Welcome to the February 21, 2011 edition of the Carnival of Money Stories! There were a lot of great submissions this time around, and a lot of stories that there entertaining, and some that were unbelievable! Below I give my own personal twist in italics on each of the categories based on my thoughts at the moment and from experiences of late in buying a new home and moving in.
Brian Terry presents Forget Cuddly Bonding Rituals. Try Action And Adventure! posted at List Generation at Its Best.
Darwin presents Financial vs Managerial Accounting – MBA Mondays with Darwin posted at Darwin’s Money, saying, “Ever wonder what the difference is between financial accounting and managerial accounting? It’s hugely important! See why with these real-life examples.”
Ella Moss presents FROM MIDDLE EAST TO MIDDLE OF AMERICA « Zodiac Times posted at Zodiac Times, saying, “Everytime a job is being cut, WE ALL COLLECTIVELY BECOME POORER!”
With the obligations and responsibility of a new place, I prefer the stability of full-time employment with a regular paycheck! I think that growing a passion on the side is a good route; especially given that the economy has not fully turned around, it’s a good idea to not have all of the eggs in one basket.
Barb Friedberg presents PERSONAL FINANCE TIP; Make Money By Following up (Part 1) posted at Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance, saying, “Read about how my job trials and tribulations led to a great career and a sound financial future.”
FMF presents Launching the Career of Your Dreams: How I Achieved My Dream Career Within 4 Years of College Graduation, Part 1 posted at Free Money Finance, saying, “How one FMF reader grew his career — and his advice for you.”
PT presents Working at Home as a Freelance Writer posted at Prime Time Money, saying, “PT Money interviews work-at-home-mom and freelance writer Stephanie Taylor Christensen on how to balance family and a part time writing career.”
I’m still very young and fresh in my career, but I’m looking forward to a lot of growth! I get restless and bored easily especially if I stay in the same position too long, but at the same time I like the comfort of familiarity. Driving my own growth forward is something that will be important especially as I now have a large debt to pay off!
CreditCardGuru presents JP Morgan Palladium Card Benefits Revealed posted at credit card forum [the blog], saying, “Here’s my story of how I was able to snag the benefits guide for the ultra-exclusive J.P. Morgan Palladium Card (and for the first time ever, I’m revealing these benefits in this review!)”
CreditShout Kevin presents Can You Pay Your Taxes With a Credit Card? posted at CreditShout, saying, “Personally, I remember sitting in the office of H&R Block in tears about 15 years ago, my first year as a freelance writer. One of the mistake I made was putting my taxes on my credit card, but I thought it was my only option. Turns out, I had several other choices.”
Ask Mr. CC presents Delta Surprises Me With Award Availability So I Can Surprise My Family posted at Ask Mr Credit Card, saying, “I have not been easy on Delta. Their online award redemption system has been broken for some time, even as their IT team rolls out innovative new features like their bid for bumps and first class buy up programs. All their IT work is going towards revenue enhancement, with nothing to satisfy their frequent travelers who, god forbid, might want to redeem a plausible amount of miles for an award ticket. The result has been the frequent flier community ridiculing their program’s devaluation by referring to their declining currency as SkyPesos.”
Tim Chen presents Why You Shouldn’t Buy AAdvantage Frequent Flyer Miles (Bonus Be Damned) posted at NerdWallet Blog – Credit Card Watch, saying, “I got an email from American Airlines a couple of weeks back begging me to buy some extra frequent flyer miles for my AAdvantage account, but the problem is, it’s complete crap.”
I don’t fly very often, so I have some frequent flyer miles that are about to expire. I do have a lot of Air Miles accumulated with everyday CC purchases, which thankfully I don’t usually pay interest on. I couldn’t imagine the burden of carrying around debt on a ~60% card! Can you imagine how that compounds? Then again, there must be a ton of defaults, too.
Molly Green presents We’re Debt Free ~ Living & Giving! posted at Econobusters.
Consumer Boomer presents Beware of Debt Relief Scams posted at Consumer Boomer, saying, “If you have considered a debt relief company to assist you with becoming debt free or to a better part solvent, there are several things to consider.”
Amanda L. Grossman presents From a Pile of Debt to Net Worth: Part I posted at Frugal Confessions, saying, “The article begins the three part story of how I went from having $36,000 in student loan debt to enjoying a positive net worth less than 5 years later.”
Debt is a guy I’ve just gotten a little more acquainted with over a couple of drinks and a new home! We have a positive net worth even if the value of the home drops by a good chunk, but I would like to see a bit of improvement here. That’s why I have a highly ambitious savings goal of 50% this year — time will tell if I manage to actually hit it, since one unexpected expense and that target is probably gone, but if I get most of the way there I’ll be satisfied!
My own personal tip is that total home carry costs should be at around ~33% of net income or less. The lower the better. A little bit higher can be acceptable if you have some savings and investments, but I believe that the closer you get to 50% and beyond the more dangerous things get, especially should one partner lose his/her income.
Arjun Rudra presents Bull On Crude Oil, Bear On Natural Gas Is Portfolio Manager Daniel Cheng Of Matco Financial posted at Investing Thesis, saying, “Discussing the outlook and economics of crude oil and natural with the portfolio manager who runs the Matco Energy Fund.”
2 Cents presents The First Rule of Personal Finance and Investing posted at Balance Junkie, saying, “This is the story of how I came to my first rule of personal finance and investing: anything can happen.”
Silicon Valley Blogger presents Investing In Global Financial Markets: A Look At Historical Investment Performance posted at The Digerati Life, saying, “A look at the financial markets — what’s the latest story on these markets?”
Personally, most of my money is in index funds, but I admire those guys that take the DIY route and take the time to know their companies and sectors inside out. I don’t believe too much in paying others to invest your own money for you and charge you a fee on top of it, but investing your own money? For those who have the due diligence to follow their own passion, I think it can work out very well for them! I’m personally interested in energy and natural gas, and I agree with my friend Mich at Beating The Index when he says that oil consumption growth is going to be a key driver for the next several years.
How does your net worth picture look? It’s not the be-all and end-all since having a high net worth with a large amount of leverage means you can get wiped out should the markets shift sentiments. By placing a downpayment of 20% the markets would have to correct by at least that much before we have negative equity in our homes, but we have other savings if things got worse. In any case we’re not looking to sell or flip so that is less of a concern.
When it comes to paying down the mortgage versus investing, there are good arguments for either side! What do you think, and what’s your preference?
Stowe Family Law presents Why would a “very rich woman” fight for a larger divorce settlement? | Marilyn Stowe Family Law and Divorce Blog posted at Marilyn Stowe Family Law and Divorce Blog, saying, “How much is £5 million to a woman accustomed to a bottomless piggy bank?”
Mr. Money Smarts presents Breaking News: Personal Finance Blogger Makes Silly Financial Mistake posted at Smart On Money, saying, “I am a personal finance blogger, so I should know better, but this past week I made a mistake. It was a costly one.”
Peter presents When Faced With Financial Disaster, Can You Live Without These Things? posted at Bible Money Matters, saying, “If you were faced with a financial disaster like the woman in this article, what things would you be willing to do without?”
Craig Ford presents The Most Interesting Thing We Do With Stuff, Store It posted at Money Help For Christians, saying, “The sad status of stuff.”
Adam Williams presents Hey Tubs, overeating and not exercising is costing you money posted at RabbitFunds.com, saying, “Unfortunately, we as Americans decided some time ago that instead of taste, nutrition, and health we wanted cheap food, a long shelf life, and fast preparation.”
Tom @ Canadian Finance Blog presents Automating Your Finances posted at The Canadian Finance Blog, saying, “Automating your finances makes sure that your money does what it is supposed to without any direction from you, reliving stress and freeing up time.”
Michael presents Are You Better Off Than Your Parents? posted at Consumerism Commentary, saying, “Parents always wish that their children lead better lives than they have, so did you make their wishes comes true?”
Donna Freedman presents Scenes from the junk drawer posted at Smart Spending, saying, “Everyone has (or should have) a catch-all drawer where birthday candles, nails and playing cards go to die, or at least to await a second chance at life. The junk drawer is the place to go when you need a thumbtack. Or some Super Glue, a single pink barrette or a measuring tape you picked up free at the home show.”
DanielPacker presents Did Bank of America Open an Account Without My Permission? posted at Sweating The Big Stuff.
Neal Frankle presents How I’ll Double My Tax Refund posted at Wealth Pilgrim: Money Management Advice, Financial Stess Management, Addiction Recovery Plan & Resources, saying, “You might have all kinds of plans for your tax refund this year. You might be thinking about buying some new appliances for the kitchen or maybe even take that trip to visit family.”
Every day we transform a little. I think I’ve transformed a bit since I wrote my first post, and I’ve grown as a person. I definitely have a long ways to go, but the adventure is what makes life interesting.
The Wise Squirrel presents Squirreling Gone Wild #21: Caveat Emptor posted at Squirrelers, saying, “Buyer beware! When shopping in a country where you might not know the local customs or language, it’s best to be smart about your purchasing habits. This story shares what happened when someone tried to save money and get a “deal”.”
Amanda L. Grossman presents Waste Not Want Not: Baking Catastrophes and Food Waste in Our Household posted at Frugal Confessions, saying, “Not only are there moral issues involved with throwing away good food while others go hungry, but throwing away food is literally throwing away cash: I imagine a cash register scanner at the top of my trashcan blipping every time we let our potatoes grow branches and we have to throw them out.”
Mrs. Accountability presents Wrong Size and Class Tires Can Be Dangerous | Out of Debt Again posted at Out of Debt Again.
Craig/FFB presents Send Credit Card Companies A Message By Using Cash Only posted at Free From Broke, saying, “There’s a movement of consumers who are using cash only rather than credit cards. Sees the pros and cons of this practice.”
Boomer presents What’s Happening To The Service Industry? | Boomer & Echo posted at Boomer & Echo, saying, “It seems to me that I’m doing more and more for myself without the benefit of any reduction in price, and sometimes I’m even paying extra.”
The Amateur Financier presents Tips for a Frugal V-Day posted at The Amateur Financier, saying, “A guide to making Valentine’s Day (and really, any date day) less expensive while still being romantic.”
Kay Lynn Akers presents Changing Television Service Provider…Again posted at Buck$ome Boomer’s Journey to Retirement, saying, “Selecting a new televsion service provider was a trade off in price versus features.”
Ahh, shopping. Furniture, furniture, and more furniture, + returns, customer service, and waiting on Saturday mornings for the delivery trucks to arrive. I think I want to take a break from shopping for a while!