The Best of the Best in Money and Personal Finance #14

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Welcome to edition number 14 of The Best of the Best in Money and Personal Finance blog carnival, where every featured post is an Editor’s Pick!

Man, I hope you’ll all excuse me as I am just a bit surly this evening.  It’s late and I’ve got a headache that won’t quit.  If that ain’t bad enough, my Dodgers currently have the second worst record in the National League.

Anyway, the selections for this edition of the Best of the Best were based upon those bloggers that correctly guessed my current level of discomfort based on a scale between one and ten (one being similar to a hang nail, and ten equivalent to being forced to watch a 3-day Private Practice marathon - with no commercial interruptions).

The correct answer:  2 million.  And one.

Here’s something that will help ease my pain.  For the month of April I received 98 qualifying articles for consideration, excluding the prodigious amount of spam, and other flotsam and jetsam that I typically receive every month.

As always, it was a pleasure reading everyone’s submittals again.  Thank you all for contributing and if you didn’t make it this month, please try again next month!

Here now, in no particular order, are the best of the best in money and personal finance for April 2010:

Wise Bread presents 10 Tips to Save You from an ATM Skimmer posted at Wisebread.

PierrePhaneufWe kick off this edition of the Best of the Best with a terrific article by senior writer Paul Michael who offers up tips on how to avoid having your credit or ATM card data hijacked by thieves using a special device known as a “skimmer.”  And while this article was one of the very best in the world of money and personal finance for the month of April, let me also say that it also featured a comment from one Pierre Phaneuf, who has one of the funniest gravatar photos I’ve ever seen (included here for your viewing pleasure).   The last time I had a look like that on my face was many years ago when my dad caught me strolling in the front door at 4 a.m. and he asked me where the hell I had been all night.  I certainly couldn’t tell him I had actually just completed a marathon session of beer drinking and smoking Maui Wowie.  So I gave him the “Pierre face” while I tried – and failed – to think of a really good story.

Pinyo presents What is a Good Credit Score? posted at Moolanomy saying, “Do you know your credit score? Do you know what’s considered a good credit score? Learn how to get your credit scores for free and compare your score to established credit ratings.”

Meanwhile my old boss, Pinyo, checks in with this post detailing everything you wanted to know about credit scores.  Hey, Pierre, do you know your credit score?  Hello?  Pierre?  Guess not.

MoneyNing presents Do You Really Need a Four-Year Degree for a Good Job? posted at Money Ning asking, “Is schooling really worth the money?”

In this post, billionaire blogger Miranda Marquit – who bought Portugal on a whim late last week – asks us little people if we really need a four-year degree to get a good job.   Ironically, Miranda, who has a Masters degree of her own, isn’t so convinced and I completely agree with her. (And, no, I’m not just saying that because I want Miranda to appoint me as Portugal’s next Minister of Finance.)

Control Your Cash presents Control Your Cash, real world edition posted at Control Your Cash saying, “Controlling your cash doesn’t have to involve tremendous sacrifice. Just a little prioritization.”

Time out for a little reality blog piece, people.  Meet Dana, a 27-year-old claims manager who lives in the East San Francisco Bay area and who also has complete control of his personal finances.  I tried to think of a joke for this but I just couldn’t.  So sue me.  It’s almost midnight and I’ve been sitting here so long I think my ass has fused itself to the leather chair again.

Jim presents Carnival Cruises Past Guest Recognition Loyalty Program posted at Wanderlust Journey.

Did you know cruise lines have frequent sailing awards programs?  Me neither.  In this interesting article, Jim explains how Carnival’s program works and it is elegantly simple.  The thing that gets me is, according to Jim, they offer a very special Milestone program where “on your 100th sailing, you earn a complimentary Caribbean, Mexican Riviera or Alaskan voyage up to eight days in length.”  WTF, Len?  Did he really say 100 sailings? Yep.  Let’s see, assuming I took one cruise per year starting at age 30, I’d only have to live to be… let’s see, carry the one… ah yes, 129, to earn my complimentary cruise!  Who is the marketing genius that thought of this?  Maybe instead of a Milestone program they should call it a Tombstone program.  I hope the airlines don’t catch on to this or before you know it we’ll all need to fly 100 times around the world just to get a free coach ticket.

Joe Plemon presents Stretch the Life of Your Mower by Giving Him a Name posted at Personal Finance By The Book saying, “The best way to extend the life of your mower is to care for him, but if you are less than meticulous about equipment maintenance, naming him works pretty well. “

(sigh) Joe, Joe, Joe.  Did you forget to take your meds again this morning?

Ryan presents Safety Deposit Boxes and Fireproof Safes posted at Cash Money Life saying, “What you need to know about how to choose a safety deposit box, what to put in it, and how to protect your valuables.”

According to David Letterman one of the top ten signs you need a new bank is if your safety deposit box is a Dunkin’ Donuts carton wrapped in aluminum foil.   For more hot tips on safety deposit boxes – and fireproof boxes too – check out this informative piece from Ryan.

WC presents Did Goldman Sachs do Anything Wrong? posted at The Writer’s Coin saying, “Was Goldman Sachs responsible for the mortgage meltdown? Not really, but you wouldn’t know it from watching the Senate hearings in Washington, DC.”

I really enjoyed this commentary from Nut and I agree with pretty much everything he had to say.  But, psst, Nut…  It looks like I need to tutor you on the art of “the tease.”  When you ask a question like you did above, don’t ever immediately follow it up with the answer or nobody’s gonna bother sticking around to read your piece.  Here’s how the news professionals do it. (Caution: Offensive language.)

Roshawn Watson presents Through the Looking Glass posted at Watson Inc saying, “Do you really believe in a world of financial abundance? Could you ever have too much money? Could you ever even conceive of summering in the Hamptons for $35,000 per night? Pregnant in your answer is a revelation of your core belief system regarding money.”

I think this was an outstanding piece by Roshawn, who asks us to reflect upon attitudes regarding money.  According to Roshawn, “Our money decisions all relate to whether or not we believe a world of more than enough does indeed exist for us.”  Sage words.  What do you see when you look through the looking glass?

The Investor presents Living Frugally for Early Retirement posted at Monevator saying, “The best way to save enough money to retire decades early is to make big choices that change your lifestyle forever.”

In this guest post from the proprietor of Early Retirement Extreme, Jacob shares with us key ways of living frugally that enabled him to retire early on his investments.  Not to be outdone the Investor shares with us in the comments section this little pearl of wisdom: “If it floats, flies or (ahem) fornicates, it’s cheaper to rent it.” There is enough wisdom in those 12 little words to have made that a blog post all by itself – not to mention a guaranteed selection here at the Best of the Best.

Sam presents Why Are President Obama And The Democrats Against Charity? posted at Financial Samurai saying, “Due to deductive reasoning, it would appear that Obama and the Democrats are against charity by punishing the wealthy. I delve into why someone would be against charity, and provide a solution. “

I think you are being too hard on the president, Sam.  After all, Obamacare is charity (by force).   Yes?

Steven and Debra Wallace presents The Love of Other People’s Money (Covetousness) is the Root of All Evil posted at The END TIMES Hoax saying, “Are churches guilty of loving other people’s money?”

In this piece that turns conventional wisdom on its head, Steven and Debra argue that money is actually the root of all good.  They also ask us to consider “Which comes first in the natural order of things; money, or looting and mooching?” Hmmm.  What do you think, Pierre?   Pierre?   Oh, never mind.

And with that, the April edition of the Best of the Best in Money and Personal Finance is mercifully over…

Thank you everyone for reading!  And remember, this carnival would not exist without your terrific articles.  :-)

Please send your entries for the May 2010 edition of the Best of the Best in Money and Personal Finance using our carnival submission form. For more information, check out our carnival index page.

As a friendly reminder, please please please stick to the carnival guidelines. I receive several excellent articles every month that have to be disqualified because they were posted in the wrong month.

Submissions for the next carnival should include only posts written during the month of May 2010.

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