Carnival of Personal Finance #116 – NSA Edition

Welcome to the 116th edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance.

The Carnival is a weekly collection of the best Personal Finance writing on the web.

Advanced Personal Finance is proud to host this week’s Carnival. While you’re here, please have a look around, and if you like what you see, come back again or subscribe to my RSS feed and get posts sent directly to you.


Get the feeling you’re being watched? You’re right. You are. So turn off the cell phone, cut the lights, and check out this week’s submissions. And while you’re at it, within this page is a hidden message – first commenter to figure it out gets a 1 Gig USB memory stick. It’s pretty much free of policeware. I swear.

Even a paranoid can have enemies.” – Henry Kissinger

Editor’s favorites

Glblguy from Gather Little By Little encourages you to simply your finances. Dude, you manage to have a weekly budget meeting with your wife?!? That’s unreal. Now I’m not even so sure you’re real, Glblguy. If that is your real name. Wait. That’s probably not your real name.

FFB from the Family Finance Blog writes about making sure we both know where our money is. Now here’s a novel approach – FFB listens to his wife when they discuss money. And they both win. Who’d have thought?

Want to know how to select the best reward credit card for you? Follow these steps from FMF at Free Money Finance and find out.

Frugality and Spending

Nick at Punny Money tries to figure out which is better, Frugal friends or big spender buddies. Having frugal friends has lots of benefits, but so does having a few buddies who like to splurge. And any time someone can work ‘parsimonious‘ into a post, it’s worth a read.

Meredith from Saving Advice Blog gives us a humorous look at whether being a nudist would save you money. Any volunteers for the nudist parade stake-out?

The Prince of Thrift presents 30 ways to save money. Anybody with the title ‘Prince of Thrift’ is alright in my book.

Lynnae from Being Frugal explains that paying off debt is all about choices. Just don’t choose to not pay it. That hardly ever works out.

The Guru from Satellite TV Guru tells us how to save money on our satellite or cable TV bill. Watch those satellite gurus. Seriously, they can read a license plate from outer space.

Steve of Quest For a Million writes about budgeting for laid-back people. He says they’re meeting all of their obligations, working towards their goals, and still having fun.

Matthew at FinanceIsPersonal explains how to make unlimited VoIP call for $40 a year. Just remember, they’re listening to every one of those calls… Not really… Just some of them.

FrugalTrader from Million Dollar Journey talks about needs and wants in ‘When are you NOT frugal?

Fabulously Broke presents ‘Finding the money to do what you want.’

1MansMoney cooks up some delicious savings by working on not throwing food away.


Paula from Queer Cents identifies the risks of identity theft during your job hunt. I guess the FBI isn’t the only one with a surveillance program.

Patrick from Cash Money Life continues his series on researching MBA options with Part 2 – Program Types-In Residence.

Art of Moment on Money asks what is a mommy to do?

BB from brip blap asks, “Raises – are they for suckers?” Yeah, you’re better off sticking it to the man and turning down that puny 3% raise. Plus, there’s usually very little corporate surveillance at a home office.

Mike of The Financial Blogger tells us about one of the best things he ever did – quit his job. Mike says sometimes you’re better off unemployed. I wish I could take Mike’s advice and quit working the minute I didn’t enjoy it…but I like eating too much.

Starving Artist at Indebted 2 You is facing the unhappy possibility of getting fired in November. Here’s ‘Head count reduction – or – my company might fire me Post 1.’ If that’s too depressing a topic, check out what Starving Artist has to say about Mastodons.



Jonathan at My Money Blog asks the eternal question, “Can having too many credit cards hurt your credit score?” Watch out for those credit bureaus, they know more about you than your mom does.4-Y

Frugal Babe gives us her thoughts on credit scores. It seems that something as important as a credit score should not have any mystery associated with it, yet as she explains, it very much does.

If you’re trying to make a good credit card first impression, Mr Credit Card has some advice about how poor credit cards can make a bad impression.

Melissa of A Penny Closer gives us 5 myths that can hurt your FICO score.

Millionaire Money Next Door says You Need To Know What People Are Saying About You: How to Order Your Free Credit Report. I couldn’t agree more – always know what people are saying about you.

Steve from Debt Free tells you to look before you leap and gives you all the debt consolidation loan secrets. Think you still have secrets?


AskDong explains why, despite all you may have heard to the contrary, cash is king.

Retirehappy from My Retirement Blog has a brief synopsis of IRA required minimum withdrawals.

Brian of Financial Reference refreshes our economics knowledge by explaining the opportunity cost of capital.

With possibly the second coolest name in personal finance blogging (Prince of Thrift still has the number one spot), Blain Reinkensmeyer of Stock Trading To Go gives 6 great books on investing.

Indexfundfan goes over cash management using municipal resets instead of money market funds.

Four Pillars gives you a market timing example. I don’t want to give away the ending, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Ben at Money Smart Life asks if you were given retirement advice from a retired corporate executive, would you be thankful or resent it? Me, I try not to listen to corporate executives about anything. 2-H But that’s just me.

Shadox at Money and Such tells IPO investors to beware and offers another endorsement of steady-as-she-goes index investing.

Lazy Man at Lazy Man and Money writes about keeping a level head in a down market and asks should you stay the course?

Graham from Saving With Me asks ‘How much risk tolerance can you handle?

FIRE Finance explains what you need to know about a secure retirement and at what rate you should save for it.

Money Management

Jim from Blueprint for Financial Prosperity gives 5 ways paperless personal finance saves you money. Less shredding and I save money? Where do I sign? Oh, yeah, paperless…I forgot.

MoneyNing explains the relationship of McDonald’s McChicken, personal finance, and me. I knew there was a connection all these years but I couldn’t figure it out.

King of Debt from We’re In Debt tells how to manage your finances on a Mac.

Teaspoon at Teaspoon Finance solves your savings issues with the no-budget budget.

Lauren from Savings Explained gives us 7 easy tips to keep your motivation for savings on track. And not one of them has anything to do with electric shocks. Nice.

Chica With Issues bears all and tells you her 7 money-related things she regrets doing. ___

Mariette of Boulevard to Retirement is her own knight in shining armor.

Rocketc from Rocket Finance explains how a newly married couple found extra money by balancing the checkbook. Ooooh. Magic checkbook.

David at Money Under 30 presents his back to school financial survival guide. Just remember kids, that nice man with the t-shirt and the credit card application in his hands is not your friend.

J at Home Finance Freedom tries to get you to simplify your bills and life. Shredder where I open mail. Hmmmm.

Golbguru from Money, Matter, and More Musings asks, “What are your money leaks?” Did somebody say ‘leak?’

CD of Canadian Dream tells you you’re poor from a lack of planning. That, and too little money. You gotta read this post, though. CD can mentally time travel.

Junger from Online Savings Blog tells you the 11 online banking features you want to have.

Jeanjeanie from Growing Up tries to find the balance between aggressively paying down debt and enjoying life in the present with her post, ‘When just enough is good enough.’

CJ at Coin Jar gives the truth about budgeting. Budgeting isn’t fun?!? Lies and propaganda.


Silicon Valley Blogger from The Digerati Life tells us blogging doesn’t cause marital problems, lack of financial sense does. That and your rampant cheating. Told you you’re being watched. 5-W

Money at Moneymonk writes about branching out into more complex investments in ‘When personal finance gets boring.’

Ashley of College of Cash asks, would you accept a loan from a friend? College of Cash?!? I went to a stupid state school. Why didn’t somebody tell me there was a college of cash. Dammit!

NCN at No Credit Needed presents the results of the reader savings poll. And the result is…you people have way too much money.

Sun at Sun’s Financial Diary explains in detail the credit card arbitrage game. I know Sun’s on top of it, but borrowing $100,000 doesn’t qualify as a ‘game’ to me.

Plonkee at Plonkee Money gives credit card arb a new name – stoozing – and discusses how it can make you money.

Pinyo from Moolanomy provides an introduction to CAGR. It’s a post chock full of numbers and multi-colored graphs and very thorough.

T. Pettinger of Mortgage Blog gives you the top 10 financial mistakes to avoid.

Cory at Personal Finance Math lives up to his name and shows you how to calculate future value.

Real Estate

Harrison of Journey to Financial Freedom tells us how to determine and keep track of the real estate bubble in your area.

As if that wasn’t enough, Jason of Smart Money Daily wants to know, is your realtor looking out for your best interests.

Matt from How I Will Be Rich presents a post that looks at the benefits of renting over purchasing a home with ‘Buying Vs. Renting: Is Homeownership Better for your Money?

Super Saver at My Wealth Builder is bracing for a possible housing crash or recession.

Submissions that defy categorization

Laura from submits what is likely one of the more time-consuming posts to produce this week. Her Top 100 Economics Blogs includes a stunning one hundred different blogs.

Veteran Military Wife tells you to opt out completely…it actually works!

Inswatch explains that your homeowners insurance covers your college bound child. Sweet! So if your college kid gets stolen or smoke damaged in a fire, you’re covered.

Cade of Write to Right examines 10 ways to get rid of debt and cost in business.

Amelia from Around the Sun gives us some tips for a successful garage sale.

Paidtwice of I’ve Paid For This Twice Already explains what ‘more stuff’ she knows.

Henry from InsureBlog passes on a hot insurance tale. His bad pun, not mine.

One Frugal Girl does an experiment to organize your home. Well, not your home specifically.

Mike at Clever Dude Personal Finance starts a new series entitled Examine Your Motives. Always somebody wanting to examine my motives. First the prosecutor now Mike.

The Happy Rock tells you 4 ways to win by quitting. Truly, sometimes admitting defeat and giving up is the best way to win.