nug⋅get [nuhg-it] — noun
1. a lump of something, as of precious metal.
2. a lump of native gold.
3. anything of great value, significance, or the like: nuggets of wisdom.

A nice graphic showing how the money being spent in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be divvied up. For some reason it works a better for me than the bar graphs on front page of recovery.gov.

[Via Signal vs. Noise]

Excellent overview of how and why the financial meltdown evolved and what was done to try to keep in in check. Very well written and directed as well.

[Via Jason Fried]

This afternoon’s episode of American Public Media’s The Story starts off with an interview with a Barbara, a member of Debtors Anonymous. Eye-opening.

How does she manage now that she’s off credit? Cash-only. She has a strict spending plan, tracks her checking account carefully, and only uses a debit card for the few times when she’d need a credit card (at the gas pump, online purchases, etc.)

Do you feel you’re addicted to credit? It’s definitely a crutch I need to get off of.

[Via VPR]

Like me, you should have received you 2008 W2s sometime around last week and it’s now time to think about gathering all your tax forms together and getting them filed. For the last few years I’ve been using TurboTax to save myself a lot of time & frustration.

I’d suggest buying TurboTax 2008 for Mac & PC as you can use it for everyone in your household, but TurboTax Online is also a great option and is a little less expensive. With the latter, it’s free if you only need to file a 1040EZ!

Of course, if you buy from one of the above links you’ll also help support this site.

Mint has just released a free native application for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows you to browse your Mint account (including account balances, transactions, budgets, etc.) quickly and natively. Nice.

[Via Mint]

This documentary is excellent look at where more and more of us are heading and some of the predatory lending that helped get us there. It doesn’t really provide any answers, but it’s reassuring that we’re not alone in this situation and it’s important to be aware of the pitfalls.

I streamed it from Netflix, but you can also borrow it from your local library or buy it from Amazon and iTunes.

Peter Schiff tried to warn us about not only the real estate crash, but also the subsequent Wallstreet crash and credit crunch. Remember Warren Buffett’s words: “[B]e fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.”

[Via 37signals]

I’ve been seeing the bizarre ads on Hulu for FeedThePig.org and finally broke down and visited the site. It turns out that, “the goal of the campaign is to encourage the 40 million Americans age 25 to 34 to take control of their personal finances.”

Considering how off-putting the commercials are, I’m concerned about their effectiveness. That said, they do have useful links to financial calculators on their Resources page. Especially helpful are the Roll-Down Your Credit Card Debt and Don’t Delay Your Savings tools.

Leo Babauta on getting out of debt:

I highly recommend that people get out of debt and stay out of debt, especially as the economy hits difficult times. It’s not a good position to be in if you lose your job while burdened with lots of debt. Better: become debt-free, with a good emergency fund and a small budget. That’s recession-proof personal finances.

He has more helpful and inspiring articles in the Finance & Family section of his site.

Geezeo is a free web-based personal finance application that makes it easy to track all your finances, see where all your money is going, set financial goals and learn from others.

Another personal finance site along the lines of Wesabe which not only includes the basic tools offered by Mint, Yodlee MoneyCenter, and Quicken Online, but is integrated with a community for that “positive public pressure” and swapping of tips.

[Via My Money Blog]