Friday Gathering: Post-Valentine’s Day Edition

Gather Little by Little was featured in four carnivals this week!

What will you do with your tax refund? was featured at the 244th Carnival of Personal Finance. Boy, that thing has been around for a while.

Investing Baby Steps #2: Different Investing Strategies for Beginners Part 2 was chosen as an Editor’s Pick at the 104th Money Hacks Carnival.

If you can’t handle $5, why should I give you $10? was included at 217th Festival of Frugality and the Carnival of Money Stories.

Here are some other articles that I found interesting this week:

9 Ways to Multiply Your Sources of Income and Pay off Your Debts

This year, I am facing one of my biggest personal finance challenges: I need to pay back my parents loan on November 1st, 2010. The amount owing will be $31,000. We had borrowed this money as cash down for our first house and the deal was to reimburse in full (plus interest) after 5 years. So I have only a few months before I write “the big check” and I am looking at different ways to pay off this debt.

Observations from my tax returns

I have been filing with Turbo Tax since the 2001 tax year. The nice thing about the service is that I can see all of my prior year returns anytime. It is kind of interesting to see summary of the information over the years. Incidentally, 2001 is the year that Mrs. Stew and I were married, so all of this data was filed under the “married, filing jointly” classification. I posted all of this data as percentages with 2001 as our baseline number. For instance, our Adjusted Gross Income in 2005 was 101% of our 2001 AGI. None of the data is adjusted for inflation or cost of living, just the raw amounts or percentages. I also do not know much about formatting tables in WordPress, so please bear with me . . . if I were really good, I would have made bar or line graphs out of all this stuff. :)

What to Expect From Mortgage Rate Trends for 2010

Since the major cut in the interest rate back in 2008, we haven’t heard much about the FED cranking up the intraday rate so far. However, with recent GDP stats (5.7% annualised rate for the last quarter), we will surely hear some whispered rumors about the prime interest rate going up.

What is the intraday interest rate?

The FED has control over the inter bank rate. This is the rate established for banks lending to each other for one day. At the end of every day, banks look at their balance sheet and borrow or lend money in order to balance their assets with their liabilities. These loans are for 24 hours since their balance sheet changes daily. This is why we have an intra day interest rate.

Money Saving Mondays: How to know if your loan should be refinanced

I went into the bank the other day to see if I should refinance our car loan. I have really outstanding credit and I wondered if I could parley that into a lower interest rate, shorter term or lower payment. Turns out that I could do all three, but I did not do it after I saw the numbers.

Original loan principle: $17,490
Interest rate: 8.01%  Total term: 72 months
Monthly payment: $306  Total P and I: $22,085
Total interest paid over the life of the loan: $4,595

Friday Gathering: Who Dat? Edition

Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints, winners of the NFL Super Bowl. I did not really have a rooting interest, but was kind of pulling for Peyton Manning . . . Here are some posts that you may want to read from the last week.

From the Carnival of Personal Finance #243 featuring:

Investing Baby Steps #2: Different Investing Strategies for Beginners Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, I started the different investing strategies for beginners with the most secure asset allocations. Especially when you start investing, you don’t know exactly where you are heading and you do not want to take too much risk. However, even among beginner investors, there are some who are willing and able to invest in a more aggressive manner. This is why I am talking about the next 3 asset allocations:

If you can’t handle $5, why should I give you $10?

I think the above statement most readily applies to government, but I know there are some folks out there who think that government does not have enough money . . . Politics aside, how often do we think, “Boy, if I would just win the lottery,”  or “I wonder if I am in somebody’s will?” or, “if I could just find something around my house that would sell for five figures on Antique Roadshow, all my money troubles would be over!”

How to Properly Prepare for Filing Your Taxes

The following is a guest post from Manuel Davis. Manuel is a tax accountant and writer for and helps individuals with various IRS problems.

How to Properly Prepare for Filing Your Taxes

While April 15th may seem far away, now is the time to start thinking about your taxes to ensure that your tax filing goes smoothly. The main causes of tax filing errors are rushing and not having all necessary tax documents on hand. Even if you plan to use a tax professional, it is important to start working with them early since it is likely they will be rushed towards the end of tax season. Below are some steps to follow to ensure your taxes get done properly and nothing is missed.

What will you do with your tax refund?

A couple of weeks ago, I asked, Should a believer contribute to IRA’s, 401K’s or other retirement accounts? The post generated some interesting comments and discussion. While I still think that some form of retirement savings is a good idea, my financial focus was challenged by that thought: Am I really storing up treasure in heaven? Or am I focused on comfortable life here on earth?

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