Welcome to the Carnival of Personal Finance #271 – The Secret to a Successful Budget eBook Edition! My friend Craig Ford at Money Help for Christians is launching a new eBook today. It’s designed to help you discover the secrets to successful budgeting.
I think it’s a great resource for anyone who’s ever struggled with budgeting, so I’ve included some quotes from his eBook throughout this carnival. You can get the book for 30% off if you buy before midnight (EDT) August 31st, 2010. Be sure to read through to the end of this carnival because I’ll be giving away two FREE copies to two lucky winners!
Here are my top picks from the submissions this week:
- Mike Piper from Oblivious Investor presents Dealing with Investment Confusion, and says, “What’s the best approach to dealing with the confusion that comes from being a new investor?” – [Mike shares some good advice for people who are confused about investing. It won't immediately cure your confusion, but applying this strategy over and over will help you make informed decisions you can stick to.]
- Briana Ford from Go Banking Rates presents Why Americans Can’t Afford to Die [Infographic], and says, “If you never thought about this problem before, take a look at how expensive funerals really are. You may discover you, like many Americans, simply can’t afford to die.” – [What can I say? I'm a sucker for infographics.]
- Len from Len Penzo dot Com presents A Simple Trick to Get Your Credit Card Interest Charges Waived. – [I wish more people realized the power of Len's simple trick!]
- Lauren from Richly Reasonable presents 4 Bad Deals, and says, “The term “Bad Deal” is relative. Not only is Necessity the mother of Invention, she is also the mother of many a Bad Deal. Necessity has a TON of children.” – [Funny, smart, and witty - and likely to open a few eyes at least!]
- Jacob A. Irwin from My Personal Finance Journey presents Adjusting My Monthly Budget to Account for Home Ownership, and says, “A look at the steps I have recently taken to adjust my personal budget to account for the various elements of home ownership.” – [At our current rent rate owning a home just doesn't make sense. Just look at all the costs involved!]
Congratulations to the editor’s choice picks! Here are the rest of the articles from this week’s submissions.
- MD from Studenomics presents Quick College Students Guide To Personal Finance.
- Jason from One Money Design presents How Do You Live Well on Less Pay?, and says, “There are plenty of people that don’t make a lot of money and have trouble covering basic expenses each month. There are 5 essential tips to follow to live well on less pay.”
- Revanche from A Gai Shan Life presents Shopping for the single life .
- ispf from Grad Money Matters presents The American Dream of Home Ownership: 10 Things You Can Do as a Student.
- Jim from Wanderlust Journey presents Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Shareholder Benefits.
- Jason from Live Real, Now presents Check Your Bills, and says, “Can you automate your finances too far?”
- Elle from Couple Money presents Financial Tips for College Success, and says, “Many college students are surprised to see how easy it is to build a financial foundation for themselves. Learn how to set up bank accounts, pay your bills, and start a graduation fund.”
- DE(a)BTh from Murder Your Debt presents Your Wasted Life, and says, “You thought financing a house and a fast car meant freedom. That an expensive education would lead you to a rewarding career where you could earn lots of money. You were wrong, weren’t you? You hate your career but you’re stuck. You’re stuck because you swallowed the lies you were sold. The lies that material possessions bring success. The lies that more money means more happiness. And now what? You’ve got it all; the cars, the house with the huge yard, the sexy outfits and shiny shoes. But you’re STILL not happy!”
- vh from Funny about Money presents Social Security’s Bizarre Rules, and says, “Social Security’s restrictive rules make it impossible to get out of poverty when unemployment forces one into early retirement and stock-market losses militate against retirement fund drawdowns.”
- J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy presents What would you do with an extra $1,000?, and says, “Montel Williams wants to know ;)”
- Bob from Christian Finances presents How to spend unexpected income: 3 questions to ask, and says, “It can be tough to know what to do when you receive a large sum of cash – this article will give you some questions to help you figure out what to do with it…”
- Mr. GoTo from Go To Retirement presents How Much Long Term Care Insurance Should You Have?, and says, “Insuring against a long term care event is part of personal risk management. Estimating the amount of long term care coverage to obtain requires careful consideration of several factors.”
If you are working 40 or more hours a week to earn your money, don’t you think it is worth an hour or two to set up a budget?
Isn’t it worth spending about an hour every week to manage the money you work so hard to earn? It is always better to manage what you have than to work yourself crazy trying to get more money.
- from page 21 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford
- eemusings from Musings of an Abstract Aucklander presents Does $60k constitute a high income?, and says, “Just what is a “high” household income? The stats are surprising.”
- Miss T from Prairie Eco-Thrifter presents 10 Important Steps You can Take to Better Plan For Retirement.
- RJ Weiss from Gen Y Wealth presents The Mike Tyson Guide to Financial Planning, and says, “You might be wondering, what in the world can Mike Tyson teach me about financial planning. I promise you, will be surprised.”
- Dividend Growth Investor from Dividend Growth Investor presents 33 Dividend Champions to Consider, and says, “Dividend investor David Fish has created a list of dividend stocks which have raised distributions for 25 consecutive years and has named it the dividend champions list. His list includes 100 companies, which is more than twice the size of the Dividend Aristocrats. I ran a screen on the list in order to identify stocks for further research.”
- Mike from The Financial Blogger presents Use the Loonie’s Strength to Invest in the Eagle Market, and says, “Canadian dollar is strong compared to the US dollar at this time. Use this as an opportunity to invest in US stocks.”
- Div Guy from The Dividend Guy Blog presents Dividend Investing with Less Than $1,000 Part 3: How to Pick Your ETFs and/or Dividend Funds, and says, “Starting to invest is quite motivating but as a young investor, you must put greed and hype aside and start by looking for sound investments.”
- Squirrelers presents Small Stocks = High Return and High Volatility, and says, “Small stocks, particularly those in the lowest deciles, have performed very well over the long-term. They can be an important part of your asset allocation, provided you can stomach the associated risks.”
- D4L from Dividends Value presents My Top 6 Performing Dividend Stocks Just Might Surprise You, and says, “As I have stated many times, my goal is to create an ever growing income stream from dividend stocks. Secondarily, it is my desire to beat the S&P 500 over time. With that said, I rarely look at the capital performance of individual stocks. However, I recently sorted my portfolio by Total Gain % (total gain/basis) and was mildly surprised at the top performers.”
- ElizabethG (Modern Gal) from Modern Gal presents Investing for Inflation in 2010.
- DSO from High Dividend Stocks presents Big GE and it’s big dividend, and says, “One of America’s oldest and most prestigious companies has become an accidental high yielder.”
Budgeting in and of itself is useless.
Budgeting is part of a larger financial plan.
- from page 9 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford
- Money Beagle from Money Beagle presents Why The Kindle Price Wars Mean Absolutely Nothing To Me.
- Craig Ford from Money Help For Christians presents You Might Need a Budget if …, and says, “31 signs that it is time to start a budget.”
- Michael from The Dough Roller presents 7 Tips To Help Manage Your Finances When Out of Work, and says, “Being out of work can be pretty awful but if you manage your finances properly, the blow can be lessened.”
- Betty from Control Your Cash presents Health Care. Cheaper than you Imagined., and says, “While a visit to the vet will probably never be enjoyable for the patient, a pet wellness plan can make that visit a lot more palatable for the patient’s chauffeur.”
- Jim from Bargaineering presents How to Deal with Losing Your Wallet While Traveling.
- Amanda from My Dollar Plan presents 7 Ways to Further Your Education Without Paying Full Price, and says, “This is a GREAT article for anyone looking to further their education at a low cost.”
- Laura @ Move To Portugal from Move To Portugal presents Could you increase the amount you’re saving?
- Adam from Magical Penny presents Financial Lessons from Toy Story 3, and says, “Amidst the humour and tension there are some powerful life lessons in Toy Story 3 so here’s a few I picked up and how they relate to growing and saving your pennies!”
- ElizabethG from Modern Gal presents Are You Tired of the Smug Frugals?.
- Hedy from Penny for my Thoughts presents How to: Save money on College Textbooks.
- Matt from Debt Vigilante presents Extravagant Frugality.
You need to focus your finances on accomplishing one major task at a time.
If you don’t, the danger is that every dollar will be diluted to a point that it makes little impact helping you reach your goals.
- from page 9 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford
- Kris Bickell from Debt Tips presents Who should you turn to for honest advice about debt settlement?
- Ramsay from Moneyedup presents Debt Goal, and says, “Paying off a large sum of debt can be overwhelming. Setting debt goals can make the process much easier.”
- mbhunter from Mighty Bargain Hunter presents 15-year fixed mortgage rates are below 4%, and says, “You may have seen ads for cheap mortgages in the past, but I’ll explain why these rates are different.”
- Tim Chen from NerdWallet Credit Card Watch presents Amex is Hiking Fees on the Starwood Preferred Guest Nearly 50%, and it’s Still a Good Deal , and says, “American Express has started sending out letters to its cardholders, informing them that it plans to raise the annual fee from $45 to $65 starting October 14th, and it’s modifying the rewards program a bit. If you’re a cardholder, you may be considering canceling the card in anger at the prospect of a higher fee, but we don’t think you should.”
- Ramsay from Moneyedup presents Credit Report Vs Credit Score, and says, “Credit scores and credit reports are two very different things. Know the difference before you sign up for a free credit report.”
- Cecil Dellison from Clear Choice Credit Card Blog presents NFL Credit Card Owners Lose Points in Bank Change.
- Michael from The Dough Roller presents Get Your Free Credit Score with Identity Guard, and says, “The best source to view your three credit scores for free.”
- Jesse from The Penny Saved presents Fixing bad credit, building new credit, and how to be the tail that wags the dog.
- Adam from Rabbit Funds presents 3 Reasons Dave Ramsey is wrong about Credit Cards, and says, “I have been asked if and when using credit cards makes sense. As a general rule, I tell people to never use a credit card. However, if you can exhibit self-control, then there are three reasons I would use a credit card.”
- Clint from Accumulating Money presents Is Visa Signature Better Than Platinum?
- Neal Frankle from Wealth Pilgrim presents 5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Fast, and says, “You probably don’t need me to convince you that you should always be looking for ways to improve your credit score. A good credit score will help you get lower rates when you need to borrow money and much more. It can help you get a good job too.”
- Craig from Free From Broke presents What IS A Secured Credit Card?, and says, “Sometimes a person is unable to get credit either because they haven’t had credit or they had credit problems in the past. Enter the secured credit card! Here is what it is and why it can be useful.”
- Big Cajun Man from Canadian Personal Finance presents Large Wallet Syndrome, and says, “Just how many credit cards do I need to carry around these days?”
- Junior Boomer from Consumer Boomer presents What is Peer to Peer Lending and is it Risky?, and says, “Peer to Peer lending (sometimes called social lending or person-to-person lending) allows people to borrow money from other people, or lend money to others, without traditional bank participation.”
- David from Credit Card Offers IQ presents 5 Rules for Co-Signing, and says, “Don’t take co-signing lightly!”
- Julie Sherrier from Taking Charge presents What’s driving more women to seek debt help?.
- John from Passive Family Income presents 18 Tips on Using a Credit Card Rewards Program, and says, “If you are going to open up a credit card, my suggestion is to find one that offers a cash back or rebate program. While most financial experts tell you to stay clear of these type of accounts, I believe a credit card rewards program can be used to your advantage.”
- The Smarter Wallet from The Smarter Wallet presents Cash Back or Airline Credit Cards? What’s Best For Travel, and says, “Comparing cash back cards to airline cards. When should you choose one or the other?”
- Mr. Credit Card from Ask Mr. Credit Card presents New Card Act Provisions.
- Cecil Dellison from Clear Choice Credit Card Blog presents Bowlers Benefit from the New USBC Platinum Visa Credit Card.
The goal of the budget is to help you spend less than you earn.
Therefore, this becomes the single criteria for an effective budget – does it help you spend less than you earn?
- from page 12 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford
- PT from PT Money presents Free Prepaid Credit Cards, and says, “A thorough, original review of the best free prepaid credit cards, including those that are free of activation and monthly fees. These cards are great for those who need to avoid debt, or those that can’t get a traditional bank account.”
- Silicon Valley Blogger from The Digerati Life presents Citi Dividend Platinum Select MasterCard Review, and says, “Here’s a review of a credit card I actually like.”
- FMF from Free Money Finance presents How to Hire a Home Inspector, and says, “When you buy a home, you need to be sure you hire a good home inspector to identify any potential problems. This post gives tips on how to do this.”
- Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents presents Should You Upgrade to a Larger Home”, and says, ”
In many markets, home owners are looking at homes in the next price range up as good buys, since foreclosures and a slow market are resulting in good deals. But, as tempting as it is to upgrade to a larger home, is it really a good idea? Here are some things to consider before upgrading to a larger home.”
- Rob from Two Wise Acres presents 3 Things to Avoid When Buying a Home, and says, “When buying a home, it’s critical that you avoid these three credit mistakes.”
- ctreit from Money Obedience presents Do renters really save money in the end?.
- pkamp3 from Don’t Quit Your Day Job… presents Tax Incidence, and says, “Who really pays for a tax when it is enacted? If the government enacts a new tax on washing machines, is the entire tax on Maytag? The consumer? Cameron Daniels breaks down the details.”
A budget lets your spouse see your values and priorities in a tangible way.
A budget forces you to communicate not just about your life goals, but also about your daily financial preferences.
- from page 16 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford
- Kristina from Dinks Finance presents A DINK in The Office, and says, “As a married or unmarried employee with no children, are you treated differently than your colleagues with kids?”
- Nicole from Nicole and Maggie: Grumpy Rumblings presents Why did you go to graduate school?, and says, “Nicole and Maggie discuss reasons for graduate school and how sometimes we’re directed into a career for the right reasons and sometimes we fall into it for the wrong reasons. But it turns out OK anyway (or maybe it doesn’t, but you can always change your mind).”
- Bret from Hope to Prosper presents Trillion Dollar Public Pension Shortfall, and says, “An article in the New York Times stated that there is a $1 Trillion dollar public pension shortfall. Despite repeated denials from PERS and public employee unions, public pensions are in big trouble.”
- JLP from AllFinancialMatters.com presents Democrats, Republicans, and the Federal Debt Since 1979, and says, “Though the title may suggest it, this is not a “political” post.”
Budgeting is a process, not an event.
You won’t wake up tomorrow with an effective budget. Instead, you will start with a decent budget that later becomes a good budget. Eventually, it is a great budget.
- from page 16 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford
- Donna Freedman from Bargaineering presents Sick happens: How to prepare for an illness or injury, and says, “Sick happens. And sometimes it happens to YOU. Get your finances, your work life and your support network in order.”
- Ken from Spruce Up Your Finances presents Why Start A Home Based Business.
- Paul Williams (that’s me!) from Provident Planning presents I Am More Than My Income, and says, “Do you value your self-worth based on your income? Do you beat yourself up because you’re not making enough, or do you gloat because you earn so much? I did that to myself, but now I’m realizing that my worth has nothing to do with money.”
- Kevin from Financially Poor presents Grow Up And Stop Acting Like A Child.
- Suba from Wealth Informatics presents Credit cards take from the poor and give to the rich, and says, “Credit card users (rich) are taking money from the the cash users (poor)? Is the reverse Robin Hood theory true?”
- Sean Smarty from Grow Money presents Why You Need Life Insurance.
- Myke from In Search of Salt presents Spending Can Be Good
The Secret to a Successful Budget eBook Giveaway!
As promised, I’m giving away two free copies of The Secret to a Successful Budget courtesy of Craig. To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post telling me how budgeting has helped you OR your biggest struggle with budgeting. I’ll use random.org to select two winners tomorrow evening (August 24, 2010) at 5:00 PM EDT so be sure to enter by then!!! I’ll update this post to announce the winners, but use a valid email address when you comment so I can reach you if you win. Good luck!