THERE’S ONLY ONE THING I like more than writing about personal finance, and that’s drinking a salubrious cocktail. When I realized I could combine both, this article almost wrote itself.
Two decades ago, I read the best cocktail book ever written, The Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks by Dale DeGroff. He thought so highly of my bartending skills that he even inscribed my copy, though that’s a whole other article.
I’D PLANNED CAREFULLY. All I needed was to get from the Oslo airport to an Airbnb about eight miles away. It was 12 minutes by bus, the host firmly proclaimed.
I’d disembarked from a ship early that morning in Kirkenes, near the Russian border. I’d paid about $20 for a bus ride to the nearest airport, and then flown 850 miles to Oslo. Now, I was ready for the local bus and that 12-minute ride to the Airbnb.
I’M NOT SOMEONE WHO enjoys spending money on luxury travel. I’d never pay cash for a business class airline ticket or a hotel suite. Nonetheless, on a recent trip to Spain with my husband, we flew business class and had suites in all four hotels we stayed at.
We also visited lounges in every airport before our flights, had access to executive lounges at two hotels where we could get free meals, snacks and cocktails,
“CLEAN YOUR PLATE.” “You’ll eat what’s for dinner and like it.” “There are children starving in Africa.”
Those are lines I often heard as a child. I guess my parents weren’t aware of hunger in the U.S.—or the long-term damage to our waistlines and health that such clean-your-plate advice could have.
Still, at least we weren’t squandering food, which is a big problem these days. Each year, 80 million tons of food are wasted in the U.S.
IT’S BEEN A YEAR since New Jersey banned all plastic bags from grocery stores, and yet I’m still wandering into our local store without my reusable bags. You would think I’d have gotten the memo by now.
I used to keep the bags in the trunk of my car—but out of sight, out of mind. As a visual reminder, I now keep them inside my car on the passenger side. But they might as well still be in the trunk.
MY WIFE HAS PLANS for retirement. Travel plans. For too many years, she’s lived a mostly travel-free life. We’ve logged just a few short excursions to hither and yon.
Yes, there have been reasons for this dearth of travel that were largely beyond our control. But her biggest obstacle has been—and continues to be—me. I’m mostly a homebody, and I’ve been reluctant to change my ways.
My wife didn’t choose to love traveling. Rather,
MANY OF US ENJOY chasing discounts at grocery stores and other businesses. For instance, one of my favorite local wine shops gives discounts to club members. To sign up, all you have to do is provide your contact information.
Lately, the store has stopped requiring me to give my name when I make a purchase. Instead, employees automatically give me the discounted price. Maybe I’m buying too much wine and they recognize me.
In my area,
MY WIFE BELIEVES travel is an adventure filled with new food, new adventures and new friends. Others believe it’s a never-ending series of negotiations, surcharges, taxes and exchange rates, and these need to be painstakingly managed to minimize cost and the deep-seated shame associated with overpaying.
I guess I lean a little more in one direction, as evidenced by my recent travel adventure: a road trip to the East Coast followed by a flight to Chile.
THIS IS MY SIXTH STORY for HumbleDollar. You don’t know how happy you’ve made this old hick from Kentucky feel by taking the time to read my stuff, let alone comment on it.
I’ve done and continue to do a lot of dumb things in my walk down life’s path. I hope to share most of them to give you something to think about and maybe avoid on your own. Today,
WE TRAVEL A LOT, so I try to read up on new places, new deals and what to watch out for. This year, I’ve made two new discoveries—not pleasant ones.
I admit it, I love hotel points. I know I’ve paid for those points, but seeing a “free” hotel bill makes me feel good.
Hotels started their rewards programs when I was traveling for business. I signed up right away. In fact, my rewards account number with one hotel chain starts with 000.
I’VE DECIDED TO SELL some of my investments and buy a Bentley. The one I admire would cost about $300,000, including taxes and fees.
Just kidding. Besides, I couldn’t face my four children after such an indecent splurge, knowing that they’re dealing with high-deductible health plans, saving for college and socking away money for retirement—just like millions of other Americans.
While that Bentley purchase would be possible in theory, it would substantially reduce my assets,
I HAVE WRITTEN THIS article about bourbon because, when HumbleDollar’s editor previously asked me to write about my travels, I thought, “Hey, if someone wants to pay me $60 to write about travel, I’m in. I’m hoping he’ll next suggest I write an article about drinking bourbon.”
Sadly, this site’s editor didn’t ask me to write about bourbon. But I went ahead anyway.
I “spiritually” came of age when I was 19 years old.
THEY SAY THAT TAKING a cruise is a poor man’s idea of a rich man’s vacation. As an unsophisticated traveler, all I knew of cruises were the glowing reports I heard from others who had taken them—and the romanticized versions I saw in the movies.
My aspirations were based on a movie I saw starring Doris Day, Romance on the High Seas. It’s about a glamorous, adventurous and romantic cruise with beautifully dressed people,
AS I SURF THROUGH my streaming channels, I wonder if I’m paying too much for too much.
Do you feel overwhelmed by the choices on Netflix and similar services? Are your personal watch lists constantly expanding because a channel keeps suggesting shows you might like? Even in retirement, who has that much time to spend? Before you know it, some shows on your list have disappeared—and you’re wondering whether you’re getting your money’s worth
I still believe streaming is a bargain compared with the outrageous cable bills I once received.
A RECENT CNBC SURVEY found that more than half of Americans don’t have an emergency fund to handle life’s financial curveballs. The survey also found that seniors are more likely to have an emergency fund than younger adults, and men are more likely to maintain a rainy-day fund than women.
I don’t know how I’d manage if I didn’t have an emergency fund. Now that I’m retired from fulltime work, I try to keep to a fixed budget,