Ah, the cold has arrived. There’s a two-week window at the end of January and the beginning of February during which the Portland/Salem area usually gets the coldest weather of the year. It’s not tremendously cold so far, but temperatures are expected to drop to about -5 celsius tonight. That’s cold enough! Here are a few personal finance stories from elsewhere to keep you warm:

Jonathan at My Money Blog — one of my favorite personal finance blogs — recently wrote a fantastic post that explains why a dollar saved is two dollars earned. This concept is familiar to those who have read The Wealthy Barber. Roughly speaking, we each have to earn two pre-tax dollars in order to obtain a single post-tax dollar. As a result, whenever we save a dollar (through frugality and thrift), it’s the same effect as earning two.

Meanwhile, The Mighty Bargain Hunter recently reviewed Getting Started: The Financial Guide for a Younger Generation. This book has been in my to-read stack for several months, but because MBH has reviewed it (he likes it!), I may set it aside.

Ben at Money Smart Life offers seven steps to investing in yourself. In brief:

  1. Realize you are an under-priced asset.
  2. Gather advice.
  3. Understand that tuition is expensive, but ignorance is a lifetime liability.
  4. Make two asset lists: financial and personal.
  5. Review your career map.
  6. Consider outsourcing specific tasks.
  7. Confer with your family.

For more details, read the entire article.

Finally, Jeremy at Gen X Finance is flabbergasted by the new 401(k) debit cards, which he calls “probably one of the worst ideas ever”. I’ve read a couple articles featuring interviews with the folks behind these. I can’t say their arguments are convincing. Jeremy does a great job discussing the drawbacks.