Carnival of Personal Finance #258 – Cities at Night

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance! My name is Adam and I am your host this week. It was an honor reading everyone’s submissions this week. There were a TON!

For a theme this week, I thought about pictures of cities at night. I’m not sure what it is about these types of pictures, but I absolutely love them. So, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for stopping by!

Editor’s Choice

Jason from Live Real, Now has a great piece on Garage Sale Management. With the garage sale season well underway, following Jason’s plan can net you a lot of extra cash. You can use that extra cash to GET OUT OF DEBT!

Pop Economics has some great new ways to Trick Yourself Into Saving for Retirement. Personally, I love behavior economics. When I learned about it during my master’s degree, I just couldn’t get enough. Check out this great piece!

Flexo from Consumerism Commentary wants to know, Should We Discourage Students From Attending College? When I graduated in December of 2008 and couldn’t find a job, I often wondered if it was a waste of money and time. Looking back, I wouldn’t have changed anything. I learned so much both educationally and socially.


Craig from Free From Broke presents Organic Food Is Not Expensive, and says, “Reports keep coming out suggestion possible links to problems with non-organic foods. Can you afford NOT to eat organic these days?”

Elizabeth from Modern Gal presents What is an Emergency Fund?.


Kim Snider from Kimmunications presents How to Get Rid of All Bad Debt, and says, “If you follow the guidelines and steps in this article you will have a systematic plan to eliminate your bad debt and get closer to true financial independence.”

Jason from One Money Design presents How Should I Start Paying Off Student Loans, and says, “Many students will graduate with student loan debt this year. Follow these steps to get started paying them off!”

Len from Len Penzo dot Com presents 8 Big Reasons Why You’re Getting an F in Personal Finance 101.

Revanche from A Gai Shan Life presents Lingering Side Effects of Debt.


Miss Bankrupt presents Is a Housekeeper Worth the Money?.

Miss T from Prairie Eco-Thrifter presents Dress Well On The Frugal.

Amanda from My Dollar Plan presents 10 Budget Wedding Ideas From a Satisfied Bride, and says, “This is a great article for anyone planning a wedding on a budget!”

Endless Gibberish presents How I (and You) Can Use Fandango to Save Money on Movie Tickets, and says, “I write about how I cut the cost of movie tickets from $68.50 to $36.50 for an outing to watch Shrek 4 in 3d for a savings of $32. I use various methods from 2-for-1 deals, discounted gift cards and using coupons bought off eBay.”

Jim from Wanderlust Journey presents International Restaurant Tipping Guide.


Ben from Money Smart Life presents Six Credit Card Rewards Tips to Maximize Your Points.

Jim from Bargaineering presents How FICO Credit Scores Work.

RJ Weiss from Gen Y Wealth presents How Important Is Your Credit Score?, and says, “It’s safe to say, understanding how credit, credit cards, and your credit score work, can save you over a hundred thousand dollars over your lifetime.”

J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy presents A Great Reminder to Watch Your Credit Card Statements, and says, “Credit card scams can happen to any of us – be on the look out!”

Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents presents Can I Lower the Interest Rate on My Credit Card?, and says, “Many credit card holders that have high balances were hoping to be able to lower the rate that they have.”

Tim Chen from NerdWallet presents Durbin Interchange Amendment: Precursor to $132 Annual Fees?, and says, “The new interchange fee, or “swipe fee”, regulation that Congress is proposing may not be all it’s cracked up to be. While merchants will be better off, banks will likely pass off the fees to consumers instead.”


Big Cajun Man from Canadian Personal Finance presents Registered Disability Savings Plan the Story Continues, and says, “The continuing case study of my attempts to set up a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) in Canada for my son. The program has been in place for over a year, but it still has some “teething pains”.

Not Made of Money presents Save Money On Your Next Water Bill With These Tips.


Darren from MORE than Finances presents Working Overtime – A Blessing Or A Curse?, and says, “What would you do if you were asked to work overtime? How do you decide if working overtime is worth it?”

LeanLifeCoach from Eliminate the Muda presents Money and Loyalty , and says, “To be successful in life maybe we need to take a page from business and build loyal customers.”

Paul from Provident Planning presents How to Start a Corporation in Pennsylvania (and Most Other States, Too), and says, “If you’re looking to start a corporation, this step-by-step guide will show you what you need to do.”

David R. Lampsen from Personal Finance Analyst presents Atheist or Catholic High School Scholarships?.


Silicon Valley Blogger from The Digerati Life presents After I Do My Taxes, How Does My Tax Return Get Processed?


Sun from The Sun’s Financial Diary presents 2010 SmartMoney Broker Survey.

Helen from Science and Money presents Create Your Own Personal Mutual Fund, and says, “With stock transaction fees as low as $2/trade, is it possible to create your own diversified fund?”

2 Cents from Balance Junkie presents Today’s Markets: Not Business as Usual, and says, “This article looks at some of the factors that make today’s markets and financial system different from the past.”

Kristina from Dinks Finance presents 5 Easy Strategies For Smart Investors, and says, “Here are 5 easy tips to help you maximize your investment strategies.”

Clint from Accumulating Money presents Currency Option Trading.

PT from PT Money presents The Best Online Stock Brokers For Cheap Stock Trading, and says, “Begin investing with a low cost brokerage. Don’t pay big trading fees.”

Money Smarts from Smart On Money presents What Type Of Retirement Account Should I Choose? Traditional IRA, Roth IRA And 401k, and says, “Which account type is the best one, which should you choose for your situation?”

FMF from Free Money Finance presents Why I Invest Like I Do, and says, “A successful reader gives his investing philosophy — which is advice I agree with and follow quite closely.”

Mike Piper from The Oblivious Investor presents 401k Rollover Guide, and says, “An attempt to make a comprehensive 401k rollover resource, covering whether you should do it, how to do it, where to do it, etc.”

Russ from Thornton Wealth Management presents When To Buy & When To Sell, and says, “This is a post about the battle between emotions and logic in the quest to make smart investment decisions. This was prompted by a recent voicemail from a client”

D4L from Dividends Value presents Five Dividend Stocks To Buy On A Dip, and says, “Did May 6th frighten or excite you? I received a few emails from frightened dividend investors letting me know they were getting out of the market, while others asked if this was the beginning of another significant downturn. The first group are destined to always lose money in the market (sell low/buy high) and my answer to the second group was, ‘I hope so!’ Let me explain.”

Money Management

MD from Studenomics presents Planning to Start a Business? Read This First.

Panda Mike from Green Panda Treehouse presents Survival Guide to Recession, and says, “This is how each individual should manage a recession; with a survival guide to recession. The best plans don’t have to be complicated.”

Bret from Hope to Prosper presents A Purpose for Wealth, and says, “What if you want to become a millionaire, so you can live the good life? You probably won’t stay rich for very long, because your wealth doesn’t have a purpose, except to be consumed.”

The Financial Blogger presents What is Your Relationship With Money?, and says, “Find out if your relationship with money looks like your relationship with your ex-girlfriend, with your parents or with your dog!”


Barb Friedberg presents Why I’m Wealthy & My House Is Dusty, and says, “Invest regularly & deliberately to attain wealth. Put time and attention towards what you value; eliminate the unproductive.”

Musings of an Abstract Aucklander presents Mo’ money, mo’ problems?, and says, “If you have the opportunity to make more money for the same amount of work, do it.”

Kevin from Financially Poor presents Make Your Money Work For You.

Real Estate

Jake from Not Rich Yet presents The math behind buying a rental property, and says, “This shows some interesting math behind buying rental properties. Most people find the concept of cash flow positive attractive but have no idea what return on investment they actually get. This article attempts to remedy that.”

Craig Ford from Money Help For Christians presents How to know if you’re ready to buy a home, and says, “Seven questions every first time home buyer must answer.”

Andy from Saving to Invest presents Another 2010 Home Buyer Tax Credit Extension Unlikely Based on Stronger Housing Data, and says, “Unfortunately it looks like the chances of a further extension to the home buyer tax credit are lessening by the day as stronger housing data and focus on reducing government debt and foreclosures emerges. Bloomberg reports that purchases of new homes in the U.S. surged 27% in March, the most in almost five decades as buyers rushed to qualify for the home buyer tax credit. ”


VH from Funny About Money presents Good Corps, Bad Corps, and says, “Adventures in customer (dis)service.”

Consumer Boomer presents Things to Know About Comparing Life Insurance Policies, and says, “When it comes to comparing all your options for life insurance, it can be just as overwhelming as a Las Vegas buffet.”

Lucia from moneyStrands presents How To Plan A Garage Sale, and says, “A post on how to make some extra cash and de-clutter your home.”

Mr. Credit Card from Ask Mr. Credit Card presents Anatomy of a Scam.

Lance from Leave Debt Behind presents Avoid These Common Money Mistakes.

Ryan Ayres from The Financial Student presents 10 Lies We’re Told About Money, and says, “A list of some common attitudes and beliefs that are rarely, if ever, true.”

mbhunter from Mighty Bargain Hunter presents Review: Why Are We So Clueless about the Stock Market?, and says, “A review of Mariusz Skonieczny’s new book”

Austin Morgan from Foreigner’s Finances presents How to Pick a Charity, Track Donations and Maximize Giving, and says, “It’s important to donate, but keeping our donations in order can be tricky. This post shows you how to get the most out of your donations without giving yourself a headache. ”

Wealth Pilgrim presents How to Select the Right Roth IRA Beneficiary, and says, “You should pick your Roth IRA beneficiary carefully. Here are a few unusual tips to help you make sure you select the right beneficiaries.”

Best Time To Shop at Marshalls and TJ Maxx

Clothing is one of the really difficult things for me to spend money on. If you looked through my closet, I could point out to you over a dozen articles of clothing that have been in there for 6+ years. Yeah, I just don’t shop for clothing that much.

When I do shop for clothing, I typically look for things that are good quality but at bargain prices. Two of the places I always look is TJ Maxx and Marshalls. As you probably know, they have brand name items at low prices. Most of the stuff isn’t “hip” or “in style”, but I’m OK with that. I mean, I do have really old stuff in my closet!

Going off of some experience and research, I tried to figure out the best time to shop at the store. You obviously want to be in the store when things aren’t picked over or messy. Based on those facts, I would think that the best day to shop in either store would be Tuesday mornings. That gives the store staff plenty of time to restock the floor and straighten up the mess from the weekend crowd. Tuesdays are also one of the slowest for retail business so you likely won’t have much competition.

What do you think? Have you had success at other times? Leave a comment and then enjoy these links below!

Free Summer Activities For Kids – @Frugal Dad

8 Things Every High School Graduate Needs to Know About Money@Bible Money Matters

How to Avoid Giving Gifts at Work@brip blap

Is Your Spouse Hiding Debt? – @Get Rich Slowly

Should We Discourage Some Students From Attending College?@Consumerism Commentary

Your Financial Mindset Determines Your Ability to Handle Credit Cards@Enemy of Debt

The Realities of Dropping Cable – @The Simple Dollar

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Have a great weekend!

Carnival of Money Stories #53

Welcome to the Carnival of Money Stories #53! This is by far my favorite blog carnival. You get to read so many great stories about people lives and how they handle different aspects of their finances. I hope you enjoy these great posts as I did. Speaking of posts, I thought I would plug one of mine while I’m at it. On Friday, I wrote a post over at Frugal Dad about our struggle with an online company scam. Talk about a story!

Anyway, on with the Carnival!

Editor’s Picks

Free From Broke shares a nifty little system for teaching children to budget. My wife and I don’t have any children, but I am bookmarking this one for future use!

Free Money Finance shares with you another chapter of their Comcast saga. All I have to say is, they have waaaay more patience than I do!

Money Beagle talks about the downside of paying down debt. I hope this doesn’t happen to us! I don’t really see us getting a large sum of money so we might be safe.


Before You Invest talks about the four bad spending habits that they are changing today. I think we all have the same problems!

Cash Money Life shows you how and where to get a personal loan. Personally, we couldn’t have been more thankful to get rid of our personal loan.

Good Financial Cents shares with you week 2 of Financial Peace University. I’ve always want to take the classes but just can’t foot the bill!


The Financial Blogger lets you know why they blog. I blog to be held accountable for my financial actions.


Canadian Finance Blog talks about reward points, loyalty cards and lies. I think cash back credit cards are what got me into trouble!


Miss Bankrupt got selected for Chase Bank’s Reage Program. Not sure what it is? Head over there and check it out!

Credit Card Offers IQ got an offer to get cash back from swiping their credit card. Say what?


FIRE Finance shares a wonderful story about Sandy Aldridge and Dale Lugenbehl. A must read!

PT Money shows you why he bought 1,000 shares of Blockbuster.

Personal Finance By the Book let’s you know how to ensure you will never be a millionaire.


My Dollar Plan is thinking about a vacation home again! Man, I wish I was just thinking about a regular home!

The Sun’s Financial Diary asks, how would you treat your neighbor? Very interesting piece!

Funny About Money shares with you the cost of commuting. Luckily, I have to drive 1 mile to the train station and then take the train to DC. Heck, even the train is paid for by work!

Jeremy at Dinks Finance talks about the chances of his in-laws moving in. I would say they are rather high!

J Money wants to know if you are middle class. I’m not as well of as J, but I consider myself middle class.

Financial Tales shares with you a wealthy tale.

Squirrelers talks about squirrelers gone wild.

Early Retirement Extreme shows you how to say no to a new car.

Foreigner’s Finance show you how to make an Olive Garden dish at home for much less. Mmmmm….I think I might have to try this!

The Writer’s Coin asks, more money, more better?

Thanks to all of the participants this week! It sure was great reading them all! Next weeks edition will be held at Personal Finance Journey. Head over to the carnivals submission page to get your post included!

Debt Update: Finally Settling Down

Phew, what a month. I moved (sort of), started a new job (kinda) and became a full-time husband (finally). So financially, it wasn’t the most amazing month ever but it was still good. I received my first new paycheck and my pay jumped up about $80 for the two weeks. Anything helps, especially now we are used to living on the lower income.

Looking ahead, May should be a good month for us. We get an extra paycheck due to how the paydays fall and the increase in my paycheck should help.  Here is how we did for April!

I’m Still Here….

Just wanted to give you a quick shout out and let you know that I am still alive. It’s been pretty hectic for me the past few weeks. I moved back to Maryland, started my new position and visited family in PA (twice). So, needless to say, the blog has taken a back seat.

Our debt repayment is still going strong and we should have a pretty good tally at the end of the month.

I hope to get some posts up starting next week as things are finally starting to settle down a bit. I have a few good posts up my sleeve about budgeting and financial things you still need to do even if you are in debt. In the meantime, check out the post I had over at Frugal Dad last week.

Don’t Become a Financial Bully

Have a great weekend!

Debt Update: Another One Bites the Dust!

March was another good month for us in terms of debt reduction. We were able to pay off the personal loan and send some more money to our family member loan. In all, we paid off $2,139.82 in March. Not too bad at all!

This is the month I start my new job and where we really start attacking out debt. We will not longer have higher grocery bills, two rent payments, etc. My salary is also going to increase this month!

With all of those factors considered, I am anticipating our debt snowball (amount over the minimum payments) to average about $1,500 a month. That should help us get that family loan done in less than 1 year. We can’t wait!

Here is our updated debt spreadsheet: