Monday, July 31, 2006

The Fed Rate and What It Means to You, In 50 Words or Less

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

the fed stores all its money in here

I like explanations of complicated things kept short. The shorter an explanation is, the fewer words there are to be confused by. In May I talked about why the housing bubble is popping in 50 words, so let’s see if I can give the same mini-explanation for another topic which often confuses people: the Federal Reserve Fund’s interest rate and what it means to you.

By law, banks need reserves. When short, they borrow overnight from the Fed at the rate it sets (or another bank). The prime rate, at which banks offer best customers loans, hovers around Fed rate plus 3%. Fed rate high, loans costlier, economy slows; rate low, loans cheaper, economy grows.

Fifty words exactly again. Delightful!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Thanks For Making Blogathon 2006 A Big Success!

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

you helped raise a lot of these

And with this, my 49th post in the last 24 hours, the Punny Money Blogathon 2006 draws to a close. In addition to all the money that you’ve helped this site raise for First Book, the 200-some folks who made it through the blogathon accumulated a total of about $100,000 in pledges for their various charities!

I’d like to give a special thanks to fellow personal finance writer and blogathonner J.D. at Get Rich Slowly who also seems to have made it through the night in one piece. Thanks also to everyone in the blogathon AIM chat for keeping me awake with their constant beeps and bloops.

And as always, my biggest thanks go to my wife for supporting me during this lofty endeavor. If you’re reading this, a couple of waffles would really hit the spot right now. Pretty please? (And I wouldn’t mind a hug, either!)

Oh, and of course, thanks also to those who participated in the Really Hard Trivia Contest. Let’s see the final results:

Previous Really Hard Trivia Question:
What country was the first to use paper currency?

Correct Answer:
China. A few days after introducing paper money, China also became the first country to issue store credit for returnsā€¦ just kidding!

The Final Standings:
Jessica 34 (+1)
Arthur 29
Amberlynn 16
ricemutt 14
Mack C 7
Jono 3
luna 2
Mike 2
Luka 1
Rickie Beth 1
Tasha 1

Congratulations to Jessica who will walk away with a $50 eGift Certificate to the store of her choosing as well as a $25 donation made by Punny Money in her name to First Book. Second place finisher and fellow blogathonner Arthur will receive a $25 eGift Certificate for his performance as well. I’ll be in touch to get those items to you two… just as soon as I recover from the blogathon.

Thanks for reading Punny Money and supporting Blogathon 2006. Go check out the other talented and sleepy writers and see what they’ve been talking about for the last 24 hours.

Be sure to visit Punny Money again soon for all your personal finance news, tips, and commentary with a bit of humor thrown in.

Really Hard Trivia Contest Question #24: Money

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics:

It all comes down to this! This question will close promptly at 9am Eastern Time, so be sure to get your guess in on time.

Previous Really Hard Trivia Question:
Click here to download a 6-second MP3 music file. What is the name of the song excerpted here and most recently made popular by a spectacular Christmas lights display.

Correct Answer:
Wizards in Winter. Here’s a video of the spectacular Christmas lights display.

The current standings:
Jessica 33 (+4)
Arthur 29
Amberlynn 16
ricemutt 14
Mack C 7
Jono 3
luna 2
Mike 2
Luka 1
Rickie Beth 1
Tasha 1

The rules in a nutshell:

  1. One question every hour for 24 hours.
  2. One (1) point to the first guess (correct or not). Three (3) points to the first correct guess. One (1) point to subsequent correct guesses before question closes.
  3. One guess per person per question, but you can guess once at every question!
  4. When next question is posted, previous one closes and score is tallied to that point.
  5. Score the most points to win!

In case you’re just joining us, here are the full rules of the contest. Remember, first place gets a $50 eGift Certificate and second place gets a $25 eGift Certificate.


Really Hard Trivia Question #24:
What country was the first to use paper currency?


Adventures in First-Time Homebuying #3: How to Find Your First Home, Part 5

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics:

little house, big dreams

With the blogathon winding down, here’s one last way you may be able to find your first home.

  • Buy land, add house. So you’ve been to the open houses, scoured the MLS, and talked to your Realtor more than your spouse in recent months, but you still haven’t found that right place yet. You can always make sure you’re getting the home of your dreams by purchasing your own lot of land and then hiring a builder to construct your home to fit your tastes. Of course, most first-time homebuyers can’t quite afford this option, so a similar alternative would be to locate some new construction already underway and become the property’s first owner.

Please feel free to share any tips you may have for folks looking for their first home right here.

Really Hard Trivia Contest Question #23: Music

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics:

Previous Really Hard Trivia Question:
The following code prints the phrase “Hello, world!” in what computer programming language?

?((pp "Hello, world!"))

Correct Answer:
Fril. It’s a fun little programming languageā€¦ assuming your idea of fun is first-order predicate calculus.

The current standings:
Arthur 29
Jessica 29 (+1)
Amberlynn 16
ricemutt 14
Mack C 7 (+4)
Jono 3
luna 2
Mike 2
Luka 1
Rickie Beth 1
Tasha 1

The rules in a nutshell:

  1. One question every hour for 24 hours.
  2. One (1) point to the first guess (correct or not). Three (3) points to the first correct guess. One (1) point to subsequent correct guesses before question closes.
  3. One guess per person per question, but you can guess once at every question!
  4. When next question is posted, previous one closes and score is tallied to that point.
  5. Score the most points to win!

In case you’re just joining us, here are the full rules of the contest. Remember, first place gets a $50 eGift Certificate and second place gets a $25 eGift Certificate.


Really Hard Trivia Question #23:
Click here to download a 6-second MP3 music file. What is the name of the song excerpted here and most recently made popular by a spectacular Christmas lights display.