Tag Archives: Budgeting

Money Hacks Carnival #51 – The Office Edition

Welcome to the 51st edition of the Money Hacks Carnival! My name is Adam and I am pleased to be your host this week. Please feel free to poke around the site if it is your first time visiting! You can subscribe to the blog using the links on the right or you can follow me on Twitter to stay up-to-date.

NBC’s The Office is my favorite show on TV. I just love watching the office banter and politics. Every week there is a moment that reminds you of something a co-worker did recently. For this carnival, I decided to categorize the topics by some great characters in the show.

Editor’s Picks

Michael Scott is the Regional Manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin. If anyone has the right to pick this week’s best articles, it’s him. He is the glue that holds his team together. Did I really just say that?

Credit Shout tells us to Beware of ATM Scams. Honestly, I really had no idea about some of these. I will be thinking twice about going to the ATM now!

Living Almost Large talks about a family that is in trouble and Their Ship Is Sinking. Looking at this person’s cash flow, it’s hard to believe that they did not see the major problem.

FIRE Finance shares a great story on how Smart Refrigeration Lowers Electricity Bills. Who better to tell you about saving energy on your refrigerator than someone who works with them every day?

PF Credit Cards shows you How to Beat Priceline and Get a Winning Bid. Personally, I have been using Priceline’s Name Your Own Price for over a year now. I will never go back to paying full price again! You really have no say in the brand of your hotel, but you still get to pick the star level. I have yet to be disappointed in the hotel I end up getting.

Career

To me, no one seems more focused on their career than Dwight Schrute. He is constantly reminding everyone about his position with the company and how he is the top salesman. He is also good at sucking up to the boss. Watch the show and learn from Dwight if you are searching for a new job!

Tom at The Strump gives his opinion on How to Translate Employment Ads.

FMF at Free Money Finance lets you know How to Waste Money on a MBA.

Debt and Credit

Kelly is really into fashion and fancy things. Only working at Dunder Mifflin, I can imagine that she has some major credit card debt. Hopefully, some of these articles can help her get on the path to becoming debt free.

Jim at Bargaineering has a Review of MyFICO ScoreWatch. He says it’s perfect for credit score junkies!

Tyler from CreditCards.com talks about how Credit Card Regulation is Brewing for College Campuses Again. Personally, I have never signed up for a credit card at a table at college, sporting event , airport, etc.

Looking for a new rewards credit card? Credit Addict tells us about the Pentagon Federal Visa Rewards Card.

Shaun from Learn Financial Planning gives his 5 Principles for Getting Out of Debt. Some great insights here!

Mr. Banker at Best Interest Rate Banks gives us his review of High Interest Savings Accounts.

Studenomics Breaks Down Student Loans in a non-confrontation manner.

Chris at StumbleForward gives you some tips on Becoming a Blogger to Get Out of Debt.

Housing

Jim just recently bought a house from his parents. I bet he wishes that he could have had some of these great articles to read!

Len Penzo provides us with A Layman’s Guide to Mortgage Application Junk Fees.

Passive Family Income talks about The Recession in America and Home Foreclosures.

Frugality and Saving Money

If anyone on the show is frugal, it’s Pamela. She dresses simple, religiously watched her money while going to college, and was thrifty while planner her first wedding.

Silicon Valley Blogger at The Digerati Life has a Valentine’s Day Tip on Using Ebates to Get Cash Back.

Pete at Bible Money Matters reminds us that Small Decisions Equal Big Results.

J Money at Budgets are Sexy says The Budget is Back, Baby!

Lisa from Greener Pastures presents Economic Collapse-R-Us: 22 Lifestyle Changes of Middle Class America.

The Writer’s Coin presents Am I a Thief or an Entrepreneur? The overwhelming majority of the comments suggest a thief. Head over there and give your input. He has even written a response post to the naysayers.

Matt at Stupid Cents gives us Five Simple Ways to Buy Everything Cheaper and Save Money.

The Shark Investor gives us Strategies for Raising Savings.

Mr. Tough Money Love show us how Arming Ourselves to Save Money on Car Repairs can be a good thing.

Patrick at Money Saving Deals has some Godaddy.com Coupon Codes to share.

David at Personal Finance Analyst gives us The Best Free Budget Worksheets on the Internet.

Dana at Not Made of Money tells us How Her Family Keeps the Breaks on Spending.

The Smarter Wallet shares some delicious Cheap Meals You Can Cook at Home to Save Money.

Debt Kid shows us Why Budgets Don’t Work for Everyone.

Hank at Own The Dollar wants to know Is Three to Six Months of Expenses Enough Money For Your Emergency Fund?

Aryn at Sound Money Matters shows you The Pros and Cons of Homemade Yogurt.

Taxes

When I think of someone who would evade income taxes, I think about Creed. Hopefully some of these articles will help him file his return this year. His first return ever?

Money Tipper lets us know about TurboTax Discounts for Vanguard Customers.

Nickel at Five Cent Nickel gives us Ten Common Income Tax Credits. Head over there to make sure you are getting all the money you deserve.

Thinking of buying a new house? Madison at My Dollar Plan talks about the Possibility of a $15,000 Home Buyer Tax Credit.

Patrick at Military Finance Network answers a question about What You Need to Do If Your Stimulus Check Was Lost of Stolen.

Christian Personal Finance found some places that have Free STATE e-file Online! Living in Maryland, I know that we have free e-file for the state return. It makes it nice and easy!

Insurance

If I had to guess which employee had the greatest amount of insurance, I would say it was Andy. I’d bet he has whole life, term, universal, two health policies and a deferred annuity. He also seems to be the most likely to be a insurance salesman. He just has that way about him!

Mr. GoTo at Go To Retirement gives you an idea about Fixed Annuities and Financial Risk. I think fixed annuities are a great thing to have in retirement. It’s unfortunate that they get such a bad rep from many mainstream media types.

Junior Boomer from The Consumer Boomer talks about Women and Long-term Care Insurance.

Economy

Now honestly, who cares more about the economy than Stanley? Just look at that face!

Kathryn at Out of Debt Christian tells us about The Importance of Shopping Local.

PFR at Personal Finance Reviews tells how the FDIC Plans to Restrict Interest Rates of Troubled Banks.

Curt at Penny Jobs presents The Fiat Money System is Failing.

Money Blue Book Finance wants to know is there a Second Stimulus Check for Obama in 2009?

Investing

Toby is the head of human resources at Dunder Mifflin. If anyone was maxing out their 401(k) there, it would be him.

Sun at The Sun’s Financial Diary alerts you to a Free Stock Analysis Tool.

The Financial Blogger shows you some Options to Secure Your Investment Portfolio.

The Intelligent Speculator wants to know if Super Bowl Ads are Really Worth It?

The Investor at Monevator gives their 10 Reasons to Be Cheerful as an Investor.

Jeff from Good Financial Cents has 7 Things to Know About the 2010 Roth IRA Conversion.

Dividend Tree shows us how Everyday Life Teaches us Dividend Investing.

Other

When I was thinking about what character would be good for the category other, I thought of Ryan. He definitely had some ups and downs with Dunder Mifflin!

MoneyNing presents What Everyone Ought to Know When Applying for Free Stuff.

Patrick at Cash Money Life has some $25 Sign-up Bonuses from Lending Club. You even have 2 chances to win $100!

Mara Rodgers at Secrets for Money gives some great Tips To Teach Kids About Money.

Chris at Financial Reflections lets you know How Identiy Thieves Sell Your Data Online.

Mighty Bargain Hunter gives you Some Great Sources for Free AudioBooks.

Miss M at M is for Money shares with you Deliverance from Debt: Budget Basics.

Mike at Money TLD shares with us 10 Places to Click for Cash. There are quite a few things on this list that I have never heard of. I think I will check some of them out!

Free Retirement Guides from Forbes and Amazon.com

Forbes, in partnership with Amazon, has some free retirement guides available for download. These guides are only available until the end of February. Head over there to get your copies today! Make sure you save them on your computer so you can access them later. Here are some titles that are available:

The Forbes Investors Guide – A great guide here that goes over plenty of great retirement topics. They include: stocks and bonds, estate planning, mutual funds, current economy (politics), real estate, etc.

Investing in a World Gone Mad – This is an article focused on the company Thrive. Thrive is a company similar to Quicken or Mint. They allow you to download bank and credit card transactions, make a budget, plan for retirement, etc. This article has prompted me to try out the service (it’s FREE). Look for a review coming soon!

Also, many of their personal finance magazines are on sale. Head over and purchase some. I personally subscribe to Money, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and Smart Money.

Carnival of Money Stories #93 – BCS Edition

Welcome to the 93rd edition of The Carnival of Money Stories! My name is Adam and I am pleased to be your host this week. This carnival is one of my favorites. I love reading the great personal stories every week and it’s even better hosting the carnival as I get to choose my picks as the best for the week.

Last week Florida was able to beat Oklahoma 24-14 in the College Football BCS Championship. That game (and the BCS in general) gave me an idea for a great theme this week. This week we are holding the BCS of Money Stories. In other words, the Blog Championship Series of Money Stories. I am going to mention my 2 favorite entries for this week and you can decide on your own who the champion should be. There are also different “bowl games” in which other great stories are mentioned. All I have for the winner is a picture of this amazing trophy seen above. Cherish it as best you can as you will never receive anything of its kind again in your life! Anyway, let the games begin!

BCS Championship Game

These two stories made it to the championship game. There was a unique selection process in order to earn a bid to this game. First, I added all of the numbers of the date that it was submitted with the time of day it was submitted. I then subtracted 100 because I can. I then compared their strength of schedule against those who made it to this weeks Carnival of Personal Finance.  Simple process, right? Without further ado, here are my two picks:

Curt at PennyJobs.com wants to know which pays better, popular investing or staying in front of the crowd? I think I agree with Curt on his conclusion. When people are greedy, I am afraid. When people are afraid, I am greedy.

Papa Boomer at Consumer Boomer tells his tale about almost getting hosed by Terminix and the importance of doing research before buying. I just picture the poor old ladies in my mind that the Terminix guy has already ripped off.

Shopping Bowl

The Shopping Bowl includes posts talking about shopping experiences, customer service, etc.

FMF at Free Money Finance hates getting gift cards from Macy’s (and Macy’s shopping in general). Unfortunately, someone decided to get him a card for Christmas and he let’s us know how much Macy’s rip you off!

Jim at Blueprint For Financial Prosperity is heading to Walt Disney World! A day after he booked, his wife received a better offer in an email from them. Much to his surprise, they matched the offer!

Coupon Artist over at Art of the Coupon talks about their quest to spend $0 on groceries this year. A little unrealistic, but definitely some great ways to at least try! They will spend way less than me, I can tell you that!

VH at Funny About Money went shopping for shoes that don’t hurt. Sometimes you need to spend money for quality things. They will definitely last longer!

Single Guy Money got a new car and best of all, it was free! Well, at least it was free for him.

Abby at I Pick Up Pennies gives her personal opinion on warranties and their usefulness. Personally, we bought one on my fiances laptop. Mostly because it covers accidents and spills.

Investing Bowl

The Investing Bowl shares personal experiences with investing.

Silicon Valley Blogger at The Digerati Life talks about her experience with college savings plan rewards like Upromise. I have Upromise to help pay off my loans but I have not made $4,000!

Jeff at Good Financial Cents shares a story about a man who did not utilize the match on his 401(k). A 401(k) match is one of the only things in investing where you can get a guaranteed rate of return. Make sure you are utilizing yours!

Sun at The Sun’s Financial Diary shares with you their passive income for 2009.

Mr ToughMoneyLove from Tough Money Love presents to you his year end financial performance review. He definitely made out better in the market than most!

Billy at Beginner Investing shares his story about keeping emotions out of investing.

Ryan at Uncommon Cents had a GREAT investment in 2008. Want to know what the investment was? Click to find out!

Housing Bowl

The Housing Bowl has a wide variety of posts on renovations, mortgages, etc.

LAL at Living Almost Large has basically rented his house over the past few years even though he owned it. I can imagine that there are MANY individuals in this position. Hopefully prices will rebound in the coming months.

Miss M at M is for Money needs $153,000 and your help. Miss M is in the same position as many Americans these days: upside down on her home.

Cathy at Money to Spare lets you know that one expense no homeowner should never forget. Ah, the joys of home ownership!

The Financial Blogger gives you his final thoughts on his home renovation.

Credit and Debt Bowl

The Credit and Debt Bowl showcases stories on credit and debt stories.

Mr CC from Ask Mr Credit Card was asked by his credit card company if he wanted higher rewards. His response was certainly positive!

PFR from Personal Finance Reviews shares some tips on what to do when your credit cards are closed due to inactivity. They called up the companies and to my surprise, the company actually listened!

Len from Len Penzo shows you why paying off your mortgage is a no-brainer.

Random Bowl

The Random Bowl is for those posts that just could not be placed in one of the previous bowl games. Do not let them fool you though. There are some great stories! DON’T STOP READING!

J Money from Budgets are Sexy won the lottery! Well, he isn’t the next Bill Gates, but getting closer to that cool million!

Grace from GRACEful Retirement was born without a silver spoon in her mouth. Be sure to check out this post as there is some great discussion going on!

Patrick from Cash Money Life shares with you his 2009 personal finance goals. Just the way I like them: short and sweet. It makes them much more attainable!

DD at The Happy Rock goes over their December monthly expenses. Let’s just say it was a rough month!

The Smarter Wallet gives some great tips on saving time and money with quality cookware.

Vilkri from Our Personal Finances shares with you his own personal finance story.

Z Petals shares with your her financial past.

Pete at Bible Money Matters shares a guest post from Jason at Forward Habit. Jason shares his story of how he went through a $100,000 inheritance in 6 years.

Well there you have it! Thanks for visiting my site and be sure to poke around for just a little bit. You know you want to!

Do You Still Balance Your Checkbook? I Sure Don’t

The other day I received an interesting question from Bobbi concerning balancing a checkbook. Here it is:

With banking and statements being completely accessible online, do you still balance your checkbook on paper?

Personally, I have never really balanced my checkbook. I know that many of you will think that is outrageous, but it has always worked for me. I don’t even look at my statements online. For the past several years, I have used Quicken on a daily basis. It automatically gets my transactions for me and I don’t have to worry about writing them down. I have never overdrawn my account. I guess I would never know if one of my small transactions were wrong, but at least I keep track of the big ones with receipts. Quicken also helps me stick to a budget as it has a great budget tool in it.

My fiance still religiously balances her checkbook. I always see her doing it every week and it makes me cringe every time. She is always like 1 cent off somewhere and she goes nuts trying to find that penny. I would have easily given up at that point and just added (or subtracted) the penny from my checkbook. I just do not have the patience. Hopefully she will still let me use Quicken when we combine the money!

Have you stopped balancing your checkbook? Why or why not?