My favourite 10 financial posts – November
As ever, here is out monthly round-up of what’s been troubling the world of the financial blogger this month.
1) Little House in the Valley
The rising cost of household fuel has left many consumers fuming over the price of their energy tariffs. And even the promise of ‘Winter Warmer’ deals and price freezes has not cut any ice with customers (I’ll stop the weather-related puns now).
This neat little article from the neat Little House in the Valley outlines some of the simple steps you can take to keep warm this winter without taking out another mortgage to cover your fuel bills.
I particularly enjoyed tip number 5 which suggested that you “cuddle your loved ones, be that a spouse or a furry friend”.
2) Stop Buying Crap
The brilliantly named and straight talking blog gives an interesting insight into how a lot of people now feel about their bank and financial institutions. It seems that many of us actually expect our bank to try and rip us off in some way, be that through exorbitant overdraft fees or charging us for withdrawals at cash machines.
In a telling admission, the hero of the story says of his bank: “Good service so far. Haven’t got screwed yet so I like them”. Whatever happened to the bank that likes to say yes?
3) The Dividend Ninja
It seems that, especially in internet land, ninjas are the authority on absolutely everything and they are even known to dip their fleet-footed phalanges into the murky waters of personal finance…or something like that!
Here we have the Dividend Ninja with a four-part, step-by-step guide on do-it-yourself investing which actually offers a really good insight into how to get started and what to look out for. One downside to the piece is that there is no mention of nunchucks or throwing stars anywhere!
4) The Consumerist
In a rather worrying oversight, American banking giant Chase accidentally deducted automated payments from people’s accounts on multiple occasions. This is not so bad if it takes out your monthly subscription to Men’s Health magazine more than once but could have greater consequences if it takes out your $900 automated payment for rent a couple of times…as it did with Consumerist reader Brian.
Thankfully, Chase noticed their mistake early on and gave customers a full refund and an extra $25 for the inconvenience. However, the experiences of Chase customers goes to show that you should check your bank statements each month.
5)The Amateur Financier
More sound advice from The Amateur Financier, this time surrounding personal loans and the tricks that lenders will use to get more money out of you. For instance, one tried and trusted technique is to impress the borrower with low monthly repayments and hope that they don’t actually realise that this will mean that the loan is taken out over a longer period and will end up costing more in the long run.
Makes you realise what Stop Buying Crap meant when they said about banks screwing you over!
6) My Dolr
The first thing that struck me when I saw this blog was that I couldn’t help reading the title in that robotic Stephen Hawking’s voice. Or the one on Radiohead’s Fitter, Happier (wait, that wasn’t actually Stephen Hawkings freestyling on OK, Computer was it?!) Try it once and you’ll keep doing it!
Anyway, as Christmas approaches, My Dolr (see, you just did it then didn’t you?!) gives you five ways in which you can stay stress free and save some money on your Christmas shopping. Well worth a read before you hit the shops!
7) Frugal Confessions
An interesting post on how much people are willing to gamble on things not going wrong. For instance, do you have third party car insurance because it is cheaper, even though you know that if you cause a crash you may not be able to afford to fix your car as you’re not covered?
And do you have an emergency fund in case of some unforseen financial disaster? If not, you probably should do!
8 ) Money is the Root
Another seasonal blog post as Christmas approaches and this one dares to put into print what most people with large families are too afraid to say out loud…”Shall we not buy everyone a gift this year?”
If you have a large family then Christmas can really spiral out of control when it comes to gift giving, so one idea put forward here is that, apart from your immediate relatives, you just buy for those family members that are still at school and considered to be kids.
It also gives a really handy tip to help you get the presents that you really want. In theory this is great, but if that happened what would you put in the unwanted present box to palm off on some unsuspecting relative next Christmas?!
9) Mr Money Mustache
As it’s Movember there had to be an article included from Mr Money Mustache and this one on heating your house is as good s any, given the time of year. Although a little long-winded at times, this article describes exactly how you are charged by energy providers and then throws in some useful tips to cut the bills.
The comments section is also worth a read as there are more energy saving tips in there.
10) American Consumer News
Although the site is American Consumer News, there are enough articles on here that are relevant on both sides of the atlantic and beyond, and this one on mortgage tools is no exception.
A number of websites offer mortgage calculator tools that aim to help prospective borrowers work out exactly how much they should be able to lend based upon their earnings. However, as the article points out, in reality each lender has their own set of criteria that borrowers must meet and so these calculators should only be used as a guide.
Good reading for anyone looking to take out a mortgage in the near future.
If you’re a blogger with a personal finance site that you think is worth a mention in our ‘Top 10 blogs’ then get in touch with the Money Fox. Just send an email with “Top 10″ in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you think that this month’s Top 10 was packed with personal finance hits or are we missing the mark by a mile? Or do you know of another November post we should have included? Have your say in our comments section below.