Archives For Budgeting

From today’s WSJ:

The Obama administration plans to block the construction of new coal-fired power plants unless they are built with novel and expensive technology to capture greenhouse-gas emissions, according to people familiar with a draft proposal.


The person and others briefed on the rule said such stringent limits would ban new coal plants, which generally release about twice as much carbon dioxide as the proposed limits. Even the newest, most advanced coal-fired power plants in the world would fall far short of that revised standard, they said.

Someone stands to make a lot of money installing all this new technology. That’s what this is really about. It’s not about the environment.

The American people should be allowed to vote on things like this. There should be a rigorous objective study done that will show how much these proposed changes will add to our monthly electric bills. Then, we should vote on the bill. Better yet, it should be a STATE ISSUE!

Have a great day, everyone.

The following question was published in this weekend’s WSJ:

Dear Dan,

I don’t care about cars, never have. But I’m a sales executive, and people tell me I should own a nice car (BMW, Mercedes, etc.) to enhance my credibility to both my customers and sales team. I can afford either but would rather save the cash and buy a Honda. Does it matter?


I’m curious what your thoughts are on this.

Here are mine:

I suppose the answer depends on the circumstances (what are you selling?). I, however, would gravitate to the one I wanted and not worry about what other people think. So, if I wanted a Honda, I would go for the Honda. There’s nothing worse than a flashy, cocky, salesperson. That’s my opinion.


I walked out Sunday morning to find a copy of the New York Times in my driveway. Those of you who know me, know that I’m probably not a big fan of the NY Times. Regardless, I looked through the paper.

I did find a couple of things interesting. One of them was an article titled Make Your Own Backyard Paradise. They took an average backyard and gave it various makeovers based on different budgets. I’m glad I live in Texas because ALL of these ideas seem expensive to me.

A summary of their plans (you can click on the link above to see some pictures):

Starting Point: Wood-and-wire trellis ($450) + plants and gravel ($1,400) + Steel edging ($1,200) + Concrete planters ($1,500) = $4,550 total

“Middle” Ground: All of the previous ($5,000) + irrigation ($11,000) + tile ($5,600) + paint ($800) + lawn edit ($1,400) + kitchen garden with trellis and raised beds ($8,000) + perennial beds ($8,500) + lighting ($13,000) = $53,300 total


The High End: All of the previous ($50,000) + pool ($80,000) + poolside concrete planters ($2,500) + sound system ($6,500) + geometric fire pit ($1,675) + limestone-block work ($2,600) + fountain ($8,500) + shou-sugi-ban fence ($55,000) = $206,775 total

One thing I found funny is that each tier has a budget. The “Middle” Ground has a budget of $50,000 but comes in at $53,300, which is significantly higher than the budget. The High End has a $200,000 budget and comes in at $206,775 (see why I don’t like the NY Times?).

Now, the pool they recommend is on the high end. Here in Texas, a really nice pool and hot tub will run around $50,000 (but they’re not raised like the one the Times article suggests). Regardless, I think I could have a pool put in and the entire yard (front and back) landscaped for $75,000 (including new concrete). I’m thankful we live in a lower-cost area.

Oh goody!

MSN lists 12 things that will cost more in 2013. Some of them aren’t a big deal. Food, however, is a big deal. Their list:

• Cars

• Food

• Grain

• Health insurance premiums

• High-end TVs and home theater systems

• Computers

• Copper

• Smartphones

• Daily deals

• College tuition

• IPhone 5 accessories

• Shipping

Jeremy posted this on facebook and I had to share it with you:

Is it any wonder why people are poor?

Oh, and by the way…

I don’t think the iPhone 5 is much better than the iPhone 4s, which wasn’t much better than the iPhone 4.

We bought a Keurig Vue for my wife to replace our Tassimo. When we first got it, I thought that I might use it too. I really liked the Italian Blend.

But, after buying several boxes, I started thinking about how expensive it was to drink coffee that way.

Each Italian Blend box holds 12 Vue Cups (The Italian Blend is a larger Vue cup and therefore only comes in packs of 12. Smaller cups come in 16 packs. Interestingly, K-cups for the K-Cup machines come in packs of 18). Each Vue cup contains .48 ounces of coffee. That means each box holds 5.76 ounces of coffee. Each Vue box costs around $12. Dividing $12 by 5.76 ounces, we get a cost per ounce of about $2.08. That works out to…

Are you ready?

$33.33 PER POUND!

I buy 12 ounce bags of excellent Columbian and French Roast whole bean coffee at H.E.B. for $6.74. Dividing $6.74 by 12, I get a cost per ounce of $.56, which works out to $8.99 for a 1 pound bag. That’s a huge difference.

As of right now, Keurig does not offer a reuseable cup that can be used with regular coffee. Even if they did, I would think it would be a pain to use.

Anyway, this might be something to consider if you are in the market for a new coffee maker.

Right now I’m on the Schlitterbahn website looking at ticket prices. We’re a family of five. We would need 4 adult tickets and one child ticket. Their one-day prices are $42.99 for adults and $31.99 for kids. It would cost us $204.95 (plus taxes and any other charges) to visit the park one time as a family.

Now, I could go with season passes. They are priced at $135.99 for adults and $95.99 for kids. Our total for season passes would be $639.95 (plus taxes and any other fees).

Dividing $639.95 by $204.95, I get 3.12. That means we would have to visit the park at least 3 times over the summer before the season passes would make financial sense.

We aren’t doing the season passes. Why? Because we live two hours from the park and I just don’t see us being able to get there more than one or two times during the summer. Plus, it always seems that once we go one time, we’re not too interested in going back again any time soon.

What about you? Do you buy season passes? Do you do the math before you opt for season passes?