5 Heartwarming Acts of Generosity

With the holidays upon us, this seems like the perfect time of year to be inspired by how generous people truly are.  Behold some acts of generosity that will leave you with the warm fuzzies:

  1. James Robertson Gets a Free Car.  James Robertson had to walk 21 miles and take 2 buses to get to his factory job earning $10.55/hour.  After a college student learned of his torturous commute, he set up a crowdfunding project for Robertson.  Donors gave over $350,000, and a Ford dealership even supplied him with a new Taurus!
  2. Paying It Backward.  When going through the drive-thru of Heav’nly Donuts, Eileen Taylor decided to pick up the $12 tab of the car behind her.  This inspired a chain reaction, resulting in 55 drivers following suit for the next 2-1/2 hours!
  3. Wedding Cancellation.  One generous Toronto couple cancelled their own wedding to help Syrian refugees.  Rather than spend tens of thousands of dollars on the event, they felt the money could be better spent by financially sponsoring a family of four.
  4. Every Pint Helps.  While this story doesn’t involve a donation of money, it does speak to the generous spirit of Colin Harrison.  For over 30 years, he’s been a regular blood donor, giving over 400 pints of blood!  This is amazing, considering that only 1% of donors provide more than 100 pints.  As a result, Harrison’s arm is so thick with scar tissue that he can’t donate anymore but no doubt, his story has inspired similar acts of generosity in others.
  5. A Homeless Man Gets His Wish.  Neil Shytles was facing another Thanksgiving at the homeless shelter he was staying at.  Not looking forward to that prospect, he placed a message on Facebook, requesting a Thanksgiving invitation.  To his surprise and joy, he received many responses.  Ultimately, he spent Thanksgiving with the LeMore family and the news surrounding the story increased donations to his temporary home, the Union Mission shelter. 

Can You Expect a Year-End Bonus?

In the movie Christmas Vacation, Clark Griswold came to rely on his annual end of the year bonus.  So, you can imagine his disappointment when he learned that his employer had eliminated year-end bonuses and enrolled him in the Jelly of the Month club instead.  Fortunately, if statistics from last year are any indication, this is unlikely to happen to you this holiday season.

In a 2014 survey of 100 human resources professionals, 78% of them reported that their companies planned on offering a year-end gift or bonus.  About half of them were providing monetary bonuses, based on employee or department performance.  The other half was handing out smaller bonuses (in the range of $100 or less) that were either financial in nature or a gift of some sort. 

If you’re one of the lucky ones—and we’re hoping that you are—DailyFinance has some suggestions on how you should handle a cash bonus.   Chief among them is that you should avoid blowing it all at once on Christmas gifts!

Instead, financial planner Scott A. Stratton recommends that you sink some of the money into your retirement account.  “If someone 25 years old took $5,000 of their bonus and invested it until they were 65, and earned 8%, they’d end up with $108,622,” he says.

However, if you have high-interest rate credit cards or student loans, he suggests that you make paying these down a priority.  Alternatively, if you don’t have 6-9 months of emergency savings, this would be a great time to fund your nest egg.

What if you were hoping to spend your bonus frivolously?  Don’t despair.  You don’t have to be a complete Grinch!  Just earmark about 25% of your bonus for those “fun” items like vacations, a new television set, or that pricy watch you’ve had your eye on for a while.  Following the 75/25 rule will allow you to enjoy some extravagances while making your future a more comfortable, financially secure one.

Thought For The Day

“Teaching man his relatively small sphere in the creation, it also encourages him by its lessons of the unity of Nature and shows him that his power of comprehension allies him with the great intelligence over-reaching all.”
Annie Jump Cannon

 

 

Object-Oriented Programming: Operator Overloading Introduction

Today we are continuing the lesson we started last time, by explaining one of C++'s most famous and most important features - operator overloading.  Similarly to what we said about function overloading, operator overloading allows the programmer to redefine (overload) already existing C++ operators (most of them).

Before we mention any details, first let's look at this example which will illustrate why we need operator overloading.

class Complex
{
private:

    double re, im;

public:

    Complex() {re = im = 0;}
    Complex(double r, double i)
    {
        re = r;
        im = i;
    }
};

int main()
{
    Complex a(0.5, 1), b(2, 3.4);
}
This is a simple class representing a complex number.  Naturally, we want to perform various arithmetic operations with complex numbers, like addition.  But, if we simply write a + b, we will get a compiler error: no operator "+" matches these operands.  This is because Complex is a user-defined type, and the compiler doesn't know how to add complex numbers.  This is why we have to define our own function for addition:
Complex add(Complex c)
{
    Complex result;
    result.re = this->re + c.re;
    result.im = this->im + c.im;
    return result;
}

 

Now, we have the method which adds two complex numbers (note that this could also have been written as a friend function), but it would be inconvinient and unnatural to write a.add(b) (or add(a, b); if it's a friend function) all the time.  We want to be able to write a + b, and we will do this by overloading the "+" operator.

We will learn how to do this next time, because different groups of operators (arithmetic, assignment, relational, increment/decrement, indexing) are overloaded with slight differences - for example, relational operators are overloaded as friend, and increment/decrement operators are overloaded as methods.  For now, we will just see what some general rules about operator overloading are:

  • These operators cannot be overloaded: . :: ?: sizeof (The :: operator is used for scope definition.)
  • Only already existing operators can be overloaded.
  • The overloaded operator retains the original operator's priority level.
In C++, operator overloading is considered "syntactic sugar" - syntax within a programming language that is designed to make things easier to read or express.

 

Holiday Hacks that Will Save You Time, Money, and Frustration!

Traditionally, the holidays are always the busiest and most stressful time of the year.  With that in mind, we wanted to help minimize your stress, save you money, and increase your free time.  Keep reading for some easy holiday hacks:

Travel

  • Rather than spending exorbitant amounts on baggage fees this year, limit yourself to just a carry-on and a small purse or backpack.  Then, plan to do laundry periodically at your destination.

  • Invest in the TSA’s expedited security program, PreCheck.  For just $85, you can obtain a 5-year membership that will cut down tremendously on your screening time.

  • If you’re going home for the holidays, consider buying gifts online and having them shipped to your destination.  This will make packing much easier!

Decorating

  • Does your Christmas tree look like it belongs at Charlie Brown’s house rather than Rockefeller Center?  Spruce it up by adding shiny green tinsel to make it appear fuller.

  • To minimize holiday stress next year, store small ornaments in empty egg cartons, wrap lights around a hanger or square piece of cardboard, and use an empty toilet paper roll to store wrapping paper.  Simply cut the toilet paper roll lengthwise and place it around the wrapping paper tube—this hack will easily prevent your wrapping paper from unraveling!

Gift Buying

  • Install the free chrome extension Honey for big savings.  It automatically searches for coupon codes and then applies the one with the most significant savings to your order.

  • There are a number of online websites that offer gift cards that are reduced by as much as 50%.  Check out Cardpool or Gift Card Granny to get started!

  • Visit a deals site like Slickdeals or Dealnews.  There you’ll find tons of deals, and they aren’t just on electronics.  You can also save money on apparel, travel, home appliances, and more.