Coffee heat rising

Moment of Fame

This week Funny didn’t enter any carnivals, the proprietor having been somewhat overwhelmed with quotidian concerns. However, a new carnival with a somewhat slower-than-usual calendar picked up a post I sent in two or three weeks ago:

The Bellringers
Education Buzz
Student Performance: Is There Any Question?

This is an interesting carnival. If you’d like to know what teachers are thinking (and if you have kids, you should…), pay a visit!

Carnival of Personal Finance

Time for another Carnival of Personal Finance! This one is the 265th edition, and once again many a PF blogger has submitted their best choice of articles for this week. All of these are good reading, but a few jump out at me. I’ve tagged those Editor’s Choices with little red hearts:



Round Pegs: Posts That Don’t Fit into Square Holes

Donna Freedman
Surviving and Thriving
Malachi and mud
Research indicates that exposure to soil improves a person’s immune system and increases production of the feel-good chemical serotonin. No wonder gardeners and children always look so happy.

MORE than Finances
Social Security Benefits – The Six Categories Of Benefits
The Social Security Administration offers six categories of benefits. Here’s a brief overview of each benefit and its qualifications.

Modern Gal
Career Advice for New Graduates
A few thoughts about life after school

Loans, Lending & Debt

Neal Frankle
Wealth Pilgrim
Will I Lose My Home If I File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Good question! Interesting article that discusses whether a person with overwhelming credit-card debt need even consider Chapter 13 in the first place.

Kris (Everyday Tips and Thoughts), guest post author
Budgeting in the Fun Stuff
A Home Equity Line of Credit (Example)
Crystal describes how a reasonably sane HELOC can work.

Grow Money
How to Save Money With a Government-Backed Mortgage
Discusses different types of government-backed housing loans.

Paul Williams
Provident Planning
How to Get Out of Debt: Step 8 – Celebrate Milestones
During your journey to pay off your debt, it’s important to celebrate milestones. Taking time to celebrate will keep you motivated and help you reach your destination.

Miranda Marquit, guest post author
Good Financial ¢ents
Will Credit Inquiries Hurt Your Credit Score?

There are two main types of credit inquiry: “Soft” and “hard.” Find out which can damage your credit score.

Free From Broke
Payoff Mortgage Faster – How Do I Do It? – Four Ways
Four ways you can pay off your mortgage faster.

Nathan Richardson
Fixing Errors on Your Credit Report
The title says it all.

Laura Adams
DINKS Finance
How to Know If Refinancing Is Worth It,
Today’s historically low rates should pique your interest if you have a mortgage or are thinking about buying a home. Here are some tips to find out if it’s worth it 🙂

Credit Card Rewards

Mighty Bargain Hunter
Rewards Giveth, and Rewards Taketh Away
Rewards programs just aren’t as rewarding as they used to be, unfortunately. The article explains why.

PT Money
The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards
PT shares his thinking opinion on some the best travel rewards cards available today.

Silicon Valley Blogger
The Digerati Life
Combine Credit Cards To Earn Up To 4% In Rewards
Some smart ways and strategies for using your credit cards. Make credit cards work for you, not against you!

The Smarter Wallet
Best Cash Back Credit Cards: Our Picks
Credit cards that give you cash back can be a good deal if you’re a responsible card holder.

Tim Chen
NerdWallet Credit Card Watch
Chase Freedom—Now With More Confusion
Tim has made no secret about the fact that Chase Freedom isn’t one of his favorite cards. Chase goes out of its way to make this one of the most confusing credit card offers available—you have to opt-in to the rotating 5% reward programs each quarter, and they seem to like switching the reward program every year out of sheer boredom. Now they’re offering two different versions, to make it even harder to keep track of.

Saving and Investing

Free Money Finance
Great Offense AND Great Defense are the Keys to Wealth
To become really wealthy, you have to do two things well: grow your income and keep expenses low.

Penny Saver
The Saved Quarter
10 Things I Want…But I Want an Emergency Fund More
Penny engages in some serious delayed gratification!

Magic Formula Pro
Magic Formula Stocks: Apollo Group (APOL).
A review of Apollo Group’s stock.

Barb Friedberg
Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance
MBA Course: Investing & Portfolio Management-BONDS
Friedberg, a graduate level professor of business, has the advantage of being an educator. Her posts occasionally come direct from her graduate-level courses; this one is an example.

Accumulating Money
Institutional Investors are Investing In Money Market ETFs
Interesting article about an investment instrument I hadn’t thought about before.

Dividends Value
7 Dividend Stocks For The Ultimate In Deferred Gratification
Delivers a nice little jeremiad about self-discipline along with a good discussion of dividend stocks.

Mike Piper
Oblivious Investor
American Funds in Your 401k or IRA
Mike asks whether the third-largest mutual fund company’s products are really a good bet.

Hope to Prosper
My Visit with a Financial Advisor
Entertaining story about (yet another) encounter with a newbie in the finance industry.

RJ Weiss
Gen Y Wealth
How to Really Save Money Every Month
A one-step strategy for reliable monthly saving.

Kim Snider
Kimmunications from Kim Snider
Protect against inflation or preserve capital?
Asset allocation for a lengthy retirement

Money Green Life
Trade Stocks Like Stephen Strasburg Rookie Card
Trading encouragement

Are You as Internationally Diversified in Stocks as You Should Be?
Do you fall into the trap of the home country bias?

2 Cents
Balance Junkie
10 Ways to Protect Yourself from a Double Dip
There’s a lot of debate about whether or not we’re headed into a slowdown or a double dip recession. These suggestions will help you protect your money if the economy dips. If it doesn’t, you’ll still be in great shape!

One Money Design
Why Your 401K May Not Be that Great and What to Do About It,
401K’s aren’t without challenges. If you have limited investment, consider these tips.

Wiley Strategies

Tool Guy
Home Tool Review
Best Place to Buy Used Tools.
Think of it, guys (and gals)…a whole blog on tools! Weirdly, most of the posts are pretty interesting. This one is useful, especially for single or newly single women who suddenly find themselves in a house or apartment that needs some DIY care.

Guest Post by Rachelle (Landlord Rescue)
Money Smarts
10 Resources to Check Before Renting an Apartment
Proprietor Mike describes the author as “a real estate guru who works as a property manager.” Excellent list for prospective renters to check out—issues that you might not otherwise think about.

The DoughRoller
Which Netflix Plan is the Best Netflix Plan
A comprehensive and economical approach to determining which Netflix plan is the best bang for your buck. Very wiley!

Couple Money
Extended Warranties for Video Game Consoles
Should you get an extended warranty for your PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, or Nintendo Wii? Find out how you can run the numbers and see if extended warranties are a good deal for you. This is a good survey of what different warranties cover.

Miss T
Prairie Eco-Thrifter
Finance and Emergency Kits: Be Prepared Not Surprised.
Lists several preparedness essentials.

Money Relationship
Spring Cleaning = Cash
Looking to scrounge up some extra cash? Check out this post to find out how to sell some of your junk for cash!

Saving Money Today
Organizing 101: Filing Your Bills Neatly
You’ll never forget to pay another bill if you follow this simple system for organizing your bills.

Simon Zhen
Realm of Prosperity
Unemployment” Is Life Giving You Lemons?
Includes a documentary video with a series of examples of people who took creative approaches to surviving unemployment.

Cara Henis
Taking Charge
Fashionable Ways to Fight Identity Theft
A witty series of product reviews. Some of these gadgets are so hilarious you have to check the post date to be sure it’s not April 1.

Ace of Wealth
5 Tips to Get Started on a Zero Based Budget
After a number of failed budgeting attempts, Ace has found a system that works well for him.

Bible Money Matters
How To Save Money On Health Care
Peter suggests several ways to save money when having a baby or other medical procedure.

Stumble Forward
How To Get Dirt Cheap Airline Tickets
Chris says he knows how to save tons of money when buying airline tickets.

Rainy-Day Saver presents
How Do You File Your Paperwork?

Getting organized and staying organized can be a challenge.

A Gai Shan Life
The Niceness Effect
Revanche realizes some unintentional savings with a frank approach.

Funny about Money
The Burglar Jamboree: Nine Ways to Protect Yourself
A few strategies—some of them not so obvious—proposed as a gang targets Funny’s neighborhood.

Mr. Credit Card
Ask Mr. Credit Card
Costco Membership Review
Overview of the benefits of Costco membership, with an assessment of the upgraded “Executive” membership

John at Lifestyle Inflation, guest post
Budgets Are Sexy
How To Get a Bonus Four Times a Year,
John observes that “extra” paychecks generated by weekly or semiweekly pay amount to de facto bonuses.

Money Mindsets

Ten Questions for Jason Kelly, Author of “Financially Stupid People Are Everywhere”
A very interesting conversation with a fellow who’s not afraid to call a spade a spade.

Kim at MMI
Blogging for Change
What Does It Mean to Be ‘in Debt’?
Questions whether the extent of one’s debt should be taken into consideration when applying the term “in debt.”

Craig Ford
Money Help For Christians
Christian Lending | Should Lending Be Abolished?
Craig ponders a mind-bending question: “If borrowing enslaves then why aren’t more people going after lenders?” This is a thoughtful rumination on whether Christians should lend or borrow at all.

Live Real, Now
Building 5 Bad Habits
A short list of PF don’ts.

Christian Finances
Poverty or Simplicity: The Choice is Yours
A look at how we get to choose what whether we doing without or are lacking.

Money Obedience
Obvious and Hidden Financial Risks
We also take financial risks, even if one refrains from “playing the markets.”

3 Reasons Why Your New Business Won’t Succeed.
Good common sense here.

Doc S
Finance Your Life
Parents Make Bad Money Decisions
Doc S begins to realize that his aging parents are making questionable financial choices and worries about how to discuss it with them.

Miss Bankrupt
Miss Bankrupt
Symptoms of a Shopaholic
Miss B does does a bit of research into a pop-psych condition.

Real Estate

Investing Thesis
Correlation of mortgage rates with real housing prices: How increasing inflation could affect housing prices.
Interesting rumination on the possibility that inflation could push housing values down, supported with statistical analysis and graphs.

Tornado damage


Buck$ome Boomer’s Journey to Retirement
An Odd Couple Team Up for Long Term Insurance
Nontraditional businesses are now selling insurance. Is that in the best interest of the consumer?


Wanderlust Journey
Passport Fees Increase July 13th.
I’ve always considered a passport something that ought to be in one’s emergency kit, in case some reason arises to make you want to leave the country quickly. This makes your passport one of the most expensive items in the kit!


That’s it for this week. Next Monday the carnival will be hosted by NerdWallet. Be sure to send your submissions by the Sunday afternoon deadline through this handy form. And don’t fail to check out NerdWallet’s findings next week!


Rangeland Fence. U.S. Geological Service. Public Domain,
Winona Savings Bank Vault. Jonathunder. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.
Cathay Bank, Boston. House of Scandal. Public Domain.
Wile E. Coyote. Link to screenshot.
Sigmund Freud, by Max Halberstadt.
Life Magazine, 1923. Public domain.
Tornado-damaged House, Declared a Total Loss by Insurer, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic License
Cathay Pacific Airbus, by Arpingstone. Public Domain. aaaa

Festival of Frugality

Hurrah! It's time for the 237th Festival of Frugality! With the Fourth of July just past, we're going with an Independence Day theme.Americans are good at beating the odds. Our country was founded 235 years ago with a war in which the colonists were outmatched by the greatest naval force on the planet. Young men who had never been away from home came up against seasoned British troops and German mercenaries under career officers.Today many of us feel the odds against America are pretty high again. With the official unemployment rate stuck at almost 10 percent and the real under- and unemployment rate closer to 20 percent, our country engaged in a war we are unlikely to win (if the situation even allows such a thing as "winning"), widespread debt among our citizens, state economies on the verge of collapse, the federal deficit soaring, and one in every 400 homes going into foreclosure just last month, Americans face daunting challenges. But individuals, families, and communities around the country are rising to those challenges, as they did 1776. In this festival, bloggers report on developments in the revolution against debt, waste, and economic oppression.Editor's choices are flagged with little red hearts: ♥Getting fired up at the Boston Tea Party

Recruiting the Troops

Cash Money Life
How to Find and Hire Reliable Contractors
Here’s a nice set of tips on dealing with repairmen and small contractors. As a bonus, Ryan includes a promo code for 15% off an Angie’s List membership.

Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge

Living off the Land: Frugal Survival in the Field

Sun’s Financial Diary
Know When to Buy What
Do you save by stocking up on produce in season? Here’s a guide to the seasons of sales.

Penniless Parenting
The Protein Myth
Discussion of the various sources of dietary protein and their quality.

Healthy Cooking on a Budget
Three frugal approaches to dining in

June Tree, Guest post author
The Digerati Life
How to Buy Organic Food and Eat Well for Less Money
Several useful tips for shifting your buying toward organic and still staying on budget

PT Money
10 Places to Get WiFi for Free
PT reports that all Starbucks are now offering free WiFi and then adds another nine connections for the peripatetic computerist.

Wren Caulfield
True Adventures in Money Hacking
Money-saving Laundry Tips: Quick Tips for Saving Your Cash and Your Clothes
Wren points out that several frugal laundry strategies actually save wear and tear on clothing as well as on water, energy, and laundry supplies.

Common Sense, by Thomas Paine
Common Sense, by Thomas Paine

Keeping Up Morale

Donna Freedman
Surviving and Thriving
14 Insanely Cheap Ways to Have Fun This Summer
A pile of ideas for frugal summer recreation—add yours in the comments!

Paul Williams
Provident Planning
The Boredom Buster: Using Variety to Break Up the Monotony
Know what a dorodango ball is? Neither did I, till I came across it here and had to look it up. Paul suggests a nifty collaborative strategy for breaking out of the rut.

Bucksome Boomer’s Journey to Retirement
The Old Days Weren’t Frugal by Choice
A look back at the realities our parents and grandparents knew

Battle of Yorktown

Battle Plans: Strategizing to Win Fiscal Freedom

Neal Frankle
Debt Pilgrim
How Much Can I Afford for a House? A Checklist
This unprepossessing title disguises some very savvy advice. If you’re thinking about buying a house—or even vaguely daydreaming of one—don’t miss this article.

Live Real, Now
Be Prepared or Be Me
Take the benefit of advice from Jason’s experience!

Free Money Finance
Saving Money on Groceries by Keeping Track of Prices
FMF describes the habit of keeping a price book, and ponders its uses.

J. Money
Budgets Are Sexy
Increase Your Savings with Every Raise You Get
A plan for fighting lifestyle inflation

Richly Reasonable
The GREAT Coupon Experiment: Week 5—The End
Reasonable decides to test the hypothesis that couponing saves cash with hard science.

Budgeting in the Fun Stuff
The Cost of the First Year of Homeownership
Largely by dint of luck and the generosity of friends and relatives, BFS keeps a grip on the potentially amazing cost of the first year in a house.

Washington at the Battle of Princeton

On the Frugal Battlefield: Going Hand-to-hand with Spending and Debt

Christian Treitler
Money Obedience
How to Really Save Money When You Spend It
Christian sets himself a goal to actually put money saved by purchasing goods on sale into a real-world savings account.

Wanderlust Journey
Checked Baggage Fees List
If you travel by air, bookmark this post! Jim first clues us to airlines that give you one checked bag free; then provides a list of baggage fees by airline.

Modern Tightwad
Can’t No-Poo? Try Alterna-poo: Aloe Vera
Now this is an interesting discovery!

Donna Freedman
Surviving and Thriving
Don’t Hate the Payer, Hate the Game
Donna hits readers’ hot button with some observations about the way grocery checkout works.

Leave Debt Behind
Want to Erase Credit Card Debts? Pay More Often
Recommends a strategy of frequent micropayments to clear debt off your books.

Tool Guy
Home Tool Review
How to Frugally Stock Your Home Toolbox
Wise suggestions for new homeowners and young people just starting out in their first apartment

Frugal for Life
Home Remedies for Stinky Feet and Shoes
Dawn gets her readers talking when she posts a slew of strategies for de-stinking musty feet and shoes!

Go Banking Rates, guest post author
Well-Heeled Blog
Guilty Financial Pleasure: Keep Your Hobby on a Budget and Make Money from It
Managing a hobby in hard times

Dinks Finance
My Insurance Nightmare
In search of an insurance quote for a new car, Kristina gets asked some amazingly personal questions.

Take a Bite Out of Your Food Expenses
How much, really, do you save by eating in instead of out? The answer may surprise even confirmed home cooks.

Miss Thrifty
Chipped Cup or Mug? Don’t Throw It Away!
An attractive way to get some more mileage from damaged dinnerware

Funny about Money
Happy Hoarder’s Handyman Hint: Frugal Junk Use
A nifty handmade paper-towel holder grows from squirreled-away junk.

Vern, Guest post author
Canadian Finance Blog
Eco-friendly Tips for Summer Cleaning on a Budget
Vern has a house-cleaning strategy!

The Sun’s Financial Diary
Great Green Convenient Ways to Clean
Sun discovers the sterling qualities of a common household product.

Cash Money Life
Cheap Phone Calls with Magic Jack
Cheaper even than Skype!

Washington Crossing the Delaware

“We Have Met the Enemy, and He Is Us”*

Roshawn Watson
Watson Inc.
Why Is Debt Really Decreasing?
Interesting rumination on the apparent drop in US household indebtedness.

Ace of Wealth
Do You Fall for These Pricing Tricks?
What’s “anchoring”? If you don’t know, better read this post for another insight into marketing psychology.

Tim Chen
5 Reasons to Avoid AMEX Blue Cash
This review of the AMEX Blue Cash card actually gives some fairly strong pro’s as well as the five cons mentioned in the post title.

Fireworks over New York City's East Village

* The immortal words of Pogo


Fireworks over Washington Monument. Public domain.
Boston Tea Party. National Archives and Records Administration. Public domain.
Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge. John Ward Dunsmore, 1907. Public domain.
Scan of the cover of Thomas Paine’s
Common Sense. 1776. Public domain.
Plan of the Battle of Yorktown. Goodrich, S. G. (1875).
A Pictorial History of the United States. Philadelphia: J. H. Butler & Co., 277.
George Washington Rallies His Troops at the Battle of Princeton. Artist unknown. Public domain.
Washington Crossing the Delaware. Emanuel Leutze. 1851. Public domain.
East Village Fireworks. David Shankbone. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Festival of Frugality Comin’ Our Way!

w00t!!! Funny is hosting the Festival of Frugality next Tuesday.

I’m just sitting down to start reading submissions. It’s not too late to send yours!

Looking forward to seeing what everyone has been up to this week. Here’s a link to the Festival itself (note the proprietor’s superb taste in blog templates 😉 ), and here’s where you go to enter your latest and greatest post.

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!
See your golden words in glowing lights! Win a chance at Editor’s Choice!


w00t! Carnival of Money Stories headed this way!

On Monday Funny hosts the Carnival of Money Stories, now being overseen by Mrs. Accountability. A few posts have already come in. Don’t forget to send yours by Sunday evening. Says Mrs. A:

Here is a reminder of the guidelines for submissions. . .

The article should be a personal money story or experience. Any other type of article will not be included in the carnival.

The article should be related to some form of personal finance/business.

Only one submission per blog per week.

The article should be less than one month old.

So send your posts in now—I’m looking forward to reading the greatest money stories ever told!

Moments of (Belated) Fame

I’ve been horribly remiss in failing to thank the hosts of the two carnivals where Funny appeared most recently! Got no excuse: just lazy, I’m afraid.

SimplyForties hosted a spectacular Carnival of Money Stories featuring wonderful photos and quotes from some of the women I most admire. This edition is pretty rich pickings, with many really excellent posts. I got a hoot out of Money Beagle’s stories of learning from the eight-month-old (at the rate I’m going, the kid’s probably in graduate school by now…). PT Money has a cool post on discovering online tutorials for various DIY tasks, wherein we learn that grrls can change faucets and fix toilets! And at Gather Little by Little, Mike contemplates the joys of making money online. Simply Forties kindly included Funny’s squib on big-picture thinking among this august company.

Across the Pond, Miss Thrifty hosted the 219th Festival of Frugality. Her theme also revolves around history: an extremely interesting reflection on rationing during and shortly after WW II in Britain. Fortunately, the posts aren’t rationed. Christian Personal Finance has some apposite tips on computer maintenance and repair. And speaking of maintenance and repair of the central appliances in our lives, check out what FIRE Finance learned about operating refrigerators. Peak Personal Finance recommends a strategy that I’ve heard before and think is a really good idea for people contemplating a plunge into real estate. Funny’s w00t about SDXB’s thrift store coup appears in this carnival.

In other news, Adam e-mails to report that Mrs. Accountability will be taking over as administrator of the Carnival of Money Stories. We certainly wouldn’t want her to get bored, so be sure to send your best money adventures to Blog Carnival’s handy submission site! Congratulations to Mrs. A and best wishes for a great run.


Daryl Samuel, Statue of Rip van Winkle in Irvington, N.Y., by Richard Masloski
GNU Free Documentation License, Wikipedia Commons