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Friday, October 30, 2015

Lozano's Car Wash Coupons - 38% gain in Two Years

Here are the current coupons for Lozano's Car Wash in Mountain View, California.

The lowest price, best coupon for those watching their spending, is up 38.5% in just over two years while CPI inflation in the US is up less than 5%.
click images for full size
Compare it to the coupons for just over two years ago.

Notice how the very best price offered, the Tuesday Special, went from $12.99 to $17.99, a gain of 38.5% in just over two years!


Official inflation over this period is, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BEA) is less than 5% so why did the price of a car wash go up 38.5%?


Mountain View's minimum wage is currently $10.30 per hour with a goal of $15 per hour by 2018. See Mountain View boosts its minimum wage to $10.30, with $15 goal by 2018
Lozano's Brushless Car Wash is in Mountain View.
The minimum wage was $9 per hour before so my guess is most of the higher car wash prices are the costs to comply with Obama Care.  
It is good that workers have health insurance but it is not free.  We all pay for it.  I find I go much longer between car washes these days and I wash my cars more often at home.  If everyone does this due to the higher price, it is possible there are fewer jobs at the car wash than before helping explain why the economy isn't growing as fast as it has in past recoveries.

With the cost of Obamacare - ACA slated to go up 17.3% for me next year and higher minimum wages slated for Mountain View, I wonder what sort of prices we'll pay to get a car wash in 2016.

What do you think?  Feel free to comment below or on my facebook page.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Social Security COLA for 2016

There will be no Cost of Living Adjustment to 2016 Social Security payments.  For details including the tax rate and maximum income subject to Payroll Tax deductions, see:

Monday, October 05, 2015

Real Inflation at Lozano's Car Wash in Mountain View, California

You can get an idea of why the US economy is growing so slowly with this look at inflation at my local car wash.

Over the past two years, the lowest price for a "car wash" went up $4 or 31%  at "Lozano's Car Wash" in Mountain View, California.  (Map)

Lozano's is on the corner at the city limit of Mountain View with Los Altos across El Camino Real and Palo Alto across Del Medio Avenue.
Lozano's Car Wash Coupons
 

Over the last two years, the CPI-U index for inflation went from 233.396 in July 2013 to 238.654 in July 2015.  This is a gain of 5.258 or 2.3%, roughly 1.15% a year.
Inflation Data
If you applied this 2.3% inflation to the $12.99 price of a car wash in 2013, it would be $13.29.

What happened?  Is:


  • the government lying about inflation?
  • the owner of Lozano's greedy and charging what the market will bear when so many won't use their valuable water during the drought to wash their cars?
  • the owner of Lozano's paying more generous wages?
  • the owner of Lozano's passing on higher costs not represented by the CPI-U index?
  • All the above?
Also note that the major costs at a car wash are
  1. Labor
  2. Energy
  3. Water
They recycle the water but I imagine much is lost due to evaporation.  Energy prices are down so I think the biggest reason for the higher prices is higher labor costs.

Mountain View's minimum wage is currently $10.30 per hour with a goal of $15 per hour by 2018. See Mountain View boosts its minimum wage to $10.30, with $15 goal by 2018

The minimum wage was $9 per hour before so my guess is most of the higher car wash prices are the costs to comply with Obama Care.  

It is good that workers have health insurance but it is not free.  We all pay for it.  I find I go much longer between car washes these days and I wash my cars more often at home.  If everyone does this due to the higher price, it is possible there are fewer jobs at the car wash than before helping explain why the economy isn't growing as fast as it has in past recoveries.

What do you think?  Feel free to comment below or on my facebook page.

More coupons to show the price progression:




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Sunday, October 04, 2015

Stock Market Update

Market update for Sunday October 4, 2014
All are down year-to-date (YTD) but they are up from the recent test of their August lows.

The markets are still testing the lows but I am quite pleased so far as it seems Biotech is again trying to take the lead.

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It is also good to see some bank CDs are now paying 2.20%


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The small cap biotech I added to significantly (~30%) to my Explore Portfolio last month VERY near "THE LOW" is up about 22% already since the August buy for my Newsletter Explore Portfolio...

It looks like the IBB index fund has a nice, successful test and could be leading again.
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Kirk Lindstrom's Investment Letter Performance

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