Carnival of Personal Finance #309

He’d slit your throat for a farthing (a line lifted from Phil Hendrie and/or Rosemary Rogers)

What’s that? You were expecting a list of dry, templated posts for this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance? Sorry, that’s not how Control Your Cash rolls. In honor of Old Hoss Radbourn’s career win total, we’re making #309 an even bigger deal than the last time we hosted the CoPF. Thanks again to Flexo of Consumerism Commentary for throwing us the hot potato. This week’s submissions range from the insightful to the barely readable. We’ll leave it to you to determine which are which.

John Kiernan at Wallet Blog might blame credit card companies for credit card holders’ failure to read their agreements, but he’s got a relevant post this week titled “8 Reasons Why You Should Use a Credit Card”. (The wags say “list” posts are the way to go.) While you won’t learn anything new in this post, you won’t get any bad information either.

Speaking of credit cards, Marjorie at Card Hub recommends that you use a credit card for cosmetic surgery in “Can I Use a Credit Card For Cosmetic Surgery?” We’re sorry…is “Carnival of Personal Finance” shorthand for “Carnival of Personal Finance Atrocious Decision-Making”?

Brandon Crombar at Shared Financial Success reaches into the very bottom of the cliche bag this week to tell us that “financial success is not rocket science.” What’s interesting about this is that financial success is brain surgery.

They say to blog boldly. Mighty Bargain Hunter believes in pacing himself, using the word “consider” repeatedly while telling you how to get your dishes clean if your state is one of the meddlesome few that’s banned the sale of high-phosphorus dishwasher detergent. Here’s another example of his take-no-prisoners prose:

It’s up to you to do any and all legwork to make sure that you can do it legally, safely, and correctly.  I cannot do that for you.  All I’m saying is that this may be an option for you.  It may also end up not being an option for you.

A regular Thomas Paine, him.

ElizabethG, a/k/a Modern Gal, didn’t bother telling us what her submission is about. But we’ll build on what she contributed to the carnival by telling you that she thinks you should prepare for emergencies. Thanks for that.

Alright, time for the good stuff. You know, from personal finance bloggers who actually expand your mind, conduct some research, and say something noteworthy. They’re there, you just have to look for them:

A post that starts with a story and wants us to use our imaginations? That never happens, but it’s happening here. Jason at Live Real, Now takes us both to between-the-wars Italy and a postapocalyptic future to paint a hilarious and potentially depressing picture about how dangerous it can be to take equity out of your house.

Use the phrase “couch du négativité”, and chances are pretty good we’ll put you in this part of the carnival. Lindy at Minting Nickels isn’t the first person to cancel her cable, nor even the first to write about it, but her tale of saving money while not having to resort to reading books is both entertaining and practical. (Also, nice font. Is that Franklin Gothic?)

Revanche at A Gai Shan Life is outspoken, a quality we admire. (Anyone who bashes her idiot brother in her blog is alright by us.) She fulfills the first axiom of personal finance blogging: foreign-born bloggers are the most articulate ones out there. This week she answers a difficult question in a deft manner: How Much Help Should An Adult Child Give Parents?

We discovered Don’t Quit Your Day Job this week, and like what we see. PKamp3 explains why home prices can continue to fall, there’s even some wiggle room on mortgage rates, and the market will never truly be free while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to steal from all of us, buyer and renter alike.

Matt About Money (Bell) treads that difficult line, neither talking over the readers’ heads nor down to them. This week he has legitimate Money Lessons For New Grads. (We’d like to add one: buy this.)

Poor, poor Sandy. The beleaguered landlord at Yes, I Am Cheap has had a bitch of a tenant for several months now. Finally, that relationship is coming to an end. Find out how Sandy did it without being charged with (what would have been justifiable) homicide.

(P.S.: Sandy, keep the security deposit.)

Mike Piper is money. The Oblivious Investor always comes with something unconventional, provocative and worthwhile. We’re glad to recommend his bold assertion that index funds can work in bear markets, too. Seriously, don’t waste your time with most of what’s online. Read his archives instead.

There’s no substitute for cold data. That’s why we love Dividend Growth Investor, who not only lists the best high-yield dividend growth stocks, but explains what they do and what they’ve done.

Bloggers with identifiable personalities are rare, which is why Ryan at The Financial Student is such a pleasant read. He bought trip insurance, sounds like he’s having buyer’s remorse, but probably won’t in the long run.

If you own a blog, you’re running an affiliate program, right? It’s free money! Elle at Couple Money tells us which affiliates she uses. She actually has ethics, only endorsing products she believes in. Meanwhile, we here at Control Your Cash will gladly plug companies that sell Refund Anticipation Loans mixed with heroin if they’ll pay us enough.

Bob’s guest poster at Christian Finances takes us through the history of American money this week: the actual coins and currency. And why the name Salmon P. Chase will stay in my head forever.

It wouldn’t be a carnival without Flexo. The maven behind Consumerism Commentary and this blog’s spiritual leader hits the stage to play a few bars himself, reminding us that diversification should be a strategy, not a means to an end. As Mark Twain said, “Watch that basket.”

(Selection deleted for using the ridiculous portmanteau “staycation”. Try again, slugger.)

Those wacky Canadians with their RHOSPs and their RRSPs and their parkades and their serviettes. Jim Yih at Retire Happy Blog explains another Canadian construct this week, RRIFs.

Oh, and let’s not forget their “cheques”, too. Janet at Credit, Eh shows us a 22nd-century idea whose time has come. The digital wallet. Amazingly cool, but still not as much as hoverbikes would be.

This has less than nothing to do with personal finance, but it was so incongruous we had to accept it. Donna Freedman at Surviving and Thriving tells you more about her condiment-buying habits than you could possibly want to know, and includes the takeaway sentence,

When I go to Alaska, I travel with mayonnaise.

At least that wasn’t bad personal finance advice. For that we have Sustainable Personal Finance, who thinks that spending $850 on a useless trinket is a good way to save both money and ecological resources. (Wedding rings. Sorry to ruin the movie for you.)

Ben’s guest poster at Money Smart Life discusses ways to pay off a mortgage faster, but glosses over the big one: refinancing. Kind of like this.

(Selection deleted for telling readers that to buy car insurance online, you need an internet connection. And you need to have the make and model of your vehicle handy. Come on, insult readers’ intelligence somewhere else.)

Think you know the difference between Roth and traditional IRAs? We’ll bet you don’t, and Tom at Stupid Cents will raise that bet. Brew some coffee, though. Tom doesn’t waste time on energetic prose.

But Tom is James Patterson compared to the linguistic stylings of Bill Holliday, CFP of FFA Financial. He starts with

Structured investments utilize various trading techniques to provide a range of unique risk reduction and diversification strategies

and it just gets more awkward from there. Not hard to figure out why cat chose the roller-coaster world of financial planning for a career.

Nothing’s certain in the market? Okay, but would you be interested in a company that’s paid dividends annually since the 19th century? D4L at Dividend Growth Stocks lists 10 of them, while helpfully explaining that the 1800s were more than 100 years ago.

(Selection deleted. Seriously, stop using the word “consider”. As in, “Consider growing your own vegetables to save money.” Develop a freaking spine and tell people, “Grow your own vegetables to save money.” I mean, I indeed considered growing my own vegetables. I considered it, and then I rejected it. Consider actually holding and defending a position in your next submission.)

Dave Ramsey’s ideas are only good when they’re modified. That’s why we’ll listen to what Phil at PT Money says about “The Savings Snowball”, an unorthodox way of building wealth (rather than paying off debts.)

“Look at us! We just bought a house!” No one ever says, “Look at us! We just took on a gigantic obligation that will take decades to pay off!” Squirrelers reminds us that you should temper the euphoria of buying a house with the sobering reminder that it’s not just there for show.

Gold is at record highs! No, it isn’t. In constant dollars, it’s selling at about half its 1980 peak. Thanks to Sean Smarty at Growing Money Blog for pointing that out.

(Selection deleted. Another “staycation” post? Now you’re just screwing with us, right?)

Tim Chen at Nerd Wallet reminds us to stop parking our vehicles by the pump, walking into the store, waiting in line, giving the attendant a wad of cash, coming back out, going back in and getting our change. There are these things called credit cards, and Tim sees them revolutionizing the process of paying for gas. This could be big.

Of course penny auctions are too good to be true (“Buy an iPad for a nickel!”), but do you know how they work? Justin Weinger at Money is the Root explains how, and therefore why you should stay away.

Finally, Daniel at Sweating the Big Stuff reminds us to neither spend more than we can afford, nor hoard money we could be enjoying.

Next week, Jacob at My Personal Finance Journey hosts the Carnival. Send your death threats to him, thank you.

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