Friday, October 8, 2010

Welcome to the Inaugural Edition of the Frugal Feast Carnival--A Day in the Frugal Life

Our first entry comes from Ditch the Boss at Financial Independence: First step towards financial freedom – create your personal financial statement. He/She adds: "The first step is always the hardest. For whatever reason you have decided to take control of your finances in order to achieve financial freedom. That is a good start. The very first action you need to take is to understand your current financial situation in order to devise a plan of action to achieve your financial dreams. The following steps show you how to create your personal financial statement which will give you an accurate picture of where you are with your personal finances."

This is true--everyone needs a starting point, and this is why I chose to start with this entry. If you don't know where you are, you'll never know where you've been, or where you're going. Those who don't know (financial) history are doomed to repeat it.

Part of finding out where you are financially is getting copies of your credit report and FICO score--Praveen at My Simple Trading System knows where to get free credit reports and FICO scores.

If your reports need some improvement, Jeff at Smart Balance Transfers is your guy--he's got a quick tip to improve your credit score. I've also got one courtesy of Clark Howard: pay your credit cards off WEEKLY. This is the fastest way to raise your credit score, and takes as little as 30 days to happen--I've tried it personally, and it works. How many unemployed housewives do you know with a credit score in the 800's?

Now that you have an idea of where you are financially, or how to improve how you look on paper to a lender, let's venture into the grocery store and learn about using coupons (a thing I personally dread, but you might find useful) and saving money.

Me in Millions sends us Coupon-ing Start and says: "I talk about how I got my start couponing and finding deals." While we're at the grocery store, Silicon Valley Blogger at The Digerati Life tells us how to save money on food and groceries.

While you're wandering around the grocery store, you might be thinking about dinner and date night, and Leave Dent Behind has some tips on how to create a cheap date without looking like a cheapskate.

Now that we're done shopping and home again, you might be thinking about energy-efficient cooking for that food, and Quips, Travails, and Braised Oxtails has the scoop for you: "How to make the most frugal use of energy in your kitchen."

Okay--we've heated our food, and now it's time to heat our home. Fire Finance (no pun intended) has 12 tips to lower your heating bill.

Our belly is full, the house is warm and cozy, we can begin thinking about the future. What comes immediately to mind is Debt Kid telling us BUCKLE UP--THE HOLIDAYS ARE NEARLY HERE! Knowing this, we move over to the computer, get online, and discover that Marvin of Money-Rates knows 9 things your banker isn't telling you. His message: "Here's nine ways to make your banking experience a lot cheaper -- that your banker might conveniently forget to tell you."

Now that we know what our banker isn't telling us, we start noodling around with retirement calculators and decide it's all too much--we need a vacation. Erica from Tales From the Tracks shares 5 ways to save money on vacations, and Katie from Tripbase is hoarding the ultimate hotel booking guide: 62 tips that will save you money.

In true frugal spirit, we sleep on it before booking anything, and we look forward to the next Frugal Feast on November 10. Bring cutlery and a covered dish!


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