Weekly Roundup – Week of August 23th

weekly roundup blog carnival

My Personal Finance Journey Homepage

Good Friday morning everyone! I hope you all have had a great week.
Shown below are the articles from My Personal Finance Journey that were selected to participate in blog carnivals throughout this past week.

Also, listed below are some of the articles throughout the blogosphere that I have read and/or commented on throughout this past week. Enjoy!
Let me know if I missed any good articles by commenting below!

Did you like this article? You can get the complete text of all the latest articles at My Personal Finance Journey in your email inbox each evening by clicking the link below and entering your email address. Your address will only be used for mailing you the articles, and each one will include a link so you can unsubscribe at any time.

Subscribe to My Personal Finance Journey via Email

*Photo courtesy of Maamcrossmart

Creating A Will and Testament And Interesting Bequests From The Past

will testament saving money frugal living financial planning estate planning cost of raising a child children and money

My Personal Finance Journey Homepage

For a while now, the creation of a personal last will and testament has been on my “to-do” list. 
This was after reading several recommendations in the general personal finance books I frequently use as reference material (Personal Finance For Dummieswill testament saving money frugal living financial planning estate planning cost of raising a child children and money by Eric Tyson and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Personal Finance in Your 20′s and 30′swill testament saving money frugal living financial planning estate planning cost of raising a child children and money  by Sarah Fisher).
Despite these recommendations to have a will, I had been putting off the exercise of will creation because I didn’t think I was adequately armed with the proper knowledge to know what to put in the document. Ideally, I was meaning to read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wills and Estates first).
However, several days ago, I came across the website below, which offered free templates for creating your own will. Needless to say, creating a will this way isn’t ideal, as it would be much better to have your will reviewed and prepared by an attorney. However, I figure that this is definitely better than nothing.will testament saving money frugal living financial planning estate planning cost of raising a child children and money

Note: The website above is also a great source for templates of other legal documents – ranging from real estate forms, rental contracts, patents, and franchise documents. Check it out by clicking on the link above!
So, I simply clicked on the website, chose the correct will template that suits my situation (not married with no kids), and filled out the required fields. It was fairly easy!
Special Bequests

As I was filling out the fields on the will template, one of the sections caught my eye in particular – it was the section regarding what is known as bequests.
For the uninitiated, a bequest in a will is essentially a specific direction from you, the willer, for how/what a portion of your assets should be used for.
This bequest section reminded me of some gossip I heard while living in Philadelphia this year about a special bequest from Benjamin Franklin to demonstrate the power of compounding interest. After searching around on the internet, I found that Ben Franklin’s bequest, as described by the gossip, is indeed true, and is described well by Ben Franklin’s biography of Wikipedia.

An excerpt from the Wikipedia article is shown below.

Franklin bequeathed $55,000 in 2010 Dollars to each to the cities of Boston and Philadelphia, in trust to gather interest for 200 years. As of 1990, more than $2,000,000 had accumulated in Franklin’s Philadelphia trust, which had loaned the money to local residents. When the trust came due, Philadelphia decided to spend it on scholarships for local high school students. Franklin’s Boston trust fund accumulated almost $5,000,000 during that same time; at the end of its first 100 years a portion was allocated to help establish a trade school that became the Franklin Institute of Boston and the whole fund was later dedicated to supporting this institute.

Similarly, I found another example of an interesting bequest while scouring the internet. According to The Cross Roads Fund, in 1867, Benjamin Hicks left $20,000 to the American Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, with the stipulation that the interest could be used for the Society, and the principal remain intact.

How about you all? How did you go about creating a will? Did you place any interesting bequests in it?


Are you aware of any other “famous” or “unique” bequests through history? 

Did you like this article? You can get the complete text of all the latest articles at My Personal Finance Journey in your email inbox each evening by clicking the link below and entering your email address. Your address will only be used for mailing you the articles, and each one will include a link so you can unsubscribe at any time.

Subscribe to My Personal Finance Journey via Email

Do Cheap, Generic Batteries Make Financial Sense?

saving money green living frugal living batteries

My Personal Finance Journey Homepage

In a previous post, we were able to uncover that buying rechargeable batteries does make both 1) environmental and 2) economic sense. Another logical question also on the topic of batteries involves whether or not buying generic batteries makes economic sense.

Several years ago, I made the mistake of buying a 30 pack of generic AA batteries from an Oops Outlet Store. When I got home and started installing the batteries in to my various household appliances, I found that the electronic devices only lasted about 2 days with the charge that the generic batteries contained. 
Generic batteries are very tempting to buy since they are often several levels of magnitude cheaper than the name brand Energizersaving money green living frugal living batteries and Duracellsaving money green living frugal living batteries batteries.

However, even with them being cheaper, do you actually come out ahead in the long run financially by “biting the bullet” and buying the more expensive batteries from the beginning? 

This analysis will be the subject of today’s post.
Background and Approach to the Analysis


Yesterday, when I started researching this topic, I was very excited because I was expecting to be able to 1) obtain pricing information on Amazon.com, 2) look at the technical spec sheets of each battery, 3) compare the capacity of each battery, and 4) arrive at a conclusion about which battery is most worth the money.

However, due to differences in the fundamental construction of each battery, I soon realized that I would have to conduct a physical experiment to drain the batteries and test how much capacity they contain.

While it would be very fun to conduct this experiment, since this is a finance blog (and not a engineering blog), I’m going to use the finance-approach and piggy back off already existing information.


Experimental Setup



After doing some searching online, I stumbled upon the experiment at the link below conducted to determine if generic batteries give you more Amp-Hours (let’s just call it “total power”, in Lehman’s terms) per Dollar cost.

In the experiment, a machine is hooked up to 6 different branded AA, 1.5V batteries (one at a time), a 0.5Amp current is drawn from them, and the time (in hours) at which the battery no longer functions is recorded.

The current drawn (0.5Amps) is then multiplied by the time recorded to obtain the common unit of Amp-hours.

Experimental Results

The results from the study above are shown below and ranked from #1-#4 in the order of yielding the lowest cost per Amp-hours of “power.”

  • #1 Thunderbolt Magnum: 
    • The cost is $5.99 for 26.4Ah = $0.2269 per 1Ah
    • $5.99 ÷ (24 x 1.10Ah) = $0.2269 for 1Ah

    • #2 Duracell CopperTop: 
      • The cost is $10.39 for 26.24Ah = $0.3960 per 1Ah
      • $10.39 ÷ (16 x 1.64Ah) = $0.3960 for 1Ah

      • #3 Rayovac: 
        • The cost is $5.99 for 13.68Ah = $0.4379 per 1Ah
        • $5.99 ÷ (12 x 1.14Ah) = $0.4379 for 1Ah

        • #4 Energizer: 
          • The cost is $7.49 for 16.64Ah= $0.4501 per 1Ah
          • $7.49 ÷ (10 x 1.66Ah) = $0.4501 for 1Ah

        As you can see the results above, the best deal as far as getting the most “power” for your money is in fact, a generic battery. 
        However, I feel these results proves not that generic batteries in general are a better deal than name-brand batteries, but that only 1 type of generic battery, Thunderbolt Magnums, are definitely a better. 
        Evidence for this conclusion can be seen in the fact that of the 6 batteries tested, only the Thunderbolt Magnum batteries are the only generic battery that made it in to the top 4 (I do not consider Rayovac to be generic since they are priced so closely to Energizer and Duracell.
        Key Takeaways
        For me, I will take-away the following actions items from these results.
        • Continue to avoid buying generic batteries, in general, because they do not yield as high of capacity per Dollar spent than name brand (Energizer and Duracell batteries)
        • I will purchase some Thunderbolt Magnum Batteries @ HarborFreight.com (only $4.99 for 24 batteries) to see if they work as well the study claims.
        • Currently, I am in the habit of buying Energizer batteries over Duracell, because I have thought that they performed better. However, the results of this experiment prove that Duracell are in fact a better value and give you more output.

        How about you all? Do you all use generic or name-brand batteries? Have you found any generic batteries that work well and you enjoy using?


        Share your experiences by commenting below!

        Did you like this article? You can get the complete text of all the latest articles at My Personal Finance Journey in your email inbox each evening by clicking the link below and entering your email address. Your address will only be used for mailing you the articles, and each one will include a link so you can unsubscribe at any time.

        Subscribe to My Personal Finance Journey via Email

        Related articles about generic batteries and their financial viability at several of my favorite personal finance blogs:
        Wallet Pop – 10 Products to Always Buy Generic

        Can Graduate Students With An Assistantship Participate in the University 401K Plan?

        saving money retirement public universities private universities graduate school 401ks

        My Personal Finance Journey Homepage

        As most of you know, I am planning to return to graduate school this fall to get my PhD in Engineering.
        I am very lucky because in the field I have chosen to study, it is fairly standard for all full-time graduate students to… 
        • Have their tuition fully paid for 
        • Receive a small salary through what’s called an “assistantship” 
        • And also have health insurance paid for.
        Recently, I began to ponder something – if we are receiving some employee benefits from the university, would it be possible for me to participate in the university’s 401k and pension benefits?
        Now, let’s get real. Since my income is going to be 67% lower than what it was in my previous job, I will not be able to contribute much money in to a 401k account. This is especially true since it is more efficient to first contribute to an IRA up to the maximum limit, according to the account hierarchy as discussed previously.
        After searching around online briefly, I could not really find any cases of people having found out that they could or could not participate in the university’s 401k program as a graduate assistant. 
        I suppose I am probably the only one nerdy enough to think this far in to financial things. The main thing I found were people wondering whether or not they should tap in to the old employer’s 401k account to pay for the tuition of higher education. Fortunately, I do not have to worry about this dilemma.
        After being turned down by my Google search, I sent an email to the person in charge of wages for engineering graduate students at my university, and her response was as shown below: 
        “Not as a student wage employee. Pension benefits are extended to the University Classified Staff, Faculty, House-staff, Medical Center, Professional Research Staff, And University Staff.” 

        So, the answer was a resounding “no.” But hey, it can never hurt to ask!



        How about you all? Do you know if the rule for graduate students participating in 401k and pension programs is different at other schools?


        Share your experiences by commenting below!

        Did you like this article? You can get the complete text of all the latest articles at My Personal Finance Journey in your email inbox each evening by clicking the link below and entering your email address. Your address will only be used for mailing you the articles, and each one will include a link so you can unsubscribe at any time.

        Subscribe to My Personal Finance Journey via Email

        Related articles about graduate students’ 401k contributions at several of my favorite personal finance blogs:
        CashMoneyLife – Considerations for When It May Not Be Appropriate to Contribute to a 401K

        All-Star Reader Showcase: A Great Example of How To Use My Personal Finance Journey

        site milestones reader showcase help a reader

        My Personal Finance Journey Homepage

        Recently, one of My Personal Finance Journey’s readers sent me a message to thank me for helping him to make the decision to sign up for a Roth IRA, as a result of reading the following previous posts about IRAs on this blog.

        Upon asking him what his next steps were, he mentioned that now that he  had decided to open up a Roth IRA, he would go to talk to an investment professional that gives him guidance about what to do with his money at a local bank branch.
        He would work out the exact details of investment instruments and the broker with which he would open his IRA with the investment professional.
        I wanted to highlight that this is EXACTLY the way that My Personal Finance Journey should be used.  As the disclaimer in the left sidebar of the website says, I am not an investment professional.
        The purpose of this site to is to circulate some ideas with you. Upon reading these ideas, they can then be researched further to find out if they fit your specific financial situation.
        That’s our reader all-star showcase for this evening! Thanks for tuning in! 

        How about you all? How do you use the site?


        If you ever see a good article on my blog that helps you to make a decision or steers you in the right direction, please let me know. I love hearing from readers.


        Also, don’t forget to give me some feedback (using the feedback form) about how I can tweak the site to better meet your needs.

        Did you like this article? You can get the complete text of all the latest articles at My Personal Finance Journey in your email inbox each evening by clicking the link below and entering your email address. Your address will only be used for mailing you the articles, and each one will include a link so you can unsubscribe at any time.

        Subscribe to My Personal Finance Journey via Email