Welcome to this week's Carnival of Personal Finance! It's always a pleasure to host this carnival and I appreciate and thank Flexo from Consumerism Commentary for giving me the opportunity to host again.
This past Friday was Independence Day in the United States, so this week's Carnival will present a few snapshots of the American Flag over its history. You may click on each image for a larger version.
The “Betsy Ross” Flag. Though the Flag Resolution of 1777 specified the number of stripes, their color, the color of the upper-left field, and the number of stars, it did not specify an arrangement of the stars. This is what Betsy Ross came up with. One point of each star points outward from the center of the circle.
- Money Sense warns us of six loan pitfalls to avoid. It's always good to do due diligence before signing any loan paperwork. And if sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- InsureBlog pondered the effect of computer modeling on property and casulalty insurance determination.
- A Dollar a Day turns “no credit needed” on its head and asks if you could go cashless.
- Passive Family Income discusses how they plan for the added expenses of house guests.
- Fix My Personal Finances gives some tips on surviving on a single income. (Something I'm learning to do now.)
- Living Almost Large wonders how large a financial buffer is needed.
- Discover Debt Freedom gives five tips for finding financial freedom, especially for folks who could improve their spending habits.
The 15-Star Flag. This flag was in use from May 1st, 1798 through July 3rd, 1815, and the two extra stars represent the states of Vermont and Kentucky. This flag inspired Francis Scott Key's Star-Spangled Banner. It is also the only flag since the original flag to have fifteen stripes rather than thirteen.
Credit and Debt articles
- The Money Wise Coach makes the argument that debit card fraud is much worse than credit card fraud. The post contains steps on how to prevent this kind of fraud and how to detect it early if it happens.
- Cash Back Ideas has $24k in debt that isn't going to get paid off anytime soon. (If he's making money, why not?)
- Bible Money Matters asks whether credit card rewards are really worth it. There are definitely a lot of gotchas with credit cards and it pays to watch them.
- Mend Your Money weighs in with some tips for shopping less if you sense that you're shopping too much.
- Queercents asks an interesting question: “Would you risk your life to get out of debt?“
- Ask Mr. Credit Card gives a few questions to consider before signing up for a credit monitoring service.
- Money Smart Life questions whether gas credit cards are the best antidote against high gas prices.
- American Consumer News explains the benefits of using a 529 credit card.
- Not Made of Money lists four tricks to bump up your loan payments in order to pay off your loan early.
- My Dollar Plan gives seven tips to remember and practice when paying off credit card debt. (Are you considering the tax ramifications of selling assets to pay off your debt?)
- Dollar Frugal broaches the somewhat sticky topic of a woman's tradeoff between career and family.
- Save and Conquer shares how to tell customers what they need. (It also looks like he borrowed GenX Finance's old avatar for his post.)
- Digerati Life lists jobs that survive in a slumping economy.
- One Chance To Live loves options. (Not just call options or put options, but career options, and lots of other kinds of options.)
- American Small Business News lists some illegal interview questions that you might want to be aware of if you're looking for a job or otherwise involved in the hiring process.
Articles on the Economy
- Cash Money Life comments on food stamps and the economy. There's a lot of meat in this one and I'm sure the discussion will continue to be lively.
- Greener Pastures discusses the point at which the cost of frugality becomes too high, cast in terms of the business methods that bring Wal-Mart's everyday low prices.
- Smart Easy Money is concerned about peak oil and the effect on retirement plans. (This doesn't get nearly the discussion it deserves in the personal finance community.)
The 48-Star Flag. I was reminded of this one when we went to see Indiana Jones 4. 😉 This flag was the second-longest-running flag in this country's history; it was in use for 47 years from July 4th, 1912 through July 3rd, 1959. (Following the 15-Star flag, all new flag designs have been introduced on July 4th.)
- Free Money Finance says: “You can save money by weighing your produce.“
- Go Green Travel Green shares over 450 — yes, that's right, over four hundred fifty — hypermiling tips. You'll probably save money on gas just because you'll be stuck at home reading all of those tips!
- Harvesting Dollars struggles with contentment about spending.
- Refurbished GPS runs through the numbers on buying a refurbished GPS package as opposed to a new one. Note: This blog is a bit of a one-trick pony but the principle can save you a ton of money if applied to more purchases than just a GPS. Buying used when it makes sense is a great way to save money.
- The Family Wallet has come up with three ideas for entertaining your kids inexpensively this summer.
- Broke@$$ Student weighs in with an extensive list of frugal beauty tips.
- No Debt Plan advocates ditching the SUV and getting a scooter.
- Frugal Fu adapts a kinder, gentler, and greener relationship with food.
- Military Finance Network makes a bold statement about the only mutual fund you should invest in. (Hint: It's not the Banguard California Raisins 500.)
- Christian Personal Finance explains why a diamond ring could be a terrible investment. (Not that California Raisins are much better.)
- The DIV-Net makes a case for combining dividend investing and value investing, and explains some calculations to evaluate a particular choice of investments.
- Dividend Growth Investor discusses and analyzed the dividend pattern of McDonald's. (Is a double-top pattern actually bad for this company?)
- My Retirement Blog admonishes us to not gamble with our retirement nest egg.
- Thornton Wealth Management points out the difference between investment returns and investor returns.
- Trees Full of Money wonders if some of us might actually be saving too much for retirement.
- Everyday Finance talks about some not-so-everyday oil investing opportunities.
- My Wealth Builder says it's time to short stocks. (I don't have the guts to do this, but yes it really is.)
- Blunt Money wonders if single stocks are too risky. (Only if you pick the wrong one.)
- The Dough Roller warns that a Roth 401(k) retirement plan could hurt your nest egg.
- Uncommon Cents defines what speculation is and warns against it. (Good advice.)
- The Dividend Guy lists six warning signs that a company could cut its dividend.
- Think Your Way to Wealth gives a short tutorial on the Roth IRA.
- Amateur Asset Allocator thinks that PRPFX is an interesting alternative.
- Money and Values is deciding amongst the many varied retirement account options.
- Growing Money Blog reports on the June results of their Stock Market Challenge. (This seems like a good shot at some prizes — only six entries competing for a $25 gift card last month.)
50-Star Flag. This is the current design for the US Flag. It is the longest-running design as of last year. The two additional stars represent Alaska and Hawaii. This design is on permanent display on the Moon. Proper display of the flag on web sites demands the following colors: #BF0A30, #FFFFFF, and #002868.
Money Management articles
- Money Ning advocates keeping things simple. (Is it a coincidence that ning means “tranquility?”)
- Moneymonk takes a quick stab at what income level should be sufficient.
- Accumulating Money explain what a health savings account is. (If you have one available to you then it's worth considering.)
- Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck doesn't mince words to say that not taking advantage of your job's benefits is dumb.
- Blueprint for Financial Prosperity shares a secret: Online banks aren't all about rates.
- Sound Money Matters says it's time for a mid-year financial check-in!
- Saving Advice gives some tips on how to stay motivated as you work toward your financial goals.
- The Financial Blogger gives us part two of a series on how to find a good financial advisor.
- The Personal Financier teaches kids about finance through Monopoly. (I love Monopoly, but no one likes to play the way I do: to the death.)
- Monroe on a Budget warns that the rules of college financing have changed.
- Dreaming of Ferraris (ha great name) says that life is about choices.
- Value For Your Life is saving for a trip and running a contest!
- Can I Get Rich on a Salary is a tad skeptical about hiring a financial planner.
- Money Answer Guy discusses the benefits of a cash-only lifestyle.
The Future 51-Star Flag. Looking ahead, this is the likely design for the flag should another state accede, like for example the accession of Puerto Rico or the District of Columbia. The US Army Institute of Heraldry has plans for flag designs with up to 56 stars.
- Taking Charge talks of some developments that credit card companies are taking to ease the pain at the pump. (This appears to be more help to gas station owners but consumers could see some of the savings.)
- $aving to Invest gives us a list of easy ways to cope with rising gas prices, both by finding alternatives to driving and by changing your driving habits.
- Personal Finance Analyst has a bunch of ways to save if you want to shop at Coldwater Creek. (Man I had never heard of this store before.)
- Beating Broke tells where they began their journey at reducing their debt. (Everyone must start where they are and this story looks like it's making good progress!)
- Budgets Are Sexy doesn't take candy from strangers but he talks personal finance with them.
- Daily Money Hack shares that a little planning with a rental car can possibly avoid a one-way rental fee.
- You Need A Budget wonders if we're raising our kids to be a bunch of pansies.
- Quest For a Million just can't get fuel efficiency out of his head.
- Paid Twice outlines the first steps to considering long-term disability insurance.
- Are You Going to Be this Way for the Rest of the Time I Know You? — this week's winner of the Fiona Apple Blog Naming Award — discusses the tax difference between business and hobby.
Thanks for reading this week's Carnival of Personal Finance! Have a great week, and please remember to link to the carnival if your article was included.