The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Christmas Decorating Edition

This year, I’m learning about the trials and challenges of attempting to decorate a house for Christmas with a toddler running around. Hang your ornaments high. Make the plug-ins as inaccessible as you can. Do NOT make anything edible low enough for him to reach (bye bye popcorn strands – bye bye candy canes). We’re half-scared to put presents under the tree because they’ll be opened when we aren’t looking. Toddlers are whirling dervishes.

Anyway, here’s the best personal finance stuff I’ve seen come across my browser window lately.

In the Spotlight, Ready for Its Close Up I’ve often talked about the financial benefits of living in Iowa, but many pooh-pooh living in Iowa because of the supposed lack of culture. The New York Times is now talking about Iowa as a travel destination because of the interesting night life, particularly in Des Moines’ East Village. Yes, Iowa is both frugal and a hip place to be. (@ nytimes via bankergirl)

Money Saving Tip: PriceProtectr This post introduced me to the wonderful PriceProtectr service, which I’ve signed up for. Lots of stores offer a price match guarantee – this site lets you just enter the product you purchased and what you paid, then alerts you if someone offers a better deal in your timeframe. Sweet. (@ gather little by little)

The Lies That (Some) Financial Advisors Tell It’s amazing how much financial “advice” is perfectly tuned to maximize the wallet size of the broker. Whenever you’re getting dinged on commissions, you’re losing money that you should be earning in returns. (@ five cent nickel)

A Collection of Money Tips for the Holidays My favorite holiday money tip? Develop a separate Christmas budget, then contribute enough to a savings account so that you have that amount when Christmas comes. (@ the digerati life)

The Simple Dollar Retro: How Much Cash Is Appropriate To Carry? How much money do you feel appropriate carrying? It’s a balance of potential emergency need and risk of loss or robbery for me, but what’s that dollar amount that balances these two counteracting forces?

Lessons From My Job Hunting Expedition This really is great advice for people seeking a job – a lot of good material here that happens to overlap with next week’s portion of the book club. (@ money, matter, and more musings)

The Cinnamon Bear: An Annual Holiday Tradition This is a fantastic frugal way to celebrate Christmas. I’ve saved this to my own computer so we can listen to it in future years at home. (@ get rich slowly)

Is Software Development Slowly Killing Me? This is a textbook example of someone really evaluating their career choices and coming to some potentially painful conclusions. (@ lazy man and money)

Invest In Yourself By Learning Things of Value I agree wholeheartedly, and the Guitar Hero analogy is spot on. (@ mighty bargain hunter)

The Simple Dollar Retro: Now That Aquafina Is Actually Labeled As Tap Water, Maybe We Can Look For Another Solution To The Bottled Water Issue I titled it to draw attention, but it’s about an important point: why are we buying water as a premium product when it’s a commodity?