Grandpa told us stories of how they increased fuel economy during World War II rationing years. The technology has advanced over the years, but the goal is the same: increase the miles traveled on a gallon of gas. Today we call this behavior: hypermiling. Rationing is no longer the motivation. Saving money and reducing our personal impact on the planet are the two main drivers (pun intended) behind hypermiling today. I will share the best methods I use to achieve 46 miles per gallon in a 2007 Toyota Camry. If you are willing to work the technology harder your results will probably be even better.Read More
There is no surprise around here I am an accountant. Before the dream of accounting set in my dream was to write for a living. My first novel was finished in high school and my second shortly thereafter, neither published. Writing was in my blood. There was only one little problem; writing does not always pay the bills. The internet changed all that.
Starting in the mid 90s a new company showed up making it easier to sell books: Amazon. Behind my office building was a company called Banta, the seventh largest book packager in the country at the time. RR Donnelley bought them out years ago. It was now easy to produce and sell books on Amazon. I jumped on hundreds of radio talk shows to hawk my wares. I wrote about everything that tickled my fancy. And I got my first taste of money from my writing skills (or lack, thereof).Read More
A cold north wind raised goose bumps on my forearms. The year is 1982. I am 18 years old with no idea how I am going to live my life. My dreams are to own a business and make lots of money. You see, my family is very poor. Just money. That is the goal.
The wind gusts, reinforcing the goose flesh. The family farm finished bankruptcy only months before. My whole life plan was over; farming is no longer a viable job opportunity, the only thing I know. Our farm house was a shotgun shack. (A shotgun shack is a building where you could shoot it with a shotgun and the pellets would pass through without hitting the building. The old farm house had plenty of holes.) By some miracle we kept the house and a few acres of land from creditors; the rest was gone.
My dad’s life was over, too. All he knew was farming and now the farm was gone. He started a business repairing silo unloaders. The competition was tough. Life in the 1982 Rust Belt was no fun. Work was scarce; opportunities few. Unemployment reached toward 20% in our local community.Read More
Reducing spending is my favorite pastime, more fun than a Pokémon or any other video game. Finding new ways to reduce costs provides me more pleasure than any other activity I engage. I bike to work as often as feasible, blasting my transportation costs to a minimum. Our home hot water is supplied by a geothermal heat pump. In the summer there is no reason to keep the geothermal on except for hot water so we put it on a timer, reducing our electric bill to almost nothing. (We use hot water in the evening to hand wash dishes and wash up after working outside.)Read More
From an early age I practiced picking out conversations from a crowd. It’s a neat little trick for a business owner to have. When you think I cannot hear you I may actually be listening in closely. Conversation in a crowded room takes skill with multiple conversations amped in volume so you can be heard over the cacophony. Picking out a select voice from across the room takes a lot of practice.Read More
Some of the largest companies in the world did not exist a few decades ago. Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are only a few of the organizations with massive market share, Microsoft and Apple with humble beginnings in the 1970s and Amazon gaining life in the 1990s. Each is a leader in their industry. It is hard to imagine the world without the retailing genius of Jeff Bezos. The way we shop, work, play, invest, read, and think have all been radically altered in the last few years by companies with vision. And a secret weapon to put them in front and keep them there.Read More
One of the all-time great pleasures people receive from reading personal finance blogs is stalking the blogger. For some reason peeps want to know what the heck we are spending our money on. Who am I to upset the apple cart? Stalk away.
Below is a table showing my spending for 2015. I know, I know, you expected this months ago. All I can say is: Better late than never, you little stalker, you. My obsessive-compulsive way of recording stuff in my life allows me to break down my spending patterns for you. There were a few surprises when I reviewed the numbers. I will provide some explanations after the table.
In the future I plan on listing my annual spending once per year only. My columns listed here are exactly how my personal records read, minus the description. The miscellaneous column catches a lot of stuff I could break out, but since most months have only minor miscellaneous spending, I elected to keep it simple.Read More
The lottery is back in the news with promises of a rich reward for a very small number of people who randomly pick numbers matching the officially drawn numbers. The odds are hundreds of millions to one. But you can’t win if you don’t play. Just one ticket, one little ticket. A single dollar. Better buy two; make that three.
Lottery sales shy rocket when the jackpot rises to mega levels. The impossible odds are still just as bad when the jackpot is massive. The one question I don’t hear people asking is: If nobody won the last time they drew numbers and millions played, what chance do you have of winning?Read More