The Carnival of Money Stories is back!


My favorite blog carnival, The Carnival of Money Stories,  dropped off the face of the earth a few months back. I loved this carnival because it shared posts that involved personal stories about people and money. I love factual and helpful articles, but the articles that really motivate and inspire are the personal stories shared by others. The Carnival of Money Stories focused on the Personal aspect of Personal finance.

College student loans come with flexibility


I enjoyed reading the M-network answers to the question posed by Leah last week. There is a lot of good information in the M-network responses and you will find an argument for almost every viewpoint in the comment thread. I have discovered that the comment threads here at Gather Little by Little are a great resource themselves. The articles seem to just be the place where the discussion and advice begins. Great job, GLBL readers!

In response to Leah:

First off, you are in a great position financially and I am going to assume that you got there with no help from your boyfriend.

You Need a Budget Giveaway!


We interrupt this regularly scheduled Money saving Monday to provide you with one of he coolest giveaways I’ve done here on Gather Little by Little.

Those of you that have been reading for a while know that I am a huge proponent of budgeting. Personally, I think a budget is a foundational tool for controlling your finances and being financially successful. I started budgeting monthly 2 years ago. I first used a piece of paper, then a simple excel spreadsheet which then developed into a more complex and easier to use excel budget spreadsheet, then I discovered You Need a Budget Pro (you can read my full review over at my You Need a Budget Pro review article). I’ve waffled back and forth between my spreadsheet and YNAB Pro, but both are great tools with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Regardless, YNAB Pro is a great piece of software that does one thing very well: budgeting.

What do you want and how can I help you?


It’s been a while since I’ve solicited any feedback from you, so I thought it was about time to do it again. I created Gather Little by Little for one single purpose, to help others. I wanted to share my financial learnings with others in hopes that they could begin their join me in my journey to get my finances under control. I have not deviated from that purpose other than to hope that maybe someday I can do this as a full-time job. That would truely be a dream come true.

Pay off student loan or save?

ask-the-m-networkThis article is part of the Ask the M-Network series. Leah submitted a question and asked:

I’m 28. I have 9% of my income going into a 401k, no credit card debt, a paid-off 9-year-old car, and 5 months expenses in savings (some of that earmarked for the next new-to-me car). I also have a student loan of $11K at 2.5% interest. I want to start aggressively paying down the student loan, but because of the low interest rate my boyfriend is urging me to put that money in savings instead to earn interest and act as a larger emergency/irregular expenses fund. Am I better off holding on to the cash, or getting rid of the debt?

A tax deduction is not the only reason to give


I have a great fascination for the great philanthropists in our history and the great spirit of philanthropy that permeates our culture. Did you know that Americans give more money voluntarily than the citizens of any other country? We give seven times more money to charity than the citizens of Germany for instance. Another example is the absolute tsunami of cash given to the Asian Tsunami relief effort in 2004. Americans privately gave over $2 billion and our government chipped in another $900 million. The generosity of our country is absolutely astounding. If you would like to learn more about this subject I highly recommend Albert Brooks’ book about charitable giving entitled Who Really Cares?

No credit cards – Here's why


“Nope, no credit cards for me. I don’t even carry one.”  I cannot tell you how many times I have said this phrase or something very similar to friends and family over the past 3 years.  Most recently it came up at the store while looking at a “great deal” on something in the electronics department.

A lot of green fun with a little junk

Green Fun

This is a picture of the one of the new prototypes being tested by GM now that the government is running the company.

Just kidding!

A couple of weeks ago we took our three kids to a children’s museum near our home. This particular children’s museum is not really a “museum” with static displays and plaques to read, rather it is a place for children to explore with their hands. There is something for almost every level of childhood. Seven month crawlers up through ten year-olds can find plenty to do.

Keep your car longer


The current recession is really causing a number people to take a hard look at their cars and how long they intend to keep them. Americans are holding on their old autos longer instead of buying new models. In 2008, the new auto market experienced a 16-year low. Used vehicles being traded in at dealerships averaged 6.3 years of age after the Wall Street meltdown in late 2008, about 6 months older than before the crisis, according to forecaster J.D. Power & Associates.

Dave Ramsey Town Hall for Hope


Last night I attended a Dave Ramsey Town Hall for Hope at my church. It was an outstanding presentation and I would like to offer a summary to those of you who missed it. Ramsey is a great speaker and this presentation was no exception. He mixed sound principles with humorous, pithy sayings to create an end result that was both calming and inspiring. The key word for the entire meeting was obviously hope and Ramsey started things off by saying that real “hope” comes from the people of our country – not necessarily Washington D.C. or our media.

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