From time to time, reporters contact me for help on their stories. But often, I’m not the person they want to talk to. The person they want to talk to is you. This week, I’ve connected with two reporters writing stories with which they hope GRS readers can help.

  • The first is looking for somebody in the Twin Cities area who has elected to live without credit cards. Have you given up credit cards by choice? Willing to chat with a reporter? Let me know in the comments.
  • The second is looking for a family with at least one child under 18 in which the wife has been the primary (or only) earner for the past six months and the husband has suffered a job loss or setback due to the recession. Is this your family? Let me know if you’re willing to chat with a reporter.

I love how precise reporter requests are. (At least these two aren’t asking for “advice on how to save on XX, but they have to be unique ideas that people don’t know about”. I hate that. As if the obvious stuff isn’t important.)

Update! I forgot to mention: Thursday’s post will be late. I’ll have something in the afternoon before taking a long Christmas weekend with my family.

Anyhow, enough about reporters. Let’s look at some other financial stories from around the web.

First up, I recently gave an interview to Money Crashers. I give a lot of interviews, and most are unremarkable, but I like this one a lot. Money Crashers took a lot of time to come up with interesting, relevant questions, so I returned the favor by providing thoughtful responses. That means the interview touches not only on the basics of my financial tenets, but also on some of the deeper (more philosophical) under-pinnings, like how to deal with plateaus and the importance of emotional maturity. Plus, they managed to get me to talk a bit about politics, which, as you know, almost never happens.

Next, long-time reader Jeffrey V. sent me a piece from The Boston Globe about the danger of designer gifts. This brief article summarizes academic research into the effects of a fancy gift. Simply put, when you give somebody something nicer than the things they already have, you upset the balance in their Stuff, driving them to buy new items of similar “design salience”. In other words, you may think you’re being nice by giving your sister-in-law a Coach purse, but you might be feeding her the gateway drug to lifestyle inflation. Interesting.

Sticking with the holiday theme, Becoming Minimalist recently shared 35 gifts your children will never forget. I realize that (unless you’re like me) you’ve probably already finished your shopping, but this is a great list to save for the future.

I’ve thought a lot about taxes already, and it’s still several months before my return is due. Actually, this isn’t surprising. I’ve always enjoyed (yes, enjoyed!) doing my taxes as soon as the forms are available — which is soon. Because of that, I’ve bookmarked this summary of tax changes for 2011 over at My Journey to Millions.

And finally, my first column for Entrepreneur magazine has been posted online. It’s about how to save money on travel. It probably won’t surprise you to find out that I wrote this the day after returning from our month in Europe. Travel was on my mind!

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