NASCAR – I Don’t Get it!

The latest issue of Fortune has a cover story about NASCAR. According to the article (subscription required), NASCAR’s fan base has grown 24.6% from 1997 – 2004, while all the other major sports have lost fans. Call me crazy, but I don’t see what all the fuss is about. I think NASCAR is boring. My kids love it, my sister-in-law and her husband love it. I just can’t get into it.

What am I missing?

Week 11 Was a Success

I want to thank everyone who stopped by to check out this week’s carnival. I thought it was a big success. Now it’s time to get your submissions over to SavvySaver so that she can start working on Week 12. AllThingsFinancial will host the Carnival again on January 9th, 2006, which seems like a long ways away but it will be here before we know it.

If you are a blogger and you haven’t already done so, please change your link to AllThingsFinancial so that it is pointed at this blog (http://allthingsfinancialblog.com). I was hoping to be able to fix my feeds with Bloglines so that people don’t have to unsubscribe and then re-subscribe. So far, I’m not having any luck.

Carnival of Personal Finance – Week 11

Hi and welcome to the ALL NEW AllThingsFinancial for Week 11 of the Carnival of Personal Finance. It is hard to believe that we are already in Week 11 of the Carnival. AllThingsFinancial last hosted the Carnival on Week 3.

So, let’s get started with this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance:

Gas Prices and Cars

Gas prices are the topic of the week. With gas prices as high as they are, people are starting to talk about fuel efficiency. OL at Optimized Investing takes an in depth look at The Fuel Economy of the 2004 Honda Civic LX – Automatic.

Hybrids are also a hot topic these days. Ironman at Political Calculations goes a step further than I did when I looked at hybrids by allowing readers to use an interactive calculator in his post Comparing Standard and Hybrid Cars.

Sarah at Frugal Underground summarizes and links to several recent articles about gas prices in her post How to cut your fuel costs. Finally, Nickel at FiveCentNickel asks a simple question: How High do Gas Prices Have to go?

While we are on the topic of cars, Jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity recently turned 25 (Happy Birthday, Jim) and as a result he went car insurance shopping to see if he could get his rates reduced because of his new, more mature age. You can read about his experience in his post Car Insurance – Milestone at Age 25.

The Organized Life

Ever lost an important financial document? I know I have! Financial Fruition at the Financial Fruition blog looks at Important Financial Documents that we should all be able to find. It’s good advice.

The Disciplined Life

Goal-setting has everything to do with personal finance. If we don’t know how to set goals and prioritize our lives, it’s likely that we aren’t getting the most out of our finances. Steve Pavlina has written an excellent post about End Goals vs. Means Goals, which is a must read. If you have never read Steve’s stuff, you’re in for a treat.

Economics

There’s been lots of talk about the United States’ trade deficit. Jose at Money & Investing offers a simple way that we could help the country get out of debt with Stop Buying Trinkets. In another economic-related post, Ben at the HousingBubble asks Will Oil Prices Burst the Housing Bubble?

Budgeting

I have to admit that budgeting is not my favorite thing in the world. That’s why I’m glad that there are people like Jonathan at My Money Blog, who shares how he is Refining His Current Budgeting Process. The Mighty Bargain Hunter shows you how to Take Care of Your Teeth and Your Wallet. Frank at HelloDollar summarizes his Budgeting Series, which is a series of posts about personal budgeting.

One way to “save” money is to sell your old stuff online. Flexo offers advice on Selling Used Books and Other Items on Amazon. Amazon is quickly becoming serious competition for eBay.

Financial Planning Basics

Lots of talk these days about the impact that Baby Boomers are going to have on the economy once they begin retiring. H.G. at InsureBlog finishes up a two-part series called Life’s a Beach on the impact of aging. I read the article. He raises some questions that need answers.

One of my favorite blogs for investing-related insight is The Real Returns. Recently, RR focused in on Focus Funds. It’s a good read. While we are on the topic of investing, be sure and Searchlight Crusade’s post on Getting Rich Quick in Real Estate (no, it’s not what you think it is).

Ever heard of an individual 401(k)? Caitlin at Clutter2Cash writes about how she had a pleasant experience when Opening an Individual 401(k). I have a hunch that individual 401(k)s are the wave of the future.

Wise Use of Debt

One of the biggest purchases (and debts) most people will ever make is the purchase of a house. Dawn, the “Frugal Queen” at FrugalforLife offers some great Tips for Buying Your First Home. A second major expense for most people is a college education. Most college graduates have a mountain of debt upon graduation. They need to read Investy’s post on Consolidating Student Loans. While we are on the topic of debt, Free Money Finance has written a post called You Can Beat Debt that highlights an MSN Money article.

Wow! That’s a lot of stuff! I hope you folks enjoy this week’s carnival. If I left anyone out, I’m sorry. Next week’s carnvial will be hosted by new bride (as of Saturday), SavvySaver. Now would be a good time to start sending her your submissions.

Sunday Morning Comments

I still haven’t totally figured out how to move all my posts from the old blog to this blog. I hope to get that done later today. The directions for doing so are pretty confusing and I sure don’t want to mess it up and lose 10 months worth of work.

I did change my Feedburner settings so those who subscribed to the old blog will now be directed to this blog. I don’t know if I can change my Bloglines feeds. I’ll have to look into it. I’m ready to get all this stuff behind me so that I can actually post about personal finance again. Right now I feel like a fish out of water.

I’ll be hosting the Carnival of Personal Finance on this blog tomorrow.

Gotta run. I’ll post more later.

Blog of the Week

One of the new features of the all new AllThingsFinancial is something called “The Blog of the Week.” You can see up there in the right hand corner. The goal of this feature is to profile a different blog that I think my readers would enjoy.

This week’s selection, which from now on will run from Sunday to Sunday, is Frugal Underground, which is a relatively new blog about Money: saving more, making more, enjoying more, and needing less. Go by and check it out. Tell her that JLP sent you.

Are Hybrid Vehicles Worth the Money?

First off, let me say that I am not talking about the economy car hybrids like the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic. What I am talking about is the new hybrid versions of bigger vehicles.

Sarah Breckenridge of Smart Money wrote an excellent article in which she took four vehicles (Ford Escape, Honda Accord, Toyota Highlander, and Lexus RX) and compared the hybrid version of those vehicles with the standard version. I wanted to see how much a person could save (or not save) by buying the hybrid version over the standard version. Keep in mind that my numbers do not reflect maintenance costs or tax beneifts of hybrid ownership. I also made the assumption that the vehicles are driven 15,000 per year divided evenly between city driving and highway driving.

Ford Escape Hybrid

City
MPG

Gallons
Used

Price
Per
Gallon

Ann.
Cost

City

33

227

$2.40

$545

Highway

29

259

$2.40

$622

Totals

486

$2.40

$1,166

Cost Per Mile

$.0777

Ford Escape XLT

City
MPG

Gallons
Used

Price
Per
Gallon

Ann.
Cost

City

22

341

$2.40

$818

Highway

25

300

$2.40

$720

Totals

641

$2.40

$1,538

Cost Per Mile

$.1025

Honda Accord Hybrid

City
MPG

Gallons
Used

Price
Per
Gallon

Ann.
Cost

City

29

259

$2.40

$622

Highway

37

203

$2.40

$487

Totals

462

$2.40

$1,107

Cost Per Mile

$.0738

Honda Accord

City
MPG

Gallons
Used

Price
Per
Gallon

Ann.
Cost

City

21

357

$2.40

$857

Highway

30

250

$2.40

$600

Totals

607

$2.40

$1,457

Cost Per Mile

$.0971

Toyota Higlander Hybrid

City
MPG

Gallons
Used

Price
Per
Gallon

Ann.
Cost

City

31

242

$2.40

$581

Highway

27

278

$2.40

$667

Totals

520

$2.40

$1,248

Cost Per Mile

$.0831

Toyota Highlander

City
MPG

Gallons
Used

Price
Per
Gallon

Ann.
Cost

City

19

395

$2.40

$948

Highway

25

300

$2.40

$720

Totals

695

$2.40

$1,668

Cost Per Mile

$.1112

Lexus RX 400h

City
MPG

Gallons
Used

Price
Per
Gallon

Ann.
Cost

City

31

242

$2.40

$581

Highway

27

278

$2.40

$667

Totals

520

$2.40

$1,248

Cost Per Mile

$.0831

Lexus RX 330

City
MPG

Gallons
Used

Price
Per
Gallon

Ann.
Cost

City

18

417

$2.40

$1,001

Highway

24

313

$2.40

$750

Totals

730

$2.40

$1,752

Cost Per Mile

$.0971

It is important to note that the hybrid models are $4,000 to $5,000 higher in price, which is definitely something to consider. Based on my gas price of $2.40 per gallon, these hybrids won’t pay for themselves for a number of years.

Questions? Comments? Did I miss something?