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Jesse Michelsen
Jesse Michelsen is a 23 year freelance writer with a passion for personal finance. Without any formal education in finance, he writes about his own experiences in managing money, budgeting and investing with the goal of retirement at 40 always in mind. He resides in Utah with his wife, 2 girls, and baby boy on the way.

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

By Money Crashers

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

By Money Crashers

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.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Happy Mother’s Day

By Money Crashers

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 Styleist.com.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Start Making More Money Today

By Money Crashers

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

By Money Crashers

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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Personal Finance Round-Up: April Is Financial Literacy Month

By Money Crashers

finances glasses calculatorLearning about finance isn’t just for the people on Wall Street. We all deal with money on a daily basis – some of us better than others. We have bills to pay, the need to make money, and hopes of saving for the future.

If any time is the right time to start learning about money, no time is better than right now. April is National Financial Literacy Month, a whole month dedicated to learning the basics of financial literacy. National Financial Literacy Month isn’t just a blogger-backed national movement – it’s backed by the U.S. federal government, which offers several resources to help boost your financial knowledge. Check out MyMoney.gov and ConsumerFinance.gov.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Is Your Privacy Worth a Paycheck?

By Money Crashers

is this worth a paycheck?Have you ever been in a position where you wanted something so badly you were willing to sacrifice nearly anything for it? For example, the current job market is tough – it has been that way for years, and people are becoming increasingly desperate. But how desperate would you have to be to forfeit basic privacy for a job?

There is a new trend going through the job market – an epidemic, in my mind – of employers asking potential and current employees for their Facebook passwords to full access to their entire social network. That’s like a potential employer asking for your diary at a job interview!

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Forced Behavior Isn’t All Bad

By Money Crashers

sometimes, being forced to do things is for our own goodWhen you’re a kid, your parents and teachers tell you what to do. They demand that you to do things that you don’t always want to do – but adults know what’s best, right? Sometimes, no, but in many cases they are encouraging discipline and behavior that will benefit you in the long run.

Is being forced to do something that is good for you really a bad thing? If you’re like me, you have to force yourself to eat healthy, work out, and, some days, go to work. Ultimately, it’s for your own good.

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Carnival of Financial Camaraderie: Now I Know My ABC’s

By Money Crashers

abcs of financeFinance is not usually taught in school until you reach college, if at all. However, kids should begin learning about money in elementary school.

If young children were to learn the basics of finance and gain a strong foundation to build upon, they would encounter far less confusion when they are thrust from the public education system into the real world, bombarded with credit card applications and huge financial decisions for which they aren’t prepared to face.

ABC’s of Personal Finance

If money management was taught in elementary school, it might go something like this:

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Start Planning Retirement Today

By Money Crashers

Retireretirement planningment should certainly be a time to look forward to: no job and plenty of play. You’ve earned it, and should be able to enjoy it, right?

Well, deserved or not, you’re going to need a decent amount of savings to get by on, and you definitely should not put off saving for retirement. There are some great ways to build up your retirement fund as laid out in this article, 5 Reasons Why Saving for Retirement Is Important by Green Panda Treehouse. The article details some great steps you should take immediately to make sure you can play during your retirement.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Earning More, Saving More

By Money Crashers

earn more moneyWhen you think you’ve done everything you can to improve your personal and family finances, you may want to take a closer look. It’s likely that there’s just one more aspect of your financial health that you need to examine: your earning potential.

We all have huge potential to earn more. If you have a day job, you could perhaps take on new projects, or volunteer for paid overtime. You also have the ability to earn more via a different venue. You could start a side business, or you could simply sell things you create, like crafts. Quizzle recently posted an article entitled Don’t Save Money. Make More! which gives examples of things you could do to increase your earnings.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Taxes and Financial Clutter

By Money Crashers

doing taxesFiling annual taxes brings out so many questions. The rules are complicated, the system is confusing, and penalties for making a mistake are harsh. The confusion and consumption of time can cause a lot of frustration and stress.

One question I’ve always had is how long do I need to keep my records? My home is already cluttered enough, and my tax file drawer continues to grow year after year. Over the years, I’ve received a variety of advice on how long to hold onto records, but nothing I’d consider definitive. However, in an article entitled How Long Should You Keep Your Tax Records? at Money Blue Book, things are laid out clearly for the different types of tax filings. Take a look and get an answer to the question once and for all.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Good Habits Equal Great Finances

By Money Crashers

good habits can help you save moneyIt’s easy to get stuck in a daily routine: Wake up, grab coffee on the way to work, stop by a convenience store in the afternoon, and get takeout on your way home in the evening. Routines can be good, but not when they cost you hundreds of dollars every month that could be put toward saving goals or paying down debt.

Savvy Sugar has some very easy tips that will save you more than $500 a month. Check out the list of 18 Ways to Save (At Least) $1 a Day and try to incorporate as many of these methods into your routine to better your financial life.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Stop Holding Yourself Back

By Money Crashers

stop holding yourself backDid you declare 2012 a year to succeed? Be it your weight loss goals or your business aspirations, make sure you don’t hold yourself back along the way. There are already plenty of obstacles to overcome, and when you hold yourself back you are bound to struggle.

An article by Enemy of Debt details some of these self-imposed barricades in 3 Ways You Are Holding Yourself Back and Tips for Changing Them. These mental barriers will make things far more difficult than financial or physical barriers, and as soon as you put them behind you, you open the door for new levels of success.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Life Is Not a Fairy Tale

By Money Crashers

life is not a fairy taleDespite what you might wish, life is not a fairy tale. It can be cold and difficult, and there are a lot of “wicked witches” out there. So living your life as if it were a fairy tale doesn’t really make sense, does it?

Be happy and live life to the fullest – but always remember that you need to be realistic! Otherwise, you and your finances will not live “happily ever after,” as explained in this post from So Over Debt entitled 5 Fairy Tales That Keep You in Debt. It’s time to wake up, usher the dwarves out the front door, and stop dreaming of knights in shining armor. Take hold of your own financial life and make a better future for yourself!

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