Carnival of Twenty-Something Finances – Puppy Edition!

Welcome back my friends and followers, as well as anyone who’s interested in personal finance advice directed at Generation Y.  It’s time for another Carnival of Twenty-Something Finances, where this week I gather up all the great articles written by young bloggers, add my own special (read: crazy) thematic touches, and present you with a carnival that’s educational, informative, and fun!  This time around, I’m skipping the nerdy pursuits and opting for cuddly ones instead; that’s right, this Carnival of Twenty-Something Finances is going to the dogs!  Unlike your typical dog show, though, we’re going right to the top performers:

Best of Show

toy-fox-terrierThe Toy Fox Terrier is one of the cutest, sweetest, and most adorable dogs ever.  How do I know?  It happens to be the breed of dog my fiancee owns, and since I (unlike a normal dog show judge) have no qualms with awarding a prize to someone I know, I’ll just go right ahead and hand over the trophy to Toby (the name of her dog) now.  For some more ‘Best of Breed’ material, please check out all the best articles submitted to this carnival:

Low Interest Rate Credit Cards To Lower Your Debt – You, like me, may have heard of doing a balance transfer in order to lower the interest rate you pay on credit card debt.  If you, like me, like the idea but didn’t know how to put it into practice, then you, like me should enjoy this offering from the Silicon Valley Blogger at The Digerati Life.  It will cover all the details you need, and more.

Using Secured Credit Cards to Develop Your Credit History – Between people who have damaged credit as a result of past mistakes and those who never had the chance to develop good credit, there’s a great number of folks who find themselves unable to get credit in a world where credit is king.  If you are amongst them, one good way to get back into the good graces with potential creditors is using a secured credit card.  Tim Parker shares all the details you’ll need on The Smarter Wallet.

PocketSmith: A Calendar Based Financial Planner – One thing I’ve found especially helpful while attempting to manage my finances has been to connect future income or payments to a specific date.  That way, I’ll know whether I’ll have the money I need when I need it.  A similar tool has apparently been created, and PT Money provides a useful guide and review of this new financial planner.

How to Become a Successful Businesswoman – If you’re a female trying to make your way in the business world, you’re going to have to face a number of challenges, at least a few related to your gender and how everyone perceives you.  Emily writes on the Higher Education Weblog of some of the conferences and boot camps available to women who have entrepreneurial aspirations but need a little help reaching their goals.

Money and Finances-Young People’s Biggest Concerns – Well, this is a bit sad; while finances are a major concern of young people, we also have a tendency to not talk about them.  J. Money of Budgets are Sexy shares the results of an AARP survey about young people’s attitudes toward money, showing that we care about them greatly, but would rather discuss almost anything else (including our weight).  The good news is that those young people who seek advice online tend to be much more confident in their abilities as a result.

Abysmal Survey Results: Americans Don’t Understand Basic Financial Concepts – On the subject of surveys that make me sad inside, Darwin of Darwin’s Finance reports on another survey, showing that most Americans are effectively financially illiterate.   Any more bad financial news, and even cute puppies won’t be able to cheer me up.  And on that note…

Eight Reasons Why It’s Hard to Get Rich – Let’s be honest, short of inheritance or crime, there are no quick and easy ways to get rich.  (And if your parents don’t have millions to pass on to you, then the inheritance boat has already sailed.)  On Dual Income, No Kids, several of the barriers you’ll have to get by in order to achieve wealth are documented.  Read if you dare, but try to stay optimistic about your own wealth building.

collieOkay, enough of the sad and depressing stuff; let’s lighten the mood with a cute collie before we continue onward.  If memories of Lassie aren’t enough to brighten our day, I’m afraid that nothing will do.  Everyone feeling a bit happier now?  Good; let’s continue with the individual categories.

Saving Money

chihuahuaThere are a lot of ways to save money, some good, some bad, and some just plain odd.  For an example of the latter, consider this: you could save hundreds of dollars in dog food over the years by downsizing your St. Bernard to a Chihuahua.  Of course, you might lose some prestige as a result… For some more (and better) advice on saving, consider the following submissions:

Free Printable Calendar 2010 – If you want to have a calendar next year but don’t want to go to the expense of buying one, good news: there are printable calendars in a variety of styles just waiting for you.  I think Alex of Home Life Weekly has just helped me solve all my calendar needs for the coming year…

Frugality is the New Black During This Recession – A few years ago, when home prices were zooming , trying to be frugal would have gotten you mocked and teased mercilessly as a cheapstake; now, people are almost trying to outdo each other based on how little they are spending.  Yup, frugality is fashionable again, as Hank of Own The Dollar notes; be spare (with your spending) or be square!

Don’t Pay The Geek Squad: Extended Warranty is Free Through Visa – As the Christmas shopping season fast approaches (or is already here, if you listen to some advertisers), you’re likely to be faced with the question of whether to purchase an extended warranty to cover a major purchase.  As noted on the Master Your Card blog, though, making that purchase with most credit cards will automatically increase the length of the manufacturer’s warranty.  No need to pay for what you can get for free!

How to get Free Shipping – Bob of Christian PF provides a few ways that you can get free shipping on items you buy online.  Just in time for the Christmas shopping season, when any way to save a little money on your gift expenses is sure to be well appreciated.

Oh, The Weather Outside is Frightful – With the coming of colder weather (and soon, snow) in much of the country, the advice on Gather Little by Little as to how you can cut down on your heating costs is likely to be just what you need.  And if you live in an area of the country where it doesn’t get too cold, I just have to ask: can I come to live with you?  It’s already chilly here…

7 Tips to Save Money on a Vacation – Admit it, between the crummy weather, the upcoming holidays, and the general stresses of work, you’re probably ready for a vacation.  If so, you’re in luck: Barry of Associate Money has seven tips to help you get the most out of your travel dollars.

Frugal Thanksgiving Dinner Tips – One of the greatest pleasures of Thanksgiving for me is the week of turkey sandwiches that follows it (what can I say, I like turkey).  The suggestions from Ray of Financial Highway is right up my alley, with a list of tips to make sure your Thanksgiving is both frugal and tasty.  I especially like the pot luck dinner suggestion; that’s how my family usually handles dessert during the holidays.


english BulldogIf you’re looking towards retirement or any other long-term goal, you’re going to need to be dedicated to reach it.  This trait is commonly associated with the bulldog, like this grumpy looking fellow here.  If should also be your goal as an investor; if you lose track of your goal or don’t have the dedication to keep moving towards it, how can you ever hope to reach it?  On that happy note, here’s some more investment advice to keep you on track:

Choosing Between a Roth IRA and a Traditional IRA – Patrick at the Military Finance Network provides a guide to deciding between Roth and Traditional IRAs when choosing where to invest for retirement.  Both have their pros and cons, but Patrick leans toward Roths (as do I, actually).

2009 IRA Contribution Limits – On Four Pillars, you can find out the limits on IRA contributions that will apply in the coming year.  It looks to be the same as this year, although not having a terribly high income, I can’t say anything for certain about the phase out ranges for contributions.  It’s worth a look as you plan for your retirement contributions this year.

Traditional IRA Rules 2010 – It must be that time of year, when young men’s thoughts turn towards… the income limits for IRAs next year.  A guest post from JoeTaxpayer on the Good Financial Cents blog provides the income limits and other rules for traditional IRA accounts next year, as well as a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of IRAs compared to 401(k) accounts.

New trade: Long Baidu(BIDU)/Short Amazon(AMZN) – The Intelligent Speculator explains the rationale behind one of his newest positions.  I’m not much of a speculator, but being able to explain your rationale to an audience before you make a trade seems like a good way to make sure you’re doing the smart thing.

The Definitive Silver ETF Guide – If you’re looking to invest in glittery metals but don’t want to just rely on gold to meet your needs, you’ve come to the right place.  Eric Dutram writes on the ETF Database about some ETFs that will enable you to quickly and easily diversify into silver.


pretty dachshundIt’s hard to believe the simple, unassuming dachshund (AKA, the sausage dog) is actually considered a member of the Hound group by the American Kennel Club, but you need to recall that they were originally bred to hunt badgers and needed to be small, tenacious, and able to squeeze into tiny holes.  Having that same tenacity when you are paying off credit card debt is absolutely vital.  For some more perspectives on handling credit, let’s see what the contributors had to say:

Balance Transfer Credit Cards –  The Dough Roller provides some advice on which balance transfer credit cards to choose as well as some of the salient features of each one.

Card Issuers Forced to Reorganize Their Businesses – The credit crunch hasn’t only been tough on less than perfect borrowers attempting to get a loan; as noted by Credit Card Assist, it’s also impacting the credit card business itself.  They are facing new regulations, lots of defaults, and a poor economic climate.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens to them.

Quicken Rewards Visa® Credit Card – There are a wide variety of credit cards out there, and numerous bloggers have taken on the task of reviewing the features and flaws of the.  Credit Card Offers IQ provides the first review on our list, of a Visa Card associated with Quicken.

Macys Visa Credit Card Review – If you’re like me, one of the first credit cards you ever used was associated with a particular store.  Mr. Credit Card provides a review of the one offered by Macys, and provides some alternatives for those who want rewards from more stores.

Disney Rewards Visa Credit Card – You didn’t expect a company as big as Disney to stay out of the credit card field, did you?  Manshu of One Mint provides a review of the Disney Visa card, which seems to be a good (if limited) deal if you frequently visit the Disney theme parks.

Chase Blueprint Review – Chase has introduced a new payment program known as Blueprint for many of its credit cards, and CreditShout gives it a review.  The new plan and its variety of features get largely positive reviews, making it easier for card holders to pay down their debt.


basset-houndYou know, it’s awfully hard for me to associate any breed of dog with banking; dogs are sweet and innocent, after all.  So, let’s have a basset hound doing his impression of the average investor opening his 401(k) statement last year.  Yup, that sad, droopy face pretty much sums it up.  For some ways to make banking less painful and more profitable, let’s turn towards:

How Much Money is Your Checking Account Making For You? – Debbie Dragon (and no, I’m not making that up) of provides some excellent advice on choosing where to keep your checking account money.  Follow her advice on what considerations should play a part in your checking account decisions, and you’ll be sure to earn a hefty profit on your checking money.

Protect Your Own Money: 4 Steps for Responsible Consumers – As Austin notes on Foreigner’s Finances, the best person to look after your finances is you.  While some of the chances in bank rules currently making their way into law may make it easier for you to follow your financial situation (and harder for banks to use ‘gotcha’ style rules against you), the responsibility for your money and the rules to which it is subject is ultimately yours.


pugWell, we’ve reached the end of Carnival; there’s only time for one more dog picture before we call it a day.   Since all we have left to cover are the posts that didn’t fit into any other category, let’s have a dog that’s a bit unusual as well.  The pug, the oddly adorable puppy that my sister adores, makes a good mascot for the unusual posts we have to finish off this carnival:

Tips to Creating a Green Home Theater – If you’re looking for a way to save money and energy, while still having a kicking home theater system, you’re in luck!  On Energy Saving Gadgets, there’s a useful guide to creating a green home theater, which will help you to save cash and the planet while still getting a great home theater system out of the deal.

Online Insurance Quotes – Tom of the Canadian Finance Blog provides a few resources for checking your auto insurance quotes online.  I’m not familiar with the companies he mentions, but perhaps they’re big in Canada.  Definitely worth checking out if you’re a Canadian who needs insurance.

What Are Your Salary Expectations? – The Job Interview and Career Guide website provides a valuable guide to how to deal with some of the toughest questions at a job interview, the ones related to salary.  There are many ways this question could arise, and this guide shows you how to deal with many of them using a combination of grace and tact.

$8,000 First Time Home Buyer Credit Extended – As you may have heard, the popular tax credit for those buying a home for the first time has been extended to help shore up a still-soft housing market.  As Madison reports on My Dollar Plan, if you sign your contract by April 30th and close by June 30th, you can get a $8,000 credit if you are a new home buyer.  It almost makes me wish I was in the market for a home.

Stop Feeling Guilty and Go Do Something Awesome – Besides being one of the best title for a blog entry I’ve heard in a long, long time, this post by Tyler of Frugally Green makes a very good point.  If you aren’t doing something you enjoy when you become more frugal (or go green, for that matter), you’re not going to give it all your effort, and the end result will be less than spectacular.  Instead, find something that truly interests you, and go all out.

When Complaining Isn’t Rude – One of the toughest things for a shy person like me to deal with in a retail setting is complaining about poor service or crummy products.  The Debtress provides several instances where the discomfort and trouble is greatly outweighed by the need to voice your troubles, as well as how to involve the government for really egregious cases.

All adorable dog pictures taken from  For a cute puppy of your very own, please visit your local animal shelter and rescue a pet in need.  That’s it for this Carnival; have a great night, everyone!

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