Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
If you want to find additional information about inflation visit InflationData.com.
Here are some examples of just how much more we paying in 2007 and 2008. I tried to get 2008 numbers when I could.
2007 Energy costs rose 17.4%
2007 Food costs rose 4.9%
2007 Gasoline prices were up 29.6%
Today 04-24-08 the price of a barrel opened at the near record high of 117.93. The price you pay at the pump isn’t only affected by the strong demand. Additionally oil has risen because, “Twenty-five percent of the increase in oil prices is strictly due to the fact that the dollar has gone down by 25 percent, because oil all over the world is priced in dollars (http://voanews.com/english/2008-04-23-voa55.cfm).”
Health Care Costs
Data released 04-28-08 shows health insurance premiums are up 30% from 2001 - 2005. In 2007 health insurance rose 6.9%! "According to an analysis of government statistics being released Tuesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the average dollar amount employees must pay per year for family health coverage went up by 30% from 2001 to 2005 (http://health.usnews.com)."
According to a Fool.com article demand for crops is up 40% in 2007 (http://www.fool.com/personal-finance/general/2007/10/26/foods-getting-pricier-than-fuel.aspx?terms=food+prices&vstest=search_042607_linkdefault).
2007 Soybeans are up 75%
2007 Wheat rose 75%
2007 Chicken is up 15%
2007 Milk is up 26%
According to the Seattle Times U.S. rice futures hit a record high on 04-23-08. Consumers are paying 60-70% more for rice in April 2008 than they did at the beginning of the year. A 20 pound bag that sold for $9 just two months ago, now sells for $16. Warehouse stores Costco and Sam's Club are restricting on how much rice customers can buy at once.
With all these price increases you would think wages would inflate as well. “Workers’ wages failed to keep up with the higher inflation. Average weekly earnings, after adjusting for inflation, dropped by 0.9 percent in 2007, the biggest setback since a 1.5 percent fall in 2005 (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22681319/).”
When I look at these numbers I start to distrust the 4% inflation rate we all hear about. When the things I use daily are up double digits, the inflation rate I feel in my wallet is much greater than 4%. If wages are not raising this exacerbates the issue even further.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
You can find the information on the web site FuelEconomy.gov.
Most fuel efficient car overall is the Toyota Prius at 48 City 45 Hwy
Most Efficient Two Seaters
- Smart Fortwo Convertible 31 City, 41 Hwy
- Mazda MX-5 22, 27
Most Efficient Minicompact Cars
- MINI Cooper 28, 37
Most Efficient Subcompact Cars
- Toyota Yaris 29, 36
Most Efficient Compact Cars
- Honda Civic Hybrid 40, 45
- Toyota Corolla 28, 37
Most Efficient Midsize Cars
- Toyota Prius Hybrid 48, 45
- Nissan Versa 26, 31
Most Efficient Large Cars
- Honda Accord 22, 31
Most Efficient Small Station Wagons
- Honda Fit 28, 34
Most Efficient Midsize Station Wagons
- Volkswagen Passat Wagon 21, 29
Least Efficient Cars
- Lamborghini Murcielago 8, 13
Friday, April 18, 2008
The Volvo C30 is not only seriously awesome, but in keeping with the theme of the blog it will save you on gas too. The Volvo C30 gets 20 MPG city and 28 HWY. Even thought the Volvo C30 gets decent gas mileage performance isn't sacrificed. The C30 T5 Version 1.0 has a 227 HP engine that does 0-60 in 6.7 seconds.
I want to get the C30 for its sporty, muscular looks (not cutesy, retro look...think Mini Cooper), the performance, interior quality (some have said it's on par with Audi interiors), 18" Atreus Alloy Wheels, and 10-Speaker Audio System with Dolby ProLogic II Surround Sound.
So how much is all this you’re wondering... With these options the Volvo C30 prices out at $26,445 + near 9% sales tax in my part of the country. So price is $28,825.05.
For this price it's difficult choose because I could go from a "near luxury car" in the C30 to full on luxury in the 2002 BMW 745i
See the video review from CarReview.com.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
If your concern is safety you may be surprised to hear that tap water is tested daily by the FDA. Bottled water is tested weekly. "Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, water suppliers are required to provide an annual report on the quality of your local water and to test tap water daily." (http://food.yahoo.com/blog/beautyeats/22317/tap-vs-bottled-what-should-you-drink).
Even though I saved money by buying bottled water in bulk at Costco. I stopped buying it because I realized how fast I was going through the giant box and how wasteful it really was. Since then I bought a large plastic water container that I fill up and keep in the refrigerator. Water taste cool, clean, and refreshing. My garbage isn't overflowing all the time and I just saved myself $1,500 a year!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Don't feel bad if you have to use the IRS Form 4868 you are not alone. See TurboTax's 7th Annual Top 10 Tax Procrastinating Cities list. The list can be found on http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/dont_mess_with_taxes/2008/03/texas-top-tax-p.html.
1. Chicago, Ill. (#2) -- Chicago is the "Second City" no more as it takes the top spot for the first time in the seven years the list has been compiled.
2. New York, N.Y. (#5) -- After procrastinating less last year, the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple takes its toll on taxpayers as NYC climbs back up the list to rank at #2. The Giants may be number one in pro football, but New York is second on our list of late filers.
3. Houston, Texas (#1) -- Houstonians have topped our list more than any other city (three times) but must have tired of being the top procrastinators. Progress is progress and Houstonians drop two spots this year.
4. Austin, Texas (#4) -- Austin continues to procrastinate as they lock up the fourth spot for the second straight year. One of the fastest growing cities in America, Austin may be too busy to worry about taxes until the deadline forces them to.
5. San Francisco, Calif. (#5) -- The City by the Bay held steady in the fifth slot for the second straight year. In a year that saw the home run record fall to Barry Bonds, taxpayers in San Francisco waited until they had a full count to take a swing at doing their taxes.
6. San Diego, Calif (#6) -- The home of the 2008 U.S. Open, and home to TurboTax, can't seem to make up its mind. After topping the list two years ago, San Diegans dropped to sixth last year and are there yet again.
7. Seattle, Wash. (#8) -- Grunge may have gone the way of disco, but Seattle residents continue to play fast and late with their tax returns. The Emerald City jumps one spot this year.
8. Las Vegas, Nev. (#11) -- Making its return to the list after a two-year absence is the jewel of Southern Nevada, and former Mormon mission, Las Vegas.
9. San Antonio, Texas (#7) -- Settled first in 1731, San Antonio ranks as one of America's oldest cities. Despite its age, the home of the Alamo is steeped in today as its residents use the power of online tax prep to file at the last minute.
10. Los Angeles, Calif. (#12) -- Apparently Los Angelinos were busy chasing Brittney Spears all over town and waited until the deadline to file their taxes. At least they didn't let the forlorn Brittney file their taxes for them.
If you need tax help TurboTax.com is a great resource. It's what my accountant recommends (I still don't want to do my taxes though). Find out how you can fill out your taxes free online with TurboTax.com.
TurboTax provided us this list of 10 odd ball deductions:
Content - 10 Oddball Tax Deductions
Thursday, April 10, 2008
How does it work?
1) Plug ANY household phone into the Magic Jack
2) Plug the Magic Jack into any USB port on your computer
3) Pick up the phone and talk for free ($20/year) anywhere in the
Until April 15th you get a 30 day no risk free trial.
I haven’t tested this product yet, but I am so tempted. I’ve wanted to drop my local phone company for such a long time now. The phone number you pick is yours for life even when you move. With the Magic Jack I really don’t have any excuses anymore to drop the overpriced local phone company. I mean really? Why do we need local phones when we have cell phones, e-mail, voip, etc. It’s an old technology that needs to die ASAP.
Check product out at MagicJack.com. There are video reviews of the product from 3rd parties which are very helpful.
Zion National Park Utah - Angel's Landing
In Vegas I gambled a total on $25 (lost it all). For me it was most about the clubs, lounges, shows, pools, food, site seeing, and just enjoying the warm weather.
I feel more motivated now that I’m back to do work. I’ve said this before of my blog about the benefits of taking vacations to increase productivity. It’s counterintuitive, but it works. Avoid burn out change your scenery!