So, Did Anything Good Happen to You This Week?

Once again it’s the start of a new week. It’s Sunday right now and for me at least it feels like it’s definitely an opportunity to start out fresh and clean and leave last week’s chaos behind us. I hope that my faith in that will be rewarded. It just seems that all that goes on such as the chaos in Washington, on Wall Street, and even just on Main Street right here in town leaps out at us all. But somewhere along the way I keep thinking that something good must be happening out there! Usually I ask that question in a different way. It’s usually, “Tell me something good that happened this week.” But what I really want to know is if anything good happened to you this week…your own personal good news.

Bad news and chaos seem to rule the headlines, but today I'm interested in good news. I'm sharing the story of my frugal shopping win, and I'd love to hear your good news of the week.

The good things seem to just come and go, often without being recognized and truly appreciated. We have to recognize the bad things because they are right in our faces and must be dealt with, but the good things just add quality to our lives in some simple way and sometimes we expect that to be part of the norm and we may even take them for granted. It’s only when life gets disrupted by the bad that we sit up and take notice. Continue reading

These 14 Things Will Cost More in 2018

Your budget won’t like this, but there are a number of goods and services you can expect to be more expensive in 2018. Giving you a heads up can make your planning a little easier and certainly keep you sharp when looking to buy. This list is meant to do just that. Here’s what you can expect in 2018.

It seems like prices are always going up, but for these 14 items, you're sure to see a price increase in 2018. Adjust your budget and plan ahead for success.

14 Things Where You’ll See a Price Increase in 2018

1. New Phones

Smartphone prices have already started to rise. The latest iPhone model jumped to a whopping $999 and the Google Pixel 2 XL launched at $849. That means that some of us are now spending almost a solid grand on a phone (granted, they take some pretty amazing photos). It’s a trend that seems to run opposite from other tech products that usually get better and cheaper as they become more common. While there are always some good deals around, they are getting harder to find as phones are getting better but more expensive, and you can expect this trend to continue. Continue reading

My Holiday Wishes for a “Super” Year Ahead!

The holidays have once again sneaked up on us and this year I’ve decided to diverge from the usual financial topics to write about something closer to the heart, revisiting what I wrote last year. For me, that is taking some time out to appreciate what I have in my life and to think about something really important: gratitude and kindness.

As we approach Christmas, I am sharing my message of holiday wishes. May you and yours have a happy holiday season, and I'll be back after the new year.

The holiday season tends to fly by in a rush each year, and then suddenly, before you can say “hot cocoa”, the holidays are here and then so quickly gone! It is true that your holiday traditions and holiday moments can slow things down a little bit, and so can moments of gratitude and kindness to friends and strangers. But overall, the holiday season moves way too quickly and in a flash, the winter doldrums takes its place. Continue reading

Double Trouble: The Stock Market Bubble and Carbon Bubble

Financially speaking, 2017 has been a very profitable year for many, especially those individuals who have a stake in the stock market and those businesses that have made huge gains as well. Just ask our leaders about that and you’ll probably hear over and over how great our economy is performing, “record levels like no one has ever seen before” to coin a phrase.

Facing 2018, we are headed for danger if the stock market bubble and carbon bubble burst together. Here's what may lie ahead for investors.

But, 2017 has been a year also marked and marred by unexpected events, from natural disasters to terrorist attacks and all kinds of political and social upheaval. It seems 2018 will likely prove to be no different, but the least we can do is examine our own expectations for the year to come, so we know where we may be in for some really unpleasant surprises. One such surprise might just be a burst in the stock market bubble and the carbon bubble that might spell double trouble. Continue reading

17 Weird and Wacky Ways to Save Over $7,000 A Year

When times are tight, and that seems to be just about all of the time these days, it’s important to search for ways to stretch your dollars. While everyone seems to know the obvious money-saving strategies, like clipping coupons or online shopping instead of spending extra for gas and driving everywhere, there are plenty of other options to cut your costs. Some of you may have heard some ideas whispered in a back room at the office, but you may have never even imagined that people spend a lot of their time looking for new and even extreme ways to save their money!

As prices go up and incomes rise slowly, it's time to look toward weird and wacky ways to save money to help balance your budget. Here are 17 ideas for you.

Don’t be afraid. If you are really serious about saving money, you can get pretty creative with your saving strategies. Those willing to think outside the box can save some serious cash. If you’re willing to do just about anything it takes to add some extra room into your budget, try these 17 crazy, weird, and even extreme ways to save money and cut your expenses! Continue reading

Join Me in the Spirit of Giving Back This Thanksgiving

“From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” – Arthur Ashe

Thanksgiving is just two days away, and many of us are focused on two things: preparing for Thanksgiving dinner and the shopping onslaught that begins after that. But not all of us get to do that. Some of our neighbors won’t have a turkey and all the trimmings. Some will be struggling to feed their family at all.

As Thanksgiving approaches, giving back is even more important. Join my Virtual Holiday Food Drive to support the food bank or try one of these other ways.

At this time of year, when it is so important to give thanks for what we have, I’ve decided to hold a Virtual Holiday Food Drive for the local food bank. For those of you who are able, I’d like to ask you to share what you have and donate what you can. Continue reading

Record National Debt + Tax Cuts = an Alarming Scenario!

Andy Kim had a hit record back in 1968 with the song “Baby, How’d We Ever Get This Way?” That was a great question then and an even greater one today, especially when it comes to the national debt.

With a record high national debt and proposed tax cuts, I'm worried about our future and I'm not the only one! Can the federal government go bankrupt?

I feel a little like Sgt. Joe Friday of “Dragnet” as I give you “the facts and just the facts” on the status of “all things debt”. This week both the Senate and the House passed the Trump proposed budget for next year and it will not be cutting any of the national debt in the plan, that’s for sure. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the proposed tax cuts combined with the CBO’s already-projected mounting deficit could ultimately drive the deficit upwards another $10 trillion in the next 10 years. Increasing the debt another $10 trillion seems just crazy! Continue reading

Who Will Pay the Taxes When Robots Take Your Job?

It seems we are always talking about jobs and unemployment numbers, doesn’t it? After all, no matter who you are or where you live, earning a living is your major priority and concern. That applies even if you see yourself as a minimalist who is focused on being totally earth friendly and working just for yourself on the internet or even if you are a corporate mogul running a Fortune 500 corporation out in Silicon Valley. But as was heard long ago on the old 60’s “Lost in Space” TV show: “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!”

In a world of increasing automation, tech and AI, is a robot tax in our future? How will government fund itself when our jobs are taken over by robots?

What will happen when robots take your job?

Robots are taking over the world’s workforce—and why shouldn’t they? For so many jobs, machines are faster, more consistent, smarter, and cheaper than you or I will ever be. As advances in artificial intelligence (AI) accelerate, robots will spread into all corners of the labor market: blue collar and white collar, service work and knowledge work alike. Continue reading

Fire Safety & Insurance: Are You Really Protected?

Sunday evening around 9:30 pm, my wife and I were sitting in our living room watching a movie when we heard the sounds of a fire engine racing nearby and saw the flashing lights outside of our window. At first we didn’t pay too much attention to it, but a minute later a second, third, and more engines started to turn in across the street in our condo complex along with several police cars and ambulances. Before you could say holy sh*t, we realized that someone’s condo was in the middle of a serious blaze. It was a complete shocker and very scary.

If you haven't reviewed your fire safety and insurance lately, you may be surprised to learn that you aren't protected as completely as you thought.

Fires can happen, we all know that!

Living in a condo where over 400 units are so close together makes the thought of a fire even more dramatic. A fire in one home easily spreads quickly and can engulf an entire block of homes in a short period of time. Even if you live in a single family home on a plain somewhere in Montana, a fire can happen and kill someone or ruin your home and life. Continue reading

What the Inflation Rate Means for You

If you’re anything like me, when you are out shopping these days you can’t help but notice the everyday prices of things seem to be going up and that influences whether you make a purchase now or wait for what you hope might be a better deal down the road.

The inflation rate is lower than expected, but is that good news? Some costs have increased while others have fallen, so it depends on your circumstances.

Are everyday prices rising?

Last weekend, my wife and I were browsing in a nice store for a new fragrance she wanted to purchase. The price was discounted online, but she wanted to go to a store and check out the scent. Since it was nice sunny afternoon, we decided to take the ride. While out and about and walking in the shopping center, my wife suggested that I was overdue for a haircut. I pride myself on scrimping on the cost of my haircuts and simply can’t bring myself to pay “boutique prices” for it. I have paid as little as $5.99 with a coupon not too long ago, and at most I have paid “senior” haircut prices of $12.00, grudgingly of course. Continue reading