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A. Make a lunch B. Take said lunch to work C. Profit

Generally speaking, one of the best places to save money in your budget is on food expenses. Have you ever wondered how much money you would save if you took a sandwich with you to work instead of grabbing fast food? I didn’t think so; but, I don’t care. Here’s the answer:

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Where’s the Beef?

So, I did a couple of blog posts comparing various food prices at Walmart, Sam’s, and United. (here:http://joshwoodtx.blogspot.com/2010/07/sams-vs-walmart.html and here:http://joshwoodtx.blogspot.com/2010/06/walmart-vs-united-supermarkets.html) I got a lot of feedback. A LOT OF FEEDBACK. I was surprised, mainly because I figured this blog thing would end up functioning more like a “notes to self” page. Anyhow, a ton of people asked me why I didn’t include meat. The answer: I didn’t need to buy any that particular day. Well people, here are some meat comparisons for you:

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Parenting

The Discipline Question

First off, I’ll brag a little: our kids are awesome so we (more notably my stay-at-home-mom wife) must be doing something right. However, I know that I could be better at this whole parenting thing; so, I am constantly praying about/seeking ways to improve. One area I’m focusing on right now is discipline. A couple questions for all you other parents out there:

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Business

So, I was curious how much I have been shelling out to Xcel Energy for my deep freeze each month…

Earlier this week I bought this fancy toy called a Kill A Wat. It allows me to measure how much energy various things in my house are using, and do a little spreadsheeting to figure out how much these various things are costing me per month. Hooray! A nice lady at Xcel Energy was kind enough to help me break down my bill and figure out how much I am paying per kilowatt hour. Oddly, she acted as if people don’t regularly ask this question. The answer is 7.322 cents per KwH plus 4% in various taxes. Here are some results of my boring study:

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Random car buying thoughts…

I bought a car last year. Sadly, I did not have a blog then. Alas, all of my mostly useless information never made it to the internet. Thankfully, I now have a diary blog. As you might imagine, I did an unhealthy amount of research before buying. I’ll spare you the spreadsheets; but, in 4-door sedan world, it seems that you get the most most “bang for your buck” (factoring in depreciation, fuel expense, insurance cost, car longevity, upkeep, maintenance, etc.) by buying a 4-6 year old luxury model (Acura, Lexus, Infiniti) with 50,000-100,000 miles. Also, you can get great deals on bank/credit union-repossessions (make sure to make a ridiculously low offer). If you are in the market, here’s a list of a few credit unions I found that take the time to list their repos online:

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Sam’s vs. Walmart

I have always been curious as to how good of a “deal” Sam’s Club is. I remember from my marketing classes that Sam’s was a master of making one think that he or she is getting a deal by buying straight from the warehouse. Did you know Sam’s Club stores, when they first opened, hired guys to drive forklifts around the store? These guys didn’t actually do any work; they just drove around the store to give the customer the feeling of bargain shopping in a warehouse. True story. To compare Sam’s and Walmart, I broke down everything into cost per unit or per ounce. I also threw in generic brands out of curiosity. My ridiculously nerdy spreadsheet containing all of the data can be found here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6959229/samsvswalmart.pdf) The comparison:

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Walmart vs. United Supermarkets: a statistical breakdown

I, like most of you, sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and ponder the Walmart dilemma. If I factor in my time, is it actually cheaper to shop there? So, I decided to conduct my own little experiment. I bought the same items at each store and timed my trips. I started the timer when I entered each parking lot and stopped it as I exited each parking lot. If you think this is nerdy you should see my spreadsheets comparing the finances of various republican parties (here you go: http://www.tommechler.com/media/party-finances-2007-2009-b.pdf). Anyhoo, here are the results:

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