Friday Gathering: What happened in MA last week?

Mike, gave me the privilege of announcing the winner of the book, Get Financially Naked. Drum roll, please . . . . . Julie (comment #21)!

Here are some articles that I found interesting this week:

I am a huge fan of tax software and e-filing. I have used TurboTax almost since it was first made available online. Debt Free Adventure just figured out that if you are claiming any of the new home buyer tax credits – you must file your tax return on paper! This goes right up there with the DMV not taking credit or debit cards . . . government always provides poor customer service.

Investing Baby Steps #1: Know Who You Are

When we were just babies, we started to crawl in order to explore the “new world”. After a while, we noticed that there was more “out there” and we started to think about a way to go faster and further during our exploration. Then one magical day we decided to stand up on our 2 feet and look out at the horizon. In order to reach this point, we learned, step by step, how to walk. We fell a few times, we got hurt but our mommy was always there to take us in her arms and comfort us. Wouldn’t life be easier if our mom was still there to show us how to manage our personal finances as she was there to teach us how to walk?

Famous quotes about money

Some statements about money for your enjoyment today. Some true . . . some not so true . . . some will make you think.

He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money. – Benjamin Franklin

Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game. – Donald Trump

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income. – Errol Flynn

Teaching Your Children About Money Lesson #1: Money is not Free

During the summer of 2009, my son William  turned 4 years old. I remember that at that age, I didn’t know much about money. You basically only care about what gear you will play with for the next 20 minutes. As both my wife and I love to spend time outside during summer, we use to take a lot of walks outside with our two kids. While Amy was still in a stroller, William was able to get on his bike and go much faster. One day when we were about to leave the house, my son turned at me and said:

Money Saving Monday: the Internets

Every once in a while, I take a minute to sit back and think about life before some of the technology that we have today. I mean, I am not that old, but I can remember writing papers for college courses with an electric typewriter – some teachers were still accepting handwritten assignments. Our dormitory that housed seventy-five people had one pay phone for the entire building. I called home about once every two weeks. Then it was car phones, cell phones, mobile phones, texting . . .

Friday Gathering: Pray for Haiti Edition

I am out of town for the next three days and as I was leaving, Mrs. Stew was coming down with the flu . . . I am stuck in a hotel room an airplane flight away and she is watching three children in between trips to the restroom. She is a trooper. Here are some articles that I liked this week:

Squawkfox listed 10 ways to cut your fitness costs in the new year. Fortunately, my job has workout facilities that I can use for free. Funny how that does not make it any easier for me to exercise.

Get Financially Naked Review: Talking About The Biggest Taboo: Money!

The most taboo topic of this century will probably be money. You probably know most of what needs to known about your family or your best friends, but do you know about how much they make, how much they have in debt or how much they spend each month? This is so taboo that even couples are reluctant to “open their books” to their better half.

I have recently received a copy of Get Financially Naked by Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar. Since I have enjoyed this book and I truly believe that any couple should team-up their personal finance, I have decided to review the book and giveaway a free copy (see below for more details).

Save money and protect yourself when you are on vacation

We often leave the house for days at a time and I have developed several habits that save us money and protect our belongings.

  • Turn down your hot water heater. Most homes in the United States have natural gas powered hot water heaters. When you are gone, obviously you do not use any of the hot water, but if your hot water heater regulator is set too high, the water will continually cool down and have to be reheated again. If you do not need the hot water, there is no reason to keep it hot. Do not turn your hot water heater off, but set it at a lower setting so that it only has to run once a day or once every two days. Just remember to turn it back on before you take your first shower when you return home . . . you could be in for a cold surprise!

12 Frugal Tips from Readers For 2010

A while ago, I hosted a contest for “IN Cheap We Trust”. I thought of gathering some of those great frugal tips in one post so you can use them for 2010! I have selected my favorites among them:

#1 Eat less meat (from the market) (this is not only good for the size of your wallet but for the size of your belly too!):

Reduce by half the meat you normally eat and replace with vegetables.

Establish a once a week meatless meal.

#2 Shop with a calculator:

Budget purging and budget pruning

This is not an article about bulimia or growing fruit trees.

As we all consider our financial futures and commit ourselves to more prudent use of our resources, be sure to go through your budget line by line. Spend a few moments on each item to brainstorm on ways to reduce or eliminate that cost. Here are some places to start:

  • Cable – Seriously, this might be the biggest and most senseless budget drain around – especially if you have broadband internet. If you are in a budget crunch, but still insist on paying for cable . . . I do not have much sympathy.
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