January in Review

This month, Ally Bank’s Straight Talk blog brought you financial news from all over the world, including 2013 tax changes forged in the halls of Congress and investment lessons borne from the mistakes of English aristocracy.

Highlights from January:

What You Need to Know About the Fiscal Cliff Deal: America started 2013 by avoiding the pending crisis known as “the fiscal cliff.” But what was the aftermath? From the payroll tax holiday to income taxes to tax deductions, we took a look at how the fiscal cliff deal affected you.

What You Can Learn From the Downton Abbey Fiscal Crisis: When hard times hit television’s wildly popular British aristocrats early this month, Americans were left wondering where the Crawleys went wrong – and more importantly, what can be learned from their missteps. Straight Talk looked at the Crawleys’ quandary and uncovered several personal finance lessons, including the need for investment diversity, financial planning and adequate emergency savings.

Savings Talk: Creating a Savings Calendar: When you’re trying to build up your savings, a little organization goes a long way. That’s where a savings calendar can really help you meet your savings goals. Bargaineering Founder Jim Wang gave Straight Talk suggestions to help you save in every season.

What I Wish I Knew About Retirement 20 Years Ago: Hindsight is 20/20. So Straight Talk wound back the clock twenty years and asked three retirees what they wish they had known about retirement back then. The lessons they learned about saving, 401(k)s and social security turned out to be quite valuable.

Elsewhere across the web, other sites also offered helpful primers on personal finance, including:

How I Saved $13,000 for a Round-The-World Trip in Seven Months: Travel blogger Kate McCulley told Business Insider how she met her goal of putting aside $13,000 for a trip around the globe. Her methods of cost-cutting and increasing income can be a lesson to all.

4 Tips From a Serial Home Remodeler: Looking for remodeling tips? MONEY® offered up advice from a writer who took on no fewer than six major home improvement projects in eight years.

Build a Better Budget in 2013:You may know the importance of good budgeting, but you may not be clear on how to create that budget. Step by step, Kiplinger demonstrated.

Four Personal Finance Apps to Help With Your New Year’s Resolutions:If you’re still wrestling with your personal-finance New Year’s resolutions, it may be because you just don’t have the right apps to help you out. Minyanville published a post on how your mobile device can give you the help you need.

What did you learn this month from Ally Bank’s Straight Talk blog? How is the new year affecting your personal finances?