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The Best Financial Independence, Retire Early Articles of the Week (#4)

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Today's article is going to be a little housekeeping and catching-up on the last week. There should be something for everyone here.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I read a lot of great articles about gratitude from bloggers all over the United States. I was very tempted to write my own, but then felt like I didn't have much to add. It's a fine line to walk to say how thankful you are and not look like you are flaunting your good fortune in everyone's face. (We'll cover luck in a little bit.) For example in some 44 states a majority of football fans hate Tom Brady mostly because he seems to have it all, success, fame, fortune, super-model wife, etc.

I used to write about all the best Black Friday deals. This year, I didn't feel there was anything "post-worthy." Maybe it's because the sales are typically very cheap computers and cheap televisions. I feel like we have so many of those things. Amazon had a $33 tablet, but our Amazon tablet mostly gathers dust. It's nothing against Amazon. It's more than I only have 2 eyes and limited time for media consumption.

I ended up buying an Echo Dot for $40 that included a $10 Amazon gift card by purchasing through Amazon's Alexa voice service. I don't really know what I'm going to do with it as I already own three Alexa devices (an Echo, an Echo Dot, and a Tap).

If you scored some great Black Friday deals, I'd love to read about them... please leave a comment below.

Let's move to Cyber Monday, shall we?

We spent a ton of money on a local restaurant network gift card. Why? They gave perks (and more value) that were worth about 50% of what we spent. When we go to a fancy dinner we often choose this restaurant network as they are top of the line. It's like buying one-percenter luxury at fifteen-percenter prices.

Here are some of the best deals I've seen:

  • Get this Instant Pot for $49. I reviewed Instant Pot here and it is GREAT. My version is a little different than the $49 one that is on sale. The $49 one does everything that we've done with it, so you might as well save some money. It's usually a tremendous deal to get one of these for under $75.
  • Get $50 or $100 off StraightTalk cell phone service. I was with StraightTalk for a long time and loved it. It uses the AT&T network and in my area it is great. I moved to Cricket (also AT&T) to save myself $10 a month. My wife stuck with Straight Talk (she's busy). We'll take advantage of this deal which will probably put it close to Cricket's pricing. I remember when I used to pay $120/mo. to Sprint for just one phone. If only we could do this with the cable TV/Internet monopolies
  • Get this Boogie Board for $14. It's a writing/drawing tablet that is hard to explain unless you've used one. I got one in March and played very close to the retail price of $30. I literally just sent an email to mother to ask if she wanted one as she was in the market back then.
  • Upgrade your wireless. It's time move on from the 802.11N routers that don't cover the house very well and don't deliver the full speed of your internet connection. For $68 (there's a $20 coupon on the page that will be applied on checkout you can get a top rated 802.11ac router. Last year, I found a great deal to upgrade, but it was still $90.

Like last week, I'm going to present only one FIRE article that you should read. The role of luck in early retirement by Justin at Root of Good is great. If you need more convincing, here's a teaser of the conclusion:

"In reality, our relative success of retiring in our 30’s came from a combination of lucky starts in life, smart choices along the way, and persistent effort throughout."

Finally, I'll take advantage of the free-form nature of this type of article to reflect on actor Ron Glass like many have already done.

Thank you for making me a believer.

Posted on November 28, 2016.

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