Happy 2009. Hopefully everyone had a good holiday. It’s been tough to get back to the daily grind this week, but it kind of feels good to be back. It’s always nice to have some time off, relax, and visit friends and family, but the daily routine can be a good change of pace.
So, what do you have in store for 2009? I ran a poll yesterday asking how everyone’s new year’s resolutions are going so far, and it looks like a lot of people either didn’t make any resolutions, or are keeping up with them quite well. In that poll I talked about my one goal of reducing the clutter. While it’s easy to think of that in terms of real stuff, I also meant electronic clutter. For example, last night I spent a few hours cleaning up my primary inbox. I went from over 6,000 emails to about 200. You wouldn’t think that would make much of a difference, but it feels so great to have a streamlined inbox! Now, the real challenge will be to keep up with it and delete stuff I don’t need immediately so that it doesn’t get buried under everything else.
And a few reminders. You can follow my updates on Twitter. I actually use it to interact with others and build a network, and don’t just post blog updates. I know a lot of people find that annoying. Also, don’t forget that you can get a free digital copy of Suze Orman’s new book “2009 Action Plan” right from Oprah’s site.
So, here are your first set of links for 2009:
How to Create a Budget in 2009 – The new year is a perfect time to create a budget. While it isn’t the most fun thing to do in the world, if you have a handle on where your money is going, you’ll be able to find ways to save even more, and ensure you don’t continue to spend more than you earn.
Lending Money to Family and Friends – People always tell you that you shouldn’t go into business with friends and family, but what about lending money? Ben takes a look at some of the pros and cons of lending money to friends and family.
The Life Cycle Of A Purchase – From Desired Object To Tossed Clutter – This was a timely post for me since I’m in de-clutter mode this year. It’s amazing to see the life cycle of a simple purchase. It might seem harmless at the time, but it can quickly go to junk that’s just sitting around waiting to be tossed out.
Are You Maximizing Netflix? – Jim over at Bargaineering found a tool that can help you analyze whether you’re getting the most out of your netflix subscription or not. He used me as a case study, and when the tool first came out a few weeks ago, the data was limited and the results were not very accurate. But after running it again, our total cost is just $1.00 per video. That’s a great deal!
How to Stock a Bar – Want to stock a bar for entertaining your friends, but don’t know where to start and don’t want to blow your budget? Lazy Man has put together a guide to help you stock your bar with the essentials without breaking the bank.
The S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats – I love stocks with dividends, but for some reason, most people think these are only for old people. While it’s true they can be effective in producing income with some possible capital growth, there is plenty of room in almost anyone’s portfolio for these stocks. Check out the performance of this list.
Free Time Does Not Translate to Massive Productivity – You’d think having more free time would instantly make you more productive, but if you’re like me, you’ve found that isn’t always the case. I’ve found that I can waste free time with the best of them. The key is learning how to manage that free time so that it actually is productive and not a waste.
Studying Business Cycles: Economic Graphs of The Current Economic Cycle - I talked a little bit about business cycles when referring to how the recession might be good for us, but the Digerati Life goes one step further and puts together a great collection of graphs to illustrate economic cycles and where we currently stand.
2008 TaxCut Review… Why I Switched Back! – Madison over at My Dollar Plan is switching back to TaxCut. If you want to find out why, check out this good review. I’ve actually been a TaxCut user for a few years now, and I really like it. Still debating whether I want to do it again this year, or finally go with an accountant.
7 Things You Need to Know About the Roth IRA for 2009 – If you qualify, this might be a great year to convert to a Roth IRA. Your account is already down significantly, so you’d pay less taxes on the conversion. But, what else do you need to know about the Roth IRA in 2009?
End of Wall Street: Wall Street Journal Video Series – Is it really the end of Wall Street? Times are changing, that’s for sure, but here are a few videos that were put together by the Wall Street Journal. Pretty interesting stuff!
Why Are My Credit Cards Being Canceled? – This is happening to people everywhere. Credit cards they have had for years are being canceled for inactivity. This wipes out a significant portion of your credit history! I actually just charged a $20 item on my 11 year old credit card. I never use it, but I don’t want it to get canceled.
Case Study: Paul and Melanie Want to Buy a House – Buying a house is never a simple issue. Sure, a lot of people say all you need is a debt-to-income ratio, have enough for a down payment, and that’s what you qualify for. Unfortunately, that’s only the beginning.
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Filed Under: Friday Finance Findings
About the Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® and spent a few years working as a financial planner. Today, he helps people make the most of their money by writing about personal finance here and elsewhere on the web. Jeremy is also Coach at Adaptu and a regular contributor for other publications such as Intuit, and American Express. Be sure to follow Jeremy on Twitter or Google+.