Totally Money Blog Carnival # 54 – Valentine’s Day Edition


Pepper Heart

Welcome to the Valentine’s Day Edition of the Totally Money Blog Carnival.  We have lots of links today – thanks to all the personal finance blogger’s efforts.

If you haven’t yet gotten your honey’s Valentine, watch for tomorrow’s post on What Women Really Want for Valentine’s Day!

Editor’s Picks

Jeffrey presents 100 Ways to Show Your Love for Free posted at Saving Advice. Here are 100 ways that I try to show my love without it costing a dime. While these certainly can be used for Valentine’s Day, it’s my opinion that they really should be used as often as possible any day of the year.

Dividend Ninja presents Why Should I Invest in Bonds? Part-1 posted at The Dividend Ninja. These days, bonds are getting a bad name. Stock markets are off to a tremendous start in 2012, dividend stocks are outperforming, and not surprisingly investors are losing their confidence in government issued bonds. There are three main reasons why investors are spooked with bonds…

Sabrina presents Do It Yourself: A Guide to Frugal DIY posted at Frugal Living. If you have two left hands when it comes to tools and the depressing inability to use a ruler, you probably shouldn’t be doing “do it yourself” around the house, no matter what “it” is. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle of the inept-to-competent spectrum, though, so our problem is trying not to get in over our heads. My tips for doing it yourself, frugally, are below.

Barbara Friedberg presents ENJOY LIFE MAKE MONEY posted at Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance. If you don’t already know what you are passionate about, take some action to figure it out! Life is much better when you spend time on activities which are important to you. Having a job you like is fabulous, because it doesn’t feel so much like work!

LaTisha presents The Five Components of a Credit Score posted at Financial Success for Young Adults. How can I improve my credit score? There are five components to credit card scoring and if you want to improve your FICO score pay attention.

Swan Heart

And now without further ado….the carnival.


Sandy presents Get Out of Debt in 2012: Budget Time posted at Yes, I Am Cheap.   Last week was the introduction to my Get Out of Debt in 2012 course. We all resolved, together, to get on the path to debt freedom this year. This lesson is about crafting a basic budget.

Lisa presents Budgeting: Find Your Problem Area posted at Thriftability.  Everyone has a problem area in their budget. Are you aware of which one it is in your budget? Follow along as we observe some tips on identifying and working on yours.

Stella Inchaurregui Kennedy presents How To Make A Budget & Then Make It Work posted at Speaking Out When Others Won’t. The basics of putting together a functioning budget, from start to finish, and a few tips on making it work well for your family.


Jeffrey presents Is a Master’s Degree Worth It? posted at Money Spruce. Advanced degrees aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.. They won’t guarantee you your dream job. They won’t ensure happiness in life, either. But they will cost you a lot of money if you’re not careful. At age 26, I’ve already completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. That’s not me bragging by any means.

Miss T. presents The Economics of Selecting Vacation Days posted at Prairie Eco Thrifter. There are a few ways to maximize your vacation days in order to ensure happiness and prevent burnout.

Teacher Man presents Emasculation… Really? posted at My University Money. I’ve recently heard a few debates over whether more and more men are now feeling emasculated when their significant others make more money than they do. If you look up poll results, there are a ton of men out there who are even afraid to date a woman that has a higher income than they do, or us pursuing a more lucrative career…

John presents Job Loss Protection: An Emergency Plan posted at Married with Debt.  If you are facing job loss or want to plan for job loss, it is a smart idea to have a Job Loss Emergency Plan. Read on for ways to protect your family and prepare for the worst.

Danielle presents 10 Ways to Increase your Productivity at Work posted at Personal Dividends. Want to know ways to increase your productivity at work? You can stay focuse
d whether you operate a home-based business or commute to an office space every day.

 Image: Michal Marcol /


KT presents 3 Tried and True Ways to Find Money to Snowflake on Debt posted at Personal Finance Journey. Are you in debt? If so, you are in company with millions of Americans. However, 2012 can be the year that you resolve to be debt free or to significantly reduce your debt. My preferred method of paying down debt is two pronged, use the debt snowball and read my other methods on my site!

Erika presents Traveling vs. Saving posted at Newlyweds on a Budget.  Is it okay to travel when you’re paying down debt and saving money?

Sunil presents How to Spot the Best Rewards Credit Card Quickly and Effectively posted at The Extra Money Blog.  How do you know what card to choose when you are comparing so many different credit cards? Here are five things you should consider looking for when comparing credit cards.

Corey presents The Best Online Credit Tools posted at Steadfast Finances.  Your credit report can say a lot about you to a future creditor, landlord or  employer. There are many online tools that allow you to monitor and fix your credit.

Eddie presents Get Your Free Credit Report – Honestly, it’s FREE! posted at Finance Fox.  Small business web hosting offering additional business services such as: domain name registrations, email accounts, web services, FrontPage help, online community resources and various small business solutions.

MR presents Are You A Money Hoarder? posted at Money Reasons.  Are You A Money Hoarder? Have you ever thought about it? Do you hide a lot of money in your house?


Jen presents Sometimes It’s Good to Feel the Pain…of debt posted at Master the Art of Saving.  We didn’t feel the pain of paying off our debt because we took the easy way out. The problem wasn’t just the debt; it was the lack of budgeting and being really stupid with our money. We made it a whole two weeks without using credit cards to pay for stuff we couldn’t afford. After that, we went right back to everything we were doing before.


Evan presents Would You Pay More for an America Made Good? posted at My Journey to Millions. If you had two competing products next to each other on the shelf all things about the products are equal but one had a stamp that said Made in America would you pay more?

Sustainable PF presents Renewable Energy Isn’t Just for Tree Huggers posted at Sustainable Personal Finance.  If we want to guarantee the level of prosperity we currently enjoy for the next generation, we must address the issue of energy production and do it quickly. In case no one noticed, the Middle East isn’t getting any more stable, Venezuela isn’t looking so hot either, and apparently our oil is suffering from a case of the PR flu. We need to accept this reality before we are trampled by it.

Dan presents How to Invest in Junk Bonds posted at  Last week saw a new record of inflows into junk bonds. What gives?! Find out why investors are flocking to this asset class and how you can diversify with ETFs.

Small Business Resource presents How to Save Money on Technology For Your Business posted at Small Business Resource.  Fax machines, copiers, printers, computers, smartphones, tablets … it seems like every day there is some new piece of technology without which your business.

Glen Craig presents Mortgage Plan to Help Homeowners – $26 Billion Settlement with Big Banks posted at Free From Broke .  Authorities, State and Federal, have some to a settlement agreement with five major mortgage lenders/big banks that can potentially help up to 2 million homeowners.

Marissa presents How to use a mock investment portfolio posted at Thirty Six Months. One of the best ways to start feeling comfortable with investing is by using a mock investment portfolio.

Cacti Heart


J.P. presents Two Guaranteed Ways To Improve Your Finances posted at Novel Investor.  No matter how you dress it up, rewrap it,
spin it, discuss it on a per item or action basis, improving your finances only comes down to two things.

Jeremy Biberdorf presents Starbucks Coffee Prices Brewing A Hole In Your Wallet posted at Modest Money.  Most coffee drinkers are sure to know that their daily habit adds up to a lot of money. What they might not realize is how that habit may be affecting their other financial decisions.

YFS presents Stock Primer for the Novice Investor posted at Your Finances Simplified. When it comes to investing money, the very first thing that comes to mind is putting it aside as savings. What people fail to realize is that this is not a productive way to invest their money. Read my primer and learn the way!


Justin presents The Truth about Pawn Shops posted at Money Is the Root.  Consider the benefits of purchasing electronics online as opposed to Best Buy, you can often save yourself quite a bit of money, I know because I always shop this way. Do a Google search on online pawn brokers, and do a comparison on an item you are willing to sell in order to see if a local pawn shop can beat the online shops prices.

SavingMentor presents What Exactly Is the Best Canadian Rewards Program? posted at  Taking advantage of a good promotion can easily yield more rewards in one purchase than you could collect in a 5 year period of earning them at the regular rate!

Melissa presents Save on Moving Costs by Selling Furniture posted at Stupid Cents. A large expense can be the cost of actually moving your furniture and belongings. Here’s some tips to save on moving costs by selling furniture.

Karen Bryan presents How to Be Frugal – 10 Top Tips from Our Panel posted at Help Me To Save. The combined wisdom of five personal finance bloggers to help you be frugal.

Lina Zussino presents Baby Deals forecast for February posted at Baby Alerts. We are well into 2012 and retail has started to slow down however there is still some great baby deals forecasted for the month of February. Based on the previous year here is the baby deals you have to look forward to in February.

Heart in the clouds

Marie at FamilyMoneyValues presents Five Fabulous Financial Moves posted at Family Money Values.  These are the things that we did right that moved us along to financial independence. These things aren’t at all unusual, you have probably already read about them and maybe you are already doing them. They certainly aren’t complex or hard to understand. However, they are very effective if you can pursue them with diligence and long lasting persistence.

FMF presents posted at Free Money Finance.  These financial ratios can help determine whether or not you’re on the right track. How do you measure up?

Pam Whitlock presents Teaching Your Kids about Money: Investing and Growing Your Money posted at The MoneyTrail Blog.  Investing and growing money is an often overlooked area of financial literacy with kids. Find out ways to go beyond the standard savings account and get your child actively involved in investing and money growth.

Jacob @ My Personal Finance Journey presents Pros and Cons of Investing in Gold posted at My Personal Finance Journey.  This post illustrates the pros and cons of investing in gold, and how it may or may not fit into one’s investment strategy.

John presents Setting Finance Resolutions That You Will Keep – Part 2 posted at Passive Family Income.  Make this year different by setting and keeping your financial resolutions. Write them down and be detailed. Break down your goal into an action plan. Give yourself a deadline and possibly a consequence or reward, and keep yourself accountable to people who will be real with you. If you follow these steps, I know you will accomplish your goal or at least come a lot father than you have ever come before.

Marie presents 4 Common Spending Triggers posted at Money Spending Mommy.  Many times people go shopping with the intention of buying just a few items or maybe even just to go window shopping and return with much more than they originally anticipated buying. Many might attribute this phenomenon to lack of self control or the need for instant gratification surpassing practical needs to limit spending. However there are more subtle techniques at work here, many of which are being utilized by the retailers themselves in order to get you to spend more.

D.J. presents Have You Reviewed Your Life Insurance Policy and Will Lately? posted at The Family Wallet.  Once life insurance is in place, most of us don’t think about it anymore. Likewise, after we take the time to confront our mortality and decide who we will want to raise our kids in the event of our untimely death, most of us don’t revisit our wills and trusts. That can be a mistake.

Evan presents My How Valentine’s Day Has Changed posted at Smart Wealth.  With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I was inspired to write a blog, not about how frugal my wife and I intend to be or about how to cut corners to make it a cheap Valentine’s Day, but I wanted to share my experience about how much I had spent on this single day in the past.

Jill Suskind presents Can’t Keep Up? 5 Ways to Simplify Teaching Your Teen Great Money Skills posted at Your Teen’s Money Skills.  Here are 5 steps to help you keep up with the important task of instilling proper money management skills into your teen.

Lazy Man presents Are Target Date Mutual Funds Right for You posted at Lazy Man and Money.  In a recent post, Jeff Rose gives some examples of target date funds in some of his clients’ 401k plans and shows with back-testing that he could have made the client more than 3.5% with other choices in the 401k plan. Using the magic of compound interest Rose shows that in 20 years, that difference could be $295,000. Yep, that’s number is not a typo. We should all hate target date mutual funds right?
Maybe not so fast…

Colin Williams presents Financial Comparison Websites – Who Uses Them And Why posted at cgeswills.  Q & A with one of Australia’s leading Financial Comparison websites to discover who typically uses their website and why. We also investigate how financial comparison websites have changed the marketing of product providers to be more transparent.

Kevin presents What Are You Doing to Turn Your Discomfort Into Action? posted at Invest It Wisely.  The uncertainty of getting from here to there can cause immobility and fear, but understanding is the first step to action. You will feel much better once you move from dwelling over your problem to planning the solution.


Daniel presents With The Federal Reserve Holding Steady On Interest Rates, Is Now The Time To Buy? posted at Sweating the Big Stuff.  Last week, the Federal Reserve say they have no plans to raise interest rates until 2014. But what does that mean for mortgage rates?


Roger the Amateur Financier presents Book Review: Laughing at Wall Street posted at The Amateur Financier. A review of the book ‘Laughing at Wall Street’, which looks at how you can invest in a manner so as to get ahead of Wall Street-based investors.


Amanda L Grossman presents The Zero Sum Financial Game: Ideas to Help You Juggle the Month posted at Frugal Confessions. At the end of the month you need for all bills to be paid, savings goals to be met, and for your checking account to have a balance of at least zero!

Money Cone presents A Powerful Technique to Supercharge Your Savings posted at Money Cone.  We all like to save money. What we don’t realize is how much small, everyday savings add up. I’m going to tell you about a powerful savings technique, that has been fun, addictive and quite profitable (no pun intended!).

Shaun presents How We Taught Our Daughter about Saving: Top Family Finance Posts #4 posted at Smart Family Finance.  Teaching your daughter how to save is a challenging task. This is how my family taught my daughter at the age of three.

Alan Schram presents Build an Emergency Fund posted at Canadian Finance Blog. What is an emergency fund? How big should your emergency fund be? Let’s get back to the personal finance basics on how to build an emergency fund.


Matt presents Spending Money for Sex on Valentine’s Day posted at RamblingFever Money.  Who knew? Nearly all of the spending and gift giving that accompany Valentine’s day revolve around one thing, sex. Sex sells and companies know it. Learn how you are being taken advantage of. Better yet, learn how to take advantage of your significant other.

TTMK presents Who Pays on the First Date: What is the Modern View? posted at Tie the Money Knot.  Traditionally, gender roles were well defined surrounding the idea of who paid on the first date. This post reopens the topic, discussing whether or not anything has changed in today’s world.

Paul Vachon presents Key to Saving Money is Controlling Impulse Spending posted at The Frugal Toad.  Have you gone to the grocery store for mik and eggs and come home with steak and eggs? Have you ever been tempted to buy something just because it was on sale? Impulse spending can wreck your finances and is a major reason why most people have difficulty saving money. Learning why you buy on impulse can be the key to saving more money.

tyle=”text-align: center;”>Heart in a tree


Bob presents Free STATE Tax Filing Guide posted at ChristianPF. Have you noticed that it is pretty easy to find free Federal tax filing, but next to impossible to find Free State tax filing? These are a few options I found that will actually let you file your state return for free…

Kyle presents The #1 Most Overlooked Tax Deduction Could Save You $1,000 posted at The Penny Hoarder. There’s free money available to people who invest in retirement accounts, but the money is often overlooked. Many low-income individuals could qualify for the Saver’s Credit. It’s a tax deduction that could put up to $1,000 in their wallets.

Steve presents How Does The IRS Choose Who To Audit? posted at 2012 Taxes.  Getting a letter from the Internal Revenue Service stating you’ve been selected for audit is a taxpayer’s worst nightmare and can create a lot of anxiety.

Linsey presents Preparing for Your First Tax Return posted at 1099 Mom.  I like to begin my tax preparation by gathering all of my important documents and numbers. You’ll need the following items in front of you before you begin, so start getting them together now:

Don presents Your 401k: How Much Are You Paying? posted at MoneySmartGuides.  I’m not a huge fan of writing about taxes. Most readers aren’t big fans of reading about taxes. I can’t lie, so unfortunately this post is about taxes. Please don’t go. I promise this is very important information and it help you!

Jill presents Do You Have to Pay Taxes on Alimony? posted at My Dollar Plan. Is alimony taxable? If you’ve recently gotten divorced and are receiving (or paying) alimony for the first time, you may be confused as to how to the IRS taxes those payments. Read this for some help!


Corey presents Furnishing Your Apartment from Ikea? posted at 20s Finances. If you are looking to furnish your first apartment, you may be wondering where the best place to buy your major items from. There are many great stores to choose from these days and it is hard to establish the best place. While I often suggest that craigslist is the best place to buy items because it ensures that you are not paying the mark-up price for a new item.

Wayne presents Financial Benefits of Not Having Kids posted at Young Family Finance. Discover some of the financial benefits of not having kids. It may surprise you to know the true costs and what you are saving by not having kids.

Jeremy Waller presents Is Health Insurance Worth It? posted at Personal Finance Whiz.  Health insurance is one of the most important types of insurance you can have. Heath care costs in the U.S. are ridiculous! Even a simple inpatient procedure can cost you in excess of $10,000. If you don’t have insurance one trip to the hospital could put you under serious financial strain!

Van Beek presents How to Act as a Real Entrepreneur with Your Personal Finances posted at Stock Trend Investing.  As a participant in an event where the best of the best in teaching entrepreneurship meet, I found out: why the kitchen is the perfect place to learn and experience creativity and entrepreneurship, how entrepreneurs think and act differently, and what the five principles are for controlling a future that you cannot predict. Are you applying this already in your personal finances?

Andy presents How Much Do I Really Need to Retire? posted at My Retirement Blog.  Retirement. Spending time with your family. Travel. Doing what you want to do, when you want to do it. It’s a wonderful pipe dream that practically anyone over 50 indulges in now and then. Or even younger. But in addition to all the uncertainty about Social Security, there’s more to consider, including rising medicare costs.

Luke Bonds presents Treasury Bonds posted at Learn Bonds.  All three are types of bond issued by the federal government of the United States. The name indicates the maturity date of the bond.

Aloysa presents Spending That I Can Afford posted at My Broken Coin.  January was not an easy month. I felt unhinged. I felt content. I was a bitch. I was a good friend. I was rude. I was sweet. I expected a lot. I expected very little. I was happy. I was blue. I was sick. I was all over the place. All shopping bills are paid.

Darwin presents Your President Is Lying About a ‘Strong Dollar Policy’ – Why Dollar Weakness Matters posted at Darwin’s Money.  I couldn’t help but notice today that Pfizer started the trend we’ll see from every multinational today blaming lower 2012 forecasts on a stronger dollar CNBC.

FG presents The Role of Money in the Financial Crisis posted at Financial God.  There is an interesting post by Jeffrey Tucker on the Mises Institute of Canada about the ongoing ‘crisis of capitalism’. If one is talking about the current world economic order, then there is indeed a crisis going on, but it all depends on how you define the word ‘capitalism’.

Kevin presents 8 Financial Behaviors that Piss Me Off! posted at Thousandaire.  You know you hate it when people dig for exact change when they are in line in front of you. Here are all my least favorite financial behaviors.

Hank presents What’s The Difference Between Index Funds and Exchange Traded Funds ETFs posted at Money Q&A
.  At first glance, many investors simply do not understand the difference between index funds and exchange traded funds and how they can fit into your investments.

A Blinkin presents Market Update: Snowboarding on the Stock Market posted at Funancials.  When Burton first introduced snowboards back in the 80’s, they were forlack of a better term, runaway death machines. They did not have metaledges and were very hard to control, especially in less than idealconditions.Read how I tie this into the stock market!

101 Centavos presents Funny Girls and Stand-up Dames – Weekend Reading List posted at 101 Centavos.  I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I would do it.

PITR presents Types of Investments posted at Passive Income To Retire.  Read about different types of investments that are not the typical types of investments.

Jester presents How to Get a Raise posted at The Ultimate Juggle.  Find out how to get a raise. By applying these tactics, you will be on your way to getting a raise.

Suba presents The Most Painful Annuity posted at Broke Professionals.  Alimony, which is taken from the Latin derivation for sustenance, is a court declared contract where a man or women is obligated to receive monetary compensation from their spouse, after their divorce or separation. While the term and concept has been changed since modern times, its origins can be traced way back to ancient history The Most Painful Annuity!

Mich presents Stock Updates: Aroway Energy, Hyperion Exploration, Palliser Oil and Gas posted at Beating The Index.  Aroway Energy : This stock, the one that got away, has performed superbly in the past months particularly in a difficult year such as 2011 where it outperformed.

Kurt Fischer presents Handling a Money Crisis posted at Money Counselor. What would you do if a family wage earner were unexpectedly laid off or your family suffered some other big, but temporary, setback? Panic and paralysis is normal for a day or two, but then what?

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13 thoughts on “Totally Money Blog Carnival # 54 – Valentine’s Day Edition

  1. >Thank you for taking the time to put this carnival together since they do take a lot of time and effort. I'm also much obliged for the editor's pick nod. It's greatly appreciated.

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