The Waldorf Astoria Experience

I have visited Chicago frequently for business and it is a city I really enjoy.  It is different from many of the other cities I have been to and the food is amazing.  There are also a lot of good memories for me in Chicago because my best friends took me there for my bachelor party years ago.  Although I have visited Chicago many times, my wife had not been to Chicago and I wanted her to get the Chicago experience.  Upon looking for hotels for the weekend my wife and me would go to Chicago, I found the Waldorf Astoria.  Fortunately, I had a lot of Hilton Honor points and the Waldorf Astoria is a Hilton Hotel.  Otherwise, it would probably be too pricey for me at upwards of $500 per night.

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Penny, nickel, dime, quarter…

How many times have you seen a penny on a ground and you just keep walking?  What is the minimum amount of money you need to find to stop and pick it up?  Is it a nickel, dime, quarter, dollar bill, five dollar bill, or maybe even ten dollar bill?  Over the past two years I challenged myself to pick up all change (i.e., penny, nickel, dime, quarter) I stumble upon.  Any currency I found would be placed into a glass jar I had sitting on my nightside table for safekeeping.  Recently, I sorted the glass jar and counted my findings.  The total came to be $54.72.  Not bad for two years worth of change I just found.

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Unnecessarily overpriced items…?

I am intrigued by unnecessarily overpriced items such as the Black Fox Chapka hat from Hudson’s Bay in Canada, which retails for $899 CDN.  Although I really did love this hat, I could not justify spending nearly one-thousand dollars for a hat I could not see myself wearing more than a handful of times.  I will admit the hat looks pretty silly on me, but in the defense of the designer, it was super comfortable and warm.

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Black Fox Chapka – $899 CDN

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Sweat, is it worth it?

I go to the gym at least 5 times per week and I have been doing this for several years. I typically invest roughly 60 minutes at the gym.  While I am at the gym, I am very serious about getting a good workout in.  I keep my headphones in and listen to my music throughout the duration of the workout.  I avoid small talk with others because I do not want to take time away from my workout.  I typically start my workout with an aerobic-style warmup to heat up my body and get the blood flowing.  I will not leave the gym until my shirt is drenched, which indicates my body did get a full workout.  So how does this relate to success?

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Realize your goals

There are plenty of people who work hard and earn a decent wage, but many of these people do not know how to manage their money effectively.  Due to the lack of knowledge, they make poor financial choices and have nothing to show for it.  The goal of http://www.civilaccomplishment.com is to help give hard-working people a new perspective on how to manage their money.  I want you to grow financially and achieve your goals.  I am also learning new methods to work more effectively and produce results faster each day.

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Value Grocery Shopping

For the longest time, my wife and me shopped at our local Shop Rite.  In high school, I used to work there stocking dairy products on the shelf.  It makes it that much more enjoyable to know I do not need to work for $6/hr stocking shelves 39 hours a week.  I was not allowed to work 40 hours a week because it would be considered full time and they would be required to pay me full time employee benefits.  I digress…

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Whole Simple Southwestern Style Chicken Quinoa – $2.49

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Buy or rent for the short term

When you are looking for a car, house, furniture, or maybe even a tuxedo, you are going to ask yourself one question.  Do I want to buy or rent?  Everyone’s situation is different, so you must first understand your situation and your goal.  For example, if you are planning on going to a high school prom and not planning on using the tuxedo again, you are going to most likely want to rent.  You will not want to spend $250-$500 on a tuxedo that you are only going to use once in your life.  If you are going to drive 20,000+ miles per year and do not always care about having a new car, then you are going to want to buy the car.  If you are renting an apartment and you are not planning on staying there for the longterm, you may want to rent your furniture unless you believe you can seek further usage after you move on from that apartment.  The larger topic at hand is renting versus buying a home.  I believe this is a topic worth diving into because people can get themselves into financial trouble if not handled properly.

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Mortgage Removal

There is a debate on whether you should use excess funds to pay off your mortgage or invest the money into something else.  If your mortgage interest rate is less than 5%, the thought is you should utilize excess funds to invest because the average return-on-investment (ROI) is 7-10%.  This number may vary depending on who you talk to.   There is also the mortgage interest tax deduction aspect, which can be favorable.  Most finance people will tell you the investment path is most favorable, but what happens if the ROI is less than 7-10%?  What happens if your investment actually produces a negative ROI?  At the end of the day, you may have nothing to show for your efforts and this is a risk I am not willing to live with.  Again, most finance experts will not agree with me.  BUT there are finance experts that do steer middle-class citizens in the wrong direction and might not even feel bad about it.  There have been plenty of cases where good people have lost everything due to poor investments.  Do you think those people thought the investments were bad ones?

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Budget by indicators

It is difficult to track every penny in or out of our hands.  From 2009 to 2011, I actually tried to track every transaction including cash, credit, debit, etc…  I recorded over 1,000 transactions, which was very time consuming.  There was some merit to this exercise, but I would not recommend for anyone to try this exercise unless you have a lot of time on your hands.  The granular details do not always give you as much useful detail as the month to month data.  How can this be and what do I mean by this?

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