Carnival of Personal Finance #401: March madness

Why hello there!

It’s fitting that I’m hosting the carnival of personal finance today, given we’ve just come off a week of thinking and talking about nothing else except money (Women’s Money Week, holler!)

Before we get stuck in, I’m going to have a little rant.

There’s a finance company that’s just started advertising here on TV. Every ad follows the same scenario: person calls up company in a tizzy because s/he has just blown tons of $$$ on gifts for a spouse / desperately needs to install a swimming pool / some other inane and irresponsible excuse for needing cash. Company rep on the other end delivers the good news: person is approved for finance and cash is coming right their way. Huzzah!

Madness. That’s all I have to say about that.

While we’re on the subject, I got pitched a a business-related infographic last month at work, one that wasn’t amazing, but was mildly interesting. I checked out the source, and did a double take when I saw it had come from one of a new crop of local payday loan sites. Cue instant dismissal and deletion.

I get it. It’s a hard sell to market these kinds of loans, and content creation is where it’s at these days. But credibility matters, and some things you just can’t overcome. (I can add payday loan providers/other financial predators to the list of places I would never consider working, not just because it would be so freaking hard, but from a moral POV.) Many people are just not going to even consider endorsing you in any way whatsoever. For bloggers who do, though, there must be plenty of money in it. I personally find it amusing to see how those kinds of sponsored posts have evolved – they’ve moved into more sophisticated placements, woven almost naturally into posts about other topics, and in one case I saw, even snarking on them editorially.

Meanwhile, the PF madness/excitement continues elsewhere, with the US sequester, the continuing fallout from some blogging plagiarism, and a Twitter stoush or two this week.

Editor’s picks

This is a carnival all about money talk, after all so MD from Start Freelancing Now’s Freaking Crucial Tools That Every Freelancer Needs to Make Money & Stay Focused gets my first nod.

Investor Junkie from Investor Junkie asks Will You Still Need an Emergency Fund When You Retire? Can’t say I’ve ever thought about it, but the obvious answer seems to be ‘yes’ – being retired doesn’t exclude you from potential emergencies…

Jon from Novel Investor lists the Best Investment Books Every Investor Must Read. Go forth, expand your mind.

Revanche from A Gai Shan Life reckons Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and that it’s about making the best of our individual situations. We can only play the hand of cards we’ve each been dealt in life.

Ray from Squirrelers says Check for Money Leaks, as money leaks can drain us before we know it. Don’t I know it! Plug ‘em up good.

Mrs PoP from Planting Our Pennies asks What’s An Appropriate Level of Stockpiling? Indeed, it’s a fine line between hoarding and stockpiling. We don’t have the room to stockpile, but my hoarding tendencies mean I have a lot of useless crap lying around that’s accumulated over the years.

Budgeting

Madness: the cost of the average wedding. Don’t want to spend a couple of months’ salary on a wedding venue? Me neither. Here’s Lance from Money Life and More on Finding a Frugal Venue for Wedding Ceremonies and Receptions

Madness: those who don’t get that pets, like kids, are a responsibility. Wish more people would take heed of this. TTMK from Tie the Money Knot presents Don’t Buy a Pet if You Can’t Afford One

Madness: sacrificing health for money. Does being on a budget mean eating crap? Didn’t think so. Amy from Money Mishaps suggests Economical Foods You Can Eat to Stay Healthy While on a Budget

Madness: the cost of sporting activities. Kiddie extracurriculars don’t come cheap. Jason Price from Family Living Finance presents How Can You Afford the High Cost of Youth Sports?

Madness: the cost of house renos. Considering buying a new house vs renovating? Sean from One Smart Dollar weighs up Affording a Major Home Makeover

Madness: compulsive clothes shopping. What’s up with that? Nicole from Nicole and Maggie: Grumpy Rumblings  doesn’t get regular clothes shopping

Credit

Madness: blind hatred of credit cards. It’s all about how you use them. Jules Wilson from Faithful With a Few confesses I Hate To Say This, But I Was Saved By A CREDIT CARD

Madness: the importance of three measly digits. Everything you ever wanted to know about that all important number. Gary from Gajizmo.com presents What Is Considered A Good Credit Score?

Economy

Madness: the wealth equality gap. I’ve never earned the minimum wage (my first job paid nearly $1 over) but plenty of people have to get by on it. Michael from Financial Ramblings presents Who Works for Minimum Wage?

Frugality

Madness: taxes, fees and all the other costs travel providers like to slap you with. Hidden fees can be a real budget buster. Kristen from My Dollar Plan outlines 11 Hidden Hotel Fees and How to Avoid Them,

Madness: growing up without any concept of the value of money. Start ‘em young! Bryan from BryanMaltier.com explains How To Teach Kids About Money

Madness: ruining bread. It’s summer here, so unfortunately this just doesn’t work for me right now: Money Beagle from Money Beagle says Get That Bread Out Of Your Refrigerator

Real Estate

Madness: mortgage rates. I DREAM of a 30 year fixed mortgage option. You guys don’t know how lucky you are. PK from Don’t Quit Your Day Job… on The Curious Case of The 30-Year Mortgage Rate

Madness: excessive procrastination. The key to getting started is … getting started. Michal from Dough Roller presents How to Start Your Real Estate Investing Journey: A 5 Step Plan

Money Management

Madness: there’s an app for everything. The internet is a wonderful thing, no? Peter from Bible Money Matters suggests the Top Online Personal Finance Management Software to Get Your Budget Back on Track

Madness: it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. How do you turn a struggling business into a cash cow? Bob from Dwindling Debt presents Turning Distressed Credit Into Financial Gain

Investing

Madness: you need money to make money. Buffett: killing it in the market since … how old is he, anyway? Dividend Growth Investor from Dividend Growth Investor presents Warren Buffett on Dividends: Ideas from his 2013 Letter to Shareholders

Madness: financial jargon. Eric from Narrow Bridge Finance explains What is a Stock Split?

Madness: we’re drowning in data. Financial information – it’s everywhere you look. But what does it all mean? D4L from Dividend Growth Stocks lists 6 High-Dividend, Low P/E Value Stocks

Madness: the stock market. Are we finally on the road to recovery? Darwin from Darwin’s Money on Why Stocks Are Breaking Records and it’s Not a Bubble

Madness: betting on beating the market every single time. Nonetheless, let’s all gaze into our crystal balls, preferably channelling Nate Silver rather than Sybil Trelawney. Div Guy from The Dividend Guy Blog reveals The Sector that Will Beat the Market in 2013

Madness: getting too complacent. Are your yields safe right now? Do you even have any? Pete from Intelligent Speculator presents What Makes A Dividend Yield Safe?

Madness: more jingoistic jargon. Almost read this as Aristocats, which would have been way cooler. Glen Craig from Free From Broke presents What Are Dividend Aristocrats and What You Need to Know About Them

Madness: how far a giant can fall. My first ever cellphone was a Nokia. Ah, nostalgia. But is the Finnish company on the way back? Sean Smarty from Grow Money presents 5 Reasons to Invest in Nokia

Career

Madness: the dearth of worthwhile opportunities on the internet. That said, there are more ways to make a buck beyond answering poxy online surveys. Shaun from Money Cactus shares 6 Ways to Earn Money Online Starting Right Now

Madness: but if the government was to shut down … Pat S outlines How Military Members Can Survive a Government Shutdown

Madness: the amount of unpaid work we do every day. Is there money to be made in catering? Mike from The Financial Blogger ponders How You Can Make Money From What You Do Every day For Free

Madness: the majority of new ventures that fail. Don’t rush in blindly. Sam from The New Business Blog suggests Tips to Improve Your Odds of Small Business Success

Debt

Madness: taking one step back for every two forward. Trying to get ahead, but feel like you’re always falling behind? Matt Bell from Sound Mind Investing presents Swimming Upstream in Our Consumer Culture,

Madness: education inflation. Are student loans the next subprime mortgages? John from Card Hub Blog presents Ask the Experts: How to Fix the Private Student Loan Market

Saving

Madness: ignoring the humble emergency fund. Where do you keep yours? My Journey to Financial Independence presents All About the Emergency Fund

Taxes

Madness: missing important dates, be it your anniversary or your next medical appointment. Know your deadlines! Philip from PT Money presents Last Day to File Taxes in 2013

Madness: taxes, the pillar of capitalism. Tax cuts produce economic success. Right? Well, maybe not. Michael from Financial Ramblings presents The Economic Impact of Income Taxes

Madness: thinking ignorance is bliss. Finally, we can’t forget about the kidlets. Big Cajun Man from THE Canadian Finance Blog explains When to File a Tax Return for Your Kids

One last word: I hate to be the carni-Nazi, but folks. This is the ORIGINAL personal finance blog carnival. Read the guidelines and respect ‘em, please. Don’t spam it with stuff you’ve already sent to every other carnival out there. This is for exclusive and recent posts. While I’ve done my best to filter out posts I saw in other blog carnivals published earlier today, I may not have caught them all.

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