A Get Rich Slowly reader pointed me toward a hilarious post at FAIL Blog, one that will make librarians everywhere weep.

The forum post they’re mocking says:

book rental service?
was just thinking. my sister does -alot- of reading, and spends like $1000 a year on just books alone. most of them she reads once then never looks at again. is there any kind of like…video rental store but for books? would make things alot cheaper, plus once one person had read one the next person can get enjoyment from it etc

The thing is: people always forget about the public library. You pay for the library with your tax dollars — why not explore what the local branch has to offer? Mine provides a lot more than just books. You can borrow CDs, DVDs, and (gasp!) comic books. You can borrow passes to zoos and museums. You can get research help. Local libraries offer a lot of services. They’re an awesome resource for frugal folks everywhere.

Here are some recent articles about personal finance that I found interesting:

CNN Money has a short but powerful editorial on why you just can’t seem to save enough. The problem? You’re trying to save after you’ve taken care of other expenses. The solution? Pay yourself first. “Instead of limiting your spending so you can save what’s left, decide first what you’ll save and learn to live on the rest. And get it out of your hands as fast as you can.” Sign up for automatic withdrawals.

At Saving Advice, Shannon Christman recently wrote about the benefits of saving habits that make you look poor. Sometimes people make judgements about frugal people, and react negatively. But sometimes appearing poor actually produces a positive response. This is a fascinating post, but you can get even more value by visiting the write-up about it at MSN’s Smart Money blog. A quarter of a million people read this summary, and over 500 of them left comments, most of which contain interesting anecdotes. Excellent reading.

Finally, Flexo at Consumerism Commentary posted a short rant this morning: “Passive income: Real estate? Blogging? I don’t think so.” Flexo writes:

There is a certain allure to the idea of “passive income.” After all, who wouldn’t want a continuous stream of income without having to trade your time or effort for it? But true passive income is quite elusive…If you want to earn income, you have to work for it; that is, income is active. The IRS may call certain things “passive income,” but the term itself is a lie.

Absolutely brilliant. Passive income is the holy grail of get rich quick types. (Hell — it’s even the holy grail for me, and I’m all about getting rich slowly.) But the more research I do, the more I realize that passive income is mostly a myth. Real estate management? It takes work. And when people tell me they want to generate a passive income through blogging, then ask for my secret? My secret is working twelve hours a day for two years. There’s nothing passive about it.