The 154th Carnival of Personal Finance is up at Canadian Dream: Free At 45. (for some reason, this blog title makes me think of Dream Academy’s “Life In A Northern Town” which puts me in a good mood).
I love the post from Budgets Are Sexy about the stages of “no spending” stints. I really like the idea that was mentioned in the post and in the comments about keeping track of how many no spending days you have in a given month or year. I’m going to implement this starting June 1, and see how many days in June we can not spend any money. I think this will work better for us than a long term no-spending challenge. My guess is that we can manage at least 15 days in June without spending any money. It helps that we both work from home right now, and the only times we leave the house are to go for walks with our dog and our baby.
Accumulating Money has a post about things we should do before we are 30 – it’s reassuring to note that I’m pretty well set with all of the points in this post, since I’ll be 30 in a few months.
I really liked the post from Saving Advice about the shortfalls of Dave Ramsey’s financial teachings. I do appreciate Dave’s tough love approach to money management, but he’s never been one of my favorite money gurus, probably because of all the religion that gets sprinkled into his financial books and shows. I agree completely with Jennifer’s point that there should be some compromises in the steps to financial stability. My husband and I paid off debt and funded retirement savings at the same time – yes we could have paid off the debt faster if we had not put money into retirement, but we didn’t want to miss out on the value of compounding interest over time, and we liked the mental boost it gave us to see our savings growing. We started our emergency fund with $100 in an ING account, and grew it by $100/month ever since (it’s at about $1500 now). But we didn’t wait until it had $1000 in it to put money into retirement or pay off debt. I can see how some people would like the strict, regimented nature of Dave’s plan, but it definitely won’t work for everyone.
Money King has a post about cutting his own hair. My husband has a similar haircut that I maintain for him with clippers. We just use two settings, one a little shorter for the back and sides, and the other a little longer for the top. Looks great, and the free price tag fits nicely in our budget.
Not the Jet Set has a well-researched post about the downsides of credit card companies. Lots of good points here – there are a ton of traps for the unwary in the credit card world. Although I have to say, I have had a credit card since 1997, and I’ve never been burned. I’ve never paid a late fee, and the only time I’ve ever paid interest was during the two years when my husband and I were digging our way out of debt after starting our business. During those years, the credit card allowed us to eat, which was a good thing. I’ve never had my interest rate increased that I know of (it may have been increased on a card I had years ago when I never carried a balance anyway, so I probably wouldn’t have noticed), although I have had my rate lowered every time I’ve requested it (again, during our debt years). We only have two credit cards – a visa that we use for pretty much everything, and an American Express that we use only at Costco. The AmEx gets us about $25 – $35/year cash back, which helps offset the cost of our membership at Costco ($50). In the past we just wrote checks at Costco (they don’t take Visa), and never got any money back at all. We only need those two cards, and have no plans to add more.
Searchlight Crusade has a good post about avoiding foreclosure. If you’re in trouble with your mortgage, this is a must-read.
Thanks to Canadian Dream for hosting!