The Carnival of Personal Finance is up at Money and Values. I loved the post from One Caveman’s Financial Journey about buying worms for the composter. I remember a few years ago when my husband set up our compost bins, and we were just getting started with composting our scraps. A few days later it rained during the evening, and we went for a walk, picking up every worm we found on the sidewalk. We had a whole container of them by the time we got home, and they seemed thrilled to be dumped into the composter. Shortly after that, my husband volunteered to scoop horse manure out of a friend’s barn in trade for getting to take the manure home (our friend was scratching her head about how this could possibly be a good deal for us, since she was getting her stalls cleaned and her manure hauled away at the same time…) And he regularly stops at Starbucks to get their spent grounds for our composter. But our yard and garden sure do appreciate it all!
I also liked Blunt Money’s post about student loans not falling in the “good debt” category. I have to agree. My parents helped me open a bank account when I was five, with the agreement that the money was for college. Over the years I saved my babysitting and tutoring money, and then once I was in college I started working part time my sophomore year. I gradually added more jobs and was working nearly full time by the time I was a senior. During the summers I would work multiple jobs, saving everything I could. I never took a spring break trip, and I did all my shopping at thrift stores. I had scholarships to cover tuition and fees at a good public school in my home state. I suppose I could have chosen to go out of state and pay dramatically higher tuition, but the thought never crossed my mind. I wanted to pay as I went, and while room and board would be doable, I knew that I would not be able to keep up with expenses at an out of state school, or at a private school. I graduated without any debt, and in fact I still had the $3000 that I had saved in my bank account that I had been working on since I was five. My husband and I used that as part of the down payment on our house in 2003. Blunt Money’s post talks about all the people who go into debt to fund an education and then end up with either a low-paying job or a job that didn’t require a degree at all. Since I am self-employed with my husband, my degree is a nice bonus but obviously not a necessity. I’m very glad that I’m not still paying for it ten years after I graduated.
No Debt Plan has a great article about what investments we really need in order to have a well-rounded portfolio. The ins and outs of minimum investments requirements, annual limits on IRAs, etc. are addressed, and the simpler-the-better approach will appeal to a lot of people.
AJC and Simple Mom have interesting posts supporting their polar opposite views on whether paying off a mortgage early is a smart move. Personally I’m with Simple Mom on this one – we pay extra on our mortgage every month, and plan to pay off our 30 year mortgage after about 15 years (10 years from now). But it’s interesting to read the two arguments side by side.
Lots of good posts as usual, and thanks to Money and Values for hosting!