Category Archives: Roundup

Link Love and Updates

Hi everyone!  Since I hosted the Carnival of Money Stories last week, I’ll keep today’s link list on the short side.  If you didn’t get a chance, be sure to read a few submissions.  There were lots of great entries!

I also participated in three carnivals last week.  First up, I threw my hat into the ring on the mammoth Carnival of Personal Finance at The Personal Financier.  (Nice symmetry on the titles, eh?)  I’ve been relying on NPR and the New York Times to understand last week’s crazy economic news.  However, the Unreal Blog has another take on it all, complete with impressive graphics!

I love the Festival of Frugality for all the great tips, and this week’s edition at Living Almost Large was no exception.  Thanks to Donna Freedman’s submission from the Smart Spending blog, I even found this great post on DIY cat litter. Hooray for  Allie’s Answers!  Yesterday, as I was changing the expensive stuff I buy, I was thinking there must be a better way. . .now I’ve got a couple of options!

Finally, I was in the Money Hacks Carnival at On a Quest to Be Debt Free.  I like Miss Thrifty‘s tip to clean the oven.  Pretty soon, I won’t be buying a single cleaning product!

During my shopping bug this week, I also really appreciated Get Rich Slowly‘s post on advertising.  If you haven’t subscribed before, be sure to check out this blog.  This week, his wife posted a cool recipe for canned salsa.  I prefer to just can the tomatoes and make the salsa from those when I want, but this looks mighty tasty!  

Finally, I liked Simple Mom‘s frugal tips and the reminder that frugal tips are often eco-friendly tips.  I think for most of us, frugal choices are important not just for the money they save but also for the impact they have on our environment!

Update:  Yesterday, I posted about my sneaky shopping trigger.  Well, last night, we went to Macy’s with a gift card.  The husband found some great clothes, all on sale, for work meetings, but I came up empty-handed.  It was a very disappointing trip, but I’m proud of myself for not buying something just to use up the card!  I’m sticking by my plan to just buy quality items at good prices.


Friday Roundup

Hooray!  Friday’s here.  We’ve got a full line-up of soccer games tomorrow, so I wanted to do a link round-up today.  I participated in three wonderful carnivals this week.  Let’s get right to them!

Money Hacks Carnival #29

This yummy edition (click over and you’ll see why I say yummy!) was hosted by Living Almost Large.  I liked FIRE Finance‘s very vivid explanation of how to easily save $6,000 a year.  The little things really do add up!  Thnk Your Way to Wealth had some good advice on how to group tasks for better efficency.  Uncommon Cents reminds us that sometimes the more you spend doesn’t lead to saving more.   Finally, I chimed in with advice on how to break the getting-into-debt habit.

Carnival of Debt Reduction

The Carnival of Debt Reduction made it through the recent round of hurricanes and showcased a whirlwind of good articles.  Debt Smackdown had good advice about when not to cancel a credit card.  Budgets are Sexy asked if you ever signed up for a credit card just for a tee-shirt.  Of course, mine ended up being one expensive “freebie”!  Gather Little by Little had an interesting discussion about people who pay their credit cards before their mortgages

Finance Fiesta

Finally, I was in the Finance Fiesta, a newer mid-week carnival, hosted this week by On a Quest to Be Debt FreeFiancial Learn has a thorough 23-point checklist for your financesMaster Your Card has an interesting overview on when couples should merge their finances.  Fianlly, I contribluted my discussion about balancing cash vs. “inventory” when it comes to personal finances.

Check out all three carnivals and have a great weekend!  I’ll be back next week after all the soccer fun.

Debt-be-Gone Roundup

Whew! It’s official. I no longer have any credit card debt. Yahoo! This is the first time in my entire credit history that I am not carrying a balance on any cards. I managed to pay the cards off ahead of my original schedule. Now that I have altered my mindset about spending, I have some ambitious goals for the next few years. I know that to keep the steam going, I’ll need lots of positive reinforcement. So, to the weekly roundup. Here are some of the best articles I read this week in the world of personal finance.


I entered three carnivals this week, and each one was full of great ideas and stories. First up, the Carnival of Money Stories was hosted by Not the Jet Set. The Happy Rock describes a new stage in his financial journey. He’s so right that it is a journey and not an end-point. I need to start doing some serious reflection on our finances now that I’ve reached my first financial goal. No More Spending has cancelled all her magazine subscriptions. I love it! I’m finding that I get a lot better information from our network of PF blogs than I do from the latest glossy mag. Retired at 47 shares his early experiences planning for early retirement. His experience reminds me that even with careful planning, things might not go exactly as you want. I contributed my thoughts on savings; I know that we have to get serious about it to reach our goals!

Next up, I was in the always-popular Festival of Frugality over at FIRE Finance. If you’ve never visited, be sure to check out their ranking of top PF blogs. It’s a treasure trove of great blogs. Miss Thrifty shares an awesome afternoon with her frugal grandma. I want to visit! Art of the Coupon reminds us why being frugal and being green are two sides of the same coin. Everything Finance blogs about your future without debt. I know I like the sound of that! On this carnival, you’ll find my ideas about “how to cook a wolf.”

Last, but not least, I was in the Make It From Scratch Carnival at Learning the Ropes. She pulled everything together into a plan for one amazing party. I plan to try Funny About Money’s tip to use olive oil as hair conditioner. I also want to see if I can attempt homemade pita bread, thanks to Happy to be at Home‘s recipe. I don’t know if I can get to all of these, but RN Central offers 99 ways to make your home healthier! Lastly, I contributed a quick, inexpensive dinner to use up those tomatoes.

From my regular blog reading, I liked We Like Money‘s review of the 7 “debtly” sins. Get Rich Slowly has some excellent advice for budget planning. Almost Frugal offers some clever, frugal gifts. Simple Mom has put together her first eBook, full of tips for spring cleaning for normal people. Check it out! Blogging Away Debt examines the benefits of paying in cash rather than credit.

That’s all for this week. Next week, I’ll starting thinking about what our next financial goal should be. I’ve also got to get back on track with those “snowflakes,” by selling a few things on craigslist. Enjoy your long weekend!

Weekly Roundup and Welcome!

Mystery solved!  All week, I couldn’t figure out why my hits had jumped with an influx of google searches for my blog title.  Then a friend in DC came across this article in the Washington Post Express.  A few weeks ago, an AP reporter contacted me about home canning, and the article came out last Friday.  So, a belated welcome if you found me via the “Jarring Economy” (clever title!).  I blog about finances, debt, and new-found frugality.  If you like what you see, please subscribe for free!

This week I was in four carnivals, so let’s get to the highlights for your weekend reading:

Carnival of Debt Reduction:  If you’re looking for inspiration on your journey to debt-free land, be sure to read No Credit Needed‘s post, “Ten Things That Rock About Being Debt-Free.”  I know that I’m feeling some of those things in the home stretch of my own debt repayment!  A guest post at Free Money Finance offers a clever first step to paying off your debt.  By canceling cable/satellite TV, you get a bounce from cutting yourself off from all the ads.  I can attest to that!  It’s amazing how much easier it is to avoid shopping when you aren’t getting a constant deluge of messages telling you to go do it.  If you’re really serious about getting out of debt, read The Digerati Life‘s discussion about not buying anything new for a year.

Festival of Frugality:  This is the first of two carnivals I entered that were hosted by Our Fourpence Worth.  She had a busy week!  MoneyNing offers some great back-to-school advice.  I was very happy with how frugal our back-to-school shopping was.  In my credit-happy days, that was an excuse to go nuts.  For more tips, check out My Two Dollarssuggestions for re-purposing everyday items.  This week, I was washing our new wine glasses, thinking “I need a new drying rack for these.”  Before I ran out and bought one, I realized that my cooling rack works just as well.  Little swaps like that save money and clutter. I also liked Frugal Fu‘s suggestions for brown rice for breakfast. I think I’ll try one of those sometime this week with leftover rice. Also in the festival, you’ll find my tips for clipping coupons.

Money Hacks Carnival:  Our Fourpence Worth‘s second carnival featured a fun tour of old money.  Uncommon Cents speculates on the savings a GPS device can bring.  I’ve been tempted to buy one lately, but think I can wait.  However, he offers some reasons it could help you save money. Funny About Money offers an important reminder on why we should speak up for what we’re worth in our careers. I contributed a story about our frugal, but yummy, brunch.

Finance Fiesta:  Hosted by Living Almost Large, this carnival was a new one for me.  Fabulous Finances analyzes the difference between financial goals and financial wishes.  I know that I’ve got to sit down next month to turn our wish to work part-time ten years into a more specific goal! Capital Couples Finance offers three ways that being frugal strengthens a relationship. I can vouch for those; it’s certainly helping get our marriage off on the right foot. I also share my reasons to switch from being a spender to a saver.

From the Blogroll:

Almost Frugal has taken us on a great trip of frugal tips in her house this week. She starts in the kitchen; be sure to read the whole series!

Paid Twice describes how to determine your minimum budget. I plan to do this when calculating what we need in the emergency fund.

Dreaming of Ferraris has been sharing how she and her husband have decided to loosen up a little on their budget. Since she’s still got it all mapped out, it seems like it’s been a great decision for her.

Blogging Away Debt is considering downsizing their home. Check out their ideas here.  It sure makes sense to me.

Lots of good reading for the week; I hope you enjoy it. I’m finding that by swapping a steady diet of commercials for a steady diet of PF blogs, it is really becoming easier to stay on track with a frugal lifestyle.

Best of the Blogroll and Carnivals: Friday Edition

Our family is heading out to do a little camping this weekend.  Since I won’t post over the weekend, I wanted to give you a roundup of the best that I’ve been reading in the world of PF blogs and more. I participated in four carnivals this week and came across some great reads.

Broke Grad Student brought us the “Back to School Edition” of the Carnival of Money Stories this week. So Cal Savvy posted an analysis of how “affordable” graduate school was for her. I know that grad school put me way behind on the life-long earning curve. Of course, there are some amazing fringe benefits to an academic’s life, so this kind of calculus can get really complicated. Over at the Organizing Blog, you’ll find a great article on budgeting; I especially like the long list of “forgotten categories.” Learning the Ropes describes how she converted her husband to the coupon-clipping life. I know mine was reluctant as well, until I bought two jugs of laundry soap for six cents! Finally at this carnival, you’ll find my post about back-to-school shopping. I’m still feeling pretty pleased about that trip.

One of my favorite carnivals is the Festival of Frugality, held this week at MoneyNing. Lots of buzz about coupon clipping these days. My Family’s Money passes on a coupon tip that makes everyone happy. One of my favorite blogs, Frugal Dad, has excellent advice on how to keep the frugal-smug factor down. It was my birthday on Tuesday; too bad I didn’t read the Happy Rock‘s post on free stuff for your birthday before then! I did get some great ice cream for free on my birthday lunch, though. I contributed my post about using the library to get new releases. This find has saved me a thousand dollars a year!

For something a little different, check out the Carnival of Home Preserving, hosted by My Daily Round. If you are (or are thinking about) canning, this is a cool one! There are lots of tips and stories from fellow bloggers. I liked these tips on freezing pesto from ChowSpice. Laura @ Laura Williams’ Musings has a recipe for homemade apple cider vinegar that is very intriguing. You’ll also find my analysis of how canning can save you money in unexpected ways.

Last, but not least, I was in the Carnival of Debt Reduction at Living Almost Large. I got some great comments on my new golden rule of shopping. has some advice on how to figure out your own strategy for paying off debt. I agree whole heartedly; while my husband and I are throwing everything at our high-interest debt, after that we’ll go more slowly on the debt reduction. However, reading Frugal Zeitgeist’s post on paying off her mortgage does make me think twice about our strategy! Million Dollar Journey also has some top-notch advice on how to get out of debt.

Now, to the blogroll!

Kelly at Almost Frugal has very clever ideas for frugal toys for the little ones.

Lynnae at Being Frugal discusses the lost art of bartering.

Paid Twice runs the calculations on car repairs. I know it’s always a tough decision for us too!

Mrs. Micah reviews the big “personal finance gurus.” I plan to check a couple of them out!

OK, I’ve got to start packing for our trip, so I’ll cut it off here. Enjoy the blogs and have a great weekend!

Lotta Links and a Couple of Carnivals

It’s great to be back to some regular blog reading!  I’ve missed out on tons of good reads!  If you’re looking for some interesting, witty, or fun financial advice, I’ve got a few ideas for you.

First off:  Two Great Carnivals!

I participated in this week’s Carnival of Money Stories at Value for Your Life.  Not only do you get a whole heap of good reads, but you also get some very interesting travel ideas! My favorite Editor’s Pick was “How to be rich” by Gather Little by Little. The post wisely reminds us of a better way to think of being rich. Personal Finance Analyst details her dream anniversary trip, and it was a bargain! Even though we just got back for a wonderful honeymoon, reading “Last Minute Travel Deals” made me want to start planning the next trip! Another great read is Budget’s Are Sexy‘s story of a recent financial mistake. I know I hate it when a glitch comes up, especially when I plan as well as they had. If you keep scrolling down on the Carnival, you’ll get to my happy tale about where I am in debt-repayment. Next month, it should be an even happier story, so stay tuned!

Over at Greener Pastures, you’ll find the Money Hacks Carnival #24 with a very adorable guy illustrating the dog days of summer. Grad Money Matters has some great advice in “Don’t Go Down with the Economy!”; I had to follow Rule #2: Don’t Panic when I logged into my 401(k) this week. If you’re in debt-repayment mode, be sure to look at My Credit Card Blog‘s list of 0% balance-transfer offers. Calls to my credit card companies helped me save $1,000! has a post that makes me happy: “PF Bloggers are Likely to Become the Next Generation of Millionaires.” It is true that as a whole, we’re obsessed with our finances. Here’s hoping it pays off! To get you on your way to your goals, check out Living the Frugal Life‘s new challenge to cook at home. I know that we save heaps by eating in; once you get a rotation of easy recipes, it’s a breeze! If you hang in with this carnival to the very end, you’ll find my post on our wedding budget. Happy reading!

Here are some other great posts from my blogroll that you may have missed:

Kelly at Almost Frugal has introduced Almost Frugal Food. I know that I’ll be a regular reader! I love reading about food and can’t wait to try some of the featured recipes.

Speaking of cooking, An English Major’s Money‘s post on an overstocked kitchen is hilarious. I totally agree with her!

Antishay has an inspiring post about her new motorcycle. She’s certainly motivating me to become a super saver.

Banker Girl’s wedding is coming up! I really enjoyed reading about her wedding as I planned mine. I especially like her post on bridal registries. I had similar feelings, but in the end was very happy with how it all turned out.

Blogging Away Debt bravely tallied up how much she’s paid in finance charges over the years on her credit card. Click here to see the damage. I can totally relate; in a similar exercise I was shocked at the money that I had poured down the drain. If you need motivation to keep on paying down your cards, doing this exercise should do it!

Dreaming of Ferraris is doing a nice job with her working budget. I face a lot of similar temptations as well! It’s those little ones that add up.

I was very impressed with Finance Gets Personal‘s credit score revelation. It makes me hope that one day mine will finally be redeemed as well!

Week after week, PaidTwice delivers great ideas and inspiration. If you’re not a regular reader, I highly recommend her blog. This week, her advice on coupons kept me motivated to do my own clipping.

Mrs. Micah, another of my favorite blogs, announced her first blogiversary. Hooray! I can’t wait to see what she has in store for the next year.

Well, there you have it. Lots of quality reading to get you through the weekend. I’m hoping we’ll have time to relax this weekend after a busy few days at work. Since the weather looks perfect, so I may have to dump my cat off my lap and get out there!