Thanks to everyone who came to my presentation at the library yesterday. Speaking to an audience isn’t one of my natural strengths, but I had a lot of fun, and I’m eager to improve for the future. Next time: less personal history and more Big Picture! (And far more preparation.)

I also enjoyed the opportunity to do a question-and-answer session. There seems to be a lot of support for a GRS meet-up, which Kris and I both think is a fantastic idea. We’re tentatively planning such a get-together for sometime in mid-January. If anyone has a suggestion for a frugal location in Portland where a bunch of us can gather to chat and exchange ideas, please let me know.

Now that I’m done fretting about my presentation, I can get back to the business of writing. The first order of business is to share some recent personal finance stories from around the web:

I recently wrote about how to make your own Christmas gifts. Not everyone is crafty, though, and for these people, Liz Pulliam Weston has compiled a list of 20 great gifts that aren’t gift cards. This article is definitely worth bookmarking if you’re about ready to begin your holiday shopping.

The most recent issue of Consumer Reports has a sidebar comparing shipping costs and effectiveness from three sources: Federal Express, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service. I’ve been meaning to write about their results, but haven’t found the time. That’s okay, though, because Free Money Finance beat me to it! All you really need to know, though is this: “All three delivered next-day mail as promised, but the good old U.S. Postal Service is often cheapest by far.”

Earlier today, Trent at The Simple Dollar shared an introduction to deflation. While I fret about inflation (and folks like Peter Schiff fret about hyperinflation), others have begun to murmur recently about de-flation. But what is deflation, and what does it mean for the average person? Trent gives an overview of the basics.

Finally, for the money geeks, Five Cent Nickel has a preview of the 2009 Federal Income Tax brackets.

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