Welcome to the 311th Carnival of Personal Finance: the Filboid Studge Edition!
I’ve picked one of my favourite short stories, with its themes of money, shopping and human nature, for this week’s carnival. You can find more about the author at the end of the post.
FILBOID STUDGE, THE STORY OF A MOUSE THAT HELPED
“I want to marry your daughter,” said Mark Spayley with faltering eagerness. “I am only an artist with an income of two hundred a year, and she is the daughter of an enormously wealthy man, so I suppose you will think my offer a piece of presumption.”
Duncan Dullamy, the great company inflator, showed no outward sign of displeasure. As a matter of fact, he was secretly relieved at the prospect of finding even a two-hundred-a-year husband for his daughter Leonore. A crisis was rapidly rushing upon him, from which he knew he would emerge with neither money nor credit; all his recent ventures had fallen flat, and flattest of all had gone the wonderful new breakfast food, Pipenta, on the advertisement of which he had sunk such huge sums. It could scarcely be called a drug in the market; people bought drugs, but no one bought Pipenta.
“Would you marry Leonore if she were a poor man’s daughter?” asked the man of phantom wealth.
“Yes,” said Mark, wisely avoiding the error of over-protestation. And to his astonishment Leonore’s father not only gave his consent, but suggested a fairly early date for the wedding.
Sandy from Yes, I Am Cheap presents My Non Extreme Couponing Shopping Trip. When her refrigerator died, taking almost two weeks’ food with it, it was time to get supermarket savvy… without going overboard. See how she did!
Tom Drake from Canadian Finance Blog presents Future Financial Literacy Is In The Hands Of Parents, looking at the general lack of financial literacy and exploring the ways in which parents can educate their children about money. Less of the “gimme gimmes” and more of the leadership by example…
…And here’s the perfect follow-up! FruGal from TotallyMoney presents Is it better to learn about money the hard way? In this post, an overheard conversation at a coffee shop prompts some difficult questions.
Suba from Wealth Informatics presents Biggest money mistakes. This post is full of lessons. It’s a lengthy and very honest list of financial faux pas, and I’ll bet that every reader can identify with at least one of them.
RJ Weiss from Gen Y Wealth presents 4 Financial Mistakes A Man’s (or Woman’s) Brain is Wired to Make (And How to Avoid Them). RJ provides four examples of financial mistakes. Our brains are hardwired to make them – but we can also avoid them. An intriguing read.
“I wish I could show my gratitude in some way,” said Mark with genuine emotion. “I’m afraid it’s rather like the mouse proposing to help the lion.”
“Get people to buy that beastly muck,” said Dullamy, nodding savagely at a poster of the despised Pipenta, “and you’ll have done more than my agents have been able to accomplish.”
“It wants a better name,” said Mark reflectively, “and something distinctive in the poster line. Anyway, I’ll have a shot at it.”
FRUGALITY & BUDGETING
Nicole from Nicole and Maggie: Grumpy Rumblings presents The experiences vs stuff post. This post looks at the experiences vs. stuff debate, but argues that what we should really be thinking about is marginal (not absolute) utility.
Jim from Bargaineering presents Six Hobbies that Can Make You Money, looking at everything from brewing your own beer to becoming a personal shopper.
Junior Boomer from Consumer Boomer presents Room By Room Guide to Saving on Utility Costs.
ElizabethG from Modern Gal presents Getting Financially Prepared for Summer
Kay Lynn Akers from Bucksome Boomer presents The Two Pillars of Money. She distils personal finance to two fundamental pillars: increase income and decrease spending.
Tushar from Everything Finance presents 5 New ATM Fees: What Consumers Need to Know . This post reminds me why I hated banking in America when we lived out there…
Matthew Paulson from P2P Lending News presents The Bitcoin Economy.
Kim McGrigg from Blogging for Change presents 10 things to do & 10 things not to do, and says, “I’ve talked to consumers, counselors, and financial experts to come up with these top 10 lists of things you should and should not do regarding your finances.”
Sean Smarty from Grow Money presents Smart Money Management Tips – May 2011.
md from Passive Income Now presents Would You Still Work if You Won The Lottery? and asks, “What would you do differently if you won millions?”
Bob from Christian Personal Finance presents BillGuard – A Free Tool To Monitor Your Bills For Errors and Fraud.
Adam from Rabbit Funds presents REVIEW of Travel Sites: Hipmunk, SeatGuru, Kayak and Apple’s Secret iTravel App.
Three weeks later the world was advised of the coming of a new breakfast food, heralded under the resounding name of “Filboid Studge.” Spayley put forth no pictures of massive babies springing up with fungus-like rapidity under its forcing influence, or of representatives of the leading nations of the world scrambling with fatuous eagerness for its possession. One huge sombre poster depicted the Damned in Hell suffering a new torment from their inability to get at the Filboid Studge which elegant young fiends held in transparent bowls just beyond their reach. The scene was rendered even more gruesome by a subtle suggestion of the features of leading men and women of the day in the portrayal of the Lost Souls; prominent individuals of both political parties, Society hostesses, well-known dramatic authors and novelists, and distinguished aeroplanists were dimly recognizable in that doomed throng; noted lights of the musical-comedy stage flickered wanly in the shades of the Inferno, smiling still from force of habit, but with the fearsome smiling rage of baffled effort. The poster bore no fulsome allusions to the merits of the new breakfast food, but a single grim statement ran in bold letters along its base: “They cannot buy it now.”
DEBT & SAVING
David Weliver from Money Under 30 presents When it’s OK to Spend Money. As he explains: “In the personal finance world, we probably spend 98% of our time talking about ways to SAVE more and SPEND less. Sometimes, however, you can actually save too much…”
Jason from Live Real, Now presents Money Problems: Paying Off Debt, looking at some of the time-honoured methods for paying off debt, from snowflakes to snowballs to avalanches.
Justin from Money Is The Root presents Beware of Those Who Bear Gifts, and says, “Beware of snake oil medicine men and their false promises.” I’ve classified this one under “Debt”; if you view the YouTube video linked to in this post, you’ll see why!
Paula from AffordAnything.org presents Marry a Stranger to Save $50,000 in Tuition? Would you marry a stranger to save $50,000 or more in college tuition? These people did …
FMF from Free Money Finance presents Retirement tips from an early retiree, with the keys to becoming wealthy -from a man who’s been successful accumulating wealth. The comments on this post are also worth a look, with some interesting points made.
IS from Intelligent Speculator presents Making Your First 100K Is By Far The Most Difficult, a post that looks at the challenges of building a six-figure portfolio.
Ryan from The Financial Student presents Paper Savings Bonds Are Lame, and says, “Paper savings bonds are out. The US Government lets you covert paper bonds to electronic versions for safekeeping. “
md from Studenomics presents Do I Have to Save Money in My 20s?
Big Cajun Man from THE Canadian Personal Finance Blog presents One Thing to Do Before You Retire. Can you guess what it is?
No Debt MBA from No Debt MBA presents Saving for your MBA (or other graduate degree), with tips on how to save for a professional or other graduate degree.”
Matt Bell from Matt About Money presents Tapping Into the Odd and Powerful Force of Momentum, drawing upon Newtonian laws of physics in the pursuit of financial goals.
Jeri Ford from Help Me Travel Cheap presents A Homemade Southwest Lowest Rate Guarantee | How to Save Over $500, looking at how Southwest Airlines (a U.S. domestic carrier) gives you the opportunity to create your own lowest rate guarantee.
Mike Piper from Oblivious Investor presents Vanguard Wellington: Is It a Good Fund?
Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents presents How to Determine Your Income Needs For Retirement Planning, looking at some of the different factors to consider when you’re trying to figure out what your retirement income needs are going to be.
Sustainable PF from Sustainable Personal Finance presents Sustainability Tip #139: Waste Not, Want Not #1 – Clothes, pointing out that making your own clothes can save you money.
Spayley had grasped the fact that people will do things from a sense of duty which they would never attempt as a pleasure. There are thousands of respectable middle-class men who, if you found them unexpectedly in a Turkish bath, would explain in all sincerity that a doctor had ordered them to take Turkish baths; if you told them in return that you went there because you liked it, they would stare in pained wonder at the frivolity of your motive. In the same way, whenever a massacre of Armenians is reported from Asia Minor, every one assumes that it has been carried out “under orders” from somewhere or another; no one seems to think that there are people who might like to kill their neighbours now and then.
And so it was with the new breakfast food. No one would have eaten Filboid Studge as a pleasure, but the grim austerity of its advertisement drove housewives in shoals to the grocers’ shops to clamour for an immediate supply. In small kitchens solemn pig-tailed daughters helped depressed mothers to perform the primitive ritual of its preparation. On the breakfast-tables of cheerless parlours it was partaken of in silence. Once the womenfolk discovered that it was thoroughly unpalatable, their zeal in forcing it on their households knew no bounds. “You haven’t eaten your Filboid Studge!” would be screamed at the appetiteless clerk as he turned weariedly from the breakfast-table, and his evening meal would be prefaced by a warmed-up mess which would be explained as “your Filboid Studge that you didn’t eat this morning.” Those strange fanatics who ostentatiously mortify themselves, inwardly and outwardly, with health biscuits and health garments, battened aggressively on the new food. Earnest spectacled young men devoured it on the steps of the National Liberal Club. A bishop who did not believe in a future state preached against the poster, and a peer’s daughter died from eating too much of the compound. A further advertisement was obtained when an infantry regiment mutinied and shot its officers rather than eat the nauseous mess; fortunately, Lord Birrell of Blatherstone, who was War Minister at the moment, saved the situation by his happy epigram, that “Discipline to be effective must be optional.”
REAL ESTATE & CAREERS
Darwin from Darwin’s Money presents 7 Things Your Pool Contractor Won’t Tell You. This is essential reading for anyone who is considering having a pool installed: there are plenty of tips and tricks to beware of.
Money Thinker from Money Thinking presents Will Unemployment Ever Go Back Down? In this post, Money Thinker examines some of the reasons for the current high levels of unemployment, and looks for answers.
Madison from My Dollar Plan presents 16 Ways to Lower Your Housing Costs: some useful insights here.
Jason from One Money Design presents Home Inspection Tips for Buyers. This is aimed at an American readership, but home inspections are an important part of the home buying process here too.
Lahesha Williams from Career Help for Christians presents How to Approach Friends of Friends for Job Opportunities, a post with a focus upon networking and new opportunities.
Echo from Boomer & Echo presents 4 Hidden Costs When Buying And Selling Your House.
Jake Evans from Go Be Rich presents A World Without Money, looking to hyperinflation in 1920s Germany as an example.
Filboid Studge had become a household word, but Dullamy wisely realized that it was not necessarily the last word in breakfast dietary; its supremacy would be challenged as soon as some yet more unpalatable food should be put on the market. There might even be a reaction in favour of something tasty and appetizing, and the Puritan austerity of the moment might be banished from domestic cookery. At an opportune moment, therefore, he sold out his interests in the article which had brought him in colossal wealth at a critical juncture, and placed his financial reputation beyond the reach of cavil. As for Leonore, who was now an heiress on a far greater scale than ever before, he naturally found her something a vast deal higher in the husband market than a two-hundred-a-year poster designer. Mark Spayley, the brainmouse who had helped the financial lion with such untoward effect, was left to curse the day he produced the wonder-working poster.
“After all,” said Clovis, meeting him shortly afterwards at his club, “you have this doubtful consolation, that ’tis not in mortals to countermand success.”
INVESTING, TAXES & CREDIT
Dividend Growth Investor from Dividend Growth Investor presents How to live off dividends in retirement, noting: “The goal of every dividend investor is to generate enough in distributions every year that cover their basic expenses. “
Nathan from ComplexSearch presents Credit Score Range in 2011, looking at the factors for good credit scores and how these are weighted.
Mike from The Dividend Guy Blog presents Why Do We Think We Are So Good As Investors.
Craig Ford from Money Help for Christians presents The Absolute Importance of Asset Allocation, looking at the importance of asset allocation within your overall investing strategy.
Justin Bouchard from My University Money presents Asset Classes, with a brief “big picture” look at the different ways the majority of people invest their money.
Kim from CardHub.com presents Worst Credit Cards on the Market – May 2011.
In a similar vein, Grace from CreditDonkey presents 6 Common Balance Transfer Mistakes to Avoid.
Mike from The Financial Blogger presents Why Our Online Business Model Is Safer Than The Stock Market, and says, “We share what makes our business such a great opportunity.”
Chris Holdheide from Stumble Forward presents Buying Juvenile Life Insurance For Your Child, a look at a well-known company charging relatively high rates for life insurance for your child.
Mike from Do Not Wait presents Debt Management Solutions Series, with a focus upon the benefits of using credit cards – while making it clear that this only works if you pay your balance in full every month.
Kyle Berks from Integrated Loans presents Qualifying for Personal Loans after Bankruptcy Discharge, and says, “It is not easy to pick up all the pieces after a bankruptcy as well as qualifying for a personal loan, but despite the fact that it may not be easy, it is definitely not out of the question.”
Tom from Stupid Cents presents 401k Withdrawal Rules and 401k Contribution Limits. Ben from Money Smart Life presents Roth 401k vs Traditional 401k. N.W. Journey from Net Worth Journey presents What is a W-4 Form? Ricky from Qwoter presents Best Roth IRA Providers.
Jim Yih from Retire Happy Blog presents Four reasons why you should still take CPP early. This is a post for Canadian readers.
Mike from Green Panda Treehouse presents Should We Retire With Our Spouse? looking at the effect of divorce upon retirement.
Silicon Valley Blogger from The Digerati Life presents Keep Mutual Fund Fees Low To Improve Returns, sharing some tips on how to get more out of your investments.
Dan Ray from Taking Charge presents Newt’s interesting no-interest Tiffany’s loan: an exploration of the Tiffany’s credit card bill and subsequent excuses run up by American politican Newt Gingrich.
Glen Craig from Free From Broke presents The Best Small Business Credit Cards, and says, “If you run a small business, finding the best small business credit card can give you more than a line of credit such as rewards points, expense tracking, airline miles, discounts, and more.”
Wendy Litten, EA from Tax Problem Solver presents Beware the IRS Mistake in Your Favor.
D4L from Dividend Growth Stocks presents My Top And Bottom Performing Dividend Growth Stocks.
Squirrelers from Squirrelers presents The Recency Bias and Investing, and says, “When making investment decisions, many of us tend to pay more attention to the most recent events rather than older events.”
About the author: Hector Hugh Munro, better known as Saki, was born in 1870 in Burma. He began his writing career with political sketches for the Westminster Gazette and then became a foreign correspondent for the Morning Post. His first collection of short stories, Reginald, was published in 1904. Further collections followed: ‘Filboid Studge’ is taken from The Chronicles of Clovis (1911). Saki enlisted as a private in 1914, refused a commission, went to France was killed in 1916 at Beaumont Hamel. If you have a Kindle you can download his collections for free; the old-fashioned versions are also available.