Welcome to the 320th edition of the Festival of Frugality!
As I’m putting together this week’s festival, I can look out the window and see snow on the ground, gray skies, and barren trees. Which is fine, because it’s the middle of winter!
That being said, this is the time of year when many of us here in cold weather climates might think about how nice it would be to enjoy some warm weather right now. Of course, our frugality often takes over, and we don’t go anywhere. So call this living vicariously, self-torture, or motivational – but this week’s edition of the Festival of Frugality will be the It’s Warm Somewhere in the World Edition! We’ll take a look at some places around the northern hemisphere that enjoy great weather this time of year.
Of course, the main event here is the collection of excellent articles that were submitted. There’s a lot of good reading here, please check out the submissions. First, we’ll start with this week’s Editor’s Picks, and will then move on the rest of the recommended reading. I’ve included the comments as provided to me by the sender in each submission.
KT presents Is Outsourcing Household Chores a Luxury or a Smart Money Move? posted at Personal Finance Journey. I don’t like cleaning; and I make no secret of that fact. Dust can multiply for months, and I might notice that it is there, but I probably won’t clean it. I do have the basics that I do every day – dishes, and general picking up. I clean the bathrooms and sweep and mop the kitchen floor, so I am not a complete slob, but I hate deep cleaning.
Jeffrey presents 101 Simple Pleasures That Don’t Cost a Dime posted at Saving Advice. There are a lot of simple pleasures out there and many of them cost nothing to very little. Embrace them. Actively seek to find them daily. Enjoy life on the cheap.
Aruba: Located in the southern part of the Carribean Sea, this island features January average high temperatures of 85 degrees (29 celsius)! Interestingly, average highs range from 85 to 89 throughout the year, marking a steady climate. I was fortunate enough to visit there once – it was a spectacular place.
Other Recommended Reading
Kevin presents 3 Frugal Ideas for a Romantic Valentine’s Day posted at Invest It Wisely. Remember, there’s no need to spend a fortune on Valentine’s Day. Sometimes, a bit of cheap fun is all you need. So, what are your ideas for Valentine’s Day this year?
Kyle presents 4 Reasons You Should Not Invest in Real Estate Right Now posted at The Penny Hoarder. A few weeks ago we shared with you some reasons why this might be a good time to invest in real estate and this week we wanted to present the other side of the argument. Here are four good reasons not to buy real estate right now…
Aloysa presents Live A Little: Have A Latte posted at My Broken Coin. This is a new series I am starting on this blog. It is called Live A Little, and it is not about how to save more by cutting expenses and living frugal. It is about spending, but in an intelligent way.
Shaun presents Lottery Winner Loses Everything in Four Years: Smart Approaches for Families with Income Windfalls posted at Smart Family Finance. Lottery winners are famous for winning fortunes and then losing them. That is because it is easy to make financial mistakes when families run into income windfalls. However, there are a few approaches to help you to make smart decisions and minimize the risks of losing everything.
YFS presents 4 Tips to Improve Credit Even After A Bankruptcy posted at Your Finances Simplified. A bankruptcy can be a financial event which wrecks credit and hurts a consumers ability to qualify for loans. Its effects can be felt for years afterwards, as it appears on a credit report for 7-10 years depending on what type of BK you file for.
A Blinkin presents CD’s are for Hypocrites posted at Funancials. I would venture to say that there are two investment products people learn about before any others Stocks and CDs Certificates of Deposit. Assuming most people learn about these two options when theyre young, I would think the way they were explained was elementary. Something like stocks are risky CDs are risk-free. But are they remembering inflation?
LaTisha presents What is a Portfolio? posted at Financial Success for Young Adults. A portfolio is made up of assets. There are five major asset classes of intangible financial instruments; Stocks, Bonds, Options, Futures, and Foreign exchange.
Kevin presents Claim Your Unclaimed Property posted at Thousandaire. Check to see if you have unclaimed property free money waiting for you. Just search at your state’s website and you might have something
Darwin presents US Debt Now Equivalent to Entire US Economy – Investing in This New Era posted at Darwin’s Money. The United States has just reached the dreaded 100Dbt-to-GDP ratio with its $15.2 Trillion debt level surpassing the value of all goods and services produced in-country. This is important because it vaults us into a whole new echelon of debt-ridden societies with financial crises of their own: only Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Portugal have debt-to-GDP ratios exceeding 100 This is scary stuff folks!
Cape Verde: Situated off the western coast of Africa, these islands are off the beaten path and not widely discussed as a travel destination by many. However, average high temperatures in January reach 76 degrees (24 celsius).
Andy presents The Number One Retirement Fear posted at My Retirement Blog. According to an AARP study recently released, health care issues are the number one biggest fear retirees have. Is retirement affordable? The biggest challenge for most potential retirees is the cost of care and the ability to stay healthy through retirement. Experts claim one will need an extra $200-$300,000 to pay just for health care.
Corey presents Why Financing a Car Can be a Bad Idea posted at 20s Finances. If you are looking to get a car and you don’t have enough money saved to purchase the car outright, you may be tempted to get a car loan so that you don’t have to wait. But is this really the best route to take?
Hank presents Four Great Benefits Of Buying A House posted at Money Q&A. There are many great benefits of buying a house such as wealth creation, tax savings, forced savings, and others. Renting should not be your default option when there are so many great benefits of buying a house.
Mich presents NAL Energy to Underperform in 2012? posted at Beating The Index. I believe the stock will underperform in 2012 based on running 2 set of scenarios which indicate the company is not in its best shape.
Suba presents Five Ways to Save Money and Get Fit at Work posted at Broke Professionals. Now that the New Year is here, we are all looking for ways to trim down the expenses and the waistlines. Here are a few ideas on how to do that before or after work or at lunch time. Use Lunch Get some exercise on your lunch break. Read this article for more ideas!
Eddie presents Million Dollar Question: Should I Use My Savings To Pay Down Debt or Fund My Retirement Plan? posted at Finance Fox. Mortgage vs RRSP. TFSA vs Student Loan. Credit Card Debt vs RRSP. TFSA vs Mortgage. RRSP vs Car Payment. Lots of different situations, some of us are in one of these and others may have two or more different forms of debt to pay down.
Amanda L Grossman presents Health Insurance Companies Give Financial Incentives for Good Habits posted at Frugal Confessions. Since I discussed a ‘stick’ approach my health insurance company began on January 1, 2012 by charging a higher premium for smokers than for non-smokers, I’d like to take the time to discuss a ‘carrot’ incentive approach!
Don presents Radical Idea to Create Jobs posted at MoneySmartGuides. I have many crazy ideas. Most aren’t fit to become reality like my spray-painting lawnmower for when the summer heat turns your grass brown. But every so often, I come up with something that I feel holds merit.
Hawaii: Personally, I’ve been to 47 of the 50 states, but this one has eluded me. Not that I have time to travel these days, but someday I’d like to visit Hawaii. Sounds good right now, as average high temperatures in Honolulu are 81 degrees (27 celsius).
Erika presents My Plan to Lose Ten Pounds in Three Months posted at Newlyweds on a Budget. Have you joined the 10-Pound Challenge yet? Lose ten pounds in three months, win money! Everyone needs a plan to lose ten pounds in three months. We all want to lose weight fast and find the easiest shortcut to get there.
101 Centavos presents How NOT to Invest in Water posted at 101 Centavos. I’ve been reading quite a bit about water lately. Set a Google alert for water scarcity India China, and your inbox is bound to fill up with stories of water scarcity.
Daniel presents Tax Evasion Costs Over $300 Billion Each Year posted at Sweating the Big Stuff. Think tax evasion is a small problem? Thing again: tax evasion in the U.S. amounts to $337.3 billion a year.
Jeffrey presents Five Reasons to Give Up Goal Setting posted at Money Spruce. Should we give up goal setting to achieve more success? Goals are something everyone uses, but is it the most effective for getting things done. Here’s a discussion why it might not be.
Money Spending Mommy presents Debt Free – Stress Free posted at Money Spending Mommy. When times are tough, it can be difficult to make payments on the things we need. And when we run up a lot of debt for unnecessary things, it can get out of control in a hurry.
D.J. presents Start Early – How to Encourage Kids to be Savers posted at The Family Wallet. So how do you encourage kids to be savers? The best way to teach kids how to save is to teach them that buying brand name items is not necessary when store brand names or cheap name brands are just as nice and “in” as they would say.
Beating Broke presents Frugality Will Change You posted at Beating Broke. Drug habits, smoking habits, and coffee habits are all habits that are easy to pick up because they cause a pleasure response in you body. A savings habit is a bit harder to pick up. But, as Ninja will attest, it can be done.
Peter presents Save money by Checking Auto Insurance Rates, Even If You Think You’ve Already Got a Good Deal posted at Bible Money Matters. One mistake that I see a lot of people make, myself included, is to assume that the price they’ve got on their product, service or insurance policy is the best rate that they can get, mainly because it was the best rate when they signed up for it.
Mr. Money presents American Express Bank Personal Savings Account Review posted at Smart on Money. American Express is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. Most people know about them because of their credit and charge cards (that’s where I first came upon them), but they’ve also quickly become a good solid option when it comes to online savings accounts.
Dubai: With explosive growth, this desert locale has become an international business destination, with skyscrapers galore. While temps in the summer months average over 100 degrees, January high temperatures average a comfortable 73 degrees (23 celsius).
Kay Lynn presents Want to Save Money? Slow Down posted at Bucksome Boomer. Slowing down may be counter-intuitive, but it is good for our wallet and for our sanity. By slowing down, we might even be able to check things off that list even faster.
John presents Want Better Healthcare at a Lower Price? New Primary Care Models Are Gaining Traction posted at Wallet Blog.
Young and Thrifty presents Quicken Home and Business 2012 Review posted at YoungAndThrifty. I was very excited to try Quicken because I have heard so many great things about it and it almost seems that any Personal Finance Blogger isn’t really a personal finance blogger if they don’t use some sort of snazzy personal finance software like Quicken to track their spending, their budgets, and their investments all in one place.
Suzana presents Getting Free Clothing With Rewards Cards posted at Zlittle Saving With Style. Rewards cards are really neat way to build up points to get a name brand clothes for free. This year I used my points that have accumulated to get a department store gift card from Macy’s and Gap. What did it cost to use the credit card and pay it off each month versus paying cash or check? Nothing!
Ashley presents Dealing with Financial Setbacks posted at Money Talks Coaching. I hate financial setbacks. They stink. No matter how well you plan Murphy likes to stick his big fat nose into things. I’m facing my own financial setback at the moment and I’m struggling with it.
Michael presents Save Money By Keeping Your Car Longer posted at So You Think You can Save. The average age of a car is 10.8 years. Are you keeping your car longer and saving big-time money along the way?
Key West: A part of Florida, this southernmost city in the Continental U.S. is part of an island chain offering a climate that’s practically tropical in nature. The January average high temperature is 75 degrees (24 celsius)
Jon the Saver presents Romantic Yet Frugal Tips for Valentine’s Day posted at Free Money Wisdom. Because I have insight into the female gender, I’m going to give you lads a few tips on how to be original this V-Day. Hopefully, this will score you some points with your lady. If not, don’t show her where your ideas came from.
Jacob @ My Personal Finance Journey presents Back to the Basics: Control Your Spending posted at My Personal Finance Journey. This post illustrates the importance of going “back to the basics” and having regular reminders of basic financial planning even as one’s lifestyle changes. By continually working under the “spending less than you earn” approach, this post describes how one can successfully manage their finances, regardless of how their financial situation changes over time.
Paul Vachon presents How Frugal Living Can Build Wealth for the New Year and Beyond posted at The Frugal Toad. Frugal living does not mean shopping in thrift stores and having soup every night for dinner. Being frugal simply means being deliberate in how you spend money, not impulsive. There are many ways to be frugal but the key to making frugal lifestyle changes permanent is to find ways to save money that will work for you
Echo presents How To Save $65,541 This New Year posted at Boomer & Echo. By following these three steps you could be saving $65,541 on average based on a $300,000 mortgage value amortized over 25 years.
Linsey presents The World of High Stakes Sweepers – Is It Real? posted at 1099 Mom. Suddenly, just as “Extreme Couponing”caused a bunch of new people to start furiously clipping, there is a new interest in entering sweepstakes, and some people are left wondering if winning prizes will be their ticket out of debt, poverty, or working a regular job.
SavingMentor presents How to Eliminate Your Home Phone Bill and Long Distance Charges! posted at HowToSaveMoney.ca. The Internet is becoming the only infrastructure necessary to do many of the things that used to require special mediums before like making phone calls, watching TV, listening to music, and so on. Yes, the internet can even help you completely eliminate your monthly home phone bill as well as the long distance charges you may have become accustomed to!
Ray @ Financial Highway presents RRSP Deadline 2012-Limits posted at Financial Highway. The RRSP season has begun! Every bank, every branch and every teller will remind you to contribute to your RRSP before the deadline. With so many people vying for your RRSP contributions, who should you trust?
Forest Parks presents How To Haggle Buying A Car posted at Frugal Zeitgeist. Buying a car is an expense that no one likes to have to think about but it is also one you can save a lot on. Learning how to haggle with the sales people really is an art and has many tricks.
Goa: On the western coast of India, Goa is a popular international tourist destination. A former Portugese colony, this Indian state boasts warm temperatures, with the January average high being 89 degrees (32 celsius).
Kennedi presents Getting Fit on a Budget posted at Face and Fitness. Not everyone can go out and pick up an expensive gym membership. Here’s a list of free or low-cost resources to help you stay healthy on a budget.
Roshawn Watson presents Home Mortgage Leverage SUCKS! posted at Watson Inc. An article was circulated last week where the author lamented losing the leverage benefit of having a home mortgage. Here’s the counter-perspective: home mortgage leverage sucks!
FIRE Finance presents 12 Tips To Lower Your Heating Bill posted at FIRE Finance. The cost of energy is rising everyday. Whether it be electricity, gas, water or sewage, our utility bills are becoming higher with each passing month. Consequently most of us are looking for ways to trim our energy expenses and boost our savings. The cost of heating our houses in winter is always a major concern …
Teacher Man presents Using Your Student Card To Get Discounts posted at My University Money. I should admit that since my old university never asked for their student card back, I was definitely taking advantage of that even after I graduated, but before starting my graduate courses!
Dr Dean presents Projects: Getting Started! A Growing Mushrooms at Home Case Study posted at The Millionaire Nurse Blog. Whatever the project, getting things done happens the same way. At our house, we’re raising mushrooms. Read all about how to get a project up and going-and how to become a SSD (spore spawn diddy).
SB presents all you need to know about 2012 taxes posted at One Cent at a Time. All you need to know for filing income tax for the year 2011, which is needed to be filed on or before April 17, 2012. Contains links to relevant IRS notices and web pages for you quick reference.
vh presents Real Estate: Lookin’ ‘Up…WAY up posted at Funny about Money. In the Phoenix area’s badly thumped real estate market, at last we’re seeming some signs of life. Four factors are working in favor of a return to pre-Bubble values.
CF presents Cutting down your hydro or electricity bill posted at The Outlier Model. As you might guess, heating costs are a major consideration for the Canadian winter. Living in Vancouver, this doesn’t affect us as much, however the recent cold snap to hit the West Coast has really affected our hydro costs. Check out what we’re doing to keep costs down!
Glen Craig presents How to Get a Bargain When Apartment Hunting posted at Free From Broke . The demand for renting has increased as the housing market flounders. Don’t get caught paying too much for rent! See how to get a bargain when you are apartment hunting.
Philip Taylor presents How to Become an Online Tutor and Make an Extra $1,000 a Month posted at PT Money Personal Finance. Make more money: An interview with an online tutor reveals the pros/cons of online tutoring, qualifications needed, and how much money you could expect to make.
Steve Zussino presents How to save money eating a gluten-free diet posted at Grocery Alerts. I have tried a lot of gluten free breads, cookies, and pastas and have finally found some wonderful products. Now I have yummy gluten free substitutes for all of the foods that I was used to eating before going gluten free. Here are some tips for eating gluten free on a budget.
John presents Meal Plans Kick Grocery Lists’ A$$ posted at Married (with Debt). One of the best places to save real money is your food budget. By making meal plans instead of grocery lists, you can reduce impulse buying, plan healthier meals, and save big money to put towards your goals.