Welcome to the 197th edition of the Festival of Frugality! This week’s theme is roads to riches. We’ve all noticed that the road has had a few bumpy patches lately. But as you can see from the many excellent posts below, we’re still travelin’ on.
Several submissions to last week’s carnival were still on the server when I checked in on Friday. Probably these were delayed when Google’s mail system went down last week. For this reason, I’m including the best of those in this week’s round-up—if you see two contributions from a single blogger, that’s the reason.
Editor’s Picks are boldfaced and tagged with jackpot dollar signs: $$$. These are posts I especially enjoyed, but I think you’ll find everything here a useful or fun read. Please be sure to Stumble, Digg, Tweet, or whatever the Festival—get the word out to your friends.
Frugal Street Smarts
$$$ Credit Card Assist
The Art of Credit Card Skimming
How the bad guys get access to your credit-card accounts, and what to do about it
Just How Expensive Are Convenience Checks?
A caveat for those who are naive about credit-card “checks.”
Cash Out Life
Benefits of Paying Off Mortgage Early
Luke is preaching to my choir here.
$$$ April Dykman
Get Rich Slowly
Renter’s Insurance: Peace of Mind for Ten Bucks a Month
Just so. If you rent, read this!
New Ways to Avoid Bank Overdraft Fees
Describes some strategies I didn’t even know you could do.
Silicon Valley Blogger
The Digerati Life
Guest Writer: Jacques Sprenger
Don’t Let Medical Bills Turn into Medical Debts!
Eight strategies for keeping out-of-pocket medical costs under control
Cash Money Life
How to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill
Smart approaches to a gadget that can quickly come to be a pricey “necessity”
Discover Card Brings Back the 12-Month Balance Transfer Offer!
Has your credit-card lender jacked up its interest rates? Check this out: DR has found a rare 0% 12-month balance transfer.
Monroe on a Budget
How well do you score on this coupon knowledge quiz?
Answers contain a lot of surprising information.
Parenthood and Family Life
Three Ways to Save Money on School Pictures
Wow! We should hire this talented photog’ to take everyone’s kids photos
The Negotiation Board
Negotiating for Moms
Ideas for applying negotiating techniques to those daily family fiscal matters
Stay at Home or Pay for Daycare?
Jim pushes a hot button for readers with an off-the-cuff cost-benefit analysis. Interesting article; don’t miss the comments.
Not the Jet Set
Cloth Diaper Update
NtJS calculates, in detail, the savings from using cloth instead of paper diapers over the past 500 days. Amazing!
Building Frugal Habits
How to Think Like a Frugal Person to Tackle a Challenging Financial Situation
Start-up pointers for neophyte frugalists
Five Fast Ways to Save Money without Even Realising
And some other good basics for budding frugal persons…
Sew Easy to Save
If you’re clever, you can save with a sewing machine. I’d add that a community college course in tailoring may help you feel a lot more satisfied with the results.
Money Smart Life
Personal Budget Tracking Creates Results
Wish I knew how to program the Mac to do what Ben’s former employer’s printer system did.
Man vs. Debt
The Shit-That-Doesn’t-Inspire-You Factor
An insight into frugal psychology
Five Monthly Expenses that Can Easily Be Reduced
From the phone bill to the mortgage: strategies to cut recurring costs
Buck$ome Boomer’s Journey to Retirement
What Frugality Means to Me
A brief manifesto on the practice of frugality
$$$ Buck Weber
The Buck List
Borrow, Rent, or Share Those Tools
Tool lending libraries! I had no idea such a thing existed.
FGC Auto Blog
Finding Deals on Rental Cars
Several good tips here
Sound Money Matters
Six Hip Handmade Christmas Gifts
It is what it says it is!
How to Save Money on Your Health Insurance Premiums
Here’s something we’d all like to know about.
Family Balance Sheet
Got Perennials? Fall Is a Good Time to Divide and Save
Kristia learns to replenish her garden without draining her bankbook.
The Paycheck Chronicles
Three Ways to Avoid Library Fines
Great ideas, especially if you have kids who check out books at different times!
Fine Tuned Finances
Little Tips Make for Big Savings
Revives some old-fashioned practices for modern-day frugality
Canadian Finance Blog
How to Make Your Clothes Last Longer
Several practical ideas
The Financial Blogger
Cash for Clunkers Made in Canada
The idea has caught on in America’s northernmost country—if you’re Canadian, you still have time to trade in the junker.
Make It from Scratch
Fleece Mittens and Scarf Tutorial
Early snow brings out Mom’s ingenuity. Result: extremely cute chilly weather gear!
I Haven’t Bought a Music CD in Over 10 Years
Where do you get your music? How about your free music?
The Traveling Frugalist
True Adventures in Money Hacking
Guest Writer: Elana Devereux
Save a Bob When You Travel Abroad
Wise and easy-to-follow advice on traveling without breaking the bank
Punch Debt in the Face
The Best Vacations Are Free
Our ninja has engineered a half-dozen free “vacations” (some of them more like workations) over the past couple of years.
Miscellaneous Leads, References, Discoveries, and Whatnot
100 Best Twitter Feeds for Your Financial Intelligence
A tweetfest for the personal finance set!
Clear Choice Credit Cards
A Chance for MORE Credit Card Use? New Ways and Reasons to Use Your Card
Progress marches on…
Green Panda Tree House
Guest Writer: Kelly Whalen
Walking: Good for You, Good for Your Wallet
Surprisingly, Kelly’s family finds many walkable destinations in the suburbs—enough to drop to one car!
Gather Little by Little
Facing My Biggest Challenge For 2009
Comparing extra pounds with debt, Mike deploys a commonsense strategy and a little self-discipline, with excellent results.
Retirement Planning Calculator Facts
Thoughts about effective use of online calculators, plus leads to a couple of them
The Sun’s Financial Diary
Yodlee Does a Better Job Categorizing My Expenses
It’s a little disconcerting to have Mint.com decide a payment for this month’s credit-card bill went to buy alcohol. Sun goes in search of a smarter online personal finance program, and finds one.
How to Make a Roth IRA Conversion
The mechanics are prefaced with a thoughtful rumination on why and whether to make this move. Good, easy-to-understand discussion.
ABCs of Investing
Tax-free Municipal Bonds
Introduction to a (relatively) low-risk savings instrument
Reduce Your Taxes: Contribute to a Health Savings Account
Brief discussion of HSA medical plans
Money Savings: Short Term vs. Long Term Savings
Trying to stick with the plan through hard times
Why Should I Start Investing?
Jeremiad: Reasons you should get on the savings bandwagon
My Life ROI
Do I Have to Pay Capital Gains Tax on my House?
Clear discussion of a surprisingly complex topic.
Frugalists Got Feet a Sense of Humor!
Free Money Finance
Dirty Little Money-Grubbing Secrets to Free Sodas
Holy Hilarious Moly, Batman! I wonder if this would actually work?
How to Marry a Footballer
Is this the path away from the hard chair in front of the computer monitor?
Wealth Pilgrim: Money Management Advice, Financial Stress Management, & Resources
Rosh Hashana 2008 vs Rosh Hashana 2009: Proof You Are Financially Invincible
Mellow and thoughtful
Budgets Are Sexy
Talking Finances with Friends and Family
Is money a taboo subject?
Funny about Money
Living within Your Means Is Good for the Economy
Other people think so, too!
$$$ Miss M
M Is for Money
Saving Gets Easier in Your Thirties
Nice rumination on money, maturity, and growth
Are You Sabotaging Your Frugal Life?
Addresses the psychology of frugality and offers positive strategies to stay on track.
I Abused my Credit Cards Last Week
A sorrow piled on top of hard times leads the Copperwyres to a large expenditure, but they’re undaunted.
Mumbai Street, Tawheed Manzoor, Wikipedia Commons
Haifa Crosswalk, David Shankbone, Wikipedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation License
Dry Stone Wall Building in South Wales, TR001, Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3, Wikipedia Commons
Backpacking in Grand Teton, U.S. National Park Service, Public Domain
Gotthard Alte Passstrase (The old road on the south side of St. Gotthard Pass), H005, Wikipedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation License
Bwlch Maesgwm, in Snowdon, South Wales; Phil Price, Creative Commons, Wikipedia Commons
Wall Street, New York City, 2005; GNU Free Documentation License, Wikipedia Commons
Clams, Marlith, Creative Commons, Wikipedia Commons
Reflection Pool, University of West Australia, Greg O’Beirne, GNU Free Documentation License, Wikipedia Commons