Finances & Money

Weekly Roundup: Chronic Neck Pain Edition

Ok, I don’t think 1.5 months is chronic, but I’m worried that the pain in my neck (no, not my wife) is here to stay. The muscles that go from my shoulder blade to my neck and down to my collarbone are so tensed you could probably strum a melody on them. First it started on my right side in August and it has now added the left side. Personally, I think I just need a good upper-back massage, but then again, I know what happened the last time I got a massage (hint: herniated disks).

Anyway, here’s a late roundup since we were in PA again this weekend for my niece’s 5th birthday. And in just a few weeks will be our 5th anniversary! While we’re going on a big trip to Israel in mid-November, I guess that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate on our actual anniversary date too.

From the Personal Finance Network

If you forgot already, I’m part of a little, semi-formal network of fellow personal finance bloggers called the Personal Finance Network. We formed a group to help each other stay accountable with our content, promote our sites, share ideas and publish group writing projects.

– While Squawkfox is recovering from knee surgery, her husband posted a good article on buying digital cameras. Since I want a new one before our Israel trip, I’ll be using this advice.

– Now that I’m looking into investments other than our 401k and Roth IRA accounts, I have to worry about investment costs. So it’s good that Four Pillars wrote up 9 easy ways to save money on investment costs.

– Feeling sluggish? Well MoneyNing is giving away Starbucks gift cards! And while we’re talking about expensive coffee, check out his article about why we end up paying more when better options are available.

– How do I pick mutual funds? Almost randomly I guess. Maybe I should read Canadian Capitalists quick list for picking a winning mutual fund before I buy more next time.

– While I initially did a double-take at the title, I realized Blunt Money is right that credit cards are not for emergency use. In my mind, you could easily get financially lazy and even irresponsible if you just think “I can put the new furnace on the CC” instead of saving up when you know you’ll need a new one soon.

From my Personal Finance Reader List

NEWS ALERT! First, I must sadly pass on that Dawn at Frugal for Life has called it quits. She was one of my favorite frugality blogs. While I disagree that there can never be too many voices espousing frugality on the web, I’ll respect her decision to leave the PF blog community. Hopefully she leaves her site up though!

– I’d be interested to know your opinions of Million Dollar Journey’s list of 8 essential baby toys. I know the baby carrier (Baby Bjorn) was a lifesaver for our friends, and they seem to like the Bumbo too. What about the rest?

– Ok, I’ve spent inordinate amounts of money at restaurants like Fogo de Chao, but I don’t think I ever considered spending $40 on a bottle of water like Budgets are Sexy did. At least he offered to share it with me. I said we should make grape Koolaid with it (my favorite!).

– I only counted 38.74, but Jim said he has 40 money tips for college students at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity. Go ahead, count em!

– I’m not sure if there will be a week that The Simple Dollar won’t be on my roundup, and this week is no exception. Trent populates my brain with the 12 biggest finance mistakes we keep making.

Dual Income No Kids shows us the brand new dollar bill!

– With an excellent opening story, Wise Bread helps us separate the wants from the needs.

– And finally, Don’t Mess with Taxes ponders whether the home sale tax exclusion helped kill the economy (you know, the one where you don’t pay taxes on your home sale profits).

About the author

Clever Dude


  • As for the baby toys…here are my thoughts:

    1. Swing: Our little one didn’t like her swing at first. I would suggest maybe trying it out before buying one cause they can be pretty expensive. She’s warmed up to it, but it’s not her favorite place.

    2 Playpen: Very useful. The author lists the best use: having a convenient, safe place to put the baby if you need to do something. Ours also has a changing table, so we didn’t have to run upstairs every time we needed to change a diaper. They collapse down pretty well, so they’re also great for traveling.

    3. Baby Carrier: A life saver. Sometimes you need to go places that aren’t condusive to strollers. the carrier allows a hands free way to safely transport the baby. Also, ours loves it because she can see everything. This keeps her occupied and definitely cuts down on fussiness.

    4. Bouncer: I think this is the most essential toy on this list — especially if you have a very fussy baby. As the baby moves, the seat bounces and helps soothe them. Our model also has vibration which the baby really likes. If you could only buy one thing on this list, this should be it.

    5. Play Mat: A good concept, but, you could achieve the same effect for less with a blanket and some toys. We don’t put the baby on the mat and leave…we always play with her, so the extra features of the play mat are kind overkill for us.

    6. Jolly Jumper: We haven’t purchased one yet, but we’ve been told that it’s a good investment. The author lists the two types (doorway vs. free standing). If you’re tight on space, definitely go for the one you hang on the doorway as the free standing ones can be quite large (the doorway version is also much less expensive).

    7. Exersaucer: I can’t comment on this just yet as our daughter isn’t quite old enough to use hers properly, but, my cousin’s daughter was absolutely enthralled with hers. Since our daughter is just about to grow out of the bouncer, this will probably be the next lifesaver (hopefully).

    8. Bumbo: This is a good investment if your baby likes to be upright, but quite cant sit up on their own yet. It helps them develop the muscles needed to sit up on their own.

  • One follow up I forgot: Don’t just take the Babies R Us price on a lot of this stuff.

    We got our Baby Bjorn for 1/3 the cost of the Babies R US/Target price at BJs.

    Also, check yard sales and consignment sales. Be sure to check any used toys thoroughly, though because broken toys can cause a safety hazard.

  • Hey CleverDude

    Love the blog, Sorry to hear about your neck.

    Try some stretches and/or yoga. I’ve gone through periods of time when I get weird back pain and then I start some sort of stretch routine and it slowly goes away.

    There are plenty of free video podcast that will walk you through 20min or so yoga routines.

  • @Marilyn, thanks for the tip on yoga. I also have stretches from my chiropractor from earlier this year when I had back and neck problems. But at this point, stretching is so painful (the good pain though, like stretching a sore muscle) that it makes me rather sick in the stomach to think about it. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but not so much for chronic/long-term pain!

  • hey mike,

    i am buying an inversion table for the fiance…you may want to invest in one of them…people she knows swears by them for their back…so like, it may help totally with you also

  • Look at stretching the chest muscles specifically. What happens if you spend most of your time at a computer is your shoulders round forward and your pecs shorten, but you feel the strain in your neck and back of your shoulders cause those muscles are being used improperly. I’ve used this stretch and the site’s test to see if you have forward head to help ease a lot of my upper back pain.

Leave a Comment