The Best of the Best in Money and Personal Finance #2

Welcome to the second edition of the Best of the Best in Money and Personal Finance!  As always, the goal of this carnival is to provide bloggers with a stage for highlighting their very best personal finance posts of the previous month.

This week I received 88 legitimate entries that met the carnival’s criteria.

Of course, to keep the carnival true to its theme, I always limit the final selections to what I feel are the ten best entries from among those received.   What this means is that each entry featured here is always an Editor’s pick!

I really enjoyed reading everybody’s posts.  It was extremely difficult narrowing the field down to the final ten entries presented here.  I hope you enjoy reading the following selections as much as I did!

In no particular order, here are the best of the best in money and personal finance for April 2009:

Patrick presents How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?, posted at Cash, Money, Life, saying, “This is a question everyone should ask themselves – particularly if they have a family that relies upon their income.”

I really appreciated this well-written and researched article written by Neal Frankle.  Neal gives a terrific primer on life insurance that is a must read for anyone who has dependents.   Make sure you also read the accompanying comments, as they add some additional excellent insights.  Thanks for sharing this great submission, Patrick!

Torley Wong presents How do you spend money to save time?, posted at Wise Bread.

Torley, this interesting post on penny pinching to save time seemed to hold my attention like no other, but not for the usual reasons.  First off, it’s not everyday you see a blogger use the word “portmanteau” in an article and, for that, I salute you!  (Look it up, folks.  I did.)   Secondly, what’s up with that provocative photo?  Good God, I found myself drawn to it like a moth to a flame!  After each sentence, I had to stop reading and refocus on the graphic just to try and decipher the underlying meaning behind it — kind of like a painting by Rene Magritte.  And judging from the numerous comments you received, I’m not the only one who was a bit freaked out!

Nui Loa presents 67 Cheap Date Ideas for the Recession-Era Romantic, posted at Love Hacks.

Nui, I enjoyed this quick and informative read.  Nice job!  :-)   In fact, I have printed out this nifty little post, shrunk it down, and laminated it for my wallet.  After 13 years of marriage, I plan on using it to help me and the Honeybee breakout of our same old routine.  As of now, I am leaning towards idea numbers 32, 42, 57, 58 and 64.  By the way, I also found this post to be therapeutic as well, as it helped me to cleanse my mind of that disturbing photo in Torley’s piece.  ;-)

Barry Wright III presents Wedding Dress Rentals, posted at 3stylelife, reasoning, “Why you should seriously consider renting your wedding dress.”

Barry, you’re now two-for-two in cracking the Best of the Best!  Let me just say I couldn’t agree with you more on this one.  Of course, I am already married so I have nothing to lose by agreeing with you.   The reason I say that is, while your thesis is spot on, I’m not sure you’ll find many future brides out there agreeing with your assessment.   I asked the Honeybee for her thoughts on rented wedding dresses and she said she would “never even consider it.  Never!”  (She said it just like that too.)   I guess I don’t realize just how lucky I was when the Honeybee wore her grandmother’s wedding dress on our wedding day.   Otherwise, I might still be a bachelor.  ;-)

David Lamb presents Why Financial Regulation is the New Protectionism, posted at Killer Buffalo.

For those who like well-written, pragmatic political commentary, David has put together an outstanding historical perspective on the dangers of protectionism and those who continue to promote it.  Bravo, David!   By the way, I noticed in the comments section that “Michelle Obama” felt compelled to opine on your article.  Very impressive!  Tell her I said “hello.”

Debbie presents My Credit Limit Got Lowered Below My Outstanding Balance, posted at Destroy Debt.

I enjoyed reading this harrowing version of Credit Card Twilight Zone.  Debbie!  You poor thing!  Hopefully others will take away some valuable lessons learned from your story.  Let me just add that I routinely take advantage of 0% interest credit-same-as-cash offers.  However, it is very important that you pay off these loans in full before the promotional period ends!  Otherwise, in most cases, you are charged a very high interest rate on the full amount financed — regardless of how much you already paid back.  That is why I always make sure those loans are completely retired no less than 45 days before the end of the loan’s promotional period.

MoneyNing presents What Drives You to Be Frugal?, posted at MoneyNing, saying, “The reason why I’m frugal is not strictly about necessity. What is the real reason for you?”

I liked this post!  MoneyNing asks us to dig down deep and think about the motivation behind our frugality.  So I did.  After thinking long and hard I could only come to one logical conclusion:  I’m just a cheapskate.

Matthew Paulson presents Plastic Only, the Best Way to Use Credit Cards, posted at American Consumer News.

More often than not, we hear about the downside of credit cards.  Debbie Dragon turns the argument upside down and reminds us of the benefits of using credit cards to make purchases.  Of course, that assumes those who are using the credit cards are using them responsibly.  Good post, Debbie!

Nickel presents How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft and E-mail Scams, posted at Five Cent Nickel.

Speaking of credit cards, this comprehensive piece covers numerous ways how thieves can steal your identity and/or your money.  One of the most important tips covered in this article covers protection and limited distribution of your social security number.  Although your employer and banking institutions need your SSN for tax purposes, it still amazes me how many other businesses or organizations routinely have the chutzpa to ask you for it.  Just say no!

ChristianPF presents Diversification strategy from the Bible, posted at Christian Personal Finance, saying, “This is essentially Solomon’s strategy for diversification of investments.”

This is a very informative post on the importance of diversification that even secular readers will enjoy.  Honestly, Sister Nora never taught me this stuff in Catechism!  It makes me wonder what other nuggets of personal finance wisdom are sitting there in the good book.  Something tells me this ain’t the only one.

And with that, folks, the April 2009 edition of the Best of the Best in Money and Personal Finance is officially over.

Please send your entries for the May 2009 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.

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