2016 In Review

Well, another year is almost in the books.  It’s pretty cool to look back and see how things went.  Here is our 2016 in review.  How was your 2016?

Money

From a money standpoint, things were okay.  I think we’re at that point where nothing big is going to happen too regularly. That’s good and bad.  On the good side it meant no major expenses or unexpected costs.  On the negative, it just means no big boosts or jumps like we used to have.  When I was younger, a 10-15% raise was common.  Now 2-3% is normal.  Also, back then, when I had smaller a smaller net worth, a bigger percentage gain could take place with just normal savings and gains.  Now, even when the dollar amount is much higher, the percentage gains are less.

Kind of boring and steady at the same time.  I guess I’ll take it. *lol*

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Terrible Costco Coupons Equals No Costco Trips This Month

December, it seems, is the holy grail of food months. Buying food, groceries, etc.  What better month to count on than December, right? So, if that’s the case, it’s really amazing that Costco is trying to shoot themselves in the foot with a terrible coupon insert.  The Costco Coupons book that we eagerly look forward to was a total dud..

As a result, we haven’t gone to Costco. Those two things go hand in hand, as it turns out.

Our Costco Coupons Habits

We have been Costco members since before we got married.  That means it’s been over ten years now.  Wow, does time ever fly!

During that time, Costco has always sent out a monthly coupon book.  For three weeks out of every month, members can enjoy savings on a handful of items. It’s always been a good mix of general merchandise, electronics, and food.  Until this month.  This month, Costco pretty much eliminated the food category.

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Appreciation For A Working Snowblower

Tonight we’re supposed to get our second snowstorm of the season, both coming in the period of a week.  I am feeling a lot better about this one.  Why?  Because we have a working snowblower once again!

Snowblowers Are Easy To Forget About During Warm Novembers

It’s been a few years since I’ve had the snowblower worked on.  It’s a really old but dependable unit.  I think my parents bought it in the 1980’s.  It worked great for them, and they gave it to me when they started having someone do their snow.  By that time, pretty much the entire guts of the machine had worn down, but the frame and the engine were still going strong.

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How To Test Your Trading Strategy With An Online CFD Simulator

With its incredible increase in popularity, online trading has become one of most marketable and accessible ways of investing in today’s internet run world. Online trading is an effective and relatively fast way of investing money in a diverse variety of stocks.  With an array of trading platforms and software so readily available, there really many reasons to consider online trading.

Before You Invest Your Money, Invest In Learning

Even though the internet is awash with how-to articles – trading is not as easy as it may appear. There is skill and strategy involved in trading.   In order to reap the rewards of your investments you must first learn and understand.

Learning the proverbial ropes of trading is the essential first step for any would be trader. Knowing and understanding the markets is critical.  Knowing how to make CFD trading work for you takes time and experience and perhaps even a few losses. While research is key, it’s experience that will truly provide the understanding of what CFD trading is all about.

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Calling BS On Excessive Resort Fees

I have no problem with resort fees.  They’re pretty standard in most hotels that offer amenities these days.  So, it makes sense that a hotel with a giant water park would charge resort fees for your stay.  Still, after a recent booking, I still walked away mad.

I wasn’t upset that they charged for a resort fee.  But a couple of things in particular got to me.  So, I decided to call them out on it on social media.

Resort Fees At Our Favorite Water Park

We’ve stayed at a nearby water park for several years.  We love it.  The kids have a great time.  They run around all day and never get bored.  We join them and have fun playing with them and relaxing.

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How to Save for and Fund Your Retirement

Your retirement is going to get here sooner than you think and, chances are, if you’re reading this post, you aren’t a fresh out of the dorms millennial looking for the simplest way to retire early. You’re more likely in your 30s or 40s (or maybe even 50s) and realizing that you are now entering the game of “catch up” when it comes to saving for and funding your retirement. Don’t worry, even though the situation feels dire, it is not too late to fund your retirement.

Budget

According to Laura Judkins, the key to accumulating savings for retirement is to begin with a budget. Creating a budget isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think. In fact, it may very well be one of the best things you do for your financial situation. There are plenty of guides out there that will teach you how to set up that budget and even more guides on how to stick to that budget, so we won’t get into the details here.

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Going All In On Itemized Deductions

Since being married, my wife and I have always been able to itemize our deductions.  Between mortgage interest, property taxes, and state taxes, our itemized deductions have always exceeded the standard deduction amount.  This has been great come tax time.  But, it looks like the ability for us to itemize is coming to an end.

As such we’re going all in this year.

Why Itemized Deductions May Not Happen After This Year

Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed that the gap between our itemized deductions and the standard deduction has gotten smaller. The main culprit is our mortgage interest.  We are just over five years into our fifteen year mortgage.  Each month a bigger chunk goes toward principal and less toward interest.  In the grand scheme of mb-201403stacksthings, this is fantastic, but it definitely changes strategy when it comes to itemizing.

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How To Complain And Get Results

We get new laptops at work about every 3-4 years.  I’ve had my current laptop for around a year and a half, and have hated it every single day.  The main reason was simple: It was slower than my last one.  Just about everything took forever.  Finally, I had enough and I mentioned it to one of the techs, and he advised that I should put in a request for a small upgrade and that it would take care of it.  He was right!  I now have a much better functioning laptop, all because I realized how to complain and get results.

Know Who To Talk To

The tech is a pro.  He takes care of two buildings and knows just about everything that everybody has and what they need.  I admire him because, back when I was a tech, I tried to be the same way.  Recognizing that he was knowledgeable was key.

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