Ohmyword. I always forget how much work goes into getting ready for a vacation. Although I’ve been quiet on the blog this week, I’m working like a madman behind the scenes to be sure there’s plenty of great stuff for you to read while I’m petting the lions and wildebeests in Africa.

Meanwhile, I still have to get things ready for our house-sitter. And exercise every day. And eat well. And take care of my finances. And write my column for Entrepreneur. And maybe take some time to breathe. It’s madness, I tell you, madness!

I took some break from the madness today to take a look at some other personal finance stories around the web. Here are a few of my favorites:

First, I found a fantastic site while preparing my packing list for Africa. I usually loathe .info sites (they seem like havens for scammers), but TravelIndependent.info is loaded with great advice for budget independent travel. I mean, look at this travel packing list. It’s a frickin’ work of art! A thing of beauty! And other hyperbole! Seriously, if you’re starting to travel like I am, bookmark this place. It’s packed with information. (And it appears to be unmonetized, which is too bad. I’d love to support the owner by clicking his links when purchasing travel gear.)

Five Cent Nickel actually has a couple of interesting pieces this week. First, Nickel himself argues that you shouldn’t always automatically reinvest dividends. Dividend reinvesting is the core of many investment philosophies, but Nickel says that there are times you should do this manually instead of automatically. That article may be a little technical for most people, but FCN staff writer Laura has a good piece about how much your credit score matters, which is applicable to everyone.

Over at The Simple Dollar, Trent has put together a list of seven monthly bills most people have — and seven ways to reduce each bill. That’s 49 frugal tips in one blog post! Meanwhile, at Bargaineering Miranda Marquit offers five ways to know that investment scam stinks. Remember: If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

Finally, a couple of things I found yesterday have spurred me to action. First, One Frugal Girl has a short post about a friend who can’t stop buying lotto tickets. Second, Rob at Cockeyed has pieced together his incredibly depressing mega-millions simulator, which lets you see just how futile playing the lottery really is. I hate the lottery. Sure, I’ve played it in the past, but mostly I’ve watched people who can’t afford to lose money on the games do so anyhow. These two pages got me so riled up that I wrote a long tirade. I plan to edit that down and combine it with the official Get Rich Slowly lottery simulator sometime soon. (As in: when I get back from Africa.) Watch for it.

Speaking of Africa — it’s time I get back to writing and editing. There’s still lots of work to do in the word mines before I can go pet those lions and wildebeests!

This article is about Spare Change