I was tagged by Tired But Happy, so better late than never, here's five pretty random things you don't know about me:
1) I absolutely love to sing, but I have a terrible singing voice.
2) I think almost anything tastes better with cheese on it. Especially cheddar cheese.
3) I wrote a 50,000-word first draft of a novel in 30 days one November. (Okay, maybe some of you know that.)
4) I really can't stand the taste of cough drops. I've never been able to keep sucking on one for more than 15 seconds.
5) I was an intense Star Wars fan in my teen years. I even started tinkering around with mechanical objects because I wanted to be like Jaina Solo. (She's Han and Leia's daughter... there were all these books... oh, nevermind!)
Friday, December 29, 2006
I was tagged by Tired But Happy, so better late than never, here's five pretty random things you don't know about me:
Posted by Britt at 12/29/2006 02:04:00 AM
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Hope everyone's having a wonderful holiday season! I am quite happy with my gift-giving this year; instead of giving piles of "stuff," it was much more fitting to my values. These are some of the things I did:
- Buying fair trade. In previous years, I've tended to buy fairly-traded crafts (or coffee, chocolate, etc) only for recipients who I know would appreciate their origin. But this year, I decided to widen the scope dramatically, and everybody was fair game. It doesn't matter that my uncle couldn't care less what the person who made his present was paid; I care.
- Giving money or experiences rather than items. My sister is planning a trip with her friends this summer, so what she really wanted was money towards that. I can treat my boyfriend or other friends to a trip, a play, a concert together rather than a "thing."
- Giving to charity on people's behalf. There's only a limited number of friends and relatives who this can fly with, but for those people, I went with it.
- Making personal, frugal presents. From baking cookies to burning CD mixes, I substituted time and effort in place of shopping for some people.
I couldn't completely escape the commercialism of the holidays, but on the whole I'm pretty proud of how I did this time around. How about you?
Posted by Britt at 12/26/2006 11:23:00 PM
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Introducing The Carnival of Ethics, Values & Personal Finance!http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif
How do your values affect your financial decisions? Whether it's what you buy, where you invest, or where you work, when and how do your beliefs and ethics play a role? And, most importantly, are you ready to blog about it?
The Carnival of Ethics, Values and Personal Finance is a space to come together and share thoughts and experience as we navigate the challenges of integrating our money decisions and our broader values. Whether it's based on religion, environmentalism, social justice, supporting your community, or an infinite variety of other values that might be meaningful to you, if you've blogged about it we want to read it!
The Carnival of Ethics, Values and Personal Finance will appear the first Thursday of every month. It will debut on Thursday, January 4, 2007 here at Money and Values. (Please comment or e-mail me if you'd like to sign up to host future editions.)
Click this link to submit to the Carnival. You'll have until 5pm on Wednesday to get your submissions in, but feel free to submit early!
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. If you'd like an example of how I personally have interpreted the concept in the past, see my posts tagged "money and values"-- but I encourage you to make the definition your own! (Earlier discussion here.)
Edition #1: Penny Nickel at Money and Values, 1/4/07
Edition #2: TBH at Tired but Happy, 2/1/07
Edition #3: English Major at An English Major's Money, 2/15/07
Edition #4: ISPF at Personal Finance for Students and Fresh Grads, 3/1/07
Edition #5: Yoski at Stingy Student, 3/15/07
Edition #6: Donna Jean at The Weight of Money, 3/29/07
Edition #7: Ben at Money Smart Life, 4/12/07
Edition #8: Larry at The Skilled Investor Blog, 4/26/07
Edition #9: TBH at Tired but Happy, 5/24/07
Posted by Britt at 12/21/2006 09:15:00 PM
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
You're all wondering when I'm going to come up with some good new content, right? "Oh, yeah, sure, you hosted 3 carnivals in 11 days with dozens of great links," you say. "But none of that was written by you, Penny! What do you have to say?" Oh, sure, ask me that right in the middle of the holiday season when I'm up to my ears in holiday cards and baking and shopping!
So why don't you try out this game, Third World Farmer? It falls into the "serious games" genre, but it's actually interesting and fun (when it's not depressing) and if you're lucky and good you can play for dozens and dozens of rounds. Living on the margins, never knowing what random event fate will throw at you this year, trying to figure out if you can afford to invest in infrastructure or need to stick to the basics... it's good stuff (and kind of addictive).
And then when you're done, why not read up on fair trade, since for some people it's not just a game?
Friday, December 15, 2006
Hi everyone, and welcome to the Festival of Under 30 Finances! I'm happy to be hosting, and I hope while you're here you'll poke around Money and Values a bit, and especially that you'll stop by this post about the brand new carnival starting the first week in January, the Carnival of Ethics and Values in Personal Finance (name is still subject to change!)The question I asked people for this edition was:
"In selecting a career path (or particular jobs), how have you balanced wanting work that's interesting and fulfilling, and wanting a job that pays well? Is one or the other more important to you, and why? Have you found ways to try to incorporate both?"Some people not only answered the question, but wrote full posts about it!
"I've been thinking about this question a lot lately. Ultimately, for me, I can't see any amount of money outweighing a feeling of strong engagement with my work and a sense that it challenges me in ways I need to be challenged. As I continue to plan my career, I hope I can plan it with a sense of personal purpose in mind, rather than my bank balances. I think that set of choices will bring me a sense of fulfillment that money simply can't add to a life. I'm not saying that between two equally fulfilling jobs, I wouldn't choose at least partially based on money, but in choosing for the long term between a fulfilling path and a lucrative one, I think that for my own peace of mind, I'll have to choose personal fulfillment."
"Choosing to go back to graduate school over the loss of income from a good paying job and during the time in graduate school.
One Frugal Girl's festival submission was Best Financial Decisions... I've Ever Made posted at One Frugal Girl. But she wrote a separate post on this topic recently, and she says: "As for the question of balancing life with work see my post: http://onefrugalgirl.blogspot.com/2006/12/salary-is-not-most-important-factor.html"
Three other people answered the question...
Molly's Brother wrote ‘Tis the Season: Some ideas for inexpensive outings posted at Molly's Brother On A Budget.
"When I first graduated college, I aimed for finding work that I was passionate about AND paid well. After toiling in the film industry--and being extremely well paid--I realized my heart wasn't in it anymore and decided that I needed to feel like my work was important. In time, I know that the money will definitely follow."
HC presented How I Gave Myself a Learner's Permit for My Credit Cards posted at One Big Mortar Board.
"I've been very fortunate in that I found a field in which salary ranges are slightly higher than the average. I chose a position that doesn't quite maximize my income relative to other people in the field. It does offer good benefits and a reasonable amount of work-life balance, and still pays well enough that I can move forward on most of my goals. So I think it's as Goldilocks as it can be."
"I think the financial aspects of a job are important, but it's also important that you enjoy and excel at what you do. There are tradeoffs, you just have to find ones that you're comfortable with. If you want to be an actor or a dancer, you have to acknowledge the fact that you might never make it big. If you give up your dream of becoming a dancer to be an accountant, that's something you have to deal with as well. I think the most important thing is to recognize what you're giving up and what you're gaining in return."
Here are the other posts, in the order they were submitted...
Jennifer Lynn presents Financial Savviness 101: Making Your Money Work For You posted at Broke-Ass Student.
Laura Young presents The Trouble with Happiness: Understanding the Difference between Joy and Pleasure posted at Dragon Slayer.
Jimmy Atkinson presents Top 25 Web 2.0 Apps for Money, Finance, and Investment posted at Ask the Advisor.
Laura Young presents Top 10 Things I Had to Learn on the Road to Full-Time Self-Employment posted at Dragon Slayer.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Welcome to the 52nd Festival of Frugality, the one-year anniversary edition! I thought I'd give you a blast from the past by re-posting some of the submissions from the first ever FoF on December 13, 2005, along with what those bloggers are writing about today. (Some of the posts were submitted to the festival, and others didn't submit but did write a post about frugality this week.)
Also, the new Carnival of Socially Conscious Personal Finances is coming the first week of January, and you can read about and discuss it at this post (if you think it should have a different name or you've got anything else to suggest, by all means put in your two cents!).
One year of the FoF and still going strong:
- Free Money Finance, FoF#1: Energy Savings Tips from Energy Star, FoF#52: 8 Ways to Keep Overall Pet Costs Low
- Frugal for Life, FoF#1: "The Many Uses For…” series, FoF#52: Reducing Utility Costs
- Young and Broke, FoF#1: Even Millionaires are Frugal, FoF#52: Frugal Friday Fun Tips
- Boston Gal's Open Wallet, FoF#1: Frugal uses for candle stubs, FoF#52: Keeping Holiday Spending in Check
- Mighty Bargain Hunter, FoF#1: Frugal party for some, FoF#52: 118 Ways to Save Money in College
- My Open Wallet, FoF#1: FSA deadline... and gross money saving tip!, FoF#52: DIY and Decor Spending
- My Money Blog, FoF#1: Sunrocket VoIP Phone Service, FoF#52: Weekend Project: List One Thing On eBay
- J.D. Roth presents The Amazing Frugal Christmas Savings Spectacular! posted at Get Rich Slowly.
- Paula presents Is Wal-Mart Good or Bad for You? posted at Queercents.
- Trent presents The Well-Stocked Kitchen: Staple Foods You Should Always Have On HandThe Simple Dollar.
- Tricia presents Ways I Save Money: Be Resourceful posted at Blogging Away Debt.
- Stingy Student presents Stingy Students: Free clothes through Freecycle posted at Stingy Students.
- deputyheadmistress presents Frugal Gift- Also Classy and EASY! posted at The Common Room.
- Linda Freedman presents Holiday Post # 1- Bananas and Video Games posted at Everyone needs therapy? Lessons from a family therapist... a rambling but interesting take on consumerism and values during the holidays.
- Steve Faber presents Get Your Discounts - Cash and Otherwise posted at Debt Free.
- Amy Allen Clark presents Frugal Momma's Test Kitchen: Homemade Microwave Popcorn & Caramel Corn posted at Amy Allen Clark.
- Kathy Maister presents Why Start Cooking? posted at Kathy Maister's startcooking.com.
- Erich Jaeckel presents Automate Your Way to Wealth posted at LifeTraining - Online.
- Sarah Winfrey presents Frugal is More than a Way to Spend Money, Part 1 posted at Wisebread.
- Barry Mahfood presents How to Stay on Top of your Finances posted at The Price of Rice.
- Silicon Valley Blogger presents The Pressures of Holiday Spending posted at The Digerati Life.
- Jack Yoest presents The Frugal Mechanic Fixes A Flat posted at Reasoned Audacity.
- Ben presents How to Save Money on Your Christmas Tree posted at Money Smart Life.
- Scott On Money presents Getting a Better Car Insurance Quote posted at Scott On Money.
- Jeffrey Strain presents Paint On Energy Savings posted at Personal Finance Advice.
- dad presents Roll Your Own Discount on Disney Tickets posted at fivecentnickel.com.
- Free the Drones Blog presents Homemade Flea Traps posted at Free the Drones.
- Frugal Guy presents Winter Season Frugality Tips posted at Frugal Living.
- David B. presents How to Save Money when Shopping Online posted at How Do People Get Rich?.
- Yan presents Where did all the newspapers go? (Poll) posted at ProBargainHunter.com.
- Erik presents Living Paycheck to Paycheck Will Leave You Powerless posted at Money Crashers.
- Joe Caterisano presents 13 ways to save on gasoline posted at How to save money.
- Frugal Babe presents Recycling isn't just about cans posted at Frugal Babe.
I had to leave out many posts this week, unfortunately, because for the life of me I couldn't figure out how they were related to frugality. Sorry, folks!
Friday, December 08, 2006
This month, I rejected a LinkWorth ad for the first time. Actually, I rejected two, and for the same reason: they were for "credit repair" services. These services are at worst a scam to get access to your personal information, and at best a waste of time and money for vulnerable people. Anything they can do, people can do on their own to improve their credit. But if I run their links, that'll help them show up higher on the internet searches of people struggling with bad credit, instead of the resources people need to understand how to improve their credit. So instead of sending people in the wrong direction, I'll put in my piece to help connect people to the right information.
I'm not an expert on credit reports, credit scores, and/or credit repair, but here are some quick points:
- Everyone has the right to dispute the accuracy of any entry on their credit report-- and if the creditor can't prove it's accurate, it has to be removed. You only have to send it to one credit bureau, and if it's unable to be verified, it'll come off all three. Credit repair services offer to write the letters, or charge you for templates, but really the letter doesn't have to be anything special and you can find examples all over the internet just by Googling "sample dispute letters," etc.
- If a collection agency is trying to collect on your debts, you have the right to ask them for "validation"-- proof that the debt is yours. This time you'll want to look for "sample validation letters."
- If you have unpaid accounts, you should feel free to try to negotiate them with the creditor/collection agency. You can offer to pay less than the full amount, and/or you can haggle over how they report it on your credit report (at the very least, they should call it "paid in full" even if you agreed to pay less than the total due... but you can also try to get them to take it off your report entirely after you pay). Make sure you get things in writing!
What do you think? Either on the topic of credit repair specifically, and/or on whether you turn down some ads and why (or don't run any at all)? And do you have any good resources or tips to share on the topic of credit repair?
Monday, December 04, 2006
Why Do We Save Our Money? at Binary Dollar!
Think Money Wouldn't Change You? Think Again at Dragon Slayer's Guide to Life
Would Steve Jobs Have Kick-Started Your Quest for Financial Freedom? at The Time & Money Group
Modest Needs - Assisting Working Families with Small Financial Crises at Blogging Away Debt
Is Financial Happiness Relative? at My Financial Awareness
EXTREME jobs - why you should get one at Well-heeled: climbing the networth ladder in heels
Nice surprise in this month's electric bill at Blunt Money
How You Can Extend Your Life and Fatten Your Wallet by Planning Ahead at Money Smart Life
Charity Spotlight 1: Child Abuse Prevention at No Credit Needed
How to Keep From Over Spending this Holiday Season at Beacon Financial Tips & Tools
The Young Tightwad’s Guide to Holiday Tipping at Money Under 30
Christmas Shopping without Putting a Dent in your Wallet at Finance-4-Kids
Other informative posts I especially liked:
Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP) Is A Fantastic Deal at The Finance Buff
Financial Savviness 101: Making Your Money Work For You at Broke-Ass Student
10 Tips To Slash Your Tech Bills By $1033.40 at Mr. Cheap Stuff Coupons
Estimating Asset Values and Asset Depreciation at Consumerism Commentary
How Do You Balance Your Checkbook? at The Simple Dollar
A First Look At Asset Allocation at The Digerati Life
Outsmart Credit Card Companies at Their Own Game at HomeBusinessWiz
101 Financial Tips you Never Learned in High School (but should have) at Bankruptcy Reader
How to print digital photos cheap at ProBargainHunter.com
IT'S DECEMBER - ONE MONTH TO CORRECT THEM ALL at Roth & Company Tax Update
And many, many more:
How To Save Money On Credit Cards at MattHutter.com
Small Cap Value Pick - Basic Energy Services (BAS) at "D"igital Breakfast - Creating Wealth Everyday
3 Critical Personal Finance Mistakes I have made at Ask Mr Credit Card's Blog
How to Stay on Top of your Finances at The Price of Rice
Ode To Prosperity at Mad Kane's Humor Blog
How Mortgage Originators Lie to Borrowers at The Most Opinionated Mortgage Broker
Frugal Living Wins Over More Income – Anecdotal Evidence at My Wealth Builder
Are We Better off Now? A Look at How Tax Cut Made Rich Richer and Poor Poorer at The Sun's Financial Diary
How to Get Rich Without Going Crazy at Market Poetry
Study Shows HECM Lifetime Tenure Payment Option is Best Choice at Reverse Mortgage Information
Using a 529 for non-educational retirement savings?? at Retiring Early
More Education Equals More Pay at Free Money Finance
The Basics III: Opportunity Cost and Risk/Reward at A Financial Revolution
Got my last free credit report for the year, did you get yours? at My Two Dollars
Surprising 6 figure jobs at exchange-ingredients
Necessary Evil - Student Loans? at Living Almost Large
Covered Calls - Too Risky? at The Dividend Guy blog
Where we keep our money at Frugal Babe
1% Solution for your Financial Life at Hill's Personal Finance
Debt Elimination Scams to Avoid - You’ll Just Pay Twice at Debt Free
Stay Home with the Kid or Work…Or Do Both? at Canadian Dream: Free at 45
Deal in Cash at Queercents
Ebay on the Razor's Edge at Lazy Man and Money
COBRA Health Coverage for Graduating Students at Understand COBRA
Using Credit Cards Against Overdrafts at War on Credit Cards
Kiplinger's Best Site for Homeowners Insurance Help at Home Insurance Guide
Paying Your Mortgage Biweekly at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity
Lemon Award Finalists Named on CreditCard.org's Website at Becoming and Staying Debt Free
myFICO® Falling Down at Scott on Money
Why You Should Never Tell Your Salary to Your Friends at Binary Dollar
How Much Does A Chiropractor Make? Not Enough at Free the Drones blog
Saturday, December 02, 2006
The golden rule of frugal gift-giving is to be thoughtful and personal. If your recipient knows that you put time and effort into your gift for them, and were thinking about them and what they'd like, your gift is likely to be appreicated.
One of my favorite ways to do this at the holiday season is by giving homemade cookies, candy, or other sweets-- and specifically by baking gingerbread cookies. Tasty treats are usually well-received to begin with. But alongside the cookies shaped like snowmen and trees, wrapped presents and wreaths, I also make special personalized cookies for each recipient. Whether it's making cookies that look like their cats, attempting cookies shaped and decorated like cameras to recognize their favorite hobby, apple cookies for a teacher, human-shaped cookies that look like the person in question, or anything else that will tickle their fancy, it's a fun challenge to let your creativity run wild deciding what cookies fit the person and then figuring out how to make them come alive out of dough and icing.
You don't have to be a brilliant artist or a practiced cookie-decorator to make this work; it's easier than it sounds. (Although you'll probably want to plan on making more than you need to give, so you can save the mistakes to be eaten in your own household-- they still taste just as good!) You can use cookie cutters if you've got the appropriate ones, but you can also carve out shapes with a knife just as well-- and the recipe I use even holds up well to being shaped and sculpted by hand. You don't need special equipment for the icing, either; plastic bags with holes cut in the tip work just fine. (I like to use meringue/egg white powder in my icing, but you can make a serviceable icing with just powdered sugar and water.)
And of course, if you have kids, this is a great project to include them in! They may not be able to pull off finely detailed cookies, but they'll have a blast cutting out fun shapes and then bringing them alive with color.
What kinds of hand-made gifts do you give? Are there any special ways you add personal touches?