Best purchases for 2017

My top four purchases for 2017
  1. Oral-B Black Pro 1000 Power Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush Powered by Braun. I paid $39.97 and this item has been well worth it. My dental hygienist has noticed the difference during cleanings. The refill brush heads are a bit expensive, so I have used Generic Oral B Compatible Toothbrush Replacement Heads – 20 Brushes. Each brush head is lasting at least 2 months. So for the $16.48 I paid I will get at least 3.3 years of toothbrushes.
  1. Zinus Memory Foam 12 Inch Green Tea Mattress, King and Zinus 12 Inch Solid Wood Platform Bed with Headboard / No Box Spring Needed / Wood Slat Support / Antique Espresso Finish, King. After trying a memory foam mattress for our SURV and noting it was as comfy as our bed, we decided to try a memory foam mattress for the bedroom. I find it quite firm, but I like that. The bed frame took awhile to put together, but I followed the instructions carefully. I took my time and had no problems. We paid $279 for the mattress and $255 for the frame. $534 combined is pretty incredible for the comfort level and DW is happy with the comfort and look. We let the mattress off-gas (air out) in a guest room for two weeks after opening it before we started using it.
  1. Panasonic KX-TGE233B Expandable Cordless Digital Phone with Large Keypad – 3 Handsets. This phone set allows you to block specific phone numbers without having to pay a monthly fee. This has been a major advantage to block repeat telemarketers. I paid $49.99.
  1. YI Home Camera Wireless IP Security Surveillance System (US Edition) White. We have used this to monitor our pets while we are not home. We set it up so it monitors the path to their water source. It detects motion and saves a short recording that can be accessed over the internet from an android phone. So we can see each day that our pet is drinking. I paid $39.99 and also got this memory card for it: SanDisk Ultra 32GB microSDHC UHS-I Card with Adapter, Grey/Red, Standard Packaging (SDSQUNC-032G-GN6MA) for $12.77.

Podcasts I like

Top five podcasts. Podcasts make chores more enjoyable
When you have a big job, podcasts make it much more enjoyable
Podcasts on the homestead

There are a lot of chores where I don’t need to concentrate; tilling the garden, mowing, spraying, snowblowing, building raised beds. Podcasts are great for that, I can educate myself and get stuff done at the same time. Earbuds work well for some chores, but for noisier ones I use earbuds with earmuffs.

My top five podcasts
  1. The Tim Ferriss show. Amazing guests who have a lot to share. Favorite podcast: “David “DHH” Heinemeier Hansson: The Power of Being Outspoken”.
  2. Mad Fientist. FI podcast. Favorite podcast: “Lacking Ambition – Three Months After FI
  3. Masters in Business. Iconic guests. I’m going to pick 2 favorite podcasts for this one: “Interview With Jack Bogle” and “Interview With Mohamed El-Erian
  4. Hardcore History. Dan Carlin digs into history and brings it to life. Favorite podcast “Hardcore History 48 – Prophets of Doom
  5. Car Talk. Tom and Ray Magliozzi talk about cars. Tom passed away in 2014 but they have lots of archived material they continue to release. No favorite podcast: They are all fun.

Red wines I like, Independence Day, 2017

Eastern Washington has some great red wines and the Walla Walla area in particular has some outstanding values. I tend to favor Eastern WA over other regions, but I buy from all over. My strategy is to drink a mix of $8.00-$25.00 price points and types. Overall I like robust, smooth wines and am not a fan of dry wines, spicy wines or Pinot Noirs. Prices are from the Total Wine website on 6/11/2017.

top ten red wines summer 2017

My top ten red wines, Summer 2017
  1. Charles & Charles Red Blend. 2015. Washington State. $8.99 (or $8.09 with a 10% volume discount), are you kidding me? This blend of 70% Cabernet Sauv. and 30% Syrah is perfect for sipping on the porch or with a ribeye steak. I recommend letting it breathe about 45 minutes after opening. MrWheat score: 89
  1. Zerba Cellars Wild Z Red. 2012. Washington State. $22.49. Blend of 52% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauv. I like it on its own or with any red meat or poultry. This wine is a great example of what Walla Walla has to offer. MrWheat score: 91
  1. Robert Karl Claret. Washington State. $19.49. This one I recommend waiting till you have a steak. Any steak will do. A blend of 55% Cabernet Sauv. 17% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot and 9% Malbec. MrWheat score: 91
  1. Kaiken Ultra Malbec. 2013. Argentina. $19.99. Pure Malbec aged 12 months in French oak. Rich flavor. I’ll take mine with roast chicken, thank you. MrWheat score: 91
  1. Marques de Caceres Rioja Reserva. 2013. Spain. $17.99. Tempranillo blend is a bit spicy but still smooth. MrWheat score: 90
  1. Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauv. 2014. Washington State. $9.97. Widely available. From Horse Heaven Hills. Great on its own or with a meal. MrWheat score: 89
  1. Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon. 2012. Chile. $17.99. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot. Black current and earthy with hint of sage. Let it breathe an hour. Great with potato chips. MrWheat score: 88
  1. Saviah Cellars The Jack Red. 2015. Washington State. $13.99. I recommend letting it breathe about 45 minutes after opening. Blend of 75% Merlot, 7% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Franc, 6% Sangiovese and 5% Petit Verdot. Great with pasta. MrWheat score: 88
  1. Anakena Carmenere Tama Vineyards. 2015. Chile. $12.99 100% Carmenere. A bit of spice. Goes well with pork chop with New Orleans rub. MrWheat score: 88
  1. B-Side Cabernet Sauvignon. 2014. California. $19.97. Widely available. Great for the porch. MrWheat score: 88

Blogs I like

My entrance into the blogosphere has been via personal finance and financial independence (FI) blogs. One of the first blogs I read was Mr. Money Mustache. I started reading a few of his articles, then started to devour the content. Then I found more FI blogs, and let my magazine subscriptions expire.

My top ten favorite blogs:
  1. Root of Good. Justin has great articles about personal finance and frugal living. Favorite post: $150,000 Income, $150 Income Tax”. Who knew some people could contribute to a 403b and a 457? This blog has saved me a lot of money. If only I’d found it sooner.
  1. Mr Money Mustache. A ton of great content on frugality and how to break free from a consumer society. Favorite post: “A Millionaire is Made Ten Bucks at a Time”. Ten bucks IS a lot of money.
  1. Mad FIentist. Detailed articles on strategies to optimize the path to financial independence. Favorite post: “How to Access Retirement Funds Early”. No you don’t have to wait till age 59.5 to access your retirement accounts.
  1. Early Retirement Extreme. Jacob Lund Fisker has a great blog about principles for lifestyle design and achieving financial independence. Favorite post: Here I am going to diverge a bit and say my favorite content is the first chapter of his book “Early Retirement Extreme” which can be previewed on Amazon.
  1. The Finance Buff. Great concise articles on numerous financial topics. Favorite post: “Why Investors Don’t Realize CDs Are a Better Deal Than Bonds”. I own Bonds and CDs.
  1. GoCurryCracker. Travel and financial independence blog. I like their tax articles, they show their forms and it’s very helpful to see exactly how they minimize taxes. Favorite post: “Never Pay Taxes Again“.
  1. My Money Blog. Jonathan posts about investing, money saving tips, and credit card rewards. Favorite post: His latest deal/tip.
  1. Millionaire Educator. Not oxymorons. They document their path to FI. Favorite post: “How We Saved $500,000 in 4.5 Years“.
  1. Interstellar Orchard. Took till #9 to get to a non-FI blog. Becky documents her full time RVing in a Casita trailer. I don’t plan to full time, but I’ve gotten some great tips on buying an RV and traveling. Favorite post: “Boondocking Answers”.
  1. Doctor of Credit. The latest credit card and financial deals. I’m addicted. Favorite post: The latest deal/tip.