April 16, 2014

The Energy Saving Investigation Continues!

Kill-a-Watt Electricity Reader

Thank you all for the amazing comments and suggestions you left on my post about my investigative project with the weird kWh figures I was getting from my utility company.  I've been so obsessed with the project I haven't had time to write individual responses, but I did read every one of them and, in many cases, add it to a task list to check and / or immediately go out and spend some cash on a device that could help narrow down the problem.  For example, I now have Kill-a-Watt measurements b … [Read more...]

I Think Someone Is Stealing My Electricity … or the Power Company Is Making Up Numbers

Joshua Kennon Energy Usage

Okay, it's not that I think someone is stealing my electricity per se, it is that I have eliminated nearly all other possibilities and have narrowed the situation down to a handful of unlikely scenarios that are the only ones left left on the table.  At this point, I'm simply baffled and unable to make the numbers work which is, itself, an unusual experience for me. Let me back up and provide some context.  As part of the technology and minimalism projects, I'm getting all of my household data c … [Read more...]

Don’t Silent Trust Funds Constitute a Massive Loophole in Financial Aid Calculations?

Silent Trust Funds

My morning was spent reading the New Hampshire Bar Journal, Winter 2010 edition because I was interested in a piece by Joseph F. McDonald, III called Migrating Trusts to New Hampshire: The "Why" and the "How".  New Hampshire, along with a very few other states, allows the existence of something known as a "silent trust" or "quiet trust".  These trust funds, the distribution rules, the total assets, and much more can be kept from the beneficiary.  Theoretically, you could leave $10,000,000 in a si … [Read more...]

My Prescription for Making Money, Portfolio Management, and Getting Rich

Buffett Associates, Ltd.

There has been a significant influx of new readers due to some popular articles.  As a result, I think it's time to rehash my general philosophy for how to make money successfully.  I prefer real-world examples, because they are understandable and relatable, so let's take a look at the only remaining original Dow Component, the original blue chip stock, General Electric.  I'm thinking about adding some more shares of GE to the KRIP portfolio later this year, so it will serve to walk you through h … [Read more...]

Saving Money Tip – I Figured Out How to Get 67.6% Off at Restaurants Thanks to UPromise

Godfather Pizza Upromise Savings

If there were a money saving olympics, I would be Michael Phelps.  I thought it would be interesting to delve into some of the lesser known areas of the Upromise program (clicking that link will let you see my shopping deals so you can get an idea of how great the discounts are and make me a little money if you happen to buy anything) now that there is a temporary "college savings month" promotion giving bigger rewards on purchases made before April 30th.  I found the link for Restaurant.com, whi … [Read more...]

One of the Most Important Lessons About Life and Making Money You Can Ever Learn

Roy Cullen

In 1927, Hugh Roy Cullen was approached by Jim West, a wealthy lumberman who had invested in projects with Cullen in the past.  On a Saturday, West called Cullen to his downtown Houston office, where he made the following offer: I've got $3,000,000 lying around.  And I've got the West Production Company, which don't amount to much.  I'll put the $3,000,000 in my oil company, and give you one-fourth interest - if you'll go in with me.  You'll be president - and have complete charge of the com … [Read more...]

Mail Bag: How To Save Money on $40,000 Per Year


I'm going to walk you through how I'd save money if I were a typical 25 year old with a spouse and one kid on a $40,000 salary.   Joshua, (Referencing this post, which talked about how a typical family could use $197 per paycheck to end up with $4,300,000 over a lifetime.) lets look at real life40000 x 0.72= 28800 don't forget city taxes 28800x0.0225=648 = 28152/12=2346/monthA couple with 1 child will spend500 for food300 for gas and electric400 for car payment120 for gas for car900 for … [Read more...]

I’m Closing Our American Express Accounts After a Decade

American Express Logo

After more than a decade, I'm slowly unwinding our American Express cards and closing the accounts, switching the businesses over to our primary bank, where everything can be centrally managed and consolidated from one screen.  Concurrently, my personal household accounts are being moved over to the Upromise program from Barclay's because the rewards are reaching a level of insanity that I can't believe, especially for an extreme coupon stacker like myself.  For example, earlier today, using s … [Read more...]

The Cost of Milk for My Household Is Negative

Milk Money

I've mentioned in the past that one of the reasons some families end up with far higher net worths than others is that certain personality types are natural accumulators, or in some cases, behave in a more efficient manner. A lot of it is second nature.  Tangible examples are always better than academic theory so tonight, I thought I'd show you a real case of this at work in my own life.  No matter how much my income or assets expand, I will never not do things like this.  It's too easy.  It's fr … [Read more...]

The Upromise Program Is Saving Me So Much Money It Is Crazy

Joshua Kennon Shoes

You know I love saving money.  I also have a relatively small amount of student loans left over from college that I can't bring myself to pay off because the interest rate is fixed at 3% per annum (decent oil stocks are paying dividends of upwards of 5.3% right now and certain master limited partnerships are yielding 8%, though they should be yielding 12% - people are overpaying in my opinion because they are starved for yield).  There are also a few other student loans fixed at 4% or so that I d … [Read more...]