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Personal Finance Reader

'Tis the season to be shopping Add to ...

Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick brings you the Personal Finance Reader, his twice-weekly picks for the best online reading about money, the markets and more. If you're having trouble reading this newsletter or want to read the archives, click here.

Found something on the Internet that your fellow investors might enjoy? Talk to me at rcarrick@globeandmail.com.

Must reads from The Globe and Mail

No need to cross the border to nab this season's hottest toys. The Globe and Mail's informal price survey of this year's kid favourites shows you won't save anything by buying American

Tips for buying those high-tech holiday gadgets. Here's a helpful list of what to keep in mind when gifting a gizmo this year

Seven tips for avoiding shipping costs when shopping online. Before clicking on that purchase, make sure you're getting the best deal possible

Could your credit score use some work? Here are nine steps you can take.

Five cheap and charitable holiday gift ideas. This holiday season, consider thrifty gifts with a social conscience

Convenience vs. eco-consciousness. In this week's Cash Clash, an environmentally-conscious couple debate getting a second car

To avoid a cellphone bill horror story, read the contract. Consumer protection is one thing, but you need to protect your own interests too

Good time to refinance your mortgage? Mortgage expert Laura Parsons answered your questions about mortgages. If you missed the live discussion, you can read a transcript here.

Must Reads From Around the Web

Attention, Cross-Border Shoppers.

Here's a list of best bargains for Black Friday, which happens Nov. 16, or this Friday, in the United States. It's a bigtime shopping extravaganza with sales everywhere, huge crowds, mobbed parking lots and many other delights. If you live near the border and want to partake, here's a list of top bargains. Me, I'd rather stick a fork in my eye.

Here's a link to the RedFlagDeals.com forum on Black Friday bargains of interest to Canadians.

The Debt Threat.

Ace CBC host Michael Enright gets Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney to explain the problem with today's high personal debt levels in the clearest language you're likely to get from a central banker. Read the transcript, or listen to the audio clip.

Bond ETF Wakeup Call.

Canadian Couch Potato blogger Dan Bortolotti sets the record straight on the returns provided by bond ETFs. Some investors think they're getting returns of 4 per cent (exceptionally high in today's world), but in fact they are not

Tips For Travellers.

TripAdvisor's list of the 10 dirtiest Canadian hotels.

Tipping guidelines for business travellers.

Enterprise takes the prize in a J.D. Power survey of customer satisfaction with car rental agencies.

Warning on Housing

Canada's housing market looks risky to a U.S. economist who predicted his country's disastrous real estate market blow-up.

ETFs + Oil, Gold and Gas

Forbes.com has compiled this handy slideshow to document how well the many commodity-tracking exchange-traded funds listed on the NYSE are working.

Biz Books For Xmas

Canadian Business blogger Larry MacDonald offers a list of financial books that would make good Christmas gifts. Thanks, Larry, for including my own recent book, Rob Carrick's Guide to What's Good, Bad And Downright Awful in Canadian Investing Today.

Calling All Econo-Geeks

The Top 10 economists on Twitter.

Know Your Adviser

If your investment adviser works for a firm that belongs to the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (these firms sell stocks and bonds as well as mutual funds), then click here to check up on his or her background, qualifications and disciplinary information.

Taste Test For Chefs

Expensive olive oil - worth the extra bucks?

Editor's note: If you don't receive Rob Carrick's newsletter twice weekly by email, you can sign up to get it for free at The Globe and Mail. All you need to do is register for the site, or if you've already registered, login and go to your profile at the top of the homepage. Once you're in your profile, look under Newsletters and Alerts and look for the Personal Finance Reader and other newsletters. Other financial newsletters include:

Business Ticker, a summary of the day's top business stories

Berman's Market Update, a summary of the markets at the open, noon and close

Trade by Numbers, a monthly collection of articles exploring an investing trend or theme

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