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Carnival of Personal Finance : Where does the money go?

Welcome to the Carnival of Personal Finance #328 : “Where does the money go” edition. This edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance features an infographic, displayed below, based on how an average U.S. consumer unit (family) spends their money.

Click on the image below to enlarge it and then click on any of the blog links to go to the relevant article.

There were more than 60 great submissions this week. They are grouped based on the category of the post. Each category has its own color.

Hopefully you will like this week’s colorful edition!



If you can’t see the image or have trouble with the links, here are the posts in the old fashioned way. The color of the category headings corresponds to the color of the blog in the infographic.

Editors picks

Matt Bell from Matt About Money presents Navigating the Mixed Messages of Our Consumer Culture, and says, “Economists say it’s in the best interests of our country if we spend more. Personal finance writers say it’s in the best interests of our households if we save more. Can we have it both ways?”

Squirrelers from Squirrelers presents Your Will: Give Equally to Kids or Not?, and says, “At some point, many people have to think about estate planning. When that happens, is it fair to allocate more assets in a will disproportionately among the kids? This article discusses the merits and pitfalls of doing so.

Mother Miser from Does it pay to become a vegetarian? presents Does it pay to become a vegetarian?


Diva from Diva In Debt presents Earn More Money: For Women

J.B. from My University Money presents I Failed An Exam! What Do I Do Now?, and says, “Failing an exam is not the end of the world, look at it as a learning experience.”

Mike from The Financial Blogger presents Why We Talk So Much About Passive Income While You Still Have To Work Your Ass Off To Make it Happen, and says, “Making money is challenging, but we show it’s possible.”


Nathan Richardson from ComplexSearch presents Credit Score For a FHA Loan in 2011, and says, “What are the requirements for a FHA Loan? As the credit tightens and remains tight, FHA loans are becoming more and more desirable.”

Junior Boomer from Consumber Boomer presents Keep Track of Your Credit Without Any Cost to You, and says, “Here’s how to keep track of your credit score without any cost to you.”

Meghan from CreditDonkey presents Blue Cash Everyday Review, and says, “Finally, a good everyday cash back card with no annual fee or complicated quarterly structure. Not recommend for people who carry balances due to high APR.”

Jon the Saver from Free Money Wisdom presents 5 Ways to Maintain a Clean Credit Score, and says, “It’s actually pretty easy to maintain a clean credit score. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and there are some simple steps you can take before your credit rating starts to plummet.”

Jake Gibson from NerdWallet Credit Card Blog presents The Best Free Credit Cards, and says, “If you’re sick of paying annual fees and want a free credit card that lets you earn rewards, pay down your debts, or simply increase your line of credit, you’ve got quite a few options.”

Mike from Rewards Cards Canada presents Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards, and says, “In the latest MoneySense Magazine they ranked the best travel rewards credit cards on the market. Here’s a look at the overall top 10:”

Jeff Weber from Smart Balance Transfers presents Choosing the Best Credit Card for Your Lifestyle, and says, “While TV commercials touting credit card rewards may be enticing, consumers need to make credit card decisions based on their spending habits.”

Marjorie from CardHub.com presents How to improve your credit score?, and says, “There are a lot of different factors that can affect your credit score, and it can all seem a bit confusing at times. So here are a few quick tips on how to get started improving your score.”

John from Wallet Blog presents Why Haven’t Credit Card Membership Fees Risen?, and says, “While the positive effects of the financial laws passed over the last few years have indeed been many, these new regulations have also served to limit financial institutions’ means for making money. From the time these laws were first proposed, people have been wondering how banks would recoup their losses, and to a certain extent, these questions have been answered.”


Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents presents Debt Settlement Scams – 10 Stupid Simple Ways to Get Burned, and says, “The debt relief world can be a very confusing place, especially when people are in a seemingly desperate financial situation. With that in mind I would like to shed a little light on this industry and present: 10 Stupid Simple Ways to Get Burned By Debt Settlement Scams”

Jason from PayDown presents What is Debt?, and says, “What do you include in debt? Your car, mortgage, etc.? Not everyone has the same definition so let’s get on the same page!”

Paul Vachon from The Frugal Toad presents Should You Buy or Lease Your Next Car, and says, “Before you commit to a lease be sure to understand how a typical lease is structured, all the costs associated with a lease, and what happens if you need to terminate before the lease term is completed.”


IS from Intelligent Speculator presents Is Apple (AAPL) Ready To Face A New Contender In The Tablet Market? (AMZN), and says, “Is Apple ready for a new competitor?”

Hank from Money Q&A presents What Is The Definition Of A Recession, and says, “With the stock markets currently all over the place lately, there have been plenty of talks about recessions, bear markets, double dips, and tons of other words that are thrown around. But, what is the definition of a recession?”

Annabelle from Shopping Detox presents The fine line between rich and poor, and says, “Participating in a challenge for my local food bank where I ate only food from a food hamper for a week has really changed the way I view personal finance.”

Dan Meyers from Your Life, Their Life presents A Retort on “The Lost Generation”, and says, “I’m so tired of the media making the 20s/30s generation sound like they’re helpless because of the economic situation. They even had the nerve to say we are the “lost generation”. I’m here to tell them that we’re the found generation – and we’re finding the way for the future of our economy!”


Khaleef Crumbley from Faithful with a Few presents Business Energy Management: Become Efficient and Save Money Fast!, and says, “Business energy management can help your company save big, no matter the size of your firm. Learn how your business can manage your energy costs!”

Fanny from Living Richly on a Budget presents 3 Financial Rules of Thumb That Are Complete Garbage, and says, “Rules of thumb are meant to make our lives easier, making a complicated process easy to digest with simple rules. However, we seem to have forgotten one important thing – rules of thumb are not meant to be strictly accurate or reliable.”

Evan from My Journey to Millions presents What Is a Mutual Company, and says, “Imagine a world where the company theoretically cared about the customer because they were owners of the companies. Although associated with life insurance companies, Mutual Companies can be found in other aspects of the personal finance world. I think at their base roots mutual companies are a very interesting way of doing business.”

Bryan from Pinch that Penny! presents 3 Personal Finance Lessons NOT to Learn from Storage Wars, and says, “This article lists three bad ideas that Storage Wars seems to promote.”


Miranada @ Financial Highway from Financial Highway presents 45 Ways to Save Money, and says, “You can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your personal economy by finding ways to save more money. Here are 45 of my favorite ways to save money. ”

Pete Smith from IPersonalFinances presents Do You Give Frugally, and says, “This is a new blog. As a financial coach, I am intrigued on looking at how we give through our spending and the gift of frugality may help us individually but is killing the possibility of a recovery on a whole. For those of us who are doing well, is this the gift we want to give others? ”

ElizabethG (Modern Gal) from Modern Gal presents Financial Decisions Based on Marginal Cost

Neal Frankle from Wealth Pilgrim presents Five Real Work from Home Options, and says, “Working from home comes with a long list of benefits and drawbacks. For one, you make your own schedule, so working from home can give you a great degree of flexibility. On the other hand, that flexibility can mean that friends and family will ask you for favors all of the time. Thinking that you don’t have an office to go to, they’ll assume you’re around to pick up their dry cleaning. And, if you’re not good at time management, you might find that your productivity slips.”


Clint from Accumulating Money presents 401k Withdrawal Rules, and says, “The government recognizes that in the real world, there are going to be times when you have a need for a cash sum and you have no other option but to draw on your retirement savings. The government has, therefore, drawn up 401k withdrawal rules to clarify the circumstances under which investors may be able to legally withdraw their funds.”

Barbara Friedberg from Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance presents Tips for Debt Holders from Bernankes Speech, and says, “Understanding how economics affects you and your pocketbook will help fill it up with more wealth.”

Pat S from compounding returns presents The 15 Year Millionaire Plan: Year 15, and says, “The last year in our 15 part series on how to build a million dollar net worth in only 15 years. ”

Dividend Growth Investor from Dividend Growth Investor presents Dividend Stocks offer stability amidst market volatility, and says, “The regular dividend payment provides a cushion when there is a decrease in prices, as long-term investors are willing to step in and add to their positions on any weakness in the stock price.The blue chip dividend stocks discussed in this article have hardly moved during the volatile past month.”

D4L from Dividend Growth Stocks presents Buy And Hold Is Not Buy And Forget, and says, “We have all heard it. Mainstream media pundits talking about ‘the lost decade’ and that ‘buy-and-hold as a strategy is dead and gone, if ever it was a viable strategy.’ Sorry folks, but I am not buying or holding their position on buy-and-hold. Buy-and-hold is neither dead, gone or even sick, but I will concede – it is misunderstood.”

Mike from Experiglot presents How to build your own mortgage payment calculator in excel, and says, “Are you interested in building your own calculator?”

Financial Uproar from Financial Uproar presents 10 Canadian Stocks With A Yield Over 10%, and says, “With government bonds at record low yields and banks offering pitiful returns on their CDs, these dividend stocks represent a way for investors to get some yield. ”

Glen Craig from Free From Broke presents What is a Mutual Fund Prospectus?, and says, “So you want to invest in mutual funds but you are clueless about them? A good place to start is to answer the question: What is a mutual fund prospectus?”

Sean Smarty from Grow Money presents 5 Stock Market Beating Alternative Investments

Jacob @ My Personal Finance Journey from My Personal Finance Journey presents The Magic (and Limits) of Using Data to Guide Your Investment Decisions, and says, “As a passive investor, one of my favorite things to do is to perform historical backtests using available data to analyze various asset allocation levels and strategies. However, this post investigates that blindly following the data may not be the most effective thing to do. ”

Mike Piper from Oblivious Investor presents Are Roth Accounts Overrated?, and says, “Do you expect to have more taxable income during retirement than you did while working? If not, a Roth might not be the best way to save.”

Adam from Rabbit Funds presents Use multiple “buckets” to maximize your retirement earnings potential, and says, “Rather than creating one portfolio that is set to mature when you reach a certain age, create multiple portfolios with different target or maturation dates.”

Sustainable PF from Sustainable Personal Finance presents When Is the Dividend Ex Date?, and says, “There are three important dates to know when you are looking at the dividend schedule of a stock; the declaration date, the ex-date and the payable date.”

Daniel from Sweating The Big Stuff presents How to Earn Superior Returns with Lending Club, and says, “Being “average” is good, but significantly beating the average isn’t as hard as we think.”

Div Guy from TDGB presents 6 Steps to Buy a 7% Dividend Paying Stock With Low Risk, and says, “It’s time that you made some wise dividend moves.”

Money Management

Echo from Boomer & Echo presents 11 Steps To Financial Freedom – Step 1: Prioritize Your Goals, and says, “I hope to develop a complete financial plan through these 11 steps to financial freedom. Step 1 is to prioritize your goals.”

Control Your Cash from Control Your Cash presents Lose Control of Your Cash? Avoid a Lawsuit by Controlling Your Debt Situation, and says, “How to minimize the damage once you’ve lost control of your cash.”

FMF from Free Money Finance presents The Best Spending Decision Ever Made, and says, “What’s the best spending decision you’ve ever made? This is a pretty good one IMO.”

Green Panda from Green Panda Treehouse presents When Should You Have the Money Talk as a Couple?, and says, “When do you think a couple should talk about money?”

Money Beagle from Money Beagle presents What Bills Do You Auto-Pay?, and says, “Are your finances on cruise control? This can be good but make sure you’re aware of everything that comes out of your bank account.”

Jaimie Blackman from MoneyCapsules presents Asking Your Trusted Advisors The Right Questions

Big Cajun Man from THE Canadian Personal Finance Site presents I’m An Adult Now?, and says, “When did you have the realization that you actually were an adult?”


Nicole from Nicole and Maggie: Grumpy Rumblings presents Brewster’s millions: what would you do?, and says, “Would you take 10 million now vs. 70 million in a year if you have to be penniless by the end of the year? That is, to get the 70 million, you have to spend 10 million by the end of the year.”

Connie Prater from Taking Charge presents Take my bone marrow, but not my personal information, and says, “In my exuberance to help a worthy cause, it didn’t lose sight of the potential for identity theft when approached recently about signing up to be a bone marrow donor. Others should be just as diligent about safeguarding their personal information.”

Sandy from Yes, I Am Cheap presents F*ck You, Bank of America, and says, “I’ve had it with Bank of America and send them a message that they can’t ignore.”

Real Estate

Funny about Money from Funny about Money presents Real Estate: That Light at the End of the Tunnel May Not Be a Train, and says, “Realtors in hard-hit Arizona say the market is finally turning around. In the under $200,000 range, we now have a buyer’s market; under $600,000 it’s a neutral market. And, we are told, repos are no longer a problem.”

PKamp3 from Don’t Quit Your Day Job… presents Rooting for Price Increases and Low Interest Rates, and says, “I dedicated an article to addresses (and try to change opinions!) two closely held beliefs in real estate – increasing home prices are good for everyone, and low interest rates mean it is a good time to buy.”


Money thinker from Money thinking presents Do I really need to insure that

SB from One Cent At A Time presents Practical Tips On How To Save Money While Renting, and says, “When you want to rent consider these tips and save money on rent, charges and fees. People always ends up paying more than the rent. This article describes ways you can get back your security deposit.”

Personal Cents from Personal Cents presents Selective skimping


Jason from One Money Design presents Should the Rich Pay More in Taxes, and says, “A friendly discussion about paying taxes for the wealthier individuals in our country.”


Infographics adapted from Where does the money go.

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