Bloggers on Surviving the Squeeze

The tight-times edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance.

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Welcome to the 151st edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance! If this is your first time visiting Alpha Consumer, welcome. You can check out the top posts on the bottom right-hand side of the page and subscribe through Alpha Consumer's RSS feed.

Today's theme is managing money in tight times. Tax rebates, the much-discussed recession, and food prices were among the topics on bloggers' minds.

Editor's Choice:

  • Youngsaver from Save to the Future has a great post on premarital counseling and money. He has already discovered that he and his fiancée have entirely different spending habits and is seeking feedback from others on how they handle money within their own marriages.
  • At No Credit Needed, there's an excellent reminder of why emergency funds are so essential—and it involves the recent birth of his daughter (congratulations!).
  • Living the Cheap Life plunges into the debate over whether gen X and gen Y consumers are rejecting excess consumption. His conclusion: We might just be more aware of personal finance issues.
  • Sometimes the easiest steps are the ones that get overlooked: Squawkfox gives a list of the 10 things you should always carry with you in your purse or wallet.
  • Our Fourpence Worth lists "frugal but thoughtful" ideas for Mother's Day, from hobby baskets to offering help around the house.
  • Simple Mom applies financial tips to her life one at a time, and in this post she focuses on saving for her kids' college education.
  • Hot Topics:

    • A blogger whose blog name I can't mention here has tips on locating the status of your stimulus check.
    • Moneycrashers warns against rebate check scams.
    • Can't afford to buy? Green Panda Treehouse explains how to rent in an appealing neighborhood.
    • Smart Easy Money argues gas is not as expensive as you think it is.
    • From Debt Free Revolution, a fascinating look at how people have survived stagflation in the past.
    • For those tired of paying too much for gas, The Money Kings have some suggestions for reducing how much you use, including using cruise control and taking stuff—even books—out of your car so it's lighter.
    • I've Paid Twice for This Already has more ideas on taking advantage of your rebate check—including spending it at stores that give you the biggest incentives but only if it makes the most sense for you.
    • Money Smart Life offers a list of useful gas rewards cards.
    • Prime Time Money gives us three useful lessons learned from doing one's own taxes.
    • Digerati Life gives us a helpful primer on the signs and definitions of a recession.
    • Don't Mess With Taxes has more advice on tracking down those rebate checks.
    • Free From Broke gives ideas on what to do with that stimulus check—including doing nothing.
    • Mrs. Nespy's World has more Mother's Day present suggestions.
    • You can protect yourself from identity theft with these ideas from Save and Conquer.
    • The Wastrel Show argues that Mother Earth is actually going to save the economy.
    • Shopping and Spending:

      • Student Scrooge knows how to take advantage of rebates and promotions, and he shares his strategy. Retailers are offering so many discounts right now that it pays to take the time to keep track of them.
      • Trees Full of Money warns: "Don't 'trade in' your car at a car dealership when you purchase your next vehicle! Instead, save a bunch of money and sell your current car yourself."
      • Finance Gets Personal gives more convincing reasons for why an emergency fund is so essential.
      • For more on car loans, Single Guy Money explains how to get out of (and prevent) a sticky situation.
      • Think Your Way to Wealth has some tips on finding excellent deals on the Internet.
      • Mighty Bargain Hunter says if the incentive is attractive enough, using your rebate check to get a gift card might not be such a bad idea.
      • MoneyNing asks: Should I be frugal on my honeymoon?
      • Extend the life of your (Mac) computer with these ideas from Antishay Ventenne.
      • Online Savings Blog contributes to the discussion on which gas rebate credit card to get.
      • Free Money Finance has ideas on how to save on shaving costs—something most of us spend a surprising amount of money on.
      • With food prices so high, My Daily Dollar's recipe for homemade chips and salsa sounds especially delicious.
      • All About the Ben has more food tips, including seven tips for slashing the grocery bill.
      • Accumulating Money says going green can save you money.
      • Start and Step explains how to get rid of temptation.
      • Saving:

        • The Financial Blogger has some ideas on how to take advantage of the current climate of low interest rates.
        • Discover Debt Freedom reminds us how important it is to get started on the right financial foot at a young age.
        • The Saving Advice Blog says it's not just about the money—but also the intangibles like conversation and social responsibility.
        • You Might as Well Burn $5 offers more motivation for saving early and often.
        • Broke Grad Student says making savings automatic ensures that we actually put money away.
        • Roth IRA Explained describes the withdrawal rules.
        • Funny About Money proposes a month of extreme frugality. Any takers?
        • No Debt Plan offers another take on the stimulus package and explains why he thinks the government may be incorrect in believing the rebate checks will boost the economy.
        • Money Management:

          • American Consumer News offers five steps for assessing your financial situation.
          • Greener Pastures offers a review of a book that delves into the spiritual side of money management.
          • Ask Mr. Credit Card poses an intriguing question: If we earn more, should we spend more?
          • Uncommon Cents explains how to get started with a retirement savings account.
          • Fathersez: Beware the lure of a time-share!
          • Saving to Invest joins the debate over husbands, wives, and money with an exploration of who handles the finances in households.
          • Canadian Dream reviews books on getting ready for retirement.
          • Dreaming of Ferraris points out, "All too often we get caught up in what we should be doing, instead of realizing what we can do now."
          • Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck asks why even those with lots of education are often ill-informed about their own money situation.
          • Can I Get Rich on a Salary further explores the "Are men or women better with money?" question.
          • My Money Adventure blogger invites his fiancée to guest-post, which leads to insight into her financial goals.
          • 7 Millionaires...in Training reveals the exploits of this ambitious group.
          • For anyone interested in taking on an ambitious goal, Make 7 Million in 7 Years is looking for participants.
          • My Money and My Life offers a confession.
          • The Money & Fitness blog suggests using college as a way to set up your future financial life.
          • Million Dollar Journey asks: Is financial infidelity really a major cause of divorce?
          • Dividends4Life recalls what comic books taught him about money as a child—and whether or not it was accurate.
          • Inside Montana explains how to see the forest for the trees.
          • Budgeting:

            • Budgeting is a family activity, says Know the Ledge blogger—everyone can learn by talking about it.
            • The Money Blue Book explains when balance transfers can be a useful tool.
            • Insurance:

              • Are You Going to Be This Way the Rest of the Time I Know You? says sometimes insurance for kids makes sense.
              • Harvesting Dollars reviews how to pick the best type of life insurance and whether it makes sense to purchase it at all.
              • InsureBlog says beware of health insurance that sounds too good to be true.
              • Earning:

                • Cash Money Life reminds us how important that first impression is during a job interview and offers fashion tips.
                • Millionaire Money Next Door offers tips for surviving a recession—and maybe even prospering as an entrepreneur and investor.
                • My Dollar Plan explains how to be prepared to retire in two weeks.
                • The Personal Financier offers 10 tips on making yourself invaluable—and layoff proof—at work.
                • Real Estate:

                  • Smart Money Daily gives tips on selling your home in a way that attracts buyers and piques their interest, beyond putting an apple pie in the oven before the open house.
                  • Hunting Happiness evaluates various mortgage options.
                  • Credit:

                    • Your Finish Rich Plan defends credit cards and argues that sometimes they are better than debit cards.
                    • Not the Jet Set explains how to get kickbacks without using a rewards credit card.
                    • Credit Addict looks at the pros and cons of those new "contactless" credit cards.
                    • Debt:

                      • It sounds easy, but it can make a difference: Clawing Our Way to Financial Health says just opening the mail can be an important step to reducing debt.
                      • Sound Money Matters explains how to fight Zombie Debt.
                      • Quest for Four Pillars explains the nuances of good and bad debt.
                      • Investing:

                        • Art Dinkins Moment on Money shares a scary story on what can happen when you don't keep proper records of your investments.
                        • For an overview of getting started with investments, check out Invest in India's ideas.
                        • Everything Finance has some suggestions on long-term investing.
                        • The Sun's Financial Diary has some well-researched thoughts on green investing.
                        • Five Cent Nickel provides reviews of the best online brokers.
                        • Moolanomy offers an excellent getting-started guide for want-to-be investors.
                        • For those looking to get into the real estate market, the Shark Investor has some advice.
                        • The Dividend Guy gives some useful information on margins.
                        • Growing Money reveals the results of his stock challenge.
                        • The Wealth Accumulator gives us a useful guide to index investing.
                        • Finance ViewPoint gives tips on teaching kids to save and invest.
                        • Millionaire Money Habits explains how to invest in a recession.
                        • Amateur Asset Allocator debunks inflation myths.
                        • Blueprint for Financial Prosperity checks out CDs at ING Direct.
                        • My Retirement Blog distinguishes between life-cycle and lifestyle funds.
                        • The Skilled Investor examines the size of the financial services industry.
                        • Raag Vamdatt has suggestions on dividend yields.
                        • Dividend Growth Investor reflects on history for investment insights.
                        • Best No-Load Mutual Funds reviews fund choices.
                        • FIRE Finance offers a primer on Vanguard mutual funds.