Carnival of Personal Finance #141 – The College Years Edition

by Broke Grad on February 25, 2008

Given the theme of my blog, I figured it would be fitting to revisit the college years in this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance. For some of you, this will be a trip down memory lane. For current college students, it may be a reflection of what you’re going through right now. For people who never went to college, it’ll probably be like what you see in the movies.

Summa Cum Laude (BGS Picks)

Of course, we’re going to start with the best. The following articles displayed exemplary merit in my opinion, placing them in the top 5% of this week’s graduating carnival class. (This is what college would be like if it were a dictatorship.)

Photo by Terry Crowley

College would have been so much easier if there were always people like Mighty Bargain Hunter around to help. Check out his list of seven pairs of easily confused money terms and be confused no longer.

Perfection getting in your way? paidtwice from I’ve Paid For This Twice Already does a wonderful job of explaining how striving for perfection can hinder progress in Perfection is the Enemy of Progress.

College students are always interested in generating alternative sources of income. Head over to My Two Dollars where David shares his personal experiences in My Sources Of Alternative Income And How I Make Them Work For Me.

Jon from The Money Mythos presents Five Advantages and Disadvantages to Online Banking. As a product of the computer age, I took the plunge into online banking a few years ago, and there have been many pros and cons. Jon’s article does an excellent job of covering them in detail.

Finally, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Feminist Finance’s “manifesto” on a Wedding As A Status Symbol.

Saving and Frugality

Who said college students didn’t know how to be frugal?

Photo by fabbio

Is your Costco membership worth $50 dollars? the simple nickle has done the math and shares the results in Does Your Costco Card Really Save You Money?

Kyle from has a love-hate relationship with Costco. Find out why as he lists the 5 Best and 5 Worst Costco Buys.

An emergency fund is a great way to create a financial safeguard against unexpected expenses, but how can you save money for an emergency fund when your current finances are already stretched? Seb from Pinching Copper shares five tips to start saving money right now.

Kevin from No Debt Plan spells out a twist on Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball in The Savings Snowball. Find out how he uses it with great success!

Laura from Green Panda Treehouse discusses ways that we can reduce and eliminate ATM fees. Who wouldn’t want to do this?

Bob from Christian Finances compares ING Direct vs. Virtual Bank to determine which is the better online bank. Will you agree with his conclusion?

Grace from GRACEful Retirement explains why monitoring what she really wants at any given time rather than settling for something out of habit saves her money in What do I REALLY Want?.

Finances in your 20s can feel overwhelming with people telling you to start saving for retirement when you can barely afford your current living expenses. Livingalmostlarge focuses on this issue in Inadequate savings in your 20s?

Sheila Scarborough from Family Travel talks about finding inexpensive and unique travel souvenirs in Video Series Part One: Inexpensive Travel Souvenirs.

Money Management

Money management may not be the top priority of students during the college years.

Photo by Drunken Monkey

American Entrepreneur from American Small Business News shares tips on Managing Time to Build a Successful Home Based Business. Whether you’re a college student, full-time worker, or stay-at-home parent, I think successfully managing time is something we all struggle to do, so be sure to check out these tips.

Nobody enjoys stress, but sometimes it’s hard to avoid. That’s why Super Saver from My Wealth Builder talks about Stressful Personal Finance Situations We Like To Avoid.

Have you ever wondered why about one in three lottery winners end up bankrupt? Lily from The Honest Dollar explores why we tend to spend more when we expect our income to go up in Avoid the Wealth Effect.

The Financial Blogger observes that human beings are always looking for more material stuff and falling into The Trap Of Working Harder. Find out why living for less is more effective than working for more.

Managing a sudden receipt of a large sum of money is not easy. If we have the “monthly paycheck” mentality, chances are good that this windfall could be spent off quicker than we thought. Fathersez answers the question, “Can a windfall really change people’s lives?

Real Estate

Dude, is that a twin or an ex-long twin?

Photo by amyeetx

2million from 2million’s Personal Finance Blog discusses the issue of finding the right amount of money to spend on housing while keeping on track in their quest for financial freedom in Housing Costs Are Our biggest Obstacle to Financial Freedom.

If you’re looking to buy your first home, check out some Tips for Getting First Mortgage and getting on the property ladder from T. Pettinger at Finance Blog.

Check out 5 Mortgage Lessons to Learn from the Rich shared by Abdulrasool Sumar from Mortgage Calculators.

Craig from Craig’s Coin examines Investing – Real Estate.

Dan Melson from Searchlight Crusade explains Changing Rates and Streamline Refinancing – Reasons to Love Zero Cost Loans and Hybrid ARMs.

Are you afraid of investing in real estate? You’re not the only one. Peter Harrington from Money Management and You! reveals Why people don’t invest in real estate.

Rob from TwoWiseAcres details an investor approach to remodeling a kitchen in Part 2 of his series, How to Completely Remodel a Kitchen for Under $4000 (Part 2).

Erik from Money Crashers discusses The Importance of Renter’s Insurance and Why You Need it. This is especially useful for college students who are renting apartments.


Filing taxes brings back memories of this…

Photo by jackhynes

Thanks to jim from Daily Gratis, I know where to get a Free Copy of TaxCut Basic 2007 and so do you. Just follow the link.

Everybody knows how fun taxes can be. vh from Funny about Money shares a personal experience in Fun with Taxes: 2nd Draft.

No pain, no gain. Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck presents Your Income Tax Return: Benefit From the Pain. Find out how to turn the necessary evil of your tax return into a catalyst for tackling more important financial goals.

What are you going to do with your tax refund? Aryn from Sound Money Matters shares Five Good Ways to Spend a Tax Refund, and Five Bad Ones.

Find out why Melissa from A Penny Closer is happy that she shoved $728 Worth Of Stuff Out The Door. Here’s a hint: Donations are tax deductible.

Some folks on Social Security are eligible for a tax rebate check. Kay from Don’t Mess With Taxes shares tips from her experience in helping her mother fill out a return in Filing mom’s tax return.

Harrison from Finandom presents some great Tax Tips for Online Business Owners.

With the April tax deadline quietly sneaking up on us, NCN from No Credit Needed presents Trying To Decrease My Taxes, I Have Opened A SEP-IRA.


Sometimes college students gather for weekly finance meetings.

Photo by Jam Adams

Tarik from Investor Trip tackles the difficult decision of whether or not to pay off your mortgage before retirement in Pay Off Your Mortgage Early Before Retirement?.

Once again, certain members of Congress are talking about doing away with the penny, as its production cost is more than its face value. However, this could lead to 4.5% inflation overnight! RacerX from Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Money explains in Save The Penny, Save the World.

We all have a story about how we got to where we are today, and I’ve always enjoyed listening to stories from people with similar interests. A guest writer at The Digerati Life shares his story about how he got into personal finance in “How’d You Get Interested in Personal Finance?

If one of your goals is early retirement, then look no further. FIRE Finance presents an extensive list of the Top Resources For Early Retirement Planning.

Bob McDonald from The Platinum Years Network explores the issue of flexibility in your Social Security decisions between age 62 and age 70 in Social Security Decisions: Important But Not Irrevocable – You Have Much More Flexibility Than You May Think.

The Baglady presents Tips for Entering Sweepstakes and Getting Free Stuff. For any skeptics out there, one of my relatives does this regularly, and she has won things like cash, an iPod, a Xbox 360, and an all expense paid trip to Florida for two.

Xin Lu from Wise Bread talks about Six Horrible Financial Products You Should Avoid.

Getting sick is more expensive than you think! Money Ning from Personal Finance Blog discusses Cost of Getting Sick.


Every college student “invests” in books that he/she will only be able to sell back for a fraction of the price.

Photo by drdrewhonolulu

Martin Roth from Green Technology Investor presents CleanTech and China – Two Hot Stock Market Themes. Green technology stocks have been booming on stock markets around the world. The Chinese market is also hot. What happens when you combine the two?

Ryan Suenaga from Uncommon Cents comments on the ups and downs of the stock market in Up, Down, Up, Down. For any gamers, this isn’t cheat code.

Dorian Wales from The Personal Financier presents his opinion on ETFs and Mutual Funds – The Slowdown Will Teach Us another Valuable Lesson.

The Investor at shares the secret to investing when stock markets are falling. Find out why The Investor says it’s better to focus on monthly goals that you can control rather than net worth goals that are out of your hands.

Most successful investors will tell you that asset allocation is the most important decision you make in determining how well your portfolio performs. Dividends4Life describes how to Rev-up Your Portfolio With Asset Allocation.

retirehappy from My Retirement Blog explains why you shouldn’t cash out your 401k when you leave a job in 401k Rollover Tip: Don’t Ever Cash Out.

Lisa from Greener Pastures provides advice on how to determine the best socially responsible investments for you in Socially Responsible Investing: Part I- Where Do I Begin?

Four Pillars from Quest For Four Pillars warns of The Danger Of Being Too Conservative and how it can be hazardous to your financial health!

Aussie Investor from Stock Market Investing For Beginners takes investing beginners through the steps they need to follow before making the plunge into the stock market in How To Start Investing In The Stock Market.

Ryan from Millionaire Money Habits explains When to Fire Your Financial Advisor. Your money is your early retirement, so you shouldn’t be afraid to have high expectations of your financial adviser. You should fire them when things are not going the way you planned, especially if he or she is engaging in any of the activities described in the article.

Drop by Wise Bread and ask a top personal finance author your 401k questions. Get free 401(k) advice from David Loeper by asking him a question in the Wise Bread forum.

RC from Think Your Way To Wealth shares Investment Advice from Warren Buffet’s Mentor: Words of Wisdom from Benjamin Graham.

Amanda from Me vs Debt gives kudos to teenage investors and is totally inspired by those that start early!

Mutual funds often charge excessive fees in the form of loads, MERs, and trailers, which makes index funds and ETFs a great alternative! But what are index funds and ETFs? Squawkfox does a great job of answering these questions in What are Index Funds? What are Exchange Traded Funds?

Where Should You Invest First – 401(k) or IRA? Patrick from Cash Money Life talks about the factors to consider when deciding.

Ciaran from Chance Favors provides an informative list of 8 Things You Need To Know About a Roth 401K for 2008.


College students always know how to eat on a budget.

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Erik from Money Crashers shares 5 great tips on How To Budget With Irregular Income. This is really helpful advice for people who get paid on commissions or for college students living off student loans.

Is it possible to achieve financial freedom without budgeting? Pinyo from Moolanomy explains why he thinks budgeting is not a necessity in Living Stress Free Without Budgeting.

Shadox from Money and Such presents a handy Latte Factor Calculator that will show you how much that latte will really cost you over a lifetime.

bluntmoney from Blunt Money shares advice on budgeting with an irregular income based on his personal experiences.

Madison from My Dollar Plan got hit with unexpected expenses as she was finalizing her family’s budget. Find out how she plans to deal with these expenses in How Do You Handle Unexpected Expenses?

Randall from Credit Withdrawal provides a glimpse of what it’s like in a single-income family with two kids in Living on One Income – The Married Life.

PT from Prime Time Money shares tips on Budgeting – An Easier, Smarter Way.

Credit and Debt

Having a credit card has become an essential part of the college lifestyle. So has taking grainy pictures with your cell phone.

Photo by nicholasjon

Mr Credit Card from Ask Mr Credit Card answers the question, “How Many Credit Cards Should You Have?

Marcus Mc Cray from Hook Me Up! explains step-by-step how to raise your credit score, helping to take some of the mystery out of credit.

Colonel Cash from Money and Credit details How To Correct an Error on your Credit Report by outlining the steps in the process.

While Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have both called for credit card reform, their plans differ in the details. Kimberly Palmer from Alpha Consumer exposes these differences in The Democratic Candidates and Your Credit Cards.

Sometimes the best way to learn is by figuring out what not to do. JvW from The Good Life on a Budget shares an arduous tale of what not to do in How We Got Into Debt. Find out how they managed to accumulate $38,000 of credit card debt and what they’re doing to pay it back.

FFB from Free From Broke shares 7 Credit Card Tips From ING. Seven great credit card tips from a bank? What is this world coming to?

Identity theft is something we all worry about with credit cards. Erica from American Consumer News discusses 21 Ways to Stop Identity Theft.

Paula Wethington from Monroe on a Budget talks about the effect your credit report can have on the car buying process in the credit report jingle – and car buying reality.

Debt collectors can be intimidating and scary, but as a debtor, you do have rights. Find out what you don’t have to put up with as Steve Faber from Debt Free explains the Fair Debt Collecton Act – What Debt Collectors Can’t Do.

Steph from The Debt Hole summarizes, categorizes, and plans for reducing her debt in Debt Review and Plan.

Nigel Swaby from Salt Lake Real Estate Blog talks about Credit Crunch – Make Decisions Keeping You Viable for a Mortgage.


Shamelle from Enhance Life shares her opinion of Rich Dad, Poor Dad in Thinking About Money The Rich Dad, Poor Dad Way.

Dan from Everyday Finance rants on a company we’ve come to know and love in Shame Vonage…Shame on You.


Everybody’s college years are different. Some people party for all four years while others bury themselves in books the entire time. Regardless of how you spent yours, there are always those random memories that you can never quite categorize.

Photo by batmoo

Dividend Growth Investor discusses several ways to diversify his income stream in Alternative Streams of Income.

chica with issues from One Snarky Chica With Issues talks about smart things to do with your economic stimulus check.

jim from Blueprint for Financial Prosperity explains the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund. The idea is that you can make a charitable donation now, have the assets appreciate, and then decide where donations will go later on. Check out the article for more details.

Would you marry for money? Join in on the discussion at Free Money Finance as The Marrying for Money Debate Goes On.

What do you do when friends and family start asking you for financial advice? Mrs. Micah from Mrs. Micah: Finance for a Freelance Life tackles the issue of determining When to Offer Financial Advice.

Ever wonder what you should do when your debit and credit cards get stolen? The Happy Rock shares some helpful advice in What Happens When Your Wife’s Debit and Credit Cards Get Stolen.

Progressive feminist liberals need not apply! When it comes to love and attraction, age old stereotypical rules still apply – especially when it comes to dating a millionaire. Money Blue Book discusses The Millionaire Matchmaker Show – Revealing Traditional Stereotypes About Men, Women, Money, And Love.

People are paying thousands of dollars to be “The Best”. But if the title of best can be bought, is it really the best? Lynnae from Being gets philosophical as she asks, “What Are You Paying For?

We’ve all heard that money doesn’t equal happiness. Penny Nickel from Money and Values explores the reasons behind why the happiest people don’t earn the most.

Are two incomes always better than one? plonkee from plonkee money is pretty sure that it’s hard to live on one income, even when there’s only one of you in your household, and she explains why in living on one income: the single life.

M.B. from Be Thrifty Like Us examines Job Perks You Might Not Know About. Do you know if your company offers referral bonuses? You might be missing out.

Smarty from Growing Money explores a Health Savings Account.

Aaron Stroud from On Financial Success has conveniently compiled the opinion of 17 Economists on recessions, stimulation plans, and what they might mean to you for your reading pleasure. Check it out!

Photo by ::: Billie / PartsnPieces :::

That concludes this week’s carnival. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Next week’s Carnival of Personal Finance will be hosted by The Baglady!

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