A winter wind whips out of the north, sleet pelting the windows, as Mrs. Accountant quietly organizes her cache of coupons at the kitchen table. She has turned couponing into a science of savings. She uses Swagbucks and other vendors to supercharge her coupon values; she gets an additional ten cents (or more) back in cash from Swagbucks for each coupon used. Her coupon book is an old photo album converted to money-saving use. As I walk past Mrs. A and head to the barn to take care of the animals it does not seem so cold for a November afternoon in NE Wisconsin.
There is something intoxicating about coupons and the potential savings they promise. I don’t use coupons myself and have had a love/hate relationship with the scraps of paper over the years. It is much easier with many coupons in electronic format today; just load and use.Read More
In the United States, and I suspect in most countries around the world, people are taxed for spending and rewarded for saving. Almost all the tax revenue raised by the federal government comes from spending. This idea taxes are too high or the rich get a better deal is false because the middle class has the best deal going for it than at any time in history.
The reason taxes are so high for many people is they spend too fucking much money! In America, for example, the taxes levied against spending are massive while savers and investors are rewarded with low or even negative tax rates. This constant complaint of taxes being too high is annoying at best. Taxes are not too high when the people bitching about them volunteer to keep paying them. Here are a few of the extra taxes you pay when you spend: sales and use tax, property tax, excise tax, and corporate tax. Yes, corporate tax! Do you think businesses don’t pass all their expenses on to the buyers of their goods and services? Of course they do. And you pony up with a million dollar smile (when you are broke) and pay all those extra taxes and complain about how high taxes are.Read More
Whenever I speak to an organization if I mention you can travel for free or get $10,000 or more per year tax-free, I am always asked to come back and speak again on this single topic. It is incredible how many people either don’t know or don’t use on a regular basis what I am about to reveal. I am talking about tax-free money just for the asking and every kind of free travel imaginable.
A lot of people opt for the travel benefits because they enjoy traveling and the benefits are usually worth a bit more if used for travel. For me, cash is king. I like money, especially when I don’t have to report it as income.Read More
Clothes are one of those expenses easily avoided. Paying $50 for a shirt, slacks, or any kind of clothes is something I’ve never done and is insane. Today I will show you how Mrs. Accountant acquires the necessary brand-new garments for our household for less than $200 per year for a family of four. If you read to the end of the post (no peeking) I will show you a trick where you can get nearly unlimited amounts of free clothing.
Trading time to find awesome deals is not cheap, nor free. Clothes shopping is simple and fast when you know where to look and when. I have a closet filled with more clothes than I need. The females of the house have more than I do. It still amazes me when Mrs. Accountant walks in the door from grocery shopping with a million dollar smile and two bags overflowing with clothes she spent less than $20 on. I must admit it is not hard to love that woman.Read More
Accountants are reluctant to tell people what they do for a living. When I’m asked I sometimes say I’m a farmer. And whatever you do don’t say you are an accountant with plenty of free time on your hands; if you do, you are screwed. In a weak moment I mentioned my occupation at a writer’s conference and seven year of my life evaporated as the treasurer. In my younger days I ended up an elder in my church for the better part of two decades. Age has helped me weigh my words more carefully.
Working in a non-profit requires budgeting. It is the only budgeting I have ever done in my life. Budgets personally annoy me. Budgeted expenses are always spent while budgeted revenue is iffier. Hence, the organization is always broke and they look at the treasurer for answers. How do you tell the church council to stop spending so fucking much money? At the writer’s group I could say just that, but it never sunk in. Budgeting is a waste of time in its familiar format. I have a better idea.Read More
The health care system is broke in the U.S.; few doubt that fact. Mylan NV and its CEO Heather Bresch symbolize everything wrong with medicine today. In this short post I will show you how to ferret out BS from public companies using their own words. Bresch is on CNBC this morning defending Mylan and the company’s position.
In the interview Bresch makes several comments about the price increase of a Mylan product: EpiPens. Prices increased steadily from $164.98 for a two-pack in May 2011 to $608.61 for the same two-pack in May of 2016. Bresch uttered frustration because the price increases are the result of all the middlemen touching the product (“…four or five hands”). Bresch said, “That $608 is a list price. What Mylan takes from that, our net sales is $274, so $137 per pen.”Read More
The topic of college costs came up and the payment of student loans. I have no sympathy. Student loans are a cancer that need to be excised immediately. The argument was other debt should be paid first before student loans. I disagreed. Let’s listen in on the conversation.Read More
Back when Doc* was alive he played cards with us every Friday night. One night we got a call the police were at his house. It seems someone had broken into his home and may have started a fire. We thought the card game was over as Doc would head home to assess the damage. Instead he stayed tight in his chair and demanded the cards be dealt.
That night at cards I discovered the real priorities in life. The card game with family and neighbors was more important than stuff accumulated over a lifetime. Of course Doc never tossed anything out, but if someone wanted to steal his stuff, have at it.
My grandfather (Doc) was a Stoic without knowing it. He knew there was nothing he could do if his house was on fire or he was burglarized. He wasn’t going to grab a bucket and start tossing water on the flame; he was 88 years old. It seems it takes a lot of years for the wisdom to develop on what has real value, like a card game with people you care about. You can act like a chipmunk standing guard around your stash or you can value stuff at zero and relationships as priceless. Your choice will determine the level of happiness in your life.Read More