Category Archives: Other

Festival of Frugality

cold_winter_dayHello, welcome to this week’s edition of the Festival of Frugality!  Many good articles here, especially if you enjoy saving money.  After all, frugality does have its merits :)

We’ll call this the Winter Cold edition of the festival.  There has been some really cold weather in much of the country, here in the final weeks of Fall.  Yes, it’s still not Winter yet!  Anyway, while the weather is cold, there are some red hot posts below.  Let’s get to them:

Daisy presents How Much Money Did Changing Our Mortgage Frequency Save Us? posted at When Life Give You Lemons.

Christopher presents Bill Harassment, What are your rights posted at This That and The MBA.

Gary presents Jobs With No Experience Required posted at Gajizmo.

Dollar presents Make Money Online With Work At Home Jobs posted at Easy Extra Dollar.

Daniel presents It’s Time To Stop Trying to Keep Up With The Joneses posted at Make Money Make Cents.

Oscar presents Tis the season of giving, right? Wrong! It?s more like the season of shopping and buying things for others. posted at Money is the Root.

Jay presents Five Ways for Parents to Save on Tutoring posted at Daily Fuel Economy Tip.

Jack presents Old Fashioned Money Saving Tips that Still Work posted at Money Saving Ethics.

Matt presents My Work at Home Truths posted at Single Moms Income.

Alexa presents How to Use a Zero Sum Budget posted at Defeat Our Debt.

Lenny presents Frugal Habits that you can Copy from the Rich posted at Best Money Saving Blog.

Andrea presents More Money, More Gifts: Effective Ways to Save on Holiday Shopping posted at So Over This.

Marissa presents Conference Planning: Not for the Weak posted at Thirty Six Months.

Monica presents It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas! posted at Monica On Money.

Holly presents Avoiding Obamacare: Screw You Guys, I’m Outta Here posted at Club Thrifty.

Natalie presents Finding Out What Makes You Thankful This Holiday Season posted at Debt and the Girl.

Sustainable PF presents How Mobile Banking Can Help You and the Environment posted at Sustainable Personal Finance Blog.

FI Pilgrim presents Avoid Overspending When Throwing A Pity Party posted at FI Journey.

Andy presents Why credit cards are the best way to pay posted at Art of Being Cheap.

Donna Freedman presents Good to the last drop: Getting full use of condiments posted at Surviving and Thriving.

Bryce presents Gas Clothes Dryer Repair posted at Save and Conquer.

Justin @ Root of Good presents Three Months of Early Retirement posted at Root of Good.

John presents Two Great Days to Shop Online During the Holidays posted at Frugal Rules.

Fiona presents How To Network On a Budget posted at ReadyForZero Blog.

Crystal presents Growing a Blog – Sorry, It Takes Time posted at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff.

Ryan presents Bitcoin: Investment or Speculation? posted at Cash Money Life.

Daisy presents Cheap Things to Do on New Years Eve posted at Suburban Finance.

Kyle presents 4 Ways to Save Money on Your Small Business Expenses posted at The Penny Hoarder.

Jacob presents Five Great Tips For Cutting The Cost of Owning a Business posted at AllPersonalFinance.

Little House presents Save Money: Fix Those Leaks! posted at Little House in the Valley.

Jim presents Not All Billionaires Are Money Grubbing Tyrants posted at Critical Financial.

Paige presents Considering Using Your 401k to Pay Your Bills? posted at Modest Money.

Pauline presents Save money and use your cards this Christmas posted at Make Money Your Way.

Pauline presents Nice try, Amazon… posted at Reach Financial Independence.

Crystal presents My 2014 Financial Plan posted at Married with Debt.

Tushar Mathur presents The Four Gift Rule posted at Everything Finance.

SBB presents The Physical Manifestations of Keeping a Budget posted at Simple Budget Blog.

SavingMentor presents Insurance: Can You Get A Better Rate? posted at How To Save Money.

Maria presents Is saving really a virtue? posted at The Money Principle.

Mrs. Accountability presents Why Should You Stop Payment on a Check? posted at Out of Debt Again.

Cat Alford presents How to Avoid Big Purchases and Deal with Emergencies posted at Budget Blonde.

Thanks for reading this edition of the Festival of Frugality!

Carnival of Financial Camaraderie

Carnival of Financial CamaraderieWelcome to this week’s edition of the Carnival of Financial Camaraderie!

This is the first carnival hosted here at Digital Personal Finance.  If you haven’t visited before, please feel free to check out the site.  You can also follow on Twitter or via email.

Anyway, there are a lot really good articles below.  Enjoy reading them!


SavingMentor @ How To Save Money writes 6 Tips For Keeping Better Tabs On Your Money – Keeping track of your money can be a chore that you don’t often want to think about. I know I dread the endless letters in my mailbox, the stack of unfiled papers on my desk, the bills that need paying, the bank accounts that should be checked, and the budgeting and investment spreadsheets I should be updating.

Jefferson @ See Debt Run writes Return of the Coupon Binder – The Coupon Binder is an invaluable tool for helping to keep grocery costs down.

Alexis @ FITnancials writes Moving Into Our First Apartment – We plan on moving into our own place around the month of February 2014, also so we can get a feel of what it is like living with each other before we move to a whole new city together.

Sam @ Grad Money Matters writes Mistakes Made When Flipping A Home – Before the economic downturn, it seemed like many people were finding homes to flip. This seemed to die down for a few years, and now house flipping seems to really be back. However, how do you know if house flipping is for you? How do you know if you can even make any money?

Daisy @ When Life Gives You Lemons, Add Vodka writes What Could HR Teach You About Money Management? – A good HR department in a company is worth every penny in salary because they make the overall work environment more comfortable, more efficient, and create a higher work quality. Good HR is so good, that there are a few lessons for your budget.

Daisy @ Suburban Finance writes Is Your Car an Asset or a Liability? – Banks will consider your car an asset when they are assessing whether or not to grant you a loan, but is your car really an asset? Just because you can sell something does not mean it’s an asset.

Roger Wohlner @ The Chicago Financial Planner writes Five 401(k) Investing Tips for This or Any Market – The Dow Jones Industrial Average has hit something like 30 new highs this year alone, the S&P 500 is near record levels as well. Twitter just went public and Obama Care will go into full swing in 2014. What does any of this mean to you as a 401(k) investor? Here are five 401(k) investing tips for this or any market environment.

Nicole @ How to Avoid a Cashtastrophe writes Reasons to Avoid Debt – Debt January seem like the norm in Western culture, but that doesn’t mean that it should be acceptable. Debt can poison your entire life. There are so many reasons to avoid debt, and Nicole lists some of them!

Jay @ Daily Fuel Economy Tip writes Picking the Right Auto Policy – Having the right kind of auto insurance is akin to having the right kind of health insurance, in most cases they can be equally as important.

Buck @ Buck Inspire writes Club MomMe’s Family Fall Fest 2013 Recap – Although I was amped for the Entrepreneurship for Moms speaker panel, there also were tons of sponsors and vendors showing off their wares.

Monica @ Monica On Money writes 8 Warning SIgns That You’re Living Beyond Your Means – Read these tell-tale signs and stop living paycheck to paycheck!

Holly @ Club Thrifty writes Why is Obamacare Taking Away my HSA? – Guess what. Obamacare severely limits the number of HSA-eligibile plans in Indiana. Is Obamacare taking away my HSA? You bet.

Barbara Friedberg @ Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance writes Roadblocks to Saving: Not Planning Ahead – Learn simple tips to save for a house, car, retirement, or wedding. Savings tips reduce money stress and are easy to implement.

Larry @ KrantCents writes No College, No Problem: 5 Careers That Don’t Require a Bachelor’s Degree – Many med school grads are left with crippling debt and shockingly high malpractice insurance payments.

Natalie @ Debt and the Girl writes Are We Enabling Bad Behavior? – I was catching up on some blog reading lately. I came across a blog where the blog owner was talking about purchasing something that I considered to be a little ostentatious.

Alexa @ Single Moms Income writes How to Make Money Blogging (Plus a Challenge) – Want to know how to make money blogging? Join me in a challenge to grow your readership and make money blogging.

Alexa @ Defeat Our Debt writes How to Pay Off Debt & Increase Your Income the Fun Way – In order to speed up your debt repayment you will have to locate extra funds to throw toward it. You can either continue down the path you’re on or earn extra money.

Graham @ Moneystepper writes Should I invest in emerging markets? – Should I invest in emerging markets?

Jason @ The Money Makers writes Apple Launches iPad Air in January – With a lighter and thinner chasis, the newly announced iPad Air has a more powerful processor with a great new design and performance features that is sure to continue Apple’s trend setting reputation.

Sustainable PF @ Sustainable Personal Finance writes The Importance of Saving Early – When my husband and I first married, we were poor and in debt. It was a difficult place to be, and, even as we made inroads and improved our finances, we still felt pinched. As a result, we decided that we could not afford to set aside money for the future.

Ben @ The Wealth Gospel writes The Twitter IPO: A Big Disappointment for the Little Guy – Twitter’s IPO was a big hit! That is, if you are an investment bank. For the rest of us, it January have been better to wait until it flops.

Robert @ Cult Of Money writes 7 Ways to Save Money on Your Heating Bill – The cold weather is drifting in and we are quickly approaching those rigid winter months. Last year, at the peak of winter, I was faced with electric bills hovering near $500 per month. That was $500 to heat a 900 square foot trailer!

Dollar @ Easy Extra Dollar writes Make Money Online With Work At Home Jobs – You will then need to check out some companies that have been known to hire freelancers or employees to work from home. Many of these employers will list their positions online work from home jobs.

Dave @ Gen Y Finances writes What To Know Before You Buy a Home – I have seen many people buy a home only to have made many, many mistakes. Before you buy a home, there are many things that you should think about or look into before you make one of the largest purchases in your life.

Michelle @ Diversified Finances writes How Can I Become A Full-Time Blogger? – Blogging is a lot of fun, but there are many things that go along with making an amount from blogging that you can actually live off of.

Harry Campbell @ Your PF Pro writes “Annual Enrollment for 2014: My Company’s HSA vs Traditional Plan “ – As most of you know, a health savings account or HSA is one of my favorite investment vehicles of all time. It’s the only investment that allows for triple tax savings – the money you put in isn’t taxed, the money you take out isn’t taxed and the earnings aren’t taxed – as long as you spend the money on qualified medical expenses. If you’re the perfect specimen of health by the time you retire, you can withdraw the funds in your HSA just like you would with a normal 401(k) or tra

Harry Campbell @ The Four Hour Work Day writes There’s no Loyalty in the Corporate World – I will never understand why people go into work and kill themselves working long hours and sacrificing their social life just to make someone else richer. If you’re getting paid by the hour, then you’ll see a direct correlation between how many hours you work and how much money you make. Unfortunately though, most high paying jobs aren’t hourly these days so you’re stuck working for a fixed salary.


Hank @ Money Q&A writes How To Get The Most Out Of This Holiday Shopping Season And Black Friday – It is going to be a tough holiday shopping season for businesses, but that is going to be good for shoppers and consumers. I talk to Jon Lal, founder of, on the podcast about the upcoming holiday shopping season.

Sam @ The New Business Blog writes 5 Mistakes that Successful Entrepreneurs Wish they Would have Avoided – Many successful small business owners and entrepreneurs made mistakes when they started their businesses that they wish they could go back and correct.

Daniel @ Make Money Make Cents writes How to Boost Sales Using Just Slatwall in Your Shop – If you have your own shop and you are aware that you could improve your display area, slatwall could be an ideal option for you.

Robert @ Beat The 9 to 5 writes My Monthly Income Stream Report – January 2013 – January was a huge month for me professionally and I’m so excited to share with you some of the major happenings going on with my business. However, it was also a tough month to dedicate myself to this site, so I really wanted to bring you just a simple question last month: Should You Accept a Promotion if its Not Your Dream Job?


CAPI @ Creating a Passive Income writes Right Out of High School: Five Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree – Job markets are always changing. Here are five jobs that do not require the individual to have more than a high school diploma or a G.E.D.

Michelle @ Diversified Finances writes Is Freelancing Not For You? – I really enjoy freelancing, but there are some downsides. I always laugh inside whenever people tell me how easy life must be for me. There are some many things that go into owning a business, and if you aren’t careful then it can easily take over your life.

Jessica Moorhouse @ Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses writes 5 Must-Dos to Interview Like a Pro – Over the past month I’ve had time to reflect on my experiences in the workforce for the past 5 years and I’ve discovered a bunch of new (or new to me) dos and don’ts when it comes to interviewing like a pro.

Adam @ Money Rebound writes The World’s Best Rags to Riches Stories – Get your daily ounce of motivation from these people who had little way back but have almost everything in the world now.

Little House @ Little House in the Valley writes Benefits of Renting: Lower Unemployment Rates – Have you recently seen this headline or something similar to it? According to a study (there have been a few studies over the years linking these two ideas), countries with lower home ownership have lower unemployment.

KK @ Student Debt Survivor writes Public vs Private Universities-Why I Chose the Latter – Headed to college or grad school? Do your due dilligence before making your choice. Public doesn’t always mean cheaper.



Jerry @ AutoFoundry writes Is it Smart to Finance a Car? – Contrary to popular belief in PF circles, it actually can be smart to finance a car–as long as you abide by a few simple rules.

Anton Ivanov @ Dreams Cash True writes The 7 Steps to Financial Freedom – Reaching financial freedom is one of the most sought-after goals. Get started on your wealth-building journey with my 7 steps to financial freedom.

Bob @ Dwindling Debt writes Age Old Debate of Whether to Buy or Lease – To buy, or to lease, that is the question. People have long debated on both sides whether they should buy or lease a car.

Lily @ Paying Debt Down writes 5 Home Improvement Tips to Help you Sell your Home Quicker – Selling a home these days is all about image. The problem that most people have is that they put a lot of effort into making the interior of their home look absolutely wonderful but fail to do the same for the exterior of their home.

Lenny @ Best Money Saving Blog writes What Is the Importance of Seeking a Mortgage Broker? – Many first-time homebuyers make a mistake by trying to negotiate a mortgage directly with a lender. Unless you are an expert in home loans, it makes much more sense to hire a mortgage broker to do the negotiating for you.

Jack @ Money Saving Ethics writes Tips for a Great Financial Year – Improving your financial situation is not as difficult as it might sound, but it does require dedication and thought. It is really just a matter of starting and maintaining healthy financial habits.

Matt @ Budget Snob writes The High Cost of Using Cash – It has been calculated that the aggregate expense to all households in the United States for accessing and using their cash is $31 billion a year.

Danielle @ Saving Without a Budget writes Financial Tips That Sound Bad but Work Well – If you ask most certified financial planners you will find that one of the things they are constantly warning their clients against is making bad money choices based on popular financial advice, which is often wrong.

Oscar @ Money is the Root writes What Home Loan Is Right For Me? – Buying a home is a huge financial step that permanently changes the household budget for a family. Understanding the different types of home loans before signing any paperwork is a must.

Adam @ Money Bulldog writes Should I Get a Mortgage? – How mortgages can be a problem that you can benefit from in the long run.

Kali @ Common Sense Millennial writes Twenty Things Twenty-Somethings Should Know About Money – It takes work and time to figure out something as complicated as money and personal finance – and sometimes, it is overwhelming trying to understand it by yourself. I wanted to help by composing a list of the twenty things most important for twenty-somethings to know.

Christopher @ This That and The MBA writes Evaluating Legal Advice Online – You can find all kinds of great legal advice online, but given the vast breadth of United States’ law alone, the advice you read January not be appropriate for your situation. That does not even take into consideration the sites that provide inaccurate or outdated information.

Robert @ Entrepreneurship Life writes Exercise and Entrepreneurship: Why Excess Weight Will Cost You – Your waistline affects more than your health. Research suggests that the detriments of obesity can extend beyond health and self-esteem right into the workplace. There’s a “consistent wage penalty” for excess body fat and a “wage premium” for muscular body composition

Miss T. @ Prairie Eco Thrifter writes Why I Don’t Use Credit Card Rewards Programs – We don’t bother with credit card rewards programs. Here is why.

Jon Haver @ Pay My Student Loans writes How To Pay Back Student Loans Quickly – Let’s assume that you’ve graduated and have earned a college degree. Hopefully the degree has enabled you to attain a nice job as well. Here’s several steps that you can take in order to facilitate the process of repaying your loans.

Taylor @ The Motive Blog writes Leasing a Car: Dumb Move? – It’s tempting to lease a car. The payments are low, the cars are new, and it seems so EASY. But like anything, there’s no free lunch. Find out why.

John @ Frugal Rules writes What My Mom Taught Me About Personal Finance – We can learn a lot from our parents, both good and bad. While none of us are perfect, it’s those tough times that teach us quite a bit that can be applied to personal finance and how to improve one’s lot in life.

Bobby @ Making Money Fast and Slow writes The True Cost of Commuting and Some Alternatives – You spend $125,000 over 10 years and 1.6 working years sitting in your car. So what can you do to stop this waste of time and money? Plenty.

Pauline @ Reach Financial Independence writes Money Choices: How Millennials Can Make The Right Financial Decisions – Here are some of the financial decisions Millennials can make and their implications on their personal life.


Daisy @ Suburban Finance writes A Cup of Coffee: Daily Necessity or Daily Indulgence? – Starbucks coffee is very expensive, and is an indulgence.

FI Pilgrim @ FI Journey writes Flipping The Script: How I Learned To Live On Last Month’s Income – Nobody wants to live paycheck to paycheck, but for a long time I did just that. Here is how I flipped the script and began living on last month’s income.

Brock Kernin @ Clever Dude writes How I Got A Brand New Xbox For $100 – A new Xbox will run you $250 or more….I got mine for $100!

Mel @ brokeGIRLrich writes Five Dolla’ Make You Holla’Day Series: Wife – Thrifty tips for holiday gifts for your wife.

Mr.CBB @ canadian budget binder writes Christmas Shopping Online or in-store ? – Did you know there are only 40 shopping days left until Christmas? With Christmas being not too far away the rush to get one’s Christmas shopping finished begins. While some people prefer to shop only in stores there are many people who will choose to do the majority if not all of their shopping online.


Debt Guru @ Debt Free Blog writes Fallen Behind: Catching Up On Retirement Savings – Proper financial planning takes serious dedication. If you have fallen behind, here are three helpful tips for catching up on your retirement savings.

Jester @ The Ultimate Juggle writes Easiest Way to Make a Profit in Real Estate – Investing in real estate can be a great way to set yourself up for the future. If you invest in the right property at the right price, you can create a positive cash flow from the beginning.

Lauren @ L Bee and the Money Tree writes How I Plan to Recoup Renovation Costs – Oh my glob. Any time someone asks me how my renovation is going I just shrug and say, “It has pretty much broken my spirit and soul as a person.” “But you love your house!” A co-worker replied. “Nope.” I said and finished eating my soup.

Ryan @ Cash Money Life writes Should You Invest Your IRA in a Savings Account or CD? For Most People the Answer is No. – Should you trust your retirement savings to the volatile stock markets, or should you keep your IRA in a savings account? The answer January surprise you!

Tushar @ Earn More and Save writes How to Make $100,000 or More Per Year – What would you do if you earned $100,000 or more per year? Well, you could fund an early retirement, take time off work to travel, remodel your home, or save money and start your own business.

SFB @ Simple Finance Blog writes How to Save Money When Buying Your First Home – Buying a home is an American dream for most of us, but it is a bitter fact that home buying is an expensive process.

Dominique Brown @ YourFinancesSimplified writes What is a Stock Market Index? – A stock market index is a relatively simple concept, and it allows you to see the big picture.

Don @ Money Reasons writes Slow Sale Zone Concerns – This is about the concerns associated with a slow sales zone. You should take this points into consideration when looking into such a consideration.

Arnel Ariate @ Money Soldiers writes How are Mortgage Rates Determined? – How mortgage interest rates are set is determined by a number of factors some of which you January have an influence on and many that you won’t.

writing2reality @ Write Your Own Reality writes Investing with Prsoper – After four years of investing in peer-to-peer lending with Lending Club, I have diversified and added Prosper to the portfolio.

Marissa @ Finance Triggers writes How to spot a good mortgage broker from a bad one – How can you decide if a mortgage broker is a good one or a bad one? The best way is to learn the answers to these questions.

Hadley @ Epic Finances writes Build or Buy? – Taking the big step to buy a home can be difficult. Buyers are often faced with the decision of whether they want to buy an existing home or build a new one. Here are some things to consider before making that big decision.

Robert @ The College Investor writes Atmel Is In An Earnings Recovery – Atmel Corporation (NASDAQ:ATML) is in the midst of an earnings recovery driven by a improving end markets and new product offerings. Atmel is exposed to touch screens, and can gain market share with new device wins in that market.

Pauline @ Make Money Your Way writes What are stocks and how to value them – This is a guest post from Troy who is starting an investing for beginners series and now his first series what are stocks and how to value them.


The Warrior @ Net Worth Warrior writes Ultimate Guide to (Finally) Building an Emergency Fund – An emergency fund can help keep you on a path to financial freedom by reducing stress, eliminating the worry of affording an emergency and providing security that you can maintain progress. Through this guide, you will (finally) establish a painless emergency fund.

Marissa @ Thirty Six Months writes Hello, ING Direct, errr Tangerine – ING Direct was acquired by ScotiaBank last year. As a result of the acquisition, ING Direct was required to change their name as they are not owned by the ING Group anymore.

Nell Casey @ The Million Dollar Diva writes 5 Things You Might Be Doing to Sabotage Your Savings Goals – If you are struggling to reach your savings goals, you January be falling victim to a financial saboteur. Whether your goal is too big, undefined or your savings are not automated could be a reason for not achieving your goals.

Simon @ Modest Money writes Tips to Save Money on Groceries – Wasted Food = Wasted Money. Time to refocus efforts on controlling your grocery budget with this money saving tips.

Jon @ Novel Investor writes 2014 IRA Contribution Limits Stay The Same – Do you know the IRA contribution limits can change each year? Find out the 2014 traditional and Roth IRA limits, complete with income phase-out tables.


Roger the Amateur Financier @ The Amateur Financier writes A Few Harsh Truths About Blogging – Some of the tricky things to learn about blogging, such as getting a server, getting assistance, and paying money to keep your website running.

Suba @ Broke Professionals writes Should You Learn to Fix Your Own Car? – Read my view on whether you should learn to fix your own car, and if it makes sense for you.

Crystal @ Budgeting in the Fun Stuff writes Marketing that Works! These Comercials Are Hilarious!!! – Mr. BFS and I have cable and we love our DVR. That means that I generally do not watch commercials.

Brent @ PersonalFinance-Tips writes Are You Covered? 5 Tips in Giving You Peace of Mind and Control over Your Future – While identity protection companies put the fear of financial ruin in people, the reality is that only 3% of the US population has any financial data stolen ( each year. If you are in the small percentage, however, it can wreak havoc in your life.

Mike @ Personal Finance Journey writes Stay at home and save while making the most of your garden this winter – When you want to escape the house during winter do you consider your home garden? 10 Ways you can use the home garden and save!

Wayne @ Young Family Finance writes Small Things That Make a Big Difference in Your eCommerce Business – When you’re running an eCommerce store, one of your most important assets is your customers’ loyalty. It’s not something you can buy, but it is something you can cultivate. Surprisingly, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Here’s what you can start doing now to make the best impression on your customers.

Mr. Frenzy @ Frenzied Finances writes Single Cent Problems: The Truth About The Penny – Looking at the history of the penny is a fun way to find meaning and the sense of miracle in something as small as one single cent.

SBB @ Simple Budget Blog writes Cruisin: How to Budget Your Vacation on the Seas – Going on a vacation on the seas? Here’s some tips on how to budget some of the extra items available on a cruise – so you and your family can have more fun.

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves writes Why Can’t We Do It All? – This question is often bandied about in regard to the endless quandary of many women who struggle daily…

Crystal @ Married (with Debt) writes Thanks to These Blog Carnivals – January 2013 to Current – Hi again! Every week, we submit our favorite posts to a variety of blog carnivals. When we are selected, it is common courtesy (and an expectation) that we link back to those that included us.

Bargain Babe @ writes Is Bankruptcy Better Than Debt? – Is Bankruptcy Better Than Debt? offers tips on saving money every day.

Don @ MoneySmartGuides writes Ten Tips for Choosing the Best Home Loan – Buying a house is stressful enough before even taking into account the loan. here are 10 tips for choosing the best home loan.

Eva Baker @ TeensGotCents writes Goodwill Training – Shopping with Sarah AND Eva – Sarah takes Eva on a night filled with fun, food, and Goodwill shopping tips. Who knew that shopping at Goodwill could be a competitive sport?

IMB @ Investing Money writes Railroads Increase Revenue from the US Oil Boom – The US Oil Boom is a big topic in politics, the environment and finances these days – and railroads increase the revenue from the boom! Read here.

Mrs. Accountability @ Out of Debt Again writes Who Should Pay For The Date? – To tell you the truth, I have not dated much in my life. But here are some thoughts on the topic!

Tushar @ Start Investing Money writes Write Down What You Spend: You’ll Save More – Do you have any idea how much you spend on a regular basis? This is a tricky question to answer unless you happen to write everything down. Few of us do this and that’s a shame – if we did we’d have a much more accurate view of our spending habits. But that’s not all.

Lindy @ Minting Nickels writes Know How To Spend And Manage A Credit Card Account Responsibly – Millions of Americans use credit cards; many people use their cards every day.

Cindy @ MidLife Finance writes 7 Lessons Learned From Bill Gates – 7 Lessons Learned From Bill Gates. It’s easy to find out what Bill Gates thinks…sort of.

Corey @ 20s Finances writes Optimizing Credit Cards – Are you missing out on this strategy with credit cards? Try to optimize your use of credit cards to earn more money with little hassle.

Cat Alford @ Budget Blonde writes Tips for Starting An eCommerce Store – If you are interested in starting an ecommerce store, this post contains several tips and tricks for cutting costs and making sure you turn a profit.

Maria @ The Money Principle writes Business in the European Union – how is it doing? – How is the European Union doing in the face of all the problems in the world? Has it achieved its founding 4 principles? We present a report.

JP @ My Family Finances writes Lost Health Insurance Because of Obamacare: Can I Still Sign Onto My Spouses Plan? – Spouses everywhere are taking a second look at their plans now that millions of Americans have lost their coverage due to Obamacare.

Minimalist @ Minimalist Finance writes Unusual Causes Of Damage That Warrant A Second Look At Car Insurance – One woman in BC submitted a car insurance claim due to a bear attack, and drivers should use the experience to find the right insurer for their needs.

Luke @ Learn Bonds writes Bond Buying Criteria – Looking at corporate bonds as an investment? Here are the criteria to look at when buying corporate bonds.

Tushar Mathur @ Everything Finance writes 7 Ways to Save and Make Money Right Now – There’s always a lot of reasons for the need to save money stat, but around the holidays, most of us feel the pinch on our wallets just a little bit more.

Kyle @ The Penny Hoarder writes Get the Tools to Increase Your Small Business Cash Flow – Increase your small business cash flow with business banking tools and cash management solutions. From managing your business cash flow online to automating payments, you can easily grow your cash flow and increase your bottom line.

Januaryor @ Messy Money writes The Back Yard Oasis Money Pit – My hot tub adventure is a reminder that it is important to look at the total cost of ownership when making a big ticket purchase.

Katie @ IRA Basics writes What Happens to Debt When You Die? – Now we do not want to sound morbid but it is a fact of life that none of us are getting any younger and one day we will meet our maker. But what happens if we meet an untimely end while we have still got debts outstanding?

Andrea @ So Over This writes The Cost of Carrying a Baby: 8 Unexpected Expenses of Motherhood – On average, raising a child from birth to age 18 costs about $200,000. If you add college tuition to that number, you can end up paying up more than quarter million dollars to raise a college graduate.

Amy @ Money Mishaps writes How to Liberate Yourself from Student Loan Debt – The student loan crisis in America is absolutely massive and does not look like it is going to get better anytime soon.

Adam @ The Cheapest Cars To Insure writes What Does Third Party Insurance Cover? – Know the important facts about your third party insurance inside and out before it’s too late.

Brian @ Luke1428 @ Luke1428 writes 5 Common Rental Real Estate Mistakes You Will Make – Even after researching the rental real estate market for over a year before our first purchase, my wife and I stil made a few mistakes along the way. Here are five big ones that many landlords make but are easily avoidable

Grayson @ Debt Roundup writes The Gift Of Debt – Enjoying My Hobby – I used to be in debt. When you get out of it, you realize that debt actually gave you a gift. The gift is different for each person and I am no different. Debt gave me many things, but it also gave me a new perspective on my finances. Debt gave me the ability to enjoy hobbies again without worrying where the money was coming from.

Thanks for reading, and for checking out this week’s edition of the carnival.  This carnival is hosted every second week by My University Money and you can submit articles at Blogger Carnivals or Blog Carnival HQ.

Tips for First Time Homebuyers Looking for a Home Loan

It’s almost a rite of passage for people to purchase a home at some point or another during their working years.  Whether it’s a condo, townhouse, or single family home, there is much pride that  lot of people take with a home they can claim as their own.

Along those lines, it’s rarely an option for first-time buyers in particular to pay all cash for a home.  While I personally think it’s good to avoid unnecessary debt, a mortgage doesn’t really fit into that category.  Taking on a home loan is quite often an integral part of the home buying experience. There are a lot of good things that can happen as a result of a home loan, one example being a couple buying a new place when they start a family!

Along with the positives, there should also be other factors to consider when taking on a home loan.  These generally involve understand the amount of the loan and even the type of loan that someone would take.  Here are a list of 5 things to consider.

Don’t automatically borrow the maximum amount for which you’re approved.

Just because you’re approved to borrow a certain amount, it doesn’t mean that you should borrow that much.  Rather, take a look at your overall budget and factor in your overall goals.  If you’re trying to put away as much money as you can for retirement or financial freedom, borrowing a lot of money might derail your or at least seriously delay your progress.  Borrowing an amount that is much less than what you’re approved can be a great way to allow for solid savings, a balanced approach to finances, and overall flexibility.

Look for a house that meets your needs, but it doesn’t have to be a “dream home”

I think that for many people, there can be an almost romantic aspect to buying a home with their spouse.  Particularly when a new arrival is on the way, a couple has visions of that perfect home for the family, that fits their aspirational dreams.  While that’s a great thing, and life is certainly meant to be enjoyed, we also need to be careful to make wise decisions.  When taking on a loan for a home, remember that you want to buy a home that you like but is also a smart move financially.  Both matter!

Select the right loan duration

A longer loan duration might mean lower monthly payments, but it also means that you’ll be on the hook to pay it off for many years.   On the other hand, getting a shorter loan duration might provide less flexibility in the budget in case other unexpected things come up with your finances.  It’s important to give careful thought to the type of loan product you go with.

Find a competitive interest rate

Interest rates on loans can go up and down.  When you look at the calculations, slight variances can result in incrementally different monthly payments.  When aggregated over a number of years, these seemingly nominal amounts can add up to a lot of money through the course of the loan.  Therefore, it’s important to find the right interest rate at the time you’re buying.

Keep in mind the other home-related expenses

When taking on a mortgage, especially as a first-time home buyer, many people come from renting.  Thus, they simply might not think about all of the additional costs that are involved in a mortgage.  These additional expenses could include things such as:

  • Taxes (often a big expense depending on one’s location)
  • Maintenance
  • Repairs, and even association fees among others.  Added together, these costs can be quite significant, yet still brushed off as nothing more than an ancillary concern by some excited first-time buyers.  It’s important to carefully account for such fees well ahead of time.

Overall, taking on a home loan from NPBS or another lender can be a step toward purchasing that first home in which exciting, special memories can be made.  Keeping in mind factors such as the ones mentioned above can make the whole process a better experience not only in the short-term but in the long-term as well.

Readers, what factors did you keep in mind when buying a home?  Or, if not a homeowner, what would you consider when buying your first home?

Saving Documents Online

I don’t know about you, but I tend to be interested in keeping backups of important information or files.  Rather than just assume everything will be okay, I want to be prepared in case I lose things.  Anything can happen.

Not that long ago, I had an experience where I got a bit too comfortable with infrequent backups, and I got burned a bit.  What happened is that my hard drive on my machine basically crashed.  It wasn’t that old of a computer, and I figured I could use it for another year or so, but it wasn’t to be.  So, I spent some money buying a new computer more quickly than I had planned.  Much like trying not to upgrade your phone too often in order to save money over  the long run, I take the same approach with computers.

In this case, besides the money, there was the small issue of some documents no longer being accessible.  I saved most important things on my hard drive, so not having access to it created some problems in that I basically lost some documents as well as updates to others.

I would periodically copy key files to a flash drive, every so often.  Januarybe every month.  But I ended up losing roughly 2 months worth of documents in this case.  Ouch!

There was nothing lost that will cost me money or extreme inconvenience, since I did have older backups like I said.   However, it could have been worse.  If I had lost something critical, it could have been painful.

What I’m doing now is backing up more frequently and in different places.  The flash drive is fine, but I’ve also burned a disk with data, as another form of storage.  More importantly, I’ve started saving things in the cloud.

What I’m using now is Dropbox.  It’s something that’s so easy to use, that there is no excuse for not at least exploring it or similar solutions.  Once I signed up, all I really need to do to save my files is click an upload icon, hit a choose files button, then select a file from my computer to be saved.  That’s it, and it takes very little time.  Plus, there is currently a free option with a set amount of storage – this is what I use.

All of this reminds me of a guy I know in college who lost an important paper he was writing.  He lost the disk (yes, disk….was years ago), and thus lost 8 hours of work.  It was due the next morning and he let out a loud scream with more than a few expletives.  It was kind of funny to some of us because of who he was, but not one of those things you can laugh at too much in front of the person.  I think this was what got me to realize the need to save and create backups!

Readers, how do you save backups of important files and documents.  Do you use the cloud at all? Have you ever lost anything due to not saving backups?

Is Retirement the End of the Line?

When you retire, you enter a whole new chapter of your life that is fresh and new, and hopefully calm. However, if you don’t plan for your retirement correctly, you could end up spending more money than anticipated and with someone who is no longer working, expenses will eat up your savings and soon you could be left with nothing and have to go back to work. To ensure that you won’t meet this kind of fate, consider these five things to take care of before you check out.

How to pass the time

Any hobby you have once you retire is going to cost money, so be prepared to be spending when you retire. It’s not like you can magically afford everything, in fact, practically the opposite. Even as a retiree, you should practice the frugal lifestyle to make what money you have last and valuable. It might be a good idea to open an account to fund your future hobby.

DIY Projects

Many folks as they get older look around their house and think of renovation projects. What can they fix or improve? What will give their space more value? What many people don’t consider is the money rather than the time. Sure, when retired, you have all the time in the world to do whatever you wish—but do you have the cash? Take care of these renovations now while you’re making an income to replace what you spend and manage your money accordingly.

Fix the Debt

Do you have any debts still hanging around? You’re going to want to get rid of them for the same reason you January have to get rid of your house. You can’t handle paying off credit card debt without the proper finances, and even if you’ve been saving money for years, it can be depleted quicker than you thought if you need to pay off a debt. You January require some credit counseling to help you with this, and there are plenty of groups that do just that.

Paying Off the Mortgage

Some people like to keep their house when they retire, and that’s perfectly fine if you have the personal finances for it. Why not if you can pay off the mortgage and live somewhere you’ve been comfortable for albeit the last few decades? When your retirement starts to get closer, you should do what you can to pay off your mortgage, otherwise you January want to sell your house instead of getting stuck with a mortgage bill when you have no income.


Like all technology, machinery becomes obsolete and often breaks down for good after a certain duration of time. Some computers last two years and others for four or more. There are cars built to last, and there are some that won’t even make it across the country. With this in mind, you should take a look at your car and give some serious consideration about keeping it after retirement. It January need a tune-up or some replacement parts to keep it running for a few more years, or it could be completely unsalvageable. Either way, you’re going to want to make sure your car is reliable.

Preparation for your retirement is the key to enjoying it. If you start early, you can have plenty of money for nearly everything that you’ll do once you’re out of work. So keep your personal finances in check and start saving money now

Are You Ever Surprised at How Non-Tech Savvy Some People Seem?

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re someone who at a minimum is willing to embrace advances in technology and products that have been launched in recent years.  Or, at least you’re willing to embrace the knowledge that such things actually exist and have some value.

Recently, I met up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in a few years.  We met over dinner, where he brought his girlfriend of the last 6 months.  It was the first time I had met her, and she seemed nice.  I’ll preface the rest of this this by saying he is a great guy, and has been a really good friend for a quite a number of years.  We don’t live all that close to one another, so it’s not easy to coordinate schedules to meet up all that frequently, but we keep in touch every few weeks.  These days, that means texts at those intervals, with calls less frequently – like every few months.

Explaining LinkedIn

After a while, he and I ended up getting into a discussion about some people we knew from a circle of friends many years ago.  His girlfriend was nice about this little diversion he and I had down memory lane, as we joked good-naturedly about a few past friends.  Then, he mentioned that one of the guys he actually wanted to try to reach out to, just to catch up and reconnect.  So, the first thing I suggested was LinkedIn.

His face had a blank look.  He asked me what I said, and I repeated “LinkedIn.  Why don’t you try to connect with him  on LinkedIn?”

Again, a blank look. Then, his eyebrows furrowed, and he asked, “what’s that?”

Then it was my turn to have a blank look.  I thought that he couldn’t possibly be serious.  I asked him if was joking, and he said no.

“WOW!” I thought, without saying it.

His girlfriend then chimed in, trying to bail my friend out, saying that she didn’t know about it either.

I was floored.  How can you not be on LinkedIn? Okay, Januarybe I can see that, actually.  But to have not ever heard of it? Really?

Yes, really.  They hadn’t heard of it.

I happen to think it’s worth being on it and having a profile, and even wrote a post about tips on using LinkedIn for your career.  It’s at least worth having knowledge of!  But, as I thought about it, he doesn’t work in business.  In his line of work, very different from mine, it January not be altogether standard to deal with LinkedIn in any way.  Trying to give him the benefit of the doubt here, as he’s always been a person who’s very aware of things and keeps up with what’s going on in the world.

The next few minutes were spent talking about how the site worked, what value it has, etc.

Explaining the Value of a Smartphone

The conversation then proceeded to me showing them LinkedIn on my phone.  As you might recall, I recently wrote about smartphone addiction, so I’m aware of going overboard in using phones.  Don’t worry, this wasn’t one of those times :)

Anyway, as I showed it to them, I mentioned that there was even an app for it.  Then, my friend launched into this spiel about how he doesn’t want a smartphone as he really likes the flip phone he has.  In fact, it’s his second time with that model of phone – the exact same model, that is.  He liked it so much, he bought it again when the original phone died.

In a way, I felt like congratulating him.  He hasn’t succumbed to the crazy of smartphones, even though he could probably afford one.  But, when combined with the lack of awareness of LinkedIn and its existence, it just seemed so….1990′s.

I know, that might not sound fair.  Like I said, he’s been a really good friend to me, so I don’t think less of him for this.  It’s just startling to see someone I know just be unaffected by recent changes in networking and technology.

Readers, this gets me wondering if you’ve encountered people – including some you might know well – who simply have a gap in their knowledge of technology.  Or, perhaps they simply choose not to embrace new things.




People Track Expenses, So How About Tracking Nutrition?

Personal finance is, quite naturally, a numbers-oriented endeavor.  The scorecard can contain many different metrics, but ultimately it generally comes down to measures of net worth and cash flow.

To help facilitate our progress toward such goals, we might decide to track expenses.  In doing so, we can have a realistic idea of how much money we are spending.  To the extent that we can know how we’re using our money, we can do a better job of keeping control over our expenses.  And, ultimately, what we are able to save.

Along those lines, how about tracking nutrition?  I’ve actually started to do this of late, with a site called MyFitnessPal.  Now, I’m not getting compensated in any way for posting this – which I feel compelled to make clear up front, because I’m going to say some good things about it :)  I just think it’s a good resource, and want to share what I’ve found.

Basically, this site allows you to keep track of your nutitional intake each day, as you record everything you eat.  You can record individual items that you consume for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.  There is a search feature where you can type in a particular type of food, and results will pop up that show possible matches.  The amount of items that are in the database is quite astounding.  Most things I’ve typed in have been there.  If not, you can enter in the information yourself.

Why did I start doing this? I want to get back into a little bit better shape, and I think that nutrition is a big part in doing that.  Having said that, I think that it’s easy to lose track of what we’re eating, and not be completely aware of the numbers.  When you actually see what your calories, carbs, fat, sodium, and sugar intake is for a day – it really makes you accountable and more informed.

In a couple of weeks, this has played a role in my dropping 3 pounds.  That January not seem incredible, and it isn’t.  However, it’s pretty good for a short period of time, and demonstrates how keeping track can help us make progress with our health.

Just like keeping track of how we spend our money can help our finances :)

Readers, have you ever kept track of nutritional intake or excercise? What about expenses? If so, did keeping track help you in any way?


Try Adding a Survey To Your Blog or Website


Surveys are like tests!

If you’re a blogger, it’s always great to know that people are reading what you’re posting.  Most people, I would think, take pride in their writing – and like to know that it resonates with some people.

Of course not every blog will have a universal appeal to all audiences.  Some readers prefer to connect with the blogger, and like to feel as if they’re getting to know the person a bit.  Other readers don’t care about such things, and are primary interested in obtaining information that can help them.  I compare it how some TV viewers prefer comedy shows, and others might prefer documentaries – or whatever continuum you might come up with.

Along those lines, personal finance blogs are probably no different.  In addition to the dimensions to which I alluded above, there are also specific topics that some people prefer over others.  For example, people might have different levels of interest in posts relating to debt, jobs, making money, saving money, extreme frugality, taxes, side hustles, investing, and so on.  There are probably subcategories within each of these topics that are of particular interest.  Within investing, as an example, some people might be interested in individual stocks, others in mutual funds, yet others in gold or silver, or Januarybe even real estate.

So, when we are writing posts, how do you we know how well our posts resonate with our readers?  One way might be through comments.  Another could be through people linking back to you.  Yet another way might be through retweets.  Januarybe even analyzing visitors per post.

Aside from those metrics, another way to understand what’s working and what people would like to see would be to simply ask them.  Using a survey to understand your reader preferences might actually help you on a go forward basis.

You could ask them what they like about your blog – and what they like least.  You could ask them about topics that truly interest them in general, and which types of topics generate little interest.  Actually, you could ask all kinds of questions that could help you out.

There are probably all kinds of survey and poll plug-ins that can be used.  Personally, I’ve tried Survey Monkey.  You can create a survey with a variety of different question types (set answers, open ended, etc).  You can also have them rate, rank, answer multiple choice questions, and approach it other ways as well. Each on a question-by-question basis.  Just put a link on your site, and then you can see the results when they come in.  Then take the learnings and apply them!

If you’re purely doing this for fun, Januarybe adding a survey doesn’t matter to you.  If you’re looking to grow a blog, and potentially make money with a blog, it couldn’t hurt to get such information.  After all, companies spend time and money doing market research – so why can’t we do this as bloggers?

Readers, how do you learn about what your readers like about your blog? Or, about what they are interested in overall? Would you ever consider running a survey?


What is Your Online Home?

Online HomeOnce upon a time, people kept in touch with each other in some very old school ways.  Some people called each other on landlines.  Or, they might have written letters to one another – on paper, and sent through the mail with a postage stamp! Other times, they even – gasp – dropped by the homes of friends or family to say hello.

Today, we call each other on cell phones, Januarybe even smartphones.  We might even use Skype. We still write to each other, but it’s via email, text, or chat.  We still do visit each other’s homes, but the definition of a home seems to have some variety.  I would say that we now have what could be described as an “online” home.

By this, I mean this is the place where we seem to entertain others, host them, and simply keep in touch.  This is the portal by which we get touch with other and communicate, while expressing ourselves uniquely.  I suspect that we each have our favorite or favorites.

Here are a few that come to mind:

  1. Your Blog.  Many of us have been blogging for years, while others have just started out.  For the former, a blog can end up being your primary place for communication with others.  Perhaps not individual 1:1 communication, but more like communicating to a large group of people in detail.  Really, a lot of people share all kinds of life updates on their blogs, even personal finance blogs.  It seems as though a blog is almost like one’s own creation, and becomes your pride and joy so to speak :)
  2. Facebook.  Okay, this is probably the most popular home base for people online.  You can follow what people are doing, and give quick status updates.  You can add pictures, “like” different business and causes, and really add your own personality to your page.  Basically, you can tell the world what you’re all about, and what you’ve been doing all day.
  3. Twitter.  So you’re limited to 140 characters, which forces brevity.  However, it’s a great way to send quick updates out to groups of people you know, as well as send private messages. Not to mention sharing links to interesting articles, as well as sharing pictures.
  4. Linkedin.  Now, I don’t see this as a personal online home, but more of a professional address.  That being said, there are some people that share all kinds of things via linkedin, and are quite active in groups.  For people whose lives revolve around their career to a high degree, this might be their big way to communicate with others.  These people probably try to use Linkedin for career growth.
  5. Pinterest.  An online pin board, Pinterest has grown explosively – particularly with female users.  While actual conversation opportunities seem limited here, there are people out there that are entirely OBSESSED with Pinterest.  What they do on Pinterest is a true reflection of their personality and moods, and is there for the world to see and accept.

Of course, usage of these five does not have to be mutually exclusive.  For example, a blog can also have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Pinterest.  I’d venture that most PF blogs have some presence on Twitter, many are on Facebook, some are on Pinterest, and very few are on Linkedin (though the owner will likely be on there as an individual).  There are different reasons for using each, and they can all play a different role in your personal life.  As a blogger, they can each help your cause in different ways.

Readers, which of these would you consider your online home - your primary communication method?  Which would be next?  Are you on all 5, or just a few?

Welcome to Digital Personal Finance!

Hello, and welcome to Digital Personal Finance!

So, this is post #1.  Where to start?

Well, first off, I’m glad you stopped by.  There are a ton of personal finance blogs out there, which I know quite well :)  So, the idea that I got your time to come here is pretty cool.

Hopefully, this will be a place where we can talk money, learn some things, and enjoy the conversations along the way.  The topics I envision exploring here will be making money, saving, and investing.  Additionally, I hope to mix into the posts a view on how technology is changing how we manage money.

What’s my basic philosophy? Money is just a part of life, not the end all, be all. It helps us live a lower stress life if we have it, and allows us to spend quality time enjoying relationships with family and friends.  It’s also something we need when older – nobody wants to be nearing retirement age, yet still needing to work! So, it’s good to make sure we make money, live within our means to save it, and then manage and invest it well in order for us to meet our goals and reach our dreams.

Anyway, glad you stopped by – and hope you come back to be a part of things here!