Personal Finance 
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April 2009 Roundup: Finances, Food & Fun

Stack of TextbooksStarting this month I’ll be doing a monthly roundup of some posts I found particular entertaining, interesting, or informative. I won’t inundate you with a list of posts, each one will be carefully selected and given some context.

This month I’ve been doing a lot of food blog reading since I’ve been writing about a variety of cooking topics, like making bread crumbs and pizza crusts, so I found a couple foodie blogs to share with you all. I hope you like this new monthly feature!

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 Personal Finance 
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Southwest Freedom Awards Permit Mileage Dilution

Southwest Airlines WallMileage dilution is when an airline starts asking for more miles for the same ticket. What used to cost 30,000 frequent flier miles would then cost 35,000 miles. It’s a bit like inflation, secret stealing pennies out of your wallet. I always proudly proclaimed that Southwest doesn’t play those games, it’s 16 credits for a flight and a one-way flight is worth a credit. If anything they make it easier by offering bonus credits out of particular airports.

When I was in college, the Rapid Rewards frequent flier tickets had blackout dates but no seat restrictions. You couldn’t use it on the crazy high traffic times like the holidays or Thanksgiving, but you could use it any other time a seat was available.

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 Credit 
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How To Get An Experian Credit Score

ExperianIn February this year, Experian did something that “shocked” the credit score enthusiasts world (yes, such a world exists and they have a very vibrant and very knowledgeable community in the myFICO forums): they announced that they would no longer be offering Experian credit scores to myFICO users. Many on the myFICO forums were furious.

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 Personal Finance 
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BVC #10 – Psychological Money Games [VIDEO]

If there’s nothing else you learn about personal finance, remember that it’s more about psychology than it is about numbers. You don’t go over your credit limit because you don’t know how to add, you go over because you either don’t know you’re that close or you don’t care. You don’t go into debt because you weren’t capable of doing the math that showed that you were spending more than you earned. In the end, it’s mostly psychology and I talk about some different “games” or tricks you can use to help you be more responsible.

I added three markers in the video for the points where I talk about Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball, the 100 Boxes, and the Zero Spend Days. It’ll help if you want to skip certain parts.

Finally, my apologies for sounding all stuffed up, the allergy season is in full force in Maryland and the Loratadine I’ve been taking doesn’t seem to be cutting it.


 Personal Finance 
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Buying Frontline Online

Frontline Plus Blue for DogsA few days ago I wrote about how we got a new dog and all the new dog expenses. One of the more regular expenses will be Frontline and I couldn’t resist a little bit of rhyming. :) Frontline is a product we’ll need to buy regularly for Toby and so the best option typically will be to buy it online.

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 Frugal Living 
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Frugal and Convenient Breakfast Recipes

Breakfast can be a very frugal meal, if you have time to prepare it. Unfortunately, time is a big problem when it comes to breakfast. My kids get up at 6:15 every morning, so they can catch the school bus at 7:15. If I were to get up to make them breakfast every day, I’d have to get up at 5:45. And that idea doesn’t appeal to me at all.

When I found myself turning to expensive breakfast cereals day after day, I started looking for a better solution. I began making my own convenience breakfast foods. They’re much more nutritious, and frugal, than their store bought counterparts. I’ll start you off with a couple of ideas, but the possibilities are endless.

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 Family 
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When Is The Right Time To Have Children?

Baby with an iPodThis is a guest post from Cathy, who writes about family finances, parenting and cooking at Chief Family Officer.

The short answer to this question is that there is no right time. But, there are a lot of things to consider when deciding whether to have children, and many of them are financial. Here are some things to think about when you’re making that big decision:

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 Reviews 
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Getting Things Done

Getting Things DoneHave you ever heard of Getting Things Done? When I brought it up to my wife, she thought I was just making a sarcastic comment (not uncommon :) ) but it’s a national bestselling book by David Allen about a personal productivity system.

It’s been lauded by practically everyone who has integrated it into their lives. When so many people proclaim its brilliance, you’d be a fool not to take a look at it right? Well, I was such a fool until recently. The system is as good as people claim and it’s surprisingly not very different, at least in its core principles, as what I believe, which makes it easy to integrate and easy to adopt. I now feel stupid for not reading about this earlier!

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