2015 Goals: The Year Is One-Third Over Already

It’s hard to believe that today marks four months gone out of the calendar year of 2015.  Time has been flying, and hopefully you are meeting and beating your goals, and setting new ones.  If you are, then congrats to you!  If you’re not, then I have good news for you: The year is only 1/3 over, which means you still have 2/3 the year to go, and that’s still a lot of time to get things moving.

Let’s do a check on how things are going on our end.  These aren’t necessarily all tied to goals, but just really checking on things that have really been on the radar in our home.

Our Top Goals

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Panama City Beach: Short Term Pain For Long Term Gain

The number of years since I’ve last been to Panama City Beach is growing, but it still holds lots of fond memories and is somewhere I would like to go back to.  I did a six month assignment for a former employee where I worked at a hospital doing IT strategic and project management, and had a blast.

My time down there was back in 2004, which seems so long ago!  I arrived in April and stayed through October, so to whatever degree of luck you’d consider, I missed Spring Break.

Spring Break has been a staple of many Florida coastal towns for decades, and Panama City Beach has been one of the top destinations for several decades, and has really taken off over the last decade.

Unfortunately, this last decade has really seen it take off the wrong way, along the lines of a swirling toilet flush.

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2015 Spring Projects List

Spring is upon us.  With that comes projects.  There are a few spring projects that I have committed to.

Deck Painting

Last fall, we had some work done on our deck to take care of some problems.  We had the handrails reinforced.  We also had the stairs practically rebuilt.  The posts that go into the ground were very loose and a lot of the boards were starting to rot.   The new boards need to be painted to match the rest of the deck.  My normal cycle is a full re-paint every four years. This entails power washing off the old paint and starting over. In the interim, I’ll apply a coat every two years.  It’s been two years since I did the last full job,.  This means that it’s time togive the entire deck another coat as well.  This will make sure that the colors match, and should hopefully keep us going for another couple of years.

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Accountability Can Improve Results

This year, I’ve been posting various updates centered around my fitness activities, mostly centered on running.  It’s not that finance has become less important or more boring, it’s just that running is something that’s relatively new to me, but the posts also offer accountability.

I actually started my running last year, first at my old gym and then moving over to Planet Fitness.  But, for the calendar year of 2014, I didn’t track anything and my results were marginal at best.

Going into 2015, I added a tab to one of the daily tracking sheets that I use for things like finance, weather tracking (yes, I do track the weather temps too), for the purposes of mb-lightbulb201308tracking my running activity.

The main things I started tracking are how often I go, how far I go when I get there, and how long it takes me.  There are some additional things that I enter, and some calculations that also happen as a result, but that’s pretty much it.  Adding a run entry takes fifteen seconds per run, if that, but it gives me a lot.  It gives me the data but it also gives me accountability.

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How Does Panera Bread Stay In Business?

OK, let me start this off by saying that I have a fond appreciation for Panera Bread bagels, especially their Cinammon Crunch variety, which is worth every penny of the $1.49 price that they charge as a once-in-a-while treat.

However, my appreciation for Panera products or their value starts and stops right there.

Beyond that, I just don’t understand how the company stays in business.

The ‘Promotion’

My wife has a Panera Bread rewards card, so she jumped when she got an offer that if she made five purchases on her card during the month of March, she would get a free ‘meal’ consisting of a You-Pick-Two, which is basically a half sandwich and a cup of soup normally provided to you with no price discount whatsoever, so far as I can tell.

But still, we like the bagels and figured that getting a single bagel here and there, either for one of us or for the kids to split, would not end up being such a bad deal.

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Cardboard Fort Fun: Did The Fun Police Go Too Far?

Have you heard the latest news from Utah?  A dad built his kids a fort made of cardboard.  Sounds innocent and fun, right?  All was good, until he got a notice from the city saying it wasn’t good.  He was told that the ‘trash pile’ was illegal.  The fort had to come down in 15 days, or he could face daily fines of $125.  Yikes!

He contacted local media and they ran with it and the story has been all over the news.

Side 1: Keep The Fort

I’ve read a few stories and have seen a few news stories on my Facebook feed and the response seems to be overwhelmingly in favor of letting the parents keep the fort, saying that the city has gone too far.  It wasn’t permanent, after all.  It wouldn’t last long.  After all, it was cardboard.  Was this really causing that big of a problem?

They also point out that it’s a pile of trash in the sense of the term as the law was likely constructed.  He didn’t drag a bunch of old appliances, furniture, and waste bags and pile them up in the yard.  Supporters say that there should be some level of interpretation and latitude used.

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Avoiding Audits After Tax Season

To paraphrase Jim Croce:

You don’t tug on superman’s cape
Don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off that old lone ranger
And you don’t mess around with the IRS

At least, that’s how Al Capone would have sang it. The Department of Education, on the other hand… Go nuts. They’ve never educated a single person. And they have never put anyone in prison. The IRS has routinely done both. They have the power to give you an education in finance and consequences that you never wanted, and they can take you from your office directly to the penn without passing go, or collecting $200. These reasons should encourage you to avoid IRS attention in the form of an audit after tax season. Here’s how:

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12 Things To Do Now That Spring Is (Almost) Here

Spring is in the air, at least it is every once in a while here in Michigan.  The calendar says spring and we’ve had a few nice days, though once again, the jet stream by and large has not been in our favor.  Still, it will come, and regardless of where you are, here are twelve things to do that will help you get ready for spring and the summer ahead!

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March 2015 At The Gym

We’re in month three of tracking my exercise and fitness progress for 2015, and after a full quarter of the year (can you believe it), I am very happy with the progress.  Here is my quarter-way-through check in on my 2015 exercise journal.

My Goals

I wanted to concentrate strictly on running for the first few months of the year so that I could concentrate on getting into the routine of it, improving my results, and seeing changes in my body fat and weight numbers.

I set goals to run between 55-60 miles over the course of the month, break the 10:00 per mile pace in over two-thirds of my workouts, lose two pounds to get to 157, and get to 17% body fat according to my scale.  In addition, I wanted to start working towards integrating other things into my fitness routine.

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10 Tips to Save More Money

Regardless of how many kids you have, your marital status, the amount of debt you have, or even your income, it’s possible to save more money than you imagined possible. Financial professionals know that the best way to save more is to start with small changes.  Here are some tips to save money.

Shopping Tips

1. Look for weekly deals at the grocery store, then plan your meals around those savings.
2. Browse coupon websites to find the most recent discounts and deals. This is a lot easier than clipping coupons from the newspaper every week!
3. If you’re an impulse shopper, you may save money by ordering your groceries and household items online. Yes, you’ll pay a little extra for the service and shipping, but you could save money in the end since you won’t over-spend. Some stores will even let you order the groceries ahead and then pick them up at the store.

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