Most of my on-line financial reading lately has been about frugality and saving money. I think I’m subconsciously avoiding investment articles because I know I have to make some big decisions regarding my 2008 retirement savings by the middle of next month. Of course, that means a few weeks from now, all the links I share will be about investing! In the meantime, here are some stories I’ve liked lately:

Scott Burns says you can save money just by paying attention. Though I really dislike articles that claim readers can save X amount of money by doing Y things (come on, get real — everyone’s situation is different), I like Burns’ central idea here: The power of attentive spending can be a great way to save money.

Dawn at Frugal for Life posted an important reminder: free things must have value. Just because something’s free doesn’t mean it’s a good deal. I mention this point from time-to-time because it’s important. (And because I have trouble remembering it.) If it’s not something you’ll use or appreciate, it’s just clutter. And clutter is never “free”.

Have you ever wondered how much it costs to keep an extra chest freezer in the garage? Jonathan at My Money Blog has, and he recently ran the numbers. He estimates the cost at $5-$10 per month (depending on the size), which he figures should be easy to make up through frugal choices.

Finally, Five Cent Nickel offers advice on how to find a good auto mechanic. As with many such choices, getting a referral from someone you trust is the best way to go. Nickel notes, however, that it’s important to ask somebody who can give a knowledgeable recommendation.