Personal Finance Round-Up: Give Your Finances a Sporting Chance

are you ready for the football?Sports – whether amateur or professional – occupy a huge part of our nation’s identity. If the United States has been a country for 236 years, then sports have been a part of our national fabric for 235 years and 364 days.

Americans are, by nature, imperviously competitive. Ed over at Five Cent Nickel knows this all too well. His son just wrapped up his high school sports career, one that cost the family a pretty penny. “As a family, we loved attending these events, and I wouldn’t trade the experiences for a fatter 401k,” writes Ed – but that doesn’t mean he isn’t helping the rest of us save a little money as we navigate the waters of amateur sports.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Summer Olympics Edition

olympic sprinterEvery four years, the Olympic games make our world feel a little more peaceful and a little more united. But unfortunately, the Olympics are still a source of criticism and controversy.

One of the controversies of 2012 has to do with the how the Olympians themselves interact with their non-Olympic sponsors. Rule 40, as it’s referred to by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) prevents Olympians from advertising any sponsorship affiliations (such as by wearing a suit that clearly reads “Arena” or a track shirt with the Adidas logo) from non-Olympic partners. The fact is, just half of America’s top Olympic track and field stars make more than $15,000 a year from the sport itself; they rely on day jobs – just like me and you – for their primary income. A sponsorship can mean the difference between having the time to focus on their Olympic dreams, and having to work 40 hours a week on top of a strict training regimen.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Working Nine to Five

preparing for the daily grindAmerica was built on the entrepreneurship of our forefathers, but these days, it takes more gumption than ever to dive into the murky waters of small business ownership. That’s why Tom over at Stupid Cents is turning the idea of what makes someone an entrepreneur on its head. In his post Do You Have the Traits of a Successful Entrepreneur?, Tom says, “In the end, entrepreneurship is about detaching yourself from the idea that someone else is in charge of all of your income.”

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Debt-Free Wedding Season

wedding dayPresently, I have about half a dozen wedding invites or save-the-date cards on my kitchen counter. Some are for family members, while others are from friends, colleagues, or people my wife knows. While the  jury’s still out on how many of these ceremonies we’ll be attending, at least I know we’re not alone. Summer is the most popular season for weddings in America, followed by fall. In fact, each of the summer months are among the top six for weddings.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Hitting the Road This Summer

summer pink carSummertime is finally here. It’s time to load up the minivan or SUV and hit the road on your family’s annual summer vacation. This year, you can expect to pay less in order to get to your destination, according to AAA – that’s because the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is a full $0.15 less than it was at this time last year.

But how low could gas go? Gone are the predictions of $4.00 per gallon national average we saw earlier this year. Now, the Energy Information Administration says gas prices could fall below the $3.50 mark nationally, although if you live in some locations – such as California or Hawaii – you could pay more than that.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Burning the Financial Candle on Both Ends

searching for money

The annual numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture are out, and if you had a baby in 2011 – or are thinking about expanding your family in the next few years – pay attention. Statistics now show that a middle-class family in America will spend about $234,900 to raise a child (born in 2011) from birth to their 18th birthday. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg – factor in projected inflation for things like childcare, education, food, and medical-related expenses, and you could be looking at an adjusted figure of $295,560 for those first 18 years.

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Festival Of Frugality: It’s Time to Cast Your Vote

ballot cross fingersWell, kids, as you know, this is an election year and the running is pretty tight for the class of 2012!

Campus elections are much more fun than national elections, so let’s meet our candidates and see what issues they think will pique your interest.

Of course, this is not a real election, but feel free to “vote” for your favorite articles in this edition of the Festival of Frugality.

Running for Treasurer

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Happy Mother’s Day

happy mothers dayMothers: We’d be nothing without them. We learned from our Twitter chat this week some of the lessons that participants learned from their mothers, like how to save money and how to live within your financial means. Participants’ ages ranged from late teens to late fifties, and each of them had a lesson or two they learned from their mom.

Mothers deserve our appreciation far more often than once per year. Treat your mother right, and prove that you’ve learned something from her about being financially smart by checking out some of these DIY Mother’s Day gifts from

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Start Making More Money Today

skydiverIt’s not easy to work your way up the corporate ladder and into a big salary. While it’s something to aspire to, it can require a massive amount of time. There’s nothing wrong with working toward that nice payday, but there are numerous ways you can start making more money today.

From consulting, to working more hours, to starting your own side business, your creativity is your only limit when it comes to earning extra cash. For instance, you could become a skydiving instructor and spend your weekends flying high while bringing in a few thousand extra dollars a month. You can get the details in this article from The Penny Hoarder: How to Make a Living Jumping Out of Planes. This is merely one of the many ways you can use your spare time to increase your income.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Make a Budget and Enjoy Yourself

budget for things you enjoyPersonal finance is ultimately personal. Still, people often judge others on what they buy, as well as what they don’t buy. We examine and interpret the spending habits of others, even if we try not to. And ultimately, it is the earner who should be deciding where money is spent – even if “bad” choices are made.

Furthermore, it is up to each individual to create a budget that dictates where and how money is spent. How each person budgets is up to him or her, and it may include some things that you or I don’t necessarily agree with, be it a lavish vacation or a few lottery tickets every once in a while.

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