterparts. Other research has shown that all-women investment clubs out gained all-male clubs by 4.6%. Hmmm….
Spend Less Than You Earn – The Wrong Way To Think @ Brip Blap: Instead of thinking about “spending less than you earn” to make it, why not think about “earning more than you spend?” Truly insightful.
The New Quicken Online: A New Direction for Money Management Software @ Consumerism Commentary: Flexo offers a comprehensive, thorough review of Quicken Online. I’ve been wanting to get ourselves some “real” financial software to use (maybe I’ll get it as my Xmas gift tomorrow. ) but I’d prefer to stick with the desktop version for now, for security reasons.
Do You Really NEED Credit? @ Debt Free Revolution: Amazing, how some of the people in our lives can have a completely different view of finances than we do! Money beliefs and values can fall on such a wide spectrum.
How To Save $1,744 On A Week-Long Vacation @ The Honest Dollar: I commend Lily for the extensive research and budgeting she did to cut down on the costs of her Texas vacation. I like the frugal choices she’s made such as avoiding places where the exchange rate results in more outlay, and the helpful links she has provided us budget hounds.
2007 PF Blogger Net Worth Comparison @ Million Dollar Journey: With personal finance bloggers writing about finance so much, do you ever wonder how much they’re really worth? Here’s your chance to find out what kind of net worth some of us have! Unfortunately, due to reasons of privacy and in my case, paranoia ;), some of use are unable to reveal our true financial status, though believe me, it’s something we really all want to know!
~ Credit and Debt ~
2007 Credit Card Roundup @ Ask Mr. Credit Card Blog: Mr. CC gives us the latest updates on the credit card industry and specific credit cards, ranging from the end of easy balance transfer deals to increases in late fees and other costs.
Caution! Credit Card Crossing! @ Money Smart Life: Tina wishes there could be some warning signals in place to stop us from swiping our money away with credit cards.
Our Credit Limits: Over $1,000,000! @ My Dollar Plan: Madison covers her credit with great detail, slicing and dicing and taking note of her household’s credit accounts and limits. That is a lot of credit.
How attitudes change as you pay off debt @ So Sick of Debt: Sick of Debt shares her thoughts while going through her debt reduction journey. She’s shifting her thoughts to financial issues beyond just debt, now that she’s able to chip through her obligations.
What’s worse than being a borrower? @ Father Sez: Loan guarantees are a tricky matter as it can open a huge can of worms, especially with friends and family. So tread carefully when it comes to such issues.
Why You May or May Not Want to Consolidate Your Loans @ Free Money Finance: Loan consolidation may not be a good idea if it leads you to more debt. Find out when it’s a good idea to consolidate your debts.
How to Automate Your Savings with a Credit Card @ Credit Cards That Pay: When is it ever a great idea to spend? When you can save some money at the same time! Okay, that’s stretching the concept of saving a little, but if you’re looking for a credit card with a reward program, then this would be the kind to get.
Lending Club Personal Experience @ My Deals Blog: Here’s something I would like to do at one point but haven’t yet done — a review of a peer-to-peer lending service!
~ Budgeting and Frugality ~
Christmas, Debt, and Spending — Our Example @ The Happy Rock: The Happy Rock shares some personal family Christmas traditions revolving around gift giving, along with some of the sticky points behind making more frugal choices.
Please, Annette — Think It Through @ Frugal Journey: Just because something is free or cheap doesn’t mean it will remain that way…in the long term. Always consider the maintenance costs of any item, because in the end, that’s the number that matters to your wallet.
Respecting a Gift Giver Who Sticks to his Budget @ One Frugal Girl: A great story about how some bargain hunting and coupon clipping enabled a family to buy some merchandise for really cheap. Just don’t feel guilty about spending so little.
Are budgets required or just a good idea? @ Early Retirement Extreme: Jacob questions the need for budgets and likens them to calorie counting. I agree with his views. I usually maintain a loose budget and most of the time, I budget in reverse — that is, I list all my expenses down, see where the money goes, then decide to spend less on certain categories.
Being Frugal @ Watch Me Become A Millionaire: Read some thoughts that reinforce the idea that curbing your spending will eventually help you reach financial independence.
Stupid frugal decisions can cost you more in the long run @ Novel Experiences: Sometimes, you may find yourself actually saving money by eschewing the frugal choice and instead buying a quality item for a higher cost.
50+ Ways to Cut Back on Your Christmas Bills Without Feeling the Pinch @ Credit Card Lowdown: The holiday season is fun and full of good times, but it’s also quite expensive. Nearly everyone feels the crunch from gift giving to travel and parties. So here are over 50 ways to save money while still getting the most out of the Christmas season.
Use Grand Central to lower your Phone Bill @ How I Save Money: Grand Central is a free service that allows you to have a number that controls all of your other phone numbers. This post explains its benefits and how it works.
Baring My Budget: Hamburg @ Less Than A Shoestring: Want to visit Hamburg on a shoestring? Here’s how poetloverrebelspy spent three days on a trip which cost less than 65 euros.
Earn $1 Million By Not Buying a Nintendo Wii! @ Cash Money Life: How the power of compounding and Wii accessories can conspire to bilk you out of a million dollars.
~ Investing and Wealth Building ~
How to Make a List of Rules to Invest By @ The Investor’s Journal: Every investor needs a self created list of rules to invest by so that they stay disciplined and successful. Here’s how to make a list of your own investing rules so that you don’t repeat any mistakes you’ve made over the course of your investing career.
Big Ticket To Wealth @ Alexander Marlin: According to Alexander, he experienced an impressive life-changing moment when he received an email message a few weeks ago from a very young entrepreneur.
Understanding the difference between investing and gambling @ Personal Financier: I have some friends who like to argue that investing is gambling. This is the article I’ll be showing them the next time they bring up another debate.
I Will Teach You How To Become A Millionaire @ Worldwide Success: Here’s a list of ways to become a millionaire, prioritized according to likelihood of occurrence (from least to most likely). The author also notes that the more likely the option the more it will require hard work, discipline, and significant time.
What is Interest? A Story of Grasshopper and Wise Master @ The Simple Nickle: People who understand interest earn it; they don’t pay it. Interest is what you pay to borrow money, or what is paid to you if someone borrows your money. That is, if you lend someone your money, you have an ‘interest’ in that money, so you charge them interest to use it.
Six Streams of Income @ Moolanomy: Here are several alternative income streams that can help you diversify your income and rely less on one source of income.
Achieving my Net Worth Goal @ Single Guy Money: The author just hit his 2007 Networth goal of $65,000 but is not celebrating yet given the swings in the stock market. If I were you, I’d celebrate anyway: congratulations on reaching your milestone!
All About The Ben Stock Trading Methodology @ All About The Ben: The author describes how he screens and analyzes a stock for inclusion into his portfolio using his own system. Before it can be considered for his portfolio, he ensures that a stock must meet all five of the criteria he describes in his post.
The Secret of the Compounding Salary @ Dividend Money: The next time you hear complaints around your workplace about the lack of bonuses or a cheap 3% raise…just remind yourself of this article and make sure that you are fully utilizing all of the benefits available to you.
My 401K Is Killing Me, I’ll Never Retire @ Free From Broke: The author’s 401K isn’t performing too well this year, but since it’s for the long term, it’s no cause for alarm. We take the good years with the volatile years when it comes to investing in the stock market.
Gentlemen Prefer Bonds @ Where Does All My Money Go: “Gentlemen Prefer Bonds” is a famous quote in the financial services. It’s attributed to Andrew Mellon, a wealthy financier and banker from the early to mid 1900′s.
Dynamic Dividend Investing @ Dividends 4 Life: 4Life discusses a strategy that allows one to maximize annual dividend income while taking into account the effect it will have on one’s taxes. Check out how dividend returns of 10+% can be achieved.
6 reasons why stocks are the best investment vehicle @ J.C.’s Money Blog: The author tells us why he believes that the best way to grow your wealth is through buying individual stocks. Here’s someone who prefers individual stocks to mutual funds and index funds.
Warren Buffett Videos @ ChristianPF.com: Here is a series of videos from a talk Warren gave to MBA students at the University of Florida. He still hasn’t written a book, so you have to soak up his wisdom via other methods (like this). If you are even remotely interested in investing or business these would be a good use of your time. (each one is a little under 10 minutes)
My Two Cents on 12 Investing Mistakes and How You Can Learn From Them @ Chance Favors: Here’s a detailed review and analysis of investing mistakes that others have made.
Customer Review: Questrade Discount Brokerage @ Building Equity In Toronto: It took the author at least several months of web research, reading, and website visits before he finally decided on his choice of a discount brokerage for his equity RRSP account. Read about the factors he considered to arrive at such a decision.
~ Shopping and Consumerism ~
Ding Dong – Did Someone Order Groceries? @ The MotherLoad: Grocery deliveries have become very popular as people have become more & more busy. This post offers some tips for shopping at grocery delivery websites as well as a helpful listing of these sites.
Why I Don’t Relish Shopping @ Mad Kane’s Humor Blog: Bring a smile to your face by reading up on the cool poetry at Mad Kane’s blog!
Socially Conscious Online Shopping Guide: Sites and Sales @ Money and Values: It’s usually more socially conscious to avoid buying new items, but if you’re going to do it anyway, there are a lot of options to make your gift purchases fit your values. Here are dozens of links to sites where you can do that, including many which are holding holiday sales.
Spending on [Hidden] Holidays @ Adfecto Abundantia: Does it seem like there is ALWAYS a holiday or special occasion right around the corner? The author ponders the reasons we make to “bend” or break our budgets.
A MAP to Christmas @ Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Money: RacerX muses over “MAPs”, which in this case refers to “Minimum Advertised Price!”
Remember the Amazon price guarantee @ Probargain Hunter: The holiday season is in full speed and with so many things to buy it is very easy to forget the essentials of online bargain hunting: when shopping with Amazon and other online merchants, make sure to remember the 30 days post-order price guarantee which some of them offer.
~ Money Management and Financial Planning ~
15 Money Pitfalls To Avoid @ Millionaire Money Habits: Why are Americans so unprepared for retirement and deeply in debt? Here’s where you can read about 15 common money pitfalls to avoid becoming another case study.
HELOC + ESPP (or 0% Credit Cards) = FREE MONEY (15% to 60%+ returns)! @ Teaspoon Finance: Teaspoon offers a step-by-step account of a scheme that can yield you 40% or even 60% annual returns! But wait, it involves playing around with your ESPP and HELOC account and involves credit card arbitrage. Tread carefully.
Personal Finance Principles We Live By @ QuestForAMillion.net: Here are seven tried and true classic personal finance principles that never grow old.
A Great Month @ Where Your Treasure Is: Usually, December is a hard month in which to really “pay down” debt. With Christmas shopping and the electric bill starting to rise, this usually isn’t a very fun month. Nevertheless, the Faughns have managed to make a lot of progress with their finances this December.
Warning – Bank of America’s Sneaky Fees! @ FIRE Finance: FIRE Finance and one of their readers have not had good experiences with BOA. Find out the details in their post.
Clearing Out Your House for Fun and Profit @ Five Cent Nickel: Nickel talks about how he cashed in on his clutter. I do a house cleaning and clearing like this usually once a year and I typically net several hundred dollars by selling my stuff through Craigslist and even more via tax deductions.
Manage Your Finances Together @ Gather Little By Little: Glblguy appeals to couples: how about facing our money problems together, developing our financial plan together, doing our budget together, saving together, investing together? Could it be really that easy? Glblguy says yes. I will add that if the spirit is willing, then you could make it work.
Moving Back With Parents Takes Planning @ Alpha Consumer: Kimberly discusses the “boomerang” child phenomenon, wherein adult children return to live with their parents for sometime for financial reasons. This is actually a lot more common in certain cultures: I know a 42 year old single, eligible bachelor who still lives with his parents!
Best Personal Finance Idea of the Year @ Credit Withdrawal: Not to keep you in suspense, the author’s best personal finance idea of the year is to automate your finances. I agree that it’s one helluva fantastic idea.
~ Insurance and Risk Management ~
Insure Your Valuables Separately On Your Homeowner’s Insurance @ Money Crashers: Your insurance agent might have told you that your homeowner’s policy covers all of your personal possessions. It does, for the most part, but some items are limited. This post tells you how to get more coverage.
Mailbag: Group HSA’s and Medicare @ InsureBlog: Hank responds to a reader who has issues with their Group HSA and Medicare. Some of these situations can be a little befuddling, so read on for more insight.
Extended Warranties @ Saving Freak: Warranties are not a scam but they are also not a good financial decision. The retailers are making huge profits on these warranties and that is why there is such a push to get you to purchase one. Personally, I’ve never purchased a warranty and don’t intend to, knowing that they’re not worth the cost.
Health Savings Account: What are my options? @ Me vs. Debt: Here are some details on health savings accounts, if you’re eligible for it.
~ Financial Thoughts and Advice ~
Do You Really Have What It Takes to be Financially Free? @ Financial Neumes: Fn ponders over the consequences of financial success and those behaviors that lead to it.
Personal Finance Parking Garage… @ Mrs. Micah: Somehow, trying to find parking in a parking garage brought some financial thoughts to Mrs. Micah. Check out her interesting analogies.
My Quick Reference For Financial Success @ My Wealth Builder: Super Saver shares with us his ingredients for financial success. Here are more solid money principles to live by.
The Dark Side @ Canadian Dream: Free at 45: Here’s how to know if you’ve joined the dark side of personal finance. Canadian Dream offers some signs.
Patience is Key @ BlainePower: The author reflects on his life and shares some personal details about his past. He was able to turn his life around by listening to his father, who taught him the very important virtue of patience.
No Luggage, No Hand Carrys in the Final Journey of Life @ Reflections of a BizDrivenLife: We keep trying to earn more, make more. But at the close of this year, it may be worthwhile to reflect on what is important to us, and to always remember that in the final journey of life, you can’t take all your stuff with you.
3 Types of Financial Advisors @ The Financial Blogger: The Financial Blogger has categorized some financial advisors into three buckets: clowns, car salesmen and financial planners. If you’re looking for professional help, be sure you hook up with the right type of advisor.
How I Learned To Stop Being So Greedy and Become a Giver @ American Consumer News: Matthew talks about how he’s had a spiritual change of heart and has decided to become more of a charitable individual. He starts out by supporting a child through Compassion International. More power to you!
How to Become a Famous Blogger (or) I’m a Closet Millionaire No More @ Millionaire Mommy Next Door: One of us has been discovered by Montel Williams! Woohoo! If you want to see what Millionaire Mommy and her family look like, read her post. And make sure you tune in to Montel Williams this Friday, December 28 to catch this PF blogger on television!
What Small Thing Would Make You Feel Rich? @ GRACEful Retirement: Grace goes through several examples of what it is that makes her feel wealthy. The small things can really count and make a difference to our level of comfort.
~ Taxes and The Economy ~
Looking Forward To A Recession @ Millionaire Money Habits: Ryan looks at the bright side of a recession: the buying opportunities! Wealth is made when opportunities like this strike.
Comparison: Major Presidential Candidates on Monetary Policy and the USD @ Currency Trading: In this presidential race, monetary policy is a hot issue. Many Americans are fed up with government excess, a failing health care system, and faltering personal wealth. This post covers how some of the major presidential candidates stack up on these issues and more.
What the New Energy Bill Means for You and Your Wallet @ Debt Free: President Bush has signed the new energy bill that finally made its way through the halls of congress to his desk. Here’s a look at the finer points of the new energy laws.
Distribution Of Wealth In The U.S….Or Lack Thereof @ Everyday Finance: Dan discusses some research findings about the distribution of wealth in America — there appears to be empirical data that supports the notion that this wealth distribution is not exactly on par with the rest of the developed world, with the disparity increasing rapidly.
The Fair Tax: Is the End of Income Tax On Its Way? @ Smart Money Daily: The Fair Tax movement seeks to get people to understand that a federal income tax is not the only way to pay. The proposal is one that seeks to get rid of the current federal income tax and payroll tax system and replace it with a fairer, more practical system.
~ Real Estate ~
In Denial: Tips On Rejecting The Tenant Application @ Two Wiseacres: Real estate investing is a business. This wiseacre offers some tips on how to let a prospective tenant down easy.
Well that concludes our Christmas tour…. it was great fun hosting. If you’re curious about your future hosts, check out the Carnival of Personal Finance schedule here.
If you’re interested in Patience Brewster’s work, designs and artistry, check out her site: PatienceBrewster.com. She does note cards, books, ornaments and awesome home decor.
Image Credit: Department 56
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