2019 Goals – January Check In

This year I set twelve goals that I could track numerically.  Each goal is pretty cut and dry.  I’ll either hit it or I won’t.  Now that January is wrapped up, here is my update for the months.

climb to your goals

January Highlights

  • Sick.  I got a pretty nasty cold that kept me slowed down a bit.  I pushed through it and didn’t miss any work.  Truthfully, I probably should have slowed down physically a bit more than I did.  But, I made it through.
  • Weather.  The weather in Michigan has been pretty crazy.  The first 10 days or so of the month were way above average.  Then, we got stuck with a cold snap.  We had a pretty decent snowfall earlier this week, and we’re now seeing a cold snap on top of the cold snap.  This is bringing record breaking low temperatures.
  • Kids.  My son started basketball practice.  He also placed 5th (out of 19) in his Cub Scout Pack’s Pinewood Derby.  My daughter continued her dance lessons and sold over 100 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies!

Read more2019 Goals – January Check In

7 Small Money Wins I’ve Had Recently

Saving money doesn’t have to be all about big events.  Sometimes a small money win is all you need to build some momentum.  I wanted to sit down and come up with a few money wins that we’ve had recently.

email save money
A quick e-mail can save money

Small Money Wins Add Up Big

The thing about little bits of savings is that they add up to bigger savings.  Sometimes people will watch you do something to save money, and ask why you bother.  After all, it might only save you a few bucks.  Is it really worth it?

Yes!  Totally worth it.

First, every dollar you save is a dollar in your pocket and not someone else’s.  I don’t care how small the savings, a dollar is a dollar!

Read more7 Small Money Wins I’ve Had Recently

Deciding When To Replace CFL With LED Bulbs

outdated cfl bulb
‘Old’ CFL Bulb

This blog has been around long enough that I wrote about CFL bulbs when they were new.  Now, they’re yesterday’s news.  The newest standard is LED bulbs.  I’ve been having a debate about when to replace CFL with LED bulbs.  Read why.

Do You Replace CFL With LED Bulbs Before They Burn Out?

Way back when, in 2011, I started replacing incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs when our electric company started subsidizing them.  Our local Home Depot offered them at about half price, with the electric company ‘paying’ the difference.

Now, they’re doing the same thing with LED bulbs.  They’re on sale for a little over a buck per bulb.  That’s really cheap, so I’ve been buying a few at a time (there’s a limit per number of bulbs you can get in a transaction at a discount).

Read moreDeciding When To Replace CFL With LED Bulbs

Check Vacation Prices Even After You’ve Booked Your Trip

Our family has a tradition of going to a water park during mid-winter break.  This break falls in mid-February every year.  The kids love it and we enjoy the getaway as well.  Until last year, we’d gone to Great Wolf Lodge every year.  Last year, we tried Kalahari, a much bigger place.  This year, we’re returning to Great Wolf Lodge, though at a location we’ve never been.

check prices
Check vacation prices before and after you book to get the best deal.

Check Vacation Prices When Booking Your Trip

We always look around when it’s time to book our trip.  Typically, we’ll book in the November or December time frame.  This is when we usually start getting e-mails with promo codes that apply to our desired dates.  We get these promo codes because we’ve stayed there before.  

Read moreCheck Vacation Prices Even After You’ve Booked Your Trip

How to Prepare for a Successful Tax Season

There’s just something so fresh and motivational about January. Between New Year’s resolutions and fitness goals, renewed commitments to organization and financial responsibility, the list of things we can accomplish in January seems almost super-human.

Use this heightened motivation and momentum to prepare for tax season, too! While you’re not required to file for a few more months, it’s best practice to take a look at your taxes now so you’re not scrambling come April. There are a few steps you should take to proactively prepare for a successful tax season. Let’s take a look.

preparing for tax season
Know what you’re up against when preparing your taxes.

Read moreHow to Prepare for a Successful Tax Season

Our Old Carpet, Old Furnace, And Other Worn Out Stuff

Our house is 20 years old this year.  That’s getting to the point where many things original to the house are wearing out.  We already replaced our roof a few years back.  That was no fun!  But, now we’ve got a list of things that are getting old.  These things are probably soon ready for replacement.  All of the items are original to the house OR original when we bought it in 2007.


old washing machine
Our old washing machine is one of many items wearing down.

Our Old Furnace And Other Items That Are Getting Old

I came up with seven items around our house that will need replacement at some point.  Obviously, other things could break down, but based on their age or current status, these are things I expect will need attention.

Read moreOur Old Carpet, Old Furnace, And Other Worn Out Stuff

11 Tips To Excel At Work This Year

Have you set your goals for 2019 yet?  I’m sure everybody has at least some, right?  Do your goals include any that tie to your career?  Do you really have what it takes to excel at work?

excel at work
Truly show up and engage at meetings. This is one way to excel at work this year.

The Importance Of Success At Work

Success at your job is key to a happy and prosperous life, right?  Some will tell you that working less is the key to a longer life.  Others will say working additional years helps you live longer.  Whatever you believe, there’s one thing we can all agree on:  Being happy at work is important.  Happiness can come from being more productive.  Here are some tips to excel at work this year.

Read more11 Tips To Excel At Work This Year

I Finally Bought A Smart Thermostat

We have a programmable thermostat that came with our house when we purchased it.  The thermostat is a Honeywell, and it’s worked pretty well.  I have always heard about a smart thermostat, but have resisted for a variety of reasons. I was waiting for the perfect set of circumstances to upgrade.  Guess what? Every box on my list got checked, so I’m now the proud owner of a smart thermostat.

We were happy to wait.  Sometimes delayed gratification is worth it, especially when we found a thermostat that meets all of our needs!

Our Ecobee 3 Lite Smart Thermostat

The thermostat I decided upon was an Ecobee 3 Lite.  I saw as a sale item in last month’s Costco ad, and started doing some research.  I was happy to see all of the benefits that it offered.  The items below are precisely what we were looking for in a smart thermostat.

Read moreI Finally Bought A Smart Thermostat

Setting 2019 Goals By The Numbers

It’s 2019 and that means it is time to set goals for the year.  I am a huge fan of setting goals, but I’m going to try something new this year.  I’m listing twelve goals below, but each one is quantifiable.  I set goals last year, but looking back, they were very abstract.  So, what happened?  I lost interest.  This year, I am setting my goals and each one is tied to numbers.

Money Beagle’s 2019 Goals

I decided to break my goals down into two categories, personal and blog.  The personal goals will look a little different than it has in years past.  Because I’m tying everything to numbers, things related to being a better dad/husband, or appreciating nature won’t be here.  I’m fine with that.  Those, honestly, are things I should be doing all the time, right?

So without further ado, here are my goals, including how I plan to measure them.

Read moreSetting 2019 Goals By The Numbers

11 Days Of Fun Over Holiday Break

I went back to work on Wednesday after eleven days off.  It was a fantastic time off.  Our family did many wonderful things over the holidays.  Honestly, when I walked back in, it felt like I had just left, simply because of the whirlwind of activity.  Here was just some of the fun over holiday break that our family had.

Fun Over Holiday Break

December 22nd – Just Our Family

Downtown Rochester, which is a few miles away, puts lights on all the buildings through the few block stretch.  It’s called the Big Bright Light Show.  It’s really awesome, and we go every year.  We walked around, and had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.

Read more11 Days Of Fun Over Holiday Break