Monday, October 2, 2006

The Carnival of Personal Finance ’68 Hits the Oregon Trail

Author: Nick
Category: Money

Back in 1868, my ancestors made the decision to seek out new financial opportunities in another part of the country. They set off from the small town of Independence, Missouri on a treacherous journey to the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Along the way, they encountered all sorts of economic perils and fiscal woes. With the help of some of my friends in the personal finance blogosphere, this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance showcases the journal of my great-great-great grandfather and his family’s trek along the Oregon Trail in search of a better, higher-paying life…

a banker from boston

March 1, 1868

Our financial situation is starting to look pretty grim here in Boston. There are more and more bankers popping up every day, and I’m getting absolutely killed by these online savings accounts that offer ridiculously high interest rates. I don’t know how they do it! At first I thought it was all just a scam, but it looks like ING Direct really offers 4.40% APY.

The situation has only been complicated by the fact that Emma was laid off from her job at the bakery. We’ve been going three months now on just one income, and that’s proving to be a difficult thing to do with three kids to feed. Barely able to make ends meet, we’re not keeping any of the money we earn. Sooner or later, we’re bound to break the cardinal rule of sound personal finance by spending more than we earn!

So we made a decision as a family to try our luck in a new place. I did some research and found that I could be making a lot more money out West. Not only that, but there are more family-friendly workplaces, and there are even municipal bonds effectively yielding 7.12% APY!

We’ll be setting off for Independence, Missouri in a couple of days. And from there, it’s on to our new home in Oregon. We know the journey will be hard, and it’ll definitely be a test of our financial cunning to make it across half the country through wilderness on just $1,600, but I think we can pull it off if we work together as a fiscally responsible family.

nick, emma, tom, jill, and sam

March 30, 1868

We’ve finally made it to Independence. If only the trip to Oregon would be as simple as the one from Boston to Missouri! We’re planning to roll out with the next caravan of settlers destined for Oregon tomorrow. In the meantime, it’s off to the General Store to pick up some supplies.

March 31, 1868

As much stuff as we bought at the store, we should only be grocery shopping once a year! We ended up spending almost three-quarters of our funds, but we’re fully loaded with supplies, we have a wagon with 20 oxen ready to go, and we have enough clothes, food, and spare parts to make it to Oregon and back again.

matts creepy general store

I’m a little suspicious of that store owner, though. For instance, the store had a special on oxen where they were 25% off. Fortunately I found out before buying them that the 25% off also applied to the oxen–they only had three legs! So I decided to go with quality over price and opted for 20 four-legged oxen.

And the whole time I was in the store, there was an employee following me around and taking notes. It was rather creepy, but afterward I found out from another customer that the store was tracking customer traffic to improve sales data.

We only have about $400 left to our name, but that and our load of supplies should be enough to get us to Oregon. I’m going to turn in early tonight to prepare for the first day of the journey tomorrow.

map of the oregon trail

April 1, 1868

Our first day on the trail, we met another family originally from Chicago. They had bought a house in Chicago, but it had lots of previous claims and was uninsurable. They’re upset they didn’t look up the claims history on the property before they purchased. So they sold the house, packed up, and started heading west instead.

April 3, 1868

I decided to buy a mattress for the wagon, but I think I got ripped off. Then again, I don’t know the first thing about how to buy a mattress. Oh well. At least our ride will be a little more comfortable.

April 11, 1868

five dollars for a ferry... no way

We’ve arrived at the Kansas River crossing. The ferry operator is gouging us poor settlers, but there’s no way I’m coughing up five bucks just to cross the river. Besides, it’s only a few feet deep, so we’ll just ford it.

April 12, 1868

oops, shoulda taken the ferry

Heh. Oops.

April 14, 1868

I learned how to use Quicken 1868 to update our wagon maintenance records. Quite handy!

April 17, 1868

Tom, our oldest son, is suffering from student loan debt. He should have returned that extra loan money he didn’t really need to pay for college instead of spending it. Now if only there were an easy way to pay back student loans

April 22, 1868

We’re almost to Fort Kearney. Today we met a couple who’ve been together for years and have children but aren’t married. At first, I suspected they didn’t marry because of the advantages of a couple remaining unmarried, but then I found out they were brother and sister and couldn’t legally get married in their home state and were heading to Oregon to see if they could get the job done there.

April 23, 1868

fort kearney

We made it to Fort Kearney. While we made camp, somebody offered to trade us some Apple stock for an ox. I told him no because I heard investing in Apple may not be such a great idea right now. While Apple is a socially responsible company, I feel they’re simply too overvalued.

April 27, 1868

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what things will be like once we make it to Oregon. Sure, it’s still months off, but a guy can dream, can’t he?

I think the first thing I’ll do is change jobs. Maybe I’ll become a money manager, one who people can trust. And maybe I’ll be able to reach our Roth IRA contribution limits, possibly even end up saving 12% of my salary for retirement. And for once, we’ll start to accumulate savings instead of living paycheck to paycheck. Yes, that would be quite nice–to be able to secure my retirement without stress or worries.

May 2, 1868

Emma’s suffering from high credit card debt. I offered her some tips to help avoid and manage credit card debt in the future, but she refused them. So we rested for four days instead; from what I hear, that seems to cure just about everything.

May 7, 1868

chimney rock

Well, we made it to a big rock that looks like a chimney. While we were there, we talked to a man who was selling oxenless wagons. Apparently they run on some sort of mechanical engine. I doubt the idea will take off, and I suspect this guy is just an affiliate for some crazy entrepreneur getting paid for each product he sells.

May 16, 1868

a thief steals 48 bullets

A thief stole 48 bullets from our wagon. Stupid punk.

May 17, 1868

That thief came back again and tried to steal more bullets. This time he only stole two of them–the ones I shot into his leg. I don’t think he’ll be bothering us anymore.

May 22, 1868

Haha, stole your journal!

May 24, 1868

The thief stole our journal, but we got it back. Increased pace to “faster than thief can walk.”

May 27, 1868

Today, we ran across a rich family making the journey to Oregon. They mentioned how they had sold off some of their stock and donated the proceeds to help out displaced Indians. I told them that it’s much better all around to donate appreciated securities directly instead. Upon hearing this, the family was quite distraught, so they gave away all their clothes, too.

June 1, 1868

I remember when I first became a banker. I really wanted to take my time deciding my future career, but someone told me not to waste too much time thinking about my first career choice. And here I am, 15 years later, still a banker. I should’ve been a carpenter instead.

June 6, 1868

Another wagon collided into ours and damaged our wagon tongue. The other driver’s insurance is paying for a rental wagon while they try to recondition our wagon tongue instead of just replacing it.

June 12, 1868

Another frugal-minded traveller we encountered today passed on 25 tips for saving money. But when he mentioned how much money we could save if we used public transportation instead, I pointed out that we were in the middle of the freakin’ wilderness.

June 14, 1868

sam has cholera

Sam has cholera. We successfully negotiated down the price of his doctor’s bill, but next time we’ll probably just amputate. Or is that another disease I’m thinking of?

And fortunately the generic prescription he needed was only $4 at Wal-Mart.

June 21, 1868

yummy deer

Went hunting. Shot two deer. They were rather pale for deer, but they were still quite tasty.

June 27, 1868

The wagon caught fire and we lost most of our clothes. But that’s okay; it’s so hot out that clothes don’t do us much good anyway. And yes, I’m journaling naked.

July 4, 1868

Happy Independence Day! I am continuing to celebrate my independence from pants this week because it’s still very hot.

Emma’s credit card debt is getting worse. I found out today she hasn’t been reading her credit card statements. How can someone spend $400 on knitting yarn??? Come on! I don’t see any sweaters made out of gold around here…

Even worse, she’s been paying off her smaller card balances first instead of focusing on those with higher interest rates. I think she’s been reading too much Dave Ramsey.

Once we reach the next fort, I’m planning to submit Emma to the No Credit Needed Network so she can start tracking her debt reduction goals.

July 9, 1868

We bumped into a family that wanted to trade for baby formula. We had store-brand formula to offer which we think is just as good, but they weren’t interested. Oh well. That just means more formula for me!

July 15, 1868

I set up a bill-paying simplification strategy. Now we pay most of our bills online automatically, though it’s a bit hard to get a decent internet signal out here in the mountains… in 1868.

July 20, 1868

Time is flying and we still have far to go. Worse, we have little money left. If only spending time were as easy as spending money!

July 23, 1868

Thanks in part to our impending financial crisis, Emma seems to be building a better relationship with money. She’s learning more about our money and how to make wise financial decisions, and she’s starting to realize that personal integrity is more important than buying stuff. She still has some trouble overcoming some of the myths of saving money, but I think we can work on that.

August 1, 1868

indian wants my clothes

A Shoshoni guide offered to take us across the river in exchange for three sets of clothing. When I told him that we only had three sets left but I didn’t mind giving up the one I was wearing, he took us across free of charge.

August 5, 1868

We’re getting really low on funds. Hopefully we’ll be able to buy a home with zero down payment in Oregon. And once lots of people start moving to Oregon, the property value of our home will skyrocket, and we’ll take out a HELOC and buy a Porsche if they’ve been invented by then.

Then again, once we get to Oregon, we’re going to be pretty darn broke. Maybe we should wait to buy.

August 13, 1868

We’re running low on food, so we may have to take drastic measures to save money on food. Maybe we’ll organize a pot luck at the next fort.

August 17, 1868

I finally enrolled us in a health savings account (HSA). Now I can pay for Sam’s snake-bite medicine with pre-tax dollars.

August 21, 1868

We’re practically down to our last dollar. Once we get to Oregon, we could invest what money we have left, but I wonder how long it will take for our money to double.

August 22, 1868

Our freaking brilliant daughter Jill traded 200 pounds of food for a Beanie Baby. I don’t care how much the thing is worth; you can’t eat a Beanie Baby, Jill.

August 23, 1868

jill has a broken leg

Jill has a broken leg. We’ve increased the wagon’s pace to “faster than Jill can hop along.” Beanie Baby. Grr…

August 30, 1868

We’re almost to the Barlow Toll Road. I’ll gladly use the few dollars we have left to pay the toll rather than raft down the rock-filled Columbia River.

safe toll road or crazy river of death... hmmm

September 5, 1868

So much for buckling down on debt! Emma just spent the last of our money on a Ralph Lauren wagon cover. Looks like we can’t afford the Barlow Toll Road anymore. I sure do hope nothing happens to my spendthrift of a wife while we’re rafting down the dangerous river instead of taking the nice, safe toll road…

September 7, 1868

rafting down the columbia river

Rollin’. Rollin’. Rollin’ down the river…

oops again

Heh. Oops.

September 12, 1868

the willamette valley, oregon

Tom and I have made it safely to the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Of course we’ll miss Mrs. Spendaholic, Miss Beanie Baby, and Little Mr. Sick-All-The-Time, but I still can’t help but feel that things are finally looking up.

The first item on our list is to find a nice plot of land to call our new home. Fortunately there’s no need for a land survey for our home; we just pick a hill and it’s ours!

September 27, 1868

So… as it turns out, the only folks who are making it here from Missouri are all the bankers. Right now, Willamette Valley has 690 bankers, one carpenter, and nobody else. As a result, the average home price in Willamette Valley has jumped to $2 million. Tom and I have decided to pack up again and head south to California. We hear housing is cheap there, and they don’t even expect very high housing prices there anytime in the next couple of centuries!

Next week’s edition of the Carnival will be hosted at Journey to Financial Freedom.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Punny Money Hosting the Carnival of Personal Finance on October 2nd

Author: Nick
Category: Money

keep this ticket

An event 63 years in the making: it’s Punny Money hosting the legendary Carnival of Personal Finance! If you’ve been living under a rock in a cave on the moon, then allow me to explain how the Carnival of Personal Finance works.

  1. People write personal finance articles.
  2. They send me the links.
  3. I post the links in an amusing format.
  4. Everybody loves me.

So if any of the above sounds good to you, then be sure to send in your Carnival of Personal Finance articles by Sunday, October 1st at 6pm Eastern Time. As always, late submissions will be tattooed on my butt, a picture of which will be e-mailed back to the submitter.

And you don’t have to wait for Carnival goodness because Canadian Capitalist hosted this week’s edition. While you’re at it, check out Free Money Finance’s Carnival of Investing featuring my awesome article on investing in barrels.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The 35th Festival of Frugality, Hosted By Your Favorite Celebrities

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

bob saget

Hi, I’m comedian Bob Saget. You probably remember me best as Danny Tanner, the father on Full House, or maybe as the original and far superior host of America’s Funniest Home Videos. I’m here today as a different kind of host–the host of the Festival of Frugality. Unfortunately, Nick was called away on a national frugality emergency, so I’ll be filling in for him along with a bunch of my celebrity friends. And now, here’s my good friend Chuck to introduce the first submission.

chuck norris

Chuck Norris: When I’m not out crushing bad guys’ skulls with my index finger, I’m usually at home doing the laundry. And with as much blood that gets spilled on my clothes, I use a lot of laundry detergent. That’s why this recipe for homemade laundry detergent sent in by Free the Drones will save me tons of money. Not that I need the money; after all, the only currency I use is the fear of my enemies.

fred flintstone

Fred Flintstone: When I’m in the market for a car, I’ll usually pop on down to the local dealership and haggle my way into a new set of wheels. But cars don’t come cheap these days, especially with the rising price of rocks and wood. So the next time you’re looking to buy an automobile, read these ten used car buying tips from Car Buying Tips to Save You Money. Here’s an extra tip from me: make sure you get a car with a sunroof big enough to fit your pet dinosaur’s head!

michael jordan

Michael Jordan: Thanks to my professional basketball career, I own 34 houses in 72 different states, each with its own zip code and power plant. But I understand that not everybody can slam dunk their way to success like I have. That’s why you should read these frugal shelter ideas from Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood. And the next time you’re in Illinois, stop by my house for a little one-on-one; I’ll spot you 21 points and we’ll play to 20.

regis philbin

Regis Philbin: You might want to be one, but you don’t have to be a millionaire to experience a luxurious trip to the Bahamas. Jennifer Miner tells you how to make it happen! From dining at off-resort restaurants to cutting costs on hotel stays, you can save a boatload of moolah and vacation like a millionaire.

anna kournikova

Anna Kournikova: It’s time for me to break into this male-dominated Festival of Frugality the same way I broke into the sport of tennis. Now that I’m retired, I spend a lot of time at home, but this article by Frugal Wisdom From Wenchypoo’s Warehouse talks about Linda Hirschman, a lady who’d like to see all women working outside the home. Wenchypoo makes a great counter-argument to Linda’s beliefs and says that Linda is a danger to frugal women everywhere. You can decide for yourself who’s right; and as for me, I’ll be taking Wenchypoo’s advice and staying at home. And Nick, while I’m happy to help fill in for you, please remember that the new restraining order says to keep 200 feet from me, not 100.

paris hilton

Paris Hilton: Yeah, you tell ’em, Anna. Now, as you all know, I am a very strong advocate for learning stuff, and I feel that it’s important for every person to get a quality college education… well, except for me because I’m going to inherit about a million bajillion dollars. Anyways, has some really hot tips on cutting the cost of college so that even poor people like all y’all can get a nice, shiny diplomat to hang on your wall.

mel gibson

Mel Gibson: Hi, I’m Mel Gibson. As part of my court-ordered community service for my recent drunk driving charges, I’m here to share with you this frugal tip by Mighty Bargain Hunter on how to save money cleaning your carpet. As it turns out, it’s just as cheap to, uh, hire professional cleaners as it is to, um, do it yourself. You see, carpet cleaning–oh, oh, that’s it. You know what? I’m not doing this sh** anymore. I own Malibu, for crying out loud! I’m going to spend all of my money to get even with you, Nick, for making me do this stupid Festival. You hear me??? I’m gonna–

bob saget

Bob Saget: All right, that’s great, thank you Mel Gibson and to all of our celebrity guests who have appeared so far to help spread frugal advice across the land. Up next, we have some familiar faces here to talk about penny stocks, cheap landscaping, carpooling to save money, and a variety of other frugal topics as the Festival of–*THONK*

david hasselhoff

David Hasselhoff: Bob? Bob, you there? Oh, I guess I’m on then. Ahem. Even a world-renowned music superstar such as myself is always on the lookout for a great deal in the stock market. Fortunately I checked out this great article on why penny stocks are a bad idea written by HJL Money Blog before I dumped a truckload of money into some cheap stocks. Instead, invest that hard-earned money into a commodity that’s sure to double in value–my new single Jump In My Car which hit #50 on the Australian charts! Oh yeah!

mel gibson, again

Mel Gibson: Hi, I’m Mel Gibson. As part of my court-ordered community service for my recent assault on Bob Saget with a metal folding chair, I’m here to share with you this article from The MotherLoad on making your own foamy bath soap. In the article, Amy describes how she takes used soap containers and makes her own mixture of–all right, that’s it. Enough is enough. Why am I stuck with the foamy soap article? Couldn’t I at least get the one on carpooling or something a little more manly? Come on, people! I’m an Academy Award-winning director, and you’re making me talk about frickin’ foamy soap??? (No offense, Amy. I’m addicted to foamy soap myself.)

ghost of george washington

Ghost of George Washington: Hello, this is the spirit of the first President of the United States here with an important message from The Good Human. While I’ve been gone, you Americans have racked up over two trillion dollars worth of consumer debt. When I was in office, not only did we not even have the number “trillion” yet, but we thought the U.S. economy would never need more than $87 in circulation. Boy were we wrong! So be sure to read this smart advice from David on why carrying consumer debt can hurt your mind as well as your wallet, and think twice before you go spending all those green pictures of me.

inanimate carbon rod

Inanimate Carbon Rod: Hey kids, it’s your favorite character from The Simpsons, an inanimate carbon rod, and I’m here to share some tips on saving money landscaping sent in by Free Money Finance. FMF has some great ideas for scoring free stuff for your landscape including asking your local government for trees and trading garden goodies with your neighbor. What, you’re looking for some witty commentary here? How can I do that when I’m just a *sniff* lonely inanimate carbon rod without anyone to love me?

katie holmes

Katie Holmes: Aw, any woman would be lucky to have you, inanimate carbon rod. Anyway, I’m Katie Holmes here with a special message from our good friend Nina over at Queercents. She and her partner are planning to have a baby, but they’re finding out that the baby-making process comes with a hefty price tag. But that’s okay, because you can just sell pictures of your baby for millions of dollars just like Tom and I did, right? Right! Uh-oh, here comes Tom now. Please don’t tell him I went outside my dungeon, okay?

tom cruise

Tom Cruise: Katie? Katie, where are you? You better not be outside your Dungeon of Despair! Oh, hi there, Punny Money reading audience. When I’m between slave women, I eat an awful lot of vegetable soup. Here’s a great recipe for a cheap, easy-to-make vegetable soup sent in by It’s Just Money. Of course, I always like to add a little bit of human placenta to my vegetable soup to give it that extra kick. Hail Xenu!

donald trump

Donald Trump: I’m Donald Trump here to talk to you about purchasing a house. Over the course of my life, I’ve bought over 13 million pieces of property in New York City alone, and each one cost at least 70 billion dollars. But this article from Bouncing Back tells me that it might not be such a great idea to buy so much home when a smaller one will do fine. That’s why all of my property purchases from now on will cost no more than 30 billion dollars. This way, I’ll have money left over at the end of the day to use on things I enjoy, like buying Texas.

the olsen twins

The Olsen Twins: Hey everyone, this is Mary Kate Olsen and my sister Ashley, and we’d like to tell you about some of the benefits of carpooling as mentioned at My 1st Million At 33. You see, Ashley and I carpool just about everywhere we go. When we go in for our seven-minute work day, we share the same 200-foot limousine equipped with a hot tub and mini-bar. It saves time and money, and it’s better for the environment. And at night, when we’re coming home from an evening of clubbing, we carpool home with dozens of guys we don’t even know!

mel gibson

Mel Gibson: Hi, I’m Mel Gibson. Apparently it’s a misdemeanor in this state to bad-mouth foamy soap, so I’m here as a part of my court-ordered community service to share with you‘s first impressions of selling on Craigslist. You see, now that nobody will ever let me make or star in a movie again, I’ve been forced to sell a lot of my stuff to make ends meet. But after reading nickel’s take on Craigslist, I think I’ll stick with yard sales and eBay to help me turn my precious possessions into a few measly cents.

kermit the frog

Kermit the Frog: Hi ho, Kermit the Frog here with my friends from to tell you about the benefits of having a debt-free relationship with your significant other. Miss Piggy and I both agree that it’s important for every couple to have a budget and to keep our monthly expenses low. In reality though, she’s out driving $200,000 automobiles while I’m stuck making payments on our lilypad. Hmm, does anyone know a good interspecies divorce lawyer?

steve jobs

Steve Jobs: As the CEO of a multi-billion-dollar computer company, I have a lot of friends and family, most of whom I don’t even know or aren’t even related to me at all. That’s why I have to be careful about being too generous with them. Money and Values talks about how it can be difficult to be generous with your friends and family while still leading a frugal life yourself. Of course, if you want to be especially generous to that special friend or family member, be sure to get them a brand new Apple Macbook Pro this Christmas. Apple Macbook Pro, now with only a 3% chance of having an exploding battery!

dr phil

Dr. Phil: This is gonna be a changing day in your life! That’s because you’re going to read this story by The Bargain Queen about how she made the frugally sound decision to cut out the “alternative therapies” from her life. Now, not only is she saving money, but she’s feeling better than before. Perhaps she realized that the only therapy America needs is a good one-hour sit-down session every afternoon. So ditch those drugs, give your physician the pink-slip, and check your local listings for me!

warren buffett

Warren Buffett: People may not associate frugality with my name, seeing as I’m the second-wealthiest man in the world. But it’s a little-known fact that I still live in the same house I owned in 1958. Not only that, but I drive the same car and wear the same socks as I did back then. I made it big in business by saving money wherever I could. That’s why I think this article by Business Opportunities Blog (BOB) offers some great advice on frugal marketing options. So the next time you’re going to start or acquire a Fortune 500 company, be sure to keep BOB’s advice in mind and you’ll save big on getting the word out about your business.

star jones reynolds

Star Jones Reynolds: As you may already be aware, I love free stuff. In fact, my entire wedding only cost me $7.65 out of pocket thanks to all of my corporate sponsors. And while I’m sure you’d love to pull off your very own free fairy-tale wedding, you might want to stick with something a little more manageable like this list of great freebies scored by my fellow freebie-lover over at Experiments in Finance.

al gore

Al Gore: Hello, I’m Al Gore. You may know me best as your former Vice President, or perhaps as your current legitimate President depending on what counting system you use. But today I’m here as Al Gore, friend to the environment. Blueprint for Financial Prosperity recently informed us that Toyota has sold its 60,000th hybrid vehicle. Why should this matter to you? Well, other than the extraordinary environmental benefits that all these fuel-efficient automobiles grant our world, Toyota hitting the 60,000-hybrid mark means your tax benefits for purchasing eligible Toyota vehicles will soon plummet. Hey, don’t blame me. If I were President, I’d have bought everyone in the country a brand new hybrid vehicle. But I guess you can thank the fine folks of Florida for keeping you in that 12-mile-a-gallon monstrosity of yours.

mel gibson

Mel Gibson: Hey Saget, I just found out you gave that article on carpooling to the Olsen twins. Now why did you have to go and do something like that? I mean, I’m the ideal guy to talk about carpooling, what with all the car chase scenes I’ve done. And do you know why? It’s because every single time I did a car chase, there was someone else–usually a screaming Danny Glover–in the car with me. If that’s not carpooling, I don’t know what is! I’m warning you, Saget. You better give me an awesome article to talk about right now or I’m gonna go Lethal Weapon on you.

bob saget

Bob Saget: Sorry, Mel, but that’s all the time we have for this edition of the Festival of Frugality. Be sure to tune in next week when the Festival stops at MotherLoad: The MomAdvice Blog. For all of us here at Punny Money, this is Bob Saget telling you to send in those funny videos–oh, wait. Sorry, old habits are hard to break.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Punny Money Hosting the Festival of Frugality on August 15th

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

your ticket to the festival of frugality

Lock up your daughters, hide your cats, and straighten out your thimble collection because the Festival of Frugality is rolling back into Punny Money on Tuesday, August 15, 2006. You may recall that the last Festival of Frugality hosted at Punny Money was declared* to be the greatest thing the internet has seen since Al Gore invented it during the American Revolution while being held captive by Roman gladiators. I promise a similarly amazing Festival experience for all those who participate.

To join in all the wacky Festival fun, just fill out this Carnival Submission Form (or this form at Blog Carnival) with all the details of your article. You can also submit your article to the e-mail address on my Contact page. Please make sure your entries are specifically related to frugality and not just plain old personal finance.

Please get your article in by Monday, August 14th at 9pm Eastern Time (as usual, late entries will be set on fire and fed to coyotes), and check back with Punny Money for yet another Festival for the ages.

*by me

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Carnival Round-Up (With Bonus Complaining!): Week of July 17, 2006

Author: Nick
Category: Money

admit one and a half

You can catch Punny Money in two money-themed carnivals this week.

I bet some of y’all are wondering why I haven’t been as active in carnival participation as I was back in April and May. To be quite frank, I was getting tired of them. One week after the next brought another plain, boring list of articles. Let me first say that a few people have put together really, really, really great carnivals in the past. And I like to think of myself as one of those people.

But what fun is there in being a “vendor” at a carnival that’s the same as all the rest? Sure, I’ll still get a few visitors from submitting to carnivals consisting of forty or so lines of “what’s-his-name at blah-ditty blah presents etc. etc. etc.,” but I always get far more people clicking through from carnivals that put in the extra effort to really wow their visitors.

Carnival hosts, you get a lot of traffic from running these events; and in exchange, I think you should do your best to put together a really stellar display that encourages those who attend your show to read a lot of the articles to which you link. Otherwise, you get all the benefits of being a carnival host while those whose works make up the carnival don’t.

You can call me mean and selfish (please don’t though!), but that’s just how I feel about the subject. Anyway, I’m hoping to see some terrific carnivals from you upcoming hosts, though I will probably stick with submitting to those which I know will do a better-than-average job of it. If I find out I’m the only one who thinks all this, maybe I’ll just give up and submit to every money carnival once again. Oh, and I hope you’ll remember to submit your articles when I’m hosting because you can count on me to put on a really great show.

And finally, I’d like to hear from everyone on this one: what makes a truly great carnival? What can the host do to ensure theirs is a memorable event that readers can enjoy and that sends loads of traffic to their participants? And what, if anything, is standing in the way of every new carnival being just as great as the last? Your suggestions and other comments are appreciated by myself and hopefully also by the carnival hosts and organizers.