Festival of Frugality #319 – It’s Cold Outside Edition

Arizona Snowbowl

Welcome to the 319th Festival of Frugality – It's Cold Outside Edition.  We took my daughter to Mount Humphreys in Flagstaff not too long ago for some fun in the snow.  We had a great time and the weather was beautiful. We were struck by the beauty of the snow covered scenery and abundance of wildlife during a time of the year often associated with just the opposite. I think this has application to personal finance as well.  We can assume our finances do not need attention when it appears on paper that we are meeting our financial goals.  Just below the surface may be signs that things are not what they appear.  Are you monitoring your investments to be sure asset classes are rebalanced quarterly?  Have you exceeded spending in a budget category and do you understand why?  Do you have an adequate emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses?  By looking below the surface one can often see a great deal more!

Editor's Picks

Mrs. SPF presents Why Use Cloth Diapers posted at Sustainable Personal Finance. We have now been using cloth diapers for nearly over 3 months and so far we are really happy about using them. What follows are my thoughts on why cloth is more sustainable, not only for the planet but also for your pocketbook – the reasons why we use cloth diapers.

Sandy presents Learn Website Design for Free Online posted at Yes, I Am Cheap.  There are plenty of online resources that will help you easily develop new skills quickly. Even better, most of these resources are either free or extremely affordable and allow you to learn during your free time at your own pace.

Dannielle presents How To Stop Wasting Money posted at Odd Cents. The post lists some of the ways that we waste money and some great solutions.

Glen presents How to Use Gift Cards Wisely to Maximize Their Value posted at Free From Broke.  So you got some gift cards. Now what? Here are some great tips to use your gift cards wisely and maximize their value. Spent wisely, your card could be more valuable than its face value.

Martin presents The Beauty of Living Below Your Means posted at Studenomics.  What happens when you live below your means.  Makes me want to read this one Martin!

The Best of the Rest

Dan presents Strategy Combining High Dividend Yields with Option Income posted at ETF Base.  If you're an investor interested in both dividends and income from options, here's the strategy for you!

Darwin presents No Cost Refinance – A No-Lose Financial Move? posted at Darwin's Money. A no-cost refi is starting to make more sense to me now that I've read more about it, and I was especially surprised to see the number of no-cost refinance companies out there. I've been contemplating a refi for some time now and had initially put it off due to the exorbitant fees…

Funancials presents Should I Cancel My Credit Card? posted at Funancials. Over the last few years, Credit Reporting has gotten a lot of attention in the media. Part of it due to the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act, but I also give a lot of credit to the jingles of Freecreditreport.com. Although I love the commercials, I'm not a huge advocate of the website.

Don presents The Real Cost of Eating Out posted at MoneySmartGuides.  I was looking over my budget for the previous month and something stood out. At first, I thought I made a typo along the way. Maybe I categorized a purchase incorrectly somewhere along the way. After checking and rechecking and I discover the real cost of eating out!

Winter Wonderland Olen YFS presents Our Net Worth Increased By 125k in 1 year posted at Your Finances Simplified.  So last year turned out to be really good for the YFS household. How good? Well I'll let you decide. At the start of 2011 our net worth was $122,403.43. At the start of 2012 our net worth is $246,756.54! That is s serious gain, IMHO!

Kyle presents Get Paid to Reduce Your Energy Usage posted at The Penny Hoarder. There are some money-saving ideas that you've no doubt heard a million times. Some of the most oft repeated tips are how to reduce your energy bill. Turn off the lights. Lower the thermostat in the winter. Buy an energy efficient water heater. Those are all great ideas, but one company is taking it a step further to help motivate us. Read on to learn more!

Daniel presents How I Made Money on a $371 Visit to the Mechanic posted at Sweating the Big Stuff.  After bringing in my car for maintenance, I was given a loaner for a 1,000 mile to and from San Francisco. Just how much money did that save me?

Eddie presents Reasons to Buy a Car in January – After the Holidays! posted at Finance Fox. Consumers used to shop heavily during December in order to reap the great rewards from the retailers. However, times have changed. Consumers are getting more wiser and January has also become a hot month for retail therapy.

KT presents Should You Leave a Life Insurance Policy to Your Kids? posted at Personal Finance Journey.  Determining whether or not to purchase a life insurance policy is a big decision. Many of us want to leave something behind for our family, but there are a few things you need to consider before taking on a monthly premium!

Corey presents Different Types of Financial Aid posted at 20s Finances.  Learning the different forms of financial aid can make all the difference in reducing your college debt.

Shaun presents Crash Course in UCC Check Indorsement Rules for Newlyweds and Why You Should Never Use ‘And' or ‘&' When Writing Checks to Newlyweds posted at Smart Family Finance.  Newlyweds face unique complications in cashing wedding checks thanks to the ambiguity of name changes. Learn what the UCC rules are for signing and cashing checks and never put the word and or & on a check to newlyweds.

Winter Morning Sunrise Tunnel View Yosemite Valley - Yosemite National Park
Don presents Home Security! Deciding to Spend or Not to Spend posted at Money Reasons.It's Jan 1, 2012 at 4:14am, my dog started barking like an entire gang was at my front door trying to break in. Much like the dad in Clement Clarke Moore's poem, Twas the night before Christmas, I sprang out of my bed in an adrenaline pumping state ready to encounter whatever threat might exist.

Kevin presents Do the Experts Know Anything about Picking Stocks? posted at Thousandaire.  I've been investing in the stock market for over four years now, and at times it's been downright ugly. The only investing strategy that makes sense to me is buy and hold. Short term investing, even for just one year, seems like a complete crap shoot to me. Read why!

101Centavos presents Interview With Foster Wilson of Mesa Exploration posted at 101Centavos.  Mesa Exploration formerly Mesa Uranium is a junior exploration company active in Utah and Arizona. I bought shares of MSA MSJAF on the pink sheets …

Wayne presents Appropriate Tip posted at Young Family Finance. Find out what an appropriate tip is when you are eating out. How much are you overspending?

Jester presents Easiest Way to Make a Profit in Real Estate posted at The Ultimate Juggle.  Investing in real estate can be a great way to set yourself up for the future. If you invest in the right property at the right price, you can create a positive cash flow from the beginning.

Hank presents Seven Car Insurance Myths You Need To Know posted at Money Q&A. There are a lot of car insurance myths that continue to be spread around by consumers. It is important to understand as much as you can about how your car insurance rates are calculated and to debunk the popular car insurance myths.

Andy presents Retirement Planning Requires Action posted at My Retirement Blog.  If you are starting to think about your own retirement, you are on the right path. You have taken the first step towards achieving that dream retirement. You may need to spend some time writing down your goals and/or expectations for retirement, but asking the questions is where everyone begins. Yet, just thinking about retirement.

PITR presents Is it Possible to Retire on Rental Properties? posted at Passive Income To Retire.  Not only is it possible to retire on real estate, there are many benefits that you need to take advantage of.

Meteorological Winter Arrives at GSFC Suba presents How to Prepare to Give an Effective Presentation posted at Broke Professionals. Presenting ideas, products and information is an integral part of being in business. Whether you are trying to convince the boss to give you a raise; nudge your customer into buying the latest shiny product the company makes; or pry venture capital lose from an angel investor, you need presentation skills. Read on to lean my thoughts.

FMF presents Is It Worth It to Rent a Car for Long Trips? posted at Free Money Finance.  Is renting a car for long trips a good way to save money?

Wayne presents $100 Bill, Y'All posted at Control Your Cash. Do we really need bills larger than the $100 bill?

Fanny presents Is Bottled Water Worth Buying? posted at Living Richly on a Budget.  How do you know if your drinking water is safe or if you need to buy bottled water? Check out this handy tool you can use to check.

Michael presents Save Money On Seasonal Items posted at So You Think You can Save.  You can save money by buying some items at particular times. It takes patience and skill but the savings can be well worth it.

Money Beagle presents Get Ready to Pay More for Little Caesars Pizza posted at Money Beagle.

Moonrise Over the Merced Miss T. presents How to Save Money on Food Costs posted at Prairie Eco Thrifter. If your finances are tight and you already have several credit cards with high balances, it is time to change your shopping behavior to save as much as possible. One of the first places you can start is on groceries.

DJ presents How to Save When Hiring Professional Movers posted at The Family Wallet. There are a number of ways you can cut down on the expenses associated with hiring professional movers.

Squirrelers presents Lottery Coupons: Save Money on Losing Money posted at Squirrelers. Coupons can be great for saving a little money. What about lottery coupons? This post discusses the irony in this convoluted way to be frugal.

Lazy Man presents Top 10 Couponing Tips form the Lazy Couponer posted at Lazy Man and Money. Last month I was in the bookstore and I happened across a book called The Lazy Couponer by Jamie Chase. Chase's approach is novel in that you can get the results, free stuff, without all the hours and hours of planning.

Teacher Man presents My Siruis/XM Discount Journey posted at My University Money. I constantly amazes me what the mark up is on certain products and services, and how much money you can save by remembering that Everything Is Negotiable! I’ve saved little bits of money on monthly services such as my phone, internet, and television costs before, but my most recent frugal adventure came courtesy of my new satellite radio.

Echo presents How To Make A Better Personal Budget posted at Boomer & Echo.  A personal budget should be about more than just figuring out if your income exceeds expenses.

Kristia presents Resolve to Lower Your Grocery Spending posted at Family Balance Sheet.  Did you resolve to lower your grocery expenses in 2012? It can be intimidating to think about, but your grocery bill is one of the easiest expenses to reduce.

Rising Above Jeffrey presents Debt Snowball: 5 Options posted at Saving Advice.  For anyone trying to get out of debt, the debt snowball method has become the choice of many to tackle their debt. This shouldn’t be a surprise as it is a straightforward and easy to follow method that works. While the basics are the same, there are a variety of different debt snowball approaches that people follow.

Lindy presents Poor Man's Anthropologie posted at Minting Nickels.  I love Anthropologie, but their prices make me want to throw up. Luckily, I've found a way to get some of their products at half the price. In this article I share my tricky workaround.

Canadian RockiesSavingMentor presents The Best Price Comparison Sites posted at HowToSaveMoney.ca.  Using price comparison websites is one of the easiest ways to save money when shopping online. They also come in handy when shopping offline because prices are usually identical for stores that have both an online and an offline presence.

SB presents 25 Everyday Techniques to Save Environment posted at One Cent at a Time.  These are 25 pretty easy-to-follow ways to help our mother earth by saving the environment around us. Charity begins at home, you start today, your neighbor starts tomorrow and the whole city starts doing this by year end, how about that?

Dr. Dean presents Mushrooms: Grown at Home? posted at The Millionaire Nurse.  Ever grown mushrooms at home? Growing mushrooms in our backyard will be environmentally friendly, cheaper than buying gourmet and they’ll be great to eat.

NCN presents Get Rid of the Stuff You Do Not Use posted at No Credit Needed. Reducing clutter can give us more space, more control, and more money!

Emily presents Less Expensive Nursing Home Alternative: Full Circle America posted at PT Money Personal Finance. Discusses the grassroots organization, Full Circle America, and the alternatives it provides to traditional (and expensive) nursing home care for the elderly.

Todd presents How Anyone Can Retire in 10 Years (Or Less!) posted at Financial Mentor.  Financial security and freedom don't require luck, special skills, or investment genius. You just need a plan based on proven principles that actually work. This is one very simple, bullet-proof plan applying frugality principles that you can rely on.

Kennedi presents 5 Ways to Save Money Now posted at Face & Fitness. 5 ways to save money that you can do TODAY.

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