My husband is an excellent gift giver. It amazes me each holiday how spot-on he is in his gift choices, and this past Christmas was no exception. Among my bounty in December was a brand-spankin’-new Kindle. I love it, and what makes me love it even more is finding all kinds of freebie reads to download to it. In fact, I think I’ve only paid for three books since Christmas (and two of those only cost a quarter each!). Here are some of the tips I’ve learned along the way to find free books for your e-reader of choice.

Mass Retailer of Choice

With all the ups and downs of the stock market, many people tend to envision that trading on the market is a terrifying, heart-palpitating experience. One in which you could lose every dime to your name. One in which you might be swindled by a smooth-talking, tailored-suited crook. One in which the fears outweigh any potential good.

However, the stock market doesn't have to be so scary. In fact, it can be a little fun. Let's look at some ways to begin to invest on the market without fearing for your life savings.

Research and Learn

When I learned recently that my sister is moving to Florida, I was so excited that I almost peed my pants. After the screaming subsided, my sis asked what all the commotion was about, and I proceeded to respond incoherently, mumbling, laughing and hooting like a crazy person. She hung up.

One of the more important stock terms to read up on is the debt-to-equity ratio. This ratio can tell you at a quick glance the general financial practices of the company, and it is one of the ratios used most often in stock analysis. For that reason, the debt-to-equity ratio is pretty darned important, and we should spend a little time going over the details.

What Exactly is the Debt-to-Equity Ratio?

All this baby stuff is really taking up a lot of time, so I apologize for being lax on Friday Round-up. I have managed to get around to all y'all's blogs to read and comment on them, and your posts were wonderful the last few weeks. But this is my first post about the best of the best for weeks!

Without further adieu (…because I have to run to the airport to pick up my sister…), here’s the Friday Round-Up. Enjoy my picks for the week!

We’ve passed the midway mark for the school year, and while students are starting to gear up for final exams, many parents are starting to face the question of where their children will be going to school in the fall. For private schools, re-enrollment forms are going out and open houses are planned, and parents must decide now whether to go public or private.

My Personal Schooling Story

Sure, I've done it. I think everyone has. It's a dirty little secret that we often don't discuss in polite company. Yes, I'm talking about rolling credit card balances. It's dirty. It's frowned upon. It's a financial no-no. But does it have to be so cut and dried? No. Not really. Let's look at when rolling credit cards can be positive...and when it can be negative.

Rolling Cards: The Positives

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my twin girls are turning six this year. Honestly, some days it’s still hard to believe I have a set of healthy, vibrant twin girls, much less a set who is past the toddling and preschool age.

If your home is financially under water or you're having trouble making payments, it may be tempting to call it quits and head for the hills. But this may not be your best option; leaving your home high and dry for the bank to repossess can tank your credit score. If you had any other option by which you could stay in your home, would you take it? Well, let's look at the details behind two government programs that could save your &#% (that spells house, people!).

HARP: Home Affordable Refinance Program

Who would have thought that increasing taxes on junk food could possibly amount to a potential $2 billion dollars in the state's pocket? Why, government officials, of course. In Illinois, that's exactly what is being proposed by Governor Pat Quinn and Illinois Hospital Association Chief Maryjane Wurth. Why all the hype behind the junk food tax and how's it gonna help? Let's take a look at everything behind the reasoning, and then weigh in with your thoughts!

Reason Number One Behind the Junk Food Tax