The Festival of Frugality gets Happy!

Welcome to the 365th Festival of Frugality here on The Happy Guy’sself-help happiness” blog. If this was a daily festival, it would be one year old. Since time is relative, please feel free to celebrate as you wish. After all, this is a “Festival” and they do call these blog “carnivals”.

If you have a post you would like to see in a future edition of this carnival, please submit it.

Featured Posts

Here are a few I would like to draw attention to. It’s one of the fringe benefits of shuffling the host gets for through all these blog posts. A few that I feel really capture the spirit of frugality…

Ray presents 6 Examples of When Not to be Frugal posted at Squirrelers. Celebrating the idea of frugality and saving money is something for which I can get on board. However, there are actually some times when it might not be such a good idea to be frugal. From the post… “Did you see above, where I talked about plucking coins off the ground at the drive thru window, where people dropped them? The drive thru isn’t exactly indicative of optimal nutrition”

Glen Craig presents 7 Ways to Be Frugal Right Now posted at Free From Broke . Being frugal is a pretty easy way to help you reduce your expenses. This helps you stretch your dollar and save more. See 7 ways you can be frugal right now.

Frugal Family: How I Sacrifice “Stuff” to Give My Kids Everything They Need posted at Frugal Rules. For anyone who is a parent, they will know that certain lifestyles are not possible after you become a parent. You also see that many of those things you have before parenthood are just things that can easily be lived without. Many times you do not recognize the sacrifices and your children are better off for it.

Jacob @ My Personal Finance Journey presents Best Ways to Save Money During the Holiday Season posted at My Personal Finance Journey. While there are things that have to be paid for no matter what and whose price is largely outside our control (mostly plane tickets and gas), there are still plenty of ways to save this holiday season. This post illustrates a few tips on how to save a little money during the holiday gift giving season.

Strictly Frugal

Amanda L Grossman presents Waste Not Want Not: Uses for Old T-Shirts posted at Frugal Confessions. My husband has a thing for t-shirts. Just like my beloved scrapbooks, he looks past the armpit holes, faded colors, and crackling insignias and instead sees

Jester presents Frugal Family Christmas Activities posted at The Ultimate Juggle. Enjoy a glimpse into our frugal family Christmas activities. These activities is why Christmas is my favorite time of the year.

Jason presents Saving Money on Your Home Security System posted at Work Save Live. Lately I’ve been considering investing in a home security system for my home, and I’ve been researching some of my options for doing it. I want to be secure, but I also want to feel like I got a good deal.

Martin presents The Obligatory Save Money During Christmas Personal Finance Article posted at Studenomics. Martin presents The Obligatory Save Money During Christmas Personal Finance Article posted at Studenomics.

Sustainable PF presents 4 Tips for Teaching Your Child to Live More Sustainably posted at Sustainable Personal Finance. One day, a couple of years ago, as my son and I headed home from whatever appointment we had, we saw someone toss a can out the window.

Mr. Money presents 5 Tips for a Successful Homemade Christmas posted at Smart on Money. One way to reduce your costs during the holiday season is to go for a homemade Christmas. Not only can you save money, but you can also produce unique gifts that are personal for the recipient. Here are some tips for making your homemade Christmas a little more successful:

Steve presents Holiday Savings Tips by Top Personal Finance Bloggers posted at Grocery Alerts. The Holidays are sneaking up on us and I wanted to find out from some of the top Personal Finance Bloggers, their best tips for saving around the holidays.

Wayne presents Eat healthily and live well for less posted at Young Family Finance. Unless you’ve got a supersonic metabolism, chances are you are going to spend some portion of your life watching your waistline. Everyone wants to look good and feel fit, but with bad foods often tasting so good and being readily available keeping svelte is never easy.

Crystal presents Continuing a Free but AWESOME Christmas Tradition! posted at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. Have you ever remembered something super cool and can’t believe you ever forgot about it? That happened to me last week. I really love my Christmas card tree!

Jay presents How to Buy a Classic Car on a Budget posted at Daily Fuel Economy Tip. Top tips if you are looking to buy a classic car.

Hank presents How To Switch On To Energy Savings posted at Money Q&A. Lets face it. Times are hard for everyone. That is an absolute and undisputed fact as the world recession continues to bite despite reports that the financial tide is slowly turning.

Tushar presents Get the Most Back posted at Start Investing Money. Benjamin Franklin once said that there are only two things in life that are certain- death and taxes. To many people, the thought of paying their taxes at the end of the year is a mind-numbing, heartbreaking prospect.

Maria presents How to Save Money for Care Home Fees posted at The Money Principle. We do eventually get old and we do get to a situation where we need care. This article offers some ideas about how to save for the care home fees.

Jon the Saver presents 10 Tips for Home Made Meals and a Fatter Wallet posted at Free Money Wisdom. Here are ten tips to make more meals at home and reduce your food bill each month and free up the money for other things in your life!

PITR presents Don’t be drastic on the plastic this Christmas time posted at Passive Income To Retire. With the possible exception of your summer holiday, chances are that Christmas is your most expensive time of the year.

Young presents How Much House Do You Really Need? posted at Young And Thrifty. As a fairly lazy dude who isn’t a big fun of seeing his Saturdays spent doing housecleaning (and yes ladies, I am a modern man and do my fair share), all I could see in a large house was endless dusting and vacuuming.

Pauline presents Spinach and leek pizza, make your man and kids eat greens! posted at Reach Financial Independence. A delicious frugal recipe at $2 per serving, all the family will want to eat greens!

FMF presents Gym Memberships are Good Deals — If You Use Them! posted at Free Money Finance. If you actually use a membership, it can save you a great deal over a per use payment structure.


This is getting to be a long festival, so let’s take a break for some upbeat entertainment, which my singing daughter has kindly agreed to provide…


Matt presents 3 Excellent Behaviors you need to Stay on your Budget posted at Budget SNOB. If you don’t want your budget plans to go out the window follow these three behaviors.

PPlan presents Maximizing Your Experiences without Breaking the Bank posted at Provident Plan. It has been nearly two years since my wife and I were struggling to make ends meet.

Corey presents How I Would Have Retired Early posted at Steadfast Finances. Retiring early may be difficult to do, but it is certainly possible. Find out how many have accomplished this feat in record time.

SBB presents Why Your Budget Should be Flexible posted at Simple Budget Blog. Find out why budgeting is a fluid thing. Keeping to strict of goals or limitations can be a bad thing. Here’s why.

Tahnya Kristina presents How to Celebrate Your Financial Successes posted at ReadyForZero Blog. Have you thought about what you’ll do with your extra income when you become debt-free? This post talks about the possibilities so, when that day comes, you can celebrate your success while also preserving your long-term goals.

Amy presents PLanning a Budget as a Couple posted at Money Mishaps. Set up a simple budget to reduce the stress in your relationship.

MR presents Debt Free, Now What? posted at Money Reasons. This is my financial progress since I’ve become debt free. I also share the wealth accumulation strategies that I am currently using!

Glen presents Financial Considerations When Deciding How Many Kids to Have posted at Parenting Family Money . It’s safe to say most couple like kids. But before you add to your family you need to consider your finances. There are many expenses that come with a child.


Katie presents When and How to Start IRA Withdrawls posted at IRA Basics. How withdrawing from your IRA can affect you. How not to let inflation eat away at our hard earned savings.

John presents Are Banks Making You Sign Away Your Rights? posted at Wallet Blog. Big banks include mandatory arbitration clauses in checking account agreements and the statistics speak for themselves. It’s obvious that making consumers sign away their rights is a costly and legally-dubious practice toward consumers.

Daniel presents Beating Out Inflation posted at Make Money Make Cents.

Credit, Loans and Debt

Bob presents Myths About Debt Settlement posted at Dwindling Debt. Learn the truth about debt settlement.

KT presents Quick Pay Day Loans – What do you think? posted at Personal Finance Journey. Want a chance to comment on Pay Day Loans? Personal Finance Journey asks for opinions from readers, industry experts and users to comment and share their opinion.

Ryan presents Should You Consider Credit Card Consolidation? posted at Early Retirement Investments. Read my take on whether you should consider credit card consolidation.

Eddie presents What is a Short Term Loan? posted at Finance Fox. A short term loan was originally designed to lend a small amount of cash to consumers with the collateral being a check.

Miranda presents Down Payment Assistance posted at Wallet Hub. For some borrowers, saving for the required down payment on a home can be difficult. However, there are programs out there that allow you to receive down payment assistance.

Neal Frankle presents Auto Loan Refinance Made Easy posted at Wealth Pilgrim. It you have a car loan you might be able to save big bucks by completing an auto loan refinance. This is also one way to pay off your car loan early. Of course, before you take action it’s very important to confirm that it’s worth your time and that you will get the very lowest interest rate possible. Here are 4 easy steps you can take to accomplish this.

Carrie presents Christmas Shopping Debt Traps: No Interest Offers, Store Credit Cards, and Impulse Buys posted at PT Money Personal Finance. The temptation to accumulate more debt at Christmastime is great, but if you’re careful with how you approach the season, you’ll see there are traps you can avoid.

Liana presents Do Prepaid Cards Build Credit? posted at Card Hub. An increasingly popular question among consumers is “Do Prepaid Cards Build Credit?” It’s important to know the facts on this if you plan to build and maintain good credit by using plastic.

Jeremy presents Personal Loans Aren’t Always Bad Debt posted at Modest Money. On other finance blogs I often hear people talk about personal loans as some evil thing that should be avoided at all costs. While there are definitely times when you should be avoiding borrowing money, you should not discount the potential to manage your finances with a personal loan.


Hey. It’s time for some more party entertainment. Bring on the (way too hyperactive?) dancers…


A Blinkin presents Freakin’ Menus posted at Funancials. Have you ever looked at a menu and become paralyzed? In the same way, have you ever contemplated investing, but didn’t because of the overwhelming options?

IMB presents Important Investing Principles posted at Investing Money. Learn about several important investing principles that can help you compete with experienced investors.

Luke presents Why you should dump your savings accounts for savings bonds posted at Learn Bonds. A number of factors have to come together to make replacing your online savings account with a TreasuryDirect account, not only a good financial decision, but a practical one.

Passive Income Earner presents Dividend Income – November 2012 posted at The Passive Income Earner. I have been readjusting my RESP investments since I dumped all my mutual funds. I wrote a few posts over RESP and most recently I have shared my RESP strategy. The recent market drops are also providing me with an opportunity to take some profits and add to others that’s how I rebalance my stocks. Usually one sector will stay up while others are down.

Dividend Growth Investor presents Buy and Hold means Buy and Monitor posted at Dividend Growth Investor. Experienced dividend investors have learned, mostly through practice, that successful dividend investing is focused on continuous analysis of new or existing investments. Some of the greatest dividend growth stocks today, could become the pariahs on Wall Street within a few short years, if it runs into financial trouble. As a result, serious dividend investors should keep a close tab on their portfolios of income securities.


JP presents Yakezie Carnival:The End of Black Friday Edition posted at My Family Finances. For years, Black Friday has brought the crazy out in people. I mean standing out in the middle of the night in arctic temperatures brand of crazy. At the end of the ice-cold, wait-till-midnight-to-shop hysteria is an expensive piece of electronic equipment discounted by $100.

Tushar presents 10 Must-Have Mobile Apps for Holiday Shopping posted at Finance TUBE. Today I will be taking about 10 Must-Have Mobile Apps for Holiday Shopping. A recent survey show that 82 perfect of online shoppers will use shopping apps to save on Holiday gifts this year. They are trying to right to find right apps can be a challenge.

Kate presents Gift Card Deals for Restaurants, iTunes and Shopping Read more: posted at My Dollar Plan. There are some great deals to be had on gift cards this holiday season. We have a list that will help you save on some great Christmas presents!

Glen presents Add Smart Credit Card Use to Your Holiday Shopping Plan posted at Credit Card Smarts. We tend to spend a lot during the holidays. Why not maximize those purcahses with some smart credit card use? See why you should use your card.


Lance presents 2013 Standard Mileage Rates Announced by IRS posted at Money Life and More. The IRS has released the new standard mileage rates for 2013 that many companies use to reimburse you for business miles driven on your personal vehicles.

Jack presents Debt Collection Practices: Wage Garnishment posted at Money Saving Ethics. Learn more about wage garnishment.

Corey presents Average Tuition Increase Rates: Why High Projections are WRONG posted at 20s Finances. Statistics show tuition increased 4-7eac year in the past 10 years. While that is high, find out why it won’t continue at this rate.

Danielle presents Alternative Options in the Mortgage Market posted at Saving Without A Budget. Learn about other avenues to homeownership.

David presents What is a ghostwriter? at A Ghostwriters Blog. What is a ghostwriter? Can you afford one…or can you afford not to use one?

Don presents Are You Pretending To Be Rich? posted at MoneySmartGuides. You might be -pretending to be rich- if you do the following things that I write about in this article!

SFB presents The Lengths We Go To For Free Money: The $10 Survey posted at Simple Finance Blog. We’ve all seen the offers to take surveys for money but when one online survey took far too long, I questioned my motivations for the free money.

Sam presents The Do’s and Don’ts of Starting a Small Business posted at The New Business Blog. Start your plan for the best way to start a small business.

Jake Thompson presents Bank on Yourself posted at Becoming Your Own Bank. Why does bank on yourself sound too good to be true?

Daisy presents Spending Money Isn’t Bad posted at Add Vodka. Spending money gets a bad rap. Read why I don’t think spending money is a bad thing.

Ashley presents I Don’t Just Want a Nest Egg… I Want Nest Chickens posted at Money Talks Coaching. My husband grew up on his grandpa’s farm. From this experience we have several grandpa-isms in our house. One of them is I don’t count my eggs…

Suba presents My Daughter’s Fortune Gives Me Peace of Mind posted at Broke Professionals. A fortune cookie from a local Chinese restaurant had me praying for financial security for my children.

Emily presents How to Be an Exemplary Boomerang Kid posted at Evolving Personal Finance. Young adults moving back in with their parents should follow these suggestions to maintain a good relationship and meet their goals.

Invest It Wisely presents Consider All Your Options Before Relocating posted at Invest It Wisely. There are many factors involved with relocating to a new city that should be considered if you hope to avoid the negative impact of debt, isolation and depression.

Daniel presents How an Internship Abroad Helped Shape My Career Path posted at Sweating the Big Stuff. Most internships don’t have a profound effect on the future, but mine helped propel me to choose my future career and the way I think.

Kyle presents The Top 5 Things To Protect a Company’s Staff posted at The Penny Hoarder. In the wake of natural disasters that seem have hit the United States over the last few years, it is important for companies of all sizes to look at ways that they can protect their staff, as well as ensure continuity of their businesses. Here are the top five ways that every business can protect their staff.

Mike presents The Power of Becoming Aggressive and No Longer Waiting Around posted at The Financial Blogger. Why you need to become more bold to reach your goals.


No party is complete without a marching band…

My best financial tip

Money can’t buy happiness. That’s not my tip – that is just a prelude, and an obvious one at that. Because, although money might not buy happiness, the lack of money has been known to buy misery.  This is Financial Literacy Month, and it appears that Canadians need better financial literacy.  As do our American cousins.

This blog post is part of the Blog for Financial Literacy campaign, where each participant offers up their best financial tip.

My tip today might seem obvious. Indeed, it is obvious – and it has been spoken by wiser and more eloquent people than me. Yet most people – including myself (sigh) – totally ignore it. Not everyone who ignores it is miserable, of course. But most people who are miserable about money are miserable because they have ignored this one simple tip:

Don’t spend more money than you have.

How many people ignore this simple tip?

Everybody who carries a balance on their credit card. Everybody who has taken pout a loan. Everybody who has debt.

I know, I know. Sometimes you get a wallop in the wallet and you just need to borrow some money. And, yes, a mortgage is usually a good investment (if you don’t try to buy as much house as you can “afford” with a mortgage).

But debt should be an exception to the rule. It should not be a way of life. If you are already in debt, that is not the time to decide to buy a cottage or a motor boat. First pay down the debt, then save up for the splurge, then have fun.

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Yes, you will have to wait. Yes, you will have to defer some pleasure. Yes, some people will say that you have only one life to live, so buy things right away and get the most out of life.

Sorry, that’s a lie. Buy now, pay much more later might bring you some pleasure sooner. But if later on you are spending so much of your money feeding interest payments, that you can’t buy the fun things you want, you don’t gain a thing. You lose; you might even lose big time.

And I know that more than one savvy reader is thinking about the even bigger misery that debt creates. It is no secret that couples fight most about money.  And life sucks when you are fighting with your partner, your comrade-in-arms, your best friend.  And even more so when you have to go through a divorce.

You can accelerate your savings by adopting some frugal habits.  We have had some fun with frugal on this blog, but of course it’s about more than just fun.  It’s about avoiding misery, too.

Am I the only person so unrealistic as to recommend spending only what you make?  No.  Here are a few of the top personal finance bloggers and their thoughts on the subject:

Money can’t buy you happiness, but it sure can help you avoid falling into a pit of misery.  So earn more and spend less, and paint a great big smile on your face.

Do your research before you take out a mortgage

While the housing market has improved slightly since the crisis a few years ago – there’s even been recent suggestions of a bubble in Canada – it can still be a minefield to buyers if they don’t know how it works. To get an idea of what you need, it’s crucial that you do your homework on mortgages. Knowledge is power, and with the right research you will have the best chance of living happily ever after. Here we look at the first steps you need to take ahead of taking out a mortgage.

What can you afford?

It may seem obvious, but with the many houses that will be on the market understanding your limits is key. Properties can make you fall in love at first sight, but know what’s too high. Statistics for June 2011 showed that one in every 583 homes was in the midst of active foreclosure proceedings. With this in mind, speak to smaller lenders and brokers as well as the big banks to see what you are capable of borrowing.

How does the market look?

As commitments go, there aren’t many more worrying than taking out a mortgage. With the possibility for borrowing far more money than your actual salary, whether you’re on a fixed or variable rate there’s a gamble within a mortgage. So, with this in mind, make sure you get expert, impartial advice through your research. People tend to search for rates these days online. Banks are there to be bargained with, they wouldn’t make so much money if this wasn’t true, so don’t just take the first offer on the table.

Lenders: How do they work?

Getting a lender to give you the seal of approval is the most important part of taking out a mortgage, so you need to know what sways their decisions. What happens is that your credit report and application form will be valued and a decision will be made based upon those things. Each lender uses different calculations, and the mortgages are of course different so acceptance can vary. The thing of most importance is your credit health-check.

How to check your credit health

Your credit report is of paramount importance and everything from credit cards, loans and existing mortgages will be taken into consideration. Any other credit will also be looked at along with your repayment history and this is what lenders will use to assess your application. If you have a clean track record of timely repayments, you’ll be held in good stead. Get a check from more than one place and be sure to clear up any inaccuracies that you feel there are within the reports.

Know what mortgage you need

Just like researching the market, knowing what you want and how it will be set out is also important. With this in mind, don’t be scared to ask a lot of questions to get the detailed information you are after. Just be sure that you don’t actually enter the application process because this will work against your actual submission. Remember that putting a bigger down payment on your home, you will be in a better position to find the top rates no matter what mortgage you’re looking into.


As you can see, there are a number of steps that you need to take when considering your mortgage and how to find it. Applications for mortgages have shot up to a three-year high according to reports, and it’s certainly a time to be considering taking one out. Follow all these steps and you’ll be well on the way to getting the best mortgage for your needs.

Save for something that makes you happy

This is a guest post from Money Supermarket:

Many people have the goal of saving enough money so that they can enjoy themselves when they retire. This is certainly a worthy goal to have, but it also means that there are a lot of people who are missing out on the joys of life in the here and now.

People often spend their whole lives pinching pennies and saving for the future when that future may not look all that bright. A growing number of people are now realizing that while saving for the future is a good idea, it is certainly just as important to enjoy yourself now while you can. Some are now looking at financial products to help them plan those shorter-term goals that make them happy.

Planning a vacation is a great way for someone to spend enjoyable hours thinking about the upcoming getaway. Going on a holiday allows you to break the monotony of everyday life and come back relaxed and rejuvenated.

Regular vacations add interest and enjoyment to life. It is possible to experience other parts of the world and enjoy the diverse cultures that make up this planet, but what makes one person happy is different from what makes another person happy.

Saving money for goals is all about aiming for something that will bring you joy. There is no point in saving for something that someone else may want for you when you think it’s a waste of money. In order to get value from saving for something, it must truly be something you want. Saving for a new car is great for someone who loves driving and will truly benefit from this, but not so great for someone who only gets a new car to impress his friends.

Enjoyable goals that are worth saving for bring a bounce to the step and a smile to the face. If you do not have a good idea what makes you happy, just think of things you have done in the past that you have really enjoyed. It may be fun to do this again or buy items that allow you to experience the happy experience again.

A good goal is going to be something that you look forward to when it happens and makes you feel excited and alive. Saving for this kind of goal is easy because it involves the pleasure principle. It is far easier to save for something that brings true pleasure than something that is not what you really want.