Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

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Click here to enter my free $74.52 giveaway for a chance to win 5% of My Personal Finance Journey blog income and give another 5% to a charity of your choosing! Deadline to enter is December 31st, 2011.

Each week (even though I missed the past two weeks! – Oops!), the purpose of the Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup series is the same – for me to be able to connect with you, the readers, on a more personal (non personal finance informational transmission only) level, encourage community, and also to give back to the other bloggers around the blogosphere who have mentioned My Personal Finance Journey throughout the past week.

As far as the theme goes, the title of the roundup gives it away. The roundup theme is named after the Lionel Richie song, Easy Like Sunday Morning (which I play once a week while putting this together), to remind us of the importance of slowing down at least once a week to take appreciation for that which transpired over the past few days.

So, without further ado, let’s get started with this week’s roundup!

Weekly Updates from Jacob’s Personal Finance Journey and Life 

  • As far as my life in general, since Thanksgiving, time has seemed to fly by at warp speed (please excuse the Star Trek analogy). 
    • It seems like it was just yesterday that I was taking my Mom to the airport after she visited for Thanksgiving. And now, I am trying to finish up my last set of experiments before leaving next Friday to go home to Arkansas for Christmas. I am definitely looking forward to having some time back where I grew up. 
    • So far this December, the weather has been strangely warm. As such, I’ve been taking advantage of the mild weather to get some good long runs in. Several weeks ago, I decided that I’m going to attempt my first ever FULL marathon in March of 2012. I’m planning to start small with a new flat trail marathon race located just an hour East of where I live that has only been going on for one year. So, if I do terribly, I won’t be too embarrassed in front of thousands of people.
    • Generally, I like to try to get in a ski trip to Snowshoe, West Virginia in December before I leave for the winter break. However, the warm weather this year has delayed the snow-blowers from making large amounts of snow, causing only about 20% of the ski trails to be open so far. Because of this, I haven’t yet gone skiing, but maybe today, I’ll head over!
    • Aside from running and itching to get out on the ski slopes, I have been staying busy attending the various Christmas/holiday parties hosted by various friends and groups I’m associated with. 
      • Below is a picture taken at a recent Young Professionals Hollywood Christmas party. They had all sorts of fun wigs and props that people could dress up in, so I decided to slap on the Michael Jackson gloves and Mit Jager hair! haha Enjoy!
  • As far as my personal finances go, there have been two primary occurrences since the last roundup.  These are discussed below:
    • First, as mentioned in the last roundup, I had decided to open a self employed individual 401(k) account as a way to shelter some of my self-employed income from 2011 from the tax man. 
      • Shortly after the last roundup, I was able to successfully open and fund a Vanguard Individual 401(k). It felt great to get this done before we got too close to the holidays!
      • Because Vanguard requires a $3,000 minimum to purchase most any of their index mutual funds, I had to do some major reshuffling of my tax savings, December home loan payment, and December day-job income to free up these extra funds.
      • However, things should return to normal once January rolls around. However, I will need to figure out my strategy for how I’ll contribute to my individual 401(k) account in 2012, since I now have more options for where I can invest any excess funds I have (home loan, Roth IRA, and now, a self-employed 401(k)).
    • Second, in the past few weeks since Thanksgiving, (like many people) I have devoted a moderate amount of funds to buying Christmas presents for my family and friends. 
      • I didn’t buy anything overly extravagant and stayed well within budget, but the purchases definitely add up. 
      • As such, I think It’s important to remember around this time of year that only gifts that one can afford should be purchased. You’re under no obligation to give expensive gifts, so you should never go in to credit card debt simply over buying people presents. 
weekly roundup self employed retirement accounts retirement holidays gift ideas easy like sunday morning roundup christmas
My girlfriend and I at the Young Professionals Hollywood Xmas Party Last Week. We’re having some fun dressing up with the props at the photo-booth at the party! Don’t I look good as a blonde?

My Favorite 10 Posts of the Past Week

I read quite a few interesting posts throughout the madness that sometimes is the work week. Listed below were 10 of my favorites, listed in random order. Enjoy!

1.       Yes I Am Cheap posted about Tips for Choosing How to Tackle Your Debt and discussed debt consolidation and bankruptcy declaration as ways to seek debt relief. She also mentioned some things to consider when undertaking a debt management plan.
2.       Cash Money Life posted about Have a (Mostly) Free Christmas and suggested different creative ways to reduce Christmas expenses or spend nothing at all.
3.       Money Crashers posted about What Is Layaway? – Pros & Cons and Stores That Offer Layaway and defined what a layaway plan is and listed its advantages and disadvantages.
4.       Budgeting in the Fun Stuff posted about How to Save Money on a Road Trip and enumerated some general tips on how to save money on a road trip adventure.
5.       Budgets Are Sexy posted about 4 Reasons to Get a Prenup! and gave some scenarios when a prenup would be beneficial. Also, Kevin provides a lovely video where he dresses up as his own wife! haha It’s definitely worth a look. 
6.       Frugal Dad posted about The Four Phases of Frugality and realized that his frugality went through very distinct phases and made a list of them.
7.       Financial Highway posted about Avoid Debt This Holiday Season and listed different ways to avoid debt this holiday season.
8.       Smart Passive Income posted about 10 Creative Ways to “Level-Up” Your Presence on Facebook and detailed ten creative ways to supercharge your presence on Facebook so that more people will get involved with your brand. At the same time, you can also stay more connected with your readers and customers, get more traffic coming to your site, and make Facebook an essential part of your campaign.
9.       The Wisdom Journal posted about How to Build a Passive Divider and listed easy steps for how to build a passive dividend portfolio, purchase quality dividend stocks, investing on auto-pilot, reinvesting dividends, and buying more shares.
10.   20 Something Finance posted about 25 Awful Things that Still Beat Shopping on Black Friday and gave 25 different ways to spend Black Friday other than shopping and get brawled to while trying to get the discounted item you love. 

If you’re interested in submitting an article for consideration/inclusion to this roundup, just email me by clicking here. Since I’m only 1 guy without a time-machine to give me unlimited time each day, sometimes I miss some really good articles in the blogosphere, and it’s good to be notified of them directly.

Guest Posts from Personal Finance Bloggers on My Personal Finance Journey

Over the past week, there was one guest post here at My Personal Finance Journey.


Rob Berger, founder of Dough Roller, posted about, “How to Ignore Market Volatility” Thanks so much Rob for the post! It was great to hear the strategies you use to keep the market ups and downs from adversely affecting your investing strategy. 

If you would like to guest post on my site, please click here to read more details about how to kick off the guest posting process. I’d love to hear from you!

Blasts From the Past

For the first 6 months after I started this blog, I pretty much “blogged in a cave.” What I mean by this is that I cranked out over 200 very good blog articles in this time period, but since I didn’t know any better, I didn’t reach out to other bloggers, get involved with the online community through commenting on other sites, or do any kind of site promotion at all. As you can imagine, some of the articles written during this time period didn’t get the attention that I think they deserved corresponding to the content contained.

The Blast from the Past section will feature one old My Personal Finance Journey article each week that I feel is high quality, but was published prior to my blog having any sort of real readership. This week’s article is listed below:

Beer – Bottled vs. Canned, Wine – Corks vs. Screw-Top – Which Are Better? – This post analyzes the somewhat controversial topic of whether or not the taste/quality of beer and wine is better when it is bottled vs. canned or packaged with a cork vs. a screw top, respectively. In an effort to seek an answer to these outstanding questions, I examine some of the research and studies that are available. Take a peek at this article – the answers might surprise you!

Personal Finance “Mad Props” of the Week Award

Every once in a while, when I’m reading an article or site in the personal finance blogosphere, I’ll be so impressed in hearing about what a person did or wrote about, that all I can say to myself is WOW! This section of the roundup will serve as a running “home” for recognizing outstanding achievement.

Unfortunately, I didn’t come across any candidates for this honor during the past week. 

If you know of someone in the PF blogging world that is really doing amazing things, feel free to send me an email for consideration in future roundups.

Giveaways

Listed below are the giveaways I’ve come across in my journey through the personal finance blogosphere this week (along with the links so that you can head over and enter!). It’s great to see everyone giving back to their readers through these promotions. 

If you’re hosting a giveaway and it’s not listed above, please send me an email to let me know, and I’ll get it included in next week’s roundup!

Blog Carnivals Featuring My Personal Finance Journey Articles

If you are hosting a carnival that includes (or included) My Personal Finance Journey and I missed listing it here (I don’t get trackbacks since I’m not on WordPress, so I have to rely on direct email and Google Alert notifications), please email me so I can include it in my roundup. Thanks!

Top 10 Referring Sites to My Personal Finance Journey This Past Week

Best Reader Submitted Question From the Past Week

This section will serve as a running location for any very insightful, high quality questions submitted by readers throughout the week.
There were no questions submitted this week. However, if you are wondering something about personal finance, please feel free to email me and ask!

My Other Sites

Currently, my only other site besides this one is The Carnival of Passive Investing, which runs monthly editions. If you have any passive investing posts you’ve written recently, you can submit them to be included in the carnival.

However, I have several other domain names purchased, and I am currently learning WordPress Self-Hosted to get these sites live as soon as time allows! I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on progress.

Well, that wraps up this week! If you have any suggestions or recommendations for things you’d like to see in this weekly roundup, just let me know by sending me an email!

As always, thanks to all the readers for creating such a great community here at My Personal Finance Journey. Your interaction is what keeps me going on this blog!

Until next time – Jacob

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