Best of Personal Finance Roundup: Make Sure Your Haiti Donation goes to Quake Aid


Welcome to Wise Bread's Best of Personal Finance roundup. Today, we tell you tips for making sure that your Haiti relief donations are getting where they need to go, 8 great movie rentals that offer a return on your investment, and a tutorial for making your own fabric softener pouches.

Top 5 Articles

Make Sure Your Haiti Donation goes to Quake Aid — If you’ve been following the quake situation at all, you know that there has been a fair amount of controversy surrounding financial donations and how to make sure they are going to the people who really need them most in Haiti. This guide is quick, to the point, and likely to help answer most of your questions. Smart Spending

All-Natural Fabric Softener — Looking for a safe and inexpensive way to soften up your laundry loads? These easy-to-make (and rather cute) pouches are the way to go! Pepper Paints via MomAdvice

Great Movie Rentals that Will Pay You Back — There’s a lesson in many movies, and these are no different. Catch some entertaining financial wisdom from this list of flicks! Kiplinger via Free Money Finance

Can Your Comments Affect Your Credit? Yup. We were all slightly aware of the fact that future employers (and old high school flames) were watching our activities online, but creditors? Come on! SF Gate via Consumerist

Beef Roast Marinara — I love any cook who uses the sound advice to freeze green peppers for use in the off season. Check out what she does with them in this tasty tribute to marinara. (It costs less than $5 a meal!) $5 Dinners

Other Essential Reading

Pack a Gun to Protect Valuables from Airline Theft of Loss — Eek! Unless you’re a U.S. Air Marshall, we’re not suggesting that you actually pack heat when boarding your next flight. This interesting article introducing us to the potential security that starter pistols may (or may not) provide, is a head-scratching read, nonetheless. LifeHacker

Your Debt-to-Income Ratio: What It Is and Why You Should Care — You’ll hear this phrase a lot when discussing the factors that lead to your credit score. Scan this quick read to be sure you understand how important debt-to-income ratio is in your personal finance portfolio. Five Cent Nickel

What Rights Do Renters Have When Their Landlord Goes into Foreclosure? It’s a scary situation, but it’s also becoming more common. Find out what you can expect if it happens to you. QueerCents

Living on a Cash-Only Diet — It is possible to escape credit altogether and operate on a cash-only basis. If you’re determined to follow this path, here’s some inspirational reading. CNN Money

Homemade Gummi Candy — You can mold them into little bears, if you wish, but the point is that they are yummy, cheap, and super adorable! (This would make a great project for kids on a long weekend.) They just require some Jello and a bit of patience. Skip to My Lou

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Guest's picture
April B

Nice articles. I especially like the article from CNN Money about going to a cash only system. It's the only way, I tell ya! I just did it myself almost a month ago. :)

Guest's picture

Thank you for passing on that information!!! It's important that money goes to reputable organizations. Also, airlines are giving free miles as well if you donate through their links or charitable organizations.

Guest's picture

Thank you for the information. I'll be sure to pass this along to everyone I know. This will definitely help me make an informed decision regarding where to send my donation.

Guest's picture

Pleased you posted this because anyone who donates money to any charity or natural disaster fund must ensure that their money goes to legitimate sources otherwise it is wasted.

Guest's picture

There will be so many scams but the people down there do need help. A good idea is to send clothes because many of the people have nothing to wear except the clothes on their back.

Guest's picture

I must need to make sure about that.

Guest's picture

I think it speaks volumes that two of the five readers profiled in the CNN article actually stiffed their creditors.
John Wilder stopped paying on 12K...
Dawn Tulman "settled" 15-20K worth of debt...
But hey, it's easier to go "cash only" when you decide not to pay for what you've purchased. (Formerly referred to as "stealing".)
Shame on them for bragging about their "cash" lifestyles and double shame on CNN for profiling them in the article - as if they're doing something that the rest of us should emulate!
If I had walked out on or "settled" a debt, I would be ashamed. I would not go bragging in a national publication.

Guest's picture
Dawn Tulman

I would hardly call what was included in the article as "bragging" I wanted it to be more of a 'warning.' If someone had taught me properly about the credit trap, perhaps I would have done things differently, but I needed to feed my family. How many people are going through the same thing in this country right now? If I inspired just one person to rethink their credit card usage than it was all worth it.

In response to DC I would like to add what was not included in the profile, which is that what was settled out was the 19 - 29% interest charges that we had accrued after paying our minimum monthly payments for several years.

Our creditors all received the actual amounts we had 'borrowed' plus several thousand in interest charges that we made over the years of trying to keep our heads above water. It's never a good thing to use your credit card for groceries, a lesson we learned a bit too late and a mistake that won't be repeated. We could have filed bankruptcy and that would have wiped the debt clean, but instead opted to pay the debtors what they considered an acceptable payment that was well over what was extended to us.

Linsey Knerl's picture

Very good point to bring up about the cash-only profiles.  There certainly are a number of ways to handle your debts, with walking away and settling only being a couple of them.  While I can't personally advocate this way of dealing with it, the publication chose to feature them to possibly round out the story with every possible scenerio.  Thanks for sharing your opinions on the topic!  We like to hear what our readers are thinking :)

Linsey Knerl

Guest's picture

That Quake Article is a really good one. These are articles that need to be advertised all over the place. The article gives some god advise as to the best way to donate to Haiti. Thanks for posting it.

Guest's picture

Thanks very much for linking to our post.

Linsey Knerl's picture

We appreciate you coming to take the time to share your side of the story a bit more.  These kinds of articles rarely cover all that they can, and I'm glad you had a chance to tell us more about your situation!

Linsey Knerl

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