A Double Lesson In Carelessness

My phone rang around 7:30am the other morning.  When I saw that it was my wife calling, I knew that it was not good news.  Between 7am – 8am, it’s pretty hectic.  Two kids are getting up.  This means there’s a lot of activity.  Teeth are getting brushed.  They’re getting dressed.  Breakfasts are being made.  In other words, there is no time for a random phone call during this busy hour!  So I knew it couldn’t be great news!

Turns out that my wife and I had both gone to bed the night before without doing a check mb-2015-02-oopsof the counter.  Had we looked around, we would have noticed that there was a couple of pieces of chicken sitting out for dinner the next day.  We normally don’t keep stuff out for too long to thaw, but a little extra boost helps things along. Unfortunately, we both missed it, and the time out was well past anything normal, so it was off to the garbage for the chicken.

Whoops.

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Benefits To Attending Professional Conferences

I’m a project manager by day.  Once I dedicated myself to this career path, I attained my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification in 2008.  I’ve been a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) ever since.  This shows that I understand the general practices and that I know what I’m doing.

In order to keep our certifications current, members are required to earn Professional Development Units in our field.  This is accomplished through such activities like training, teaching, and even working in the field.

One of the areas in which I obtain PDUs is by attending conferences.  Here in the Detroit area there is a conference held annually..  By attending, I can obtain 40% of the annual average requirements.  I debated on whether to attend this year, as I have some ‘carry over’ units from last period, but ultimately decided to attend.

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How To Finance Your College Education In 2015

College tuition fees rise every year.  This makes it hard for cash-stripped students and families to afford college costs and other expenses. People are becoming ever more aware of the value of a college degree. So, more and more are seeking ways to finance a college education.

According to a report, the 2014-2015 average tuition rise was 2.5 percent at public universities.  This figure stands at 3.7 percent at private colleges. The historical ten-year rate of increase is around 5 percent. However, these figures are significantly higher than the general rate of inflation. They are also quite high compared to the average rise in individual incomes.

Even if you’re cash-strapped to pay for tuition at this point, the education you’ve been hoping to achieve is within reach.  You will need to do some pragmatic financial planning to finance your college education. Here are some tips to help you out:

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The Downside Of Hiring The Best People

Hiring the best and brightest is probably the goal of many organizations.  We laugh at comics like Dilbert.  They contain funny characters like Wally, who are horrible at their job.  In an ideal world, those type of employees wouldn’t exist.  If we could only hire the most qualified and the most competent and everything would run smoothly. If only it were that easy.

Unfortunately in the real world, things don’t always work out that way.

Personal Experience: My Dentists Office

I have been going to the same dental practice since as long as I remember.  Since I’m 40 years old, that’s at least 35 years or so.  For most years, the practice was owned and practiced by one dentist.  He always did a great job, and was on the cutting edge of many technologies that are now standard, but were not at the time.  On top of that he’s a really nice guy.

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Reducing Our Disney World Trip Budget

Recently, I wrote about how we are planning a trip to Disney World for our family later in the year.  I have been pretty happy about some things that have happened that are allowing us to reduce our budget by a pretty nice amount!  Ultimately, the biggest benefit comes from a Disney World credit card.  Read on!

Waiting

When we first looked at tickets early in January, the tickets were $342 per person.  Since there are four of us that set our budget at $1,368.  We know people that travel regularly, and they told us that anything under $350 was a good deal.  Happily, the ticket prices declined several times.  We finally pulled the trigger at $268 per person, inclusive of all fees.  Total Savings: $296

Credit Card #1

We don’t typically go much for reward based credit cards, but mb-2015-02-creditwhen I saw an offer while looking up flights, I couldn’t resist.  By signing up for the Delta Sky Miles American Express Card, and using it to pay for our tickets, we will get a $50 statement credit, 30,000 Sky miles (which is basically one free flight for the future), and we will each get one checked bag for free.  We had budgeted $200 for luggage ($25 per person per leg of the trip), which we can now knock off the list.  We just need to cancel the card after the trip, so that the $95 annual fee (waived for the first year) doesn’t kick in.  It’s already on my Google Calendar! Total Savings: $250+

Potential Credit Card #2

My wife got an offer for a Disney based Master Card or Visa (I can’t remember which) that is no-cost, and once we make $500 in purchases, we will get a Disney gift card for $200.  We can simply transfer our grocery purchases for a couple of months to get to this amount.  We’d sacrifice 1% in cash back rewards, but the trade-off seems well within our favor.  We know we will buy souvenirs and clothing and other items, so this seems like a great way to save on some budgeted spending.  Savings: $200

So far, we are already at savings of $746 from our original budget, without downgrading anything!

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Thank Retired Politicians For Awful Roads

I live in Michigan.  The road conditions here are an absolute mess.  Only one-third of roads are in good shape.

A 2013 review showed a full one-third of roads rated in poor condition, which means that they need to be replaced.  They’re beyond where patching or resurfacing can do any good.  Roads in poor shape need to be rebuilt from the ground up.  On top of that, the remaining one-third are in fair condition, meaning that they’ll be in poor shape pretty soon.

Keep in mind that this study was done prior to two winters, the 2013-14 version which was the snowiest and coldest in modern history, meaning that the deterioration has likely accelerated since this study was done.

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Planning A Trip To Disney World

We have been talking for a couple of years about planning a trip to Disney World when our kids were old enough to enjoy it, and we have finally set a date and put the plans in motion.

Here are some updates:

When: Fall 2015

We are planning a trip for later in the fall.  It’s hard to imagine that we are planning something so far out, but honestly, that’s often what you have to do.

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January At The Gym – Monthly Running Update

I never really stated it as a goal (namely because I didn’t do 2015 goals on my blog this year), but I wanted to get a little more serious about tracking my fitness through 2015.  I have a Fitbit that I really like that is helping with the day to day tracking, but I’ve been keeping track of my activities with going to the gym, and thought I’d post a little bit of detail.  Here is my monthly running update.

Planet Fitness Is Great…For The Most Part

I wrote last year about how I was planning on switching gyms.  I decided this when a new Planet Fitness was announced to open.  It’s just a couple of miles up the road, which is great! I actually signed up prior to the opening, and have been going regularly or semi-regularly since it opened at the end of last May.

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