Totally Money Carnival: First Foot into 2012

Written by Karen Bryan

feet on carpetWelcome to the Totally Money Carnival #48: First Foot into 2012. In my home country of Scotland, the first foot tradition is that the first person to come in through your front door on New Year’s Day brings you good luck for the the year; so best foot forward into a prosperous 2012 for us all. To help you on your way to financial success, there are loads of useful tips from all our contributors and I’ve got some New Year resolution guidelines and tips from a canny Scot on how to get your finances in shape.

Editor’s Pick

Paula presents Be Frugal With Your Time, Not Your Money posted at Afford Anything. Time is like money: we must ruthlessly cut things that don’t matter, so we can spend lavishly things that matter most. I think Paula highlights an important point that we should value our time; my husband and I have made the decision to live on less which enables us to have more relaxed free time together.

Erika presents Rich and single or Poor and In Love? posted at Newlyweds on a Budget. Do finances affect the way you look at potential mates? Should finances play such an important role in marriage and relationships?

A Blinkin presents How To Stop Receiving Credit Card Offers posted at Funancials. This article will show you how to stop receiving credit card offers and junk mail. I can’t understand how I end up receiving so much spam but it’s a pain having to wade through piles of junk in your email inbox.

Hank presents One Time Is Too Many With Identity Theft posted at Money Q&A. How do you protect yourself from identity theft? What are the warning signs of identity theft? One incident is too many when it comes to protecting your identity.

Retirement

YFS presents 401k Is Not Enough: Alternatives to Your Retirement Planning posted at Your Finances Simplified. Nowadays, it’s disconcerting to realize how employee retirement plans just don’t seem to be enough to cover one’s retirement. I’m fnding it almost impossible to plan retirement as I don’t know what my stock market based pension will be worth at the time I want to start drawing a pension.

101 Centavos presents Retiring Abroad – A Few Things to Ponder posted at 101 Centavos. Retirement is like a long vacation in Las Vegas. The goal is to enjoy it the fullest, but not so fully that you run out of money. ~Jonathan Clement… Stretch you dollar farther by considering retirement abroad! We have thought about going to live abroad as my husband is retired and in theory I can work from any location as long as I have a decent internet connection. However I don’t want to live too far away from our sons.

Andy presents Retirement Planning Software posted at My Retirement Blog. There are lots of free retirement calculators available on the web. These can be interesting but when you are planning for your retirement they are of limited use. They often give ballpark figures and point you to their company’s financial advisers. Retirement planning software gives you the ability to make a more comprehensive plan.

Building an Online Presence

Aloysa presents Five Things Everyone Should Know About Twitter posted at My Broken Coin. I’ve recently learned the value of twitter! Read these 5 things that everybody should know about twitter too. I love Twitter but do find I end up spending too much time in Twitterland.

Linsey presents Review of SEO Profiler posted at Thriftability. Perhaps you’ve wished that your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) was a bit tighter. Maybe you’ve even considered paying a “professional” to help you fine-tune your rankings. Before you invest a lot of money in controversial methods of getting more Google Juice, might I suggest a DIY solution? I only recently got to grips with SEO; a necessary evil as there’s no point in writing great articles if no-one can find them.

Philip Taylor presents 401k Fee Disclosures posted at PT Money Personal Finance discusses ideas that people should take into account when the Dept. of Labor requires 401k plan sponsors to begin disclosing fees in 2012.

Work

FMF presents What If I Lost My Career? Envision, then Act posted at Free Money Finance. Why it’s important to look for your new job while you’re still working in your current position and six steps to creating lasting and fulfilling career change.

Kathryn presents 50 Interview Questions posted at Financial Highway. This guide not only tells you what the interview questions are but also provides insight into what the interviewer is really asking and what types of answers will help you get the job.

Matt presents Taking Time Off to Recharge: No More Working on Vacation posted at Living in Financial Excellence. With all the technology available to us, it’s so easy to work while on vacation. We can bring laptops, tablets and even our smart phones to keep up on our business tasks. Whether it’s staying current on email or conducting full-fledged business, the temptation to keep working on your time off is really strong. I’m very guilty of this. However as I’m self employed, I find it easier to spend a couple of hours online to keep on top of things than to leave a massive pile of work to wade through when I return.

Miss T. presents How to Get a Salary Raise posted at Prairie Eco Thrifter. Asking for a raise can be a daunting experience and may require a lot of confidence on your part. Just don’t forget that there really is nothing to lose if you ask for a raise, but there is a lot to be gained. The process can also help you realize if you yourself feel that your performance is worthy of garnering a higher salary.

Marissa presents Live to work or work to live posted at Thirty Six Months. A look at Gen Y and different mentalities and priorities when it comes to work-life balance.

PITR presents Owning Blogs vs. Staff Writing posted at Passive Income To Retire. To earn money online, you can do one of two things. Find out what is the best way to make money online. Well I reckon that there’s more income potential in running your own blogs but being a staff writer could be a lot less hassle.

Kevin presents College Kids Need Skills, Not Good Grades posted at Thousandaire. Get a skill like accounting or engineering in college. It’s way more valuable than getting a high GPA without any real skills. Fortunately both our twin sons chose to study pratical subjects; computer science and electronic engineering and found jobs after graduation.

Suba presents Get Your Accomplishments Noticed posted at Broke Professionals. It’s tough at work these days, companies are trying to do more with fewer employees. Employees are struggling to meet increased workloads without ruining their personal lives. Most are probably just making it through the critical, must do, tasks each day. In this kind of environment, it is sometimes hard to make sure that you get your accomplishment noticed.

Don presents Will Buying A Laptop For Christmas Make My Son A Digerati? posted at Money Reasons. Supplying your kids with the latest technology may make then superior technology users. Will they become Digerati?

Tax

Teacher Man presents The Smith Manoeuvre – Make Your Mortgage Tax Deductible posted at My University Money. Many of the personal finance sites I visit like to share their own financial situation in with their readers. I believe I finally have something that might stir some thought one way or another – The Smith Manoeuvre.

Marie presents Uncle Sam Wants His Cut of Your Income Before Tax Day – an Intro to Estimated Taxes posted at Family Money Values. If you are new to self-employment, consulting or withholding the minimum tax due from your salary, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise come April 15th. This is an intro to estimated taxes.

Daniel presents IRA Contribution Income Limits Should Be Based on Tax Rates posted at Sweating the Big Stuff. When taxes rise there is less disposable income, so contribution limits should rise, but they don’t.

Financial Planning

Investor Junkie presents How to Hire the Right Accountant for You posted at Investor Junkie. Here are some ideas to help you hire the right accountant for you. I do my own accounts and tax returns, as it’s not that hard and save me paying an accountant.

Jill Suskind presents Checklist for parents raising teens with great money habits and attitudes posted at Teen Financial Literacy: It Starts at Home. This post includes a checkilst for parents to consider to see whether or not they and their teens are putting their best food forward to be smart money managers. It includes action items for both parents and teens, and is good food for thought!

Kate Kashman presents Creating a Mindset of We posted at The Paycheck Chronicles. Finances are a huge issue in relationships, and figuring out how to work like a team is key to success.

Amanda presents How to Green Your Finances posted at Frugal Living. When you think of going green, your finances may not necessarily come to mind. The fact of the matter is that money management is often overlooked as a way to make responsible and sustainable choices that help the planet. By taking a few simple steps you can make an enormous impact on the environment without breaking the bank.

Lisa presents Budgeting for Women Who Are Single Again posted at Thriftability. Losing your spouse is one of the painful experiences in life. Going thorough a divorce can be devastating. Many women who become single again have to cope with the additional stress of financial struggle as they are usually unprepared for taking control of their finances. As it’s me that looks after the finances in our household, I don’t have that concern.

Mike presents Delta SkyMiles Rewards Program posted at Rewards Cards USA. Delta SkyMiles can be a good rewards program if you travel frequently, and if you use a credit card to rack up the points faster.

D.J. presents Setting Up a Budget: How to Differentiate between Wants & Needs posted at The Family Wallet. By distinguishing between wants and needs, you are better able to determine how much money you can spend each month. Wants should only be fulfilled after your needs have been taken care of.

Beating Broke presents How to Recover from a Holiday Spending Hangover posted at Beating Broke. We all make mistakes, particularly when temptations are around every cheery holiday corner. The bigger mistake would be to ignore the problem and let it get out of hand without dealing with it. Don’t start your 2012 in the shadow of your poor 2011 decisions. Take charge of your finances and make sure your New Year is a great one.

Echo presents Will You Be Better Off Financially Next Year? posted at Boomer & Echo. I’ve written an article on New Year resolutions offering some tips on getting your finances into shape.

Glen Craig presents What Would You Do If Your Spouse Died? posted at Free From Broke . What would you do if you lost your spouse? Do you have a financial plan in place? See considerations you need to make now before tragedy strikes.

Saving Money

Kennedi presents 5 Tips for Holiday Beauty Savings posted at Face and Fitness. 5 ways to look great without spending too much.

Jon the Saver presents Are You Frugal or Cheap? Find Out with This Test posted at Free Money Wisdom. So, how would you know if you are frugal or cheap? Moolanomy came out with a frugal vs. cheap test a while back which inspired this post. Take out a sheet of paper and a pencil and answer these 12 short questions.

Lina Zussino presents 5 reasons to use cloth diapers posted at Baby Alerts Canada. Deciding on which type of diaper to use for your new baby can be a tough decision to make especially as moms we tend to be so busy. However there are many advantages, especially cost, of using cloth diapers.

Investing

Lazy Man presents How to Invest in Mutual Funds posted at Lazy Man and Money. I recently wrote an article Understanding and Avoiding Mutual Fund Fees and a few commenters had some questions that I’d like to address.

PKamp3 presents A Visualization: Gross Domestic Product by Country, 2010 posted at Don’t Quit Your Day Job…. On the surface it’s an Economics post, but between the lines it’ll probably help you invest – witness this post on the GDP of the world and how much every country contributes. Not surprisingly, you can guess the countries at the top, but there are lots of countries with more than 1% of the world’s GDP. How are you positioning your portfolio to deal with the Europe problems?

Ken Faulkenberry presents How Much of Your Investment Portfolio Can You Afford to Lose? posted at AAAMP Blog. A breakeven loss analysis chart demonstrates why your asset allocation and risk management must control investment losses.

Dan presents Here’s What Happens When You Chase 10% Dividend Yields posted at High Yield Edge. If you find stocks yielding 10% to be attractive, beware this common outcome. Here’s what happened to a very popular high yielder which is all too familiar to income investors.

Darwin presents How Does Your Personal Capital-To-Income Ratio Stack Up with This Recommendation? posted at Darwin’s Money. Check out how your personal Capital to Income ratio stacks up against the recommended level for your age. You might be surprised!

Don presents Dividends Paying Expenses – My Thoughts posted at Money Reasons. This is why I think dividends paying expenses is a great idea.

W presents Understanding IPOs and IPO Scams posted at Off-Road Finance which offers information on the downsides of IPOs.

Motoring

Squirrelers presents Happy Holidays! Here’s a Gift of a New Car – And Some Additional Debt posted at Squirrelers. Would you like a new car as a gift? Well, would your answer change if that “gift” also came with financial liabilities? This post explores the topic of cars as gifts, and the debt that might be involved.

Paul Vachon presents Car Buying Tips: What to Ask Yourself When Buying a Car posted at The Frugal Toad. When you’re in the market to purchase a car, have you ever been overwhelmed by all of your options? Before you buy your next car, consider the following questions to help you narrow down your search and lead you in the right direction. We’re thinking about changing our 7+ year old car but are also tempted to keep the current one going for a bit longer to reduce our car running costs. We’re also unsure whether a petrol versus diesel car will be save us money.

Credit Cards

Mike presents CIBC Visa Cards: Comparing The Options posted at Rewards Cards Canada. CIBC Visa cards offer a wide range of benefits and services including rewards, cash-back and competitive interest rates. It can be confusing decided which card offers the best benefits. As we pay off our credit card balance in full every month, I go for the lowest overseas usage fees and highest cashback, currently a Halifax Clarity Card offers the best deal.

Janet presents 5 Credit Card Resolutions for the New Year posted at Credit, Eh. While it might take time to work through some of your credit card issues, you can still resolve to make improvements and set money goals that will work for you. As you get ready for a brand new year, here are 5 credit card resolutions to consider.

Debt

Kevin presents How to Get Out of Student Loan Debt posted at Invest It Wisely. There is no clear path to becoming debt free instantly; it is a mental shift. I am a lot more conscious of my decisions and being aware of my financial situation has allowed me a clarity that I value.

Nelson presents Will Record Debt Levels Lead To Disaster? posted at Canadian Finance Blog. Will record debt levels lead to disaster? 1 in 10 Canadians are in serious danger of defaulting on their debts, with 40% of income used to service their debt. We have made the decision to live debt free to give us peace of mind.

Personal Finance

Mike Collins presents The Power of Compound Interest posted at Saving Money Today. Albert Einstein once said that compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe. Learn how to use it to boost your savings and investments.

Ashley presents Why You Should Donate Money posted at Money Talks Coaching. In my experience, the best receivers have always been those who are the best givers.

Mike presents Teaching Your Kids to Appreciate What They Have posted at Money Matters Guy. Money lessons start early. Teach your kids to be grateful for what they have instead of always expecting something for nothing.

Roshawn Watson presents 4 Things To Stop Doing With Your Finances posted at Watson Inc. Often personal finance writers discuss what we need to do; however, it is also what you are willing to walk away from that will determine your future prosperity. Here are 4 disastrous behaviors that you need to stop if you are serious about improving your finances.

Odysseas presents Five Ways You Can Turn Your Debt-inspired Frown Upside Down posted at Wallet Blog illustrating how debt does not have to be such a heavy burden. Anyone can take control of their financial future by making a few lifestyle changes.

Penny presents Financial Lessons From Unexpected Places posted at Penny Pinching Professional in which she asks what personal finance lessons do you think can be learned from a board game based on subsistence farming in 17th century Europe?

Corey presents Turn Around Your Finances posted at 20s Finances. People often find themselves with a bad credit score due to poor financial choices in the past. The sooner the credit score is repaired the better. It is a good idea to put aside money every month to cover any emergencies that may arise.

Eric J. Nisall presents You May Have More Money Than You Think posted at DollarVersity. Do you like or need more money? There are billions in unclaimed funds and assets just waiting for the owners to stake their claim. Are you one of them?

Kyle presents Where Should I Sell My Gift Card? posted at The Penny Hoarder. Check out our comparison chart of the leading gift card buyback companies. Find out who will pay you the highest amount for your gift card.

Property

Kay Lynn presents Home Ownership Isn’t a Money Losing Proposition posted at Bucksome Boomer. After owning seven homes over the past three decade, my experience has shown it does make financial sense. Of course, you should follow some common sense guidelines.

Shaun presents A Guide to Common Seller Concessions: Because a Home Buyer Might Ask You to Throw In a Ferrari posted at Smart Family Finance. Odd, but some homebuyers have asked for Ferrari’s as a seller concession. Knowing what the common seller concessions are will help you be a better home seller.

Evan presents Calculating Future Housing Costs to Determine Affordability posted at My Journey to Millions. The Wife and I have been giving serious thought to listing our house after the new year, and it was in the course of a recent discussion that The Wife told me she just wanted to know the “bottom line” in terms of future housing costs. We decided to pay off our mortgage as soon as we could to reduce our housing costs and avoid paying thousands of pounds in interest.

Shopping

Peter presents Amazon Kindle Fire Review: A Frugal Tablet Computer that Doesn’t Feel Frugal posted at Bible Money Matters. I ended up winning a Kindle Fire through a contest on another blog. I got my Kindle Fire right after the launch and have been able to test out the device for the past month or so. Today I thought I’d take another look at the device, talk about whether I still think it’s a good value, and whether or not people should consider buying one.

SavingMentor presents Is This Morally Wrong? posted at HowToSaveMoney.ca. After feeling a little ripped off on the original purchase, this is what I did to get my money back with very little hassle.

Kyle presents Where Should I Sell My Gift Card? posted at The Penny Hoarder. Check out our comparison chart of the leading gift card buyback companies. Find out who will pay you the highest amount for your gift card.

John presents 6 Things to Buy to Save Big the Week After Christmas posted at Passive Family Income. Black Friday and Cyber Monday receive much attention for being great shopping days, but the week after Christmas can be just as rich with sales.

Sustainable PF presents Dangers to Stockpiles posted at Sustainable Personal Finance. Right after we moved in, I started buying extras of almost every non-perishable food item we ever used just so I’d have it ready in my awesome pantry for the next time we craved it. Long story short, having a stockpile has not been good to us.

Holiday Reflections

Jason presents A Bit of Christmas Magic posted at Live Real, Now. hen my wife got to the giant store that had our new car seats on sale, she discovered that she had neglected to put the tailgate back up on the truck when she unpacked. This was the box that held most of our budgeting overspend, all of our Christmas presents.

Roger presents Mixed Bag Monday – Holiday Tipping posted at The Amateur Financier. A guide to the issue of tipping service workers during the holiday season, a sometimes tricky aspect of the Christmas holiday.

Control Your Cash presents Holiday Gift Shopping for Clients-The Chia Pet Incident posted at Control Your Cash. A guest post from Richard Rossi on the perils of buying Christmas gifts. When in doubt, go with a Chia Pet.

Eddie presents Christmas Gift Guide For Your New Relationship posted at Finance Fox. This gift can say the world about you or it can become a ticking time bomb, especially if you’re in a new relationship.There are no rules per se when it comes to gift giving, ultimately you place the final value on the gift. Buying too much, too early in the relationship can be a disaster too.

Shaun presents Who Spends More UK or US Parents: Average Family Christmas Gift Spending Per Child 2011 posted at Smart Family Finance. How similar are UK and US family spending on Christmas gifts in 2011? Do parents in both nations spoil their children the same?

Julie presents Pets: The Gift That Keeps on Eating posted at The Family CEO. Just imagine the look on your child’s face when, from underneath the Christmas tree, comes a Golden Retriever puppy. The unbridled joy, unconditional love, and initial enthusiasm will give you the moniker of the greatest joy.

Marie presents New Year’s Eve Party on a Budget posted at Money Spending Mommy. What many people do not realize is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to ring in the New Year properly. As long as your friends and family are there, you can always have a good time even without going to a great deal of expense. Here are a few money saving tips:

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