Since my unforeseen departure from my job in February, we’ve done a pretty good job (IMO) at cutting as many of our monthly expenses as we can. I thought I would outline the things we’ve done to accomplish that.


Cable TV

We had every intention of canceling our video service and only continue with internet service from our current cable provider. We were resigned to the fact that the internet package we wanted was going to be $79.99/month which we were okay with considering we have Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. But when Nicole called the our cable provider, they offered us the internet package we wanted along with basic cable service with HD for only $60/month. We’re saving $20 a month over what internet only would have cost and we’re getting basic service along with it. Admittedly, we do still have our security package with the cable provider, but the service is on the way out and should be completely gone sometime in November/late December. We’re awaiting the shipment of our Almond 3 device which we should be able to use with all our zigbee enabled security devices and set up automatic alerts to our phones. We’ll basically have the same comfort level of having a home automation/security service without a monthly fee.


Okay, I’m taking a little latitude with this one since we switched to Magicjack a while ago, but it deserves to be mentioned! For less than $4 a month, it’s hard to beat unless you do away with a landline altogether. We could just cut the landline totally, but for me, having the comfort of a landline is worth the few bucks a month.

Car Insurance

In the category of it doesn’t hurt to ask, Nicole called our auto insurance agent and basically said, hey we’re driving much less now because Joe is out of work and I don’t drive much and we can’t afford what we have. What happened? They were able to drop our insurance by about $80 every 6 months. Call and ask, it doesn’t hurt!

Cell Phone

We switched to Ting Wireless back in April. Switching to Ting Wireless has by far been the best cost savings thing we have done so far. I wish we would have done it long ago. We used such little data and voice back in August, our bill was just over $30. That’s for two smartphones for a month! Compared to our $135/month AT&T bill, it makes me feel like I was getting robbed by AT&T. Check out Ting Wireless here.

Those are the ones that come to mind first. There have been several others which have definitely helped us save a few dollars over the last few months. We’ve wrote about several other things which may not add up to much right away, but they do contribute to our “blow” money. We use different reward programs such as Discover cashback, Shopkick, Bing, Swagbucks and survey places like Harris Polls and Pinecone research.


How’s your Tuesday going? Not too shabby here I suppose. See, Tuesday for me is cleaning day. Since being out of work I’ve taken on the bulk of the cleaning and cooking duties. I mean, rightfully so – I’m not working. Whomever is at home more should take on more weight of the household maintenance. And I don’t mind doing it; I have the cleaning down to an art, almost. I’m finishing up some laundry and I’m pretty much done for the day. BTW, dinner tonight is pesto salmon with rice and broccoli. If you haven’t tried the frozen salmon from Costco, you’re missing out.

I’ve had a couple of calls for interviews over the last two weeks. Both were for similar jobs to the last one I had. Two phone interviews so far at one company and a phone and a face-to-face at another. Haven’t heard back from either one yet, but that doesn’t surprise me. Sometimes the process can take some time. Even if it doesn’t work out, so be it. I’m not the type of person to get frustrated. To me, if it doesn’t work out that just means there’s something better on its way.

Unemployment compensation has run dry, and that really sucks. I’m still looking for jobs and applying on a near daily basis. I mentioned before I’ve been able to get in a couple of clinical studies in the past, and I was able to get into another one that starts next week. Those tend to pay pretty decent considering the number of hours invested. This one is about 50 total hours for $1,325. Not bad. I’m also considering contacting a former colleague whose SO has a company I think I can get a part-time gig with.

We’re going to be taking advantage of me being out of work and visit my family in Arizona next month. We haven’t seen them in some time, and I am really looking forward to it. My parents, sister, niece and her family are out there. We’re going to be spending about 8 days hanging out in the valley of the sun.


I remember when I was growing up – I had a passbook savings account. Some of you may not be old enough to remember those “passport” like books which you used as your savings account. I would collect $10 or $20 and go with my mom or dad to the bank so I could deposit my money and have my passbook updated showing my money grow. Of course then I didn’t have the appreciation for saving money, or money in general for that matter. But I can still remember how cool the feeling was to see my money in the passbook increase. That little nugget of a feeling still helps me today.

I’m not sure the options that were available back then to get a kid started with saving or investing. The passbook and savings bonds were all I had. They taught me some valuable lessons about interest and saving for things you want down the road.


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Happy Sunday Morning!

If you’re a DD Perks card holder with Dunkin’ Donuts, starting today (9/25) and for the whole week, you can get a free item each day. The freebie will drop into your DD Perks app and is redeemable at participating DDs. A pretty sweet deal. Yes, there’s mostly free coffee or tea, but if you’re a coffee/tea lover like me that’s perfect!


We’ll be heading out shortly to take advantage of today’s free item, an egg and cheese breakfast sandwich.

Don’t have a DD Perks card? No worries, you can pick one up at the store and add money to the card. Or even better, just download the app and you can join right from there. Note: in order to receive the freebies, you’ll need the DD Perks app as they put the free item into your “perks” section of the app. The app is pretty sweet though. You can add money directly to the app and use the QR code on the app to pay for your items. The best part is if you use the app regularly, you build points which are redeemed for drinks. Not a bad deal. Plus, they drop in some pretty sweet deals from time to time.



It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned anything going on with me and my work hunt. Well, my unemployment compensation is going to run out in about a month. That little tidbit has been really driving me to look a little harder and apply for more positions than I was previously.


We’ve been fortunate so far, in that between unemployment, Nicole’s job, and cutting back as much as we can on expenses, we haven’t had to dip into what savings we do have to make it through the month. But that opportunity is going to run out in about a month when unemployment goes away.

I’ve been able to score some survey and clinical trial work here and there. That’s helped a bit, especially the one trial that scored $625. But those are really just side hustles; I need to find something more permanent.

I’ve been updating my LinkedIn, searching Indeed, CareerBuilder, and Monster every day. Since not all businesses use one of these websites, I also started checking the websites of all the businesses in the area. I found a pretty easy method to do this. I pull up Google Maps of my local area. Clicking on a business on the map brings up that business’ information in the sidebar, including their website if they have one. Easy peasy. Then I just pan around the area clicking on the businesses and checking their website for postings. I was able to run through a few mile radius on the map of many businesses in a short time.

I’m not fond of the idea of doing something similar to the last position I held. The hours, responsibility, stress, and frustration were not worth it. Umm, no thanks. So I’ve been looking for something with just enough responsibility to have a decent salary and benefits. I’d really like to be able to have a position where as soon as my feet hit the pavement at the end of the day I don’t think about or have to deal with it until the next day. I know those positions are hard to find. I’d love to work as a barista at Starbucks. I like to work really early in the AM, love coffee, and as funny as it sounds coming from me, I generally like talking to people. That position would probably give us enough to help bridge the monthly expense gap, and even better benefits than we have now. But I would also like to be able to keep saving for retirement. I’d rather not be working until I’m 80.

So the hunt continues!


Have you heard of Hoopla?

From the website:

Bringing you hundreds of thousands of movies, full music albums, audiobooks and more, hoopla is a revolutionary digital service made possible by your local library. From Hollywood blockbusters to best selling artists and authors – not just the hits, but the niche and hard-to-find as well – you’ll soon discover that hoopla provides you the freedom you’ve been searching for to experience, explore and enjoy what you want, when you want, and where you want. Simple to access and use, without the hassle of having to return the items you’ve borrowed, all you need is your library card, a web browser, smart phone or tablet to get started.

Our library just started offering access a year ago and at first I wasn’t using it because there didn’t seem to be much content. I happened to log in a few days ago and was amazed by how much it has improved. In fact, I was able to find somewhat rare albums in the music section – stuff the library itself doesn’t carry.

One thing I really like about Hoopla is that you can temporarily download a borrowed album to your device so you’re not using any data while listening. The only downside is your library sets a limit on how many items you can borrow each calendar month. In my case it’s ten. Given those limits, I wouldn’t necessarily advise using it to stream an entire season of a television show since you wouldn’t be able to binge watch it.

My biggest problem, which is a good one, is that there’s so much stuff I’d like to borrow that I had to create a favorites list which already has around thirty items on it.

OverDrive is a similar service although its main focus is on books. I like that you can download titles in e-reader format if you happen to dislike reading on a tablet (like I do). The downside to OverDrive is that your library only has a set number of licenses per digital copy so the title you want may not be available. Due to this I don’t use OverDrive as much; I end up going to the library and taking out a physical copy of the book inside. I haven’t come across this license issue using Hoopla; everything listed on the service is available right away.

In any case, I highly recommend both these services as an alternative to going to the library if that’s not your thing (or you’re just too busy).

I’m not sure about you guys, but this month just flew by for me. The beginning of September marks 6 months I’ve been out of work. I’ve been able to get a few side gigs for a few bucks here and there to help supplement my unemployment compensation. Mostly in the form of surveys and market research studies. I’ve been getting more aggressive with my job hunt lately as well as making changes to my resume in order to try and help bring in more interest.


I’m kind of ready for autumn, my favorite time of the year. The cooler weather, the fall colors, football, and hockey too! It also means we’ll be able to keep the windows open more frequently saving some money not running the AC or heat.

Here’s a recap of postings we had for August:

Garage Sale – Recap

It’s Not A Treat If You Have It Every Day

Social Security Numbers

College Costs

Joe’s Top Movies

A little something different for the start of the weekend. I’m a huge movie guy, all sorts of movie genres. I often joke that I could hold conversations just using movie quotes (I think the same applies to song lyrics too). I think it goes back to my childhood. I grew up in a typical lower-middle class home where we rarely ate out. Probably because of not wanting to spend the money more than anything. I did, however, go to the movies. My dad and aunt managed to take me when I was little and through my pre-teen years. As I got older movies were a regular form of entertainment through my teenage years. I have fond memories of those times, so it makes sense to me I have such a tie to movies. It’s not just about the movie, but the memories of that time in my life.

Here’s my list of a few of my favorite movies. While I still have several (dozen) more favorites, these I could say (today) are some of my faves.

The Goonies (1985)

“Goonies never say die!”, love that line! Maybe it’s because I grew up in the 80’s, or maybe this movie just appeals to the kid in me. I’ll date myself a bit, but I actually saw this when it came out in the movie theater. This is a great movie with adventure, romance, comedy, drama, and awesome bad guys. It also has good character building, a solid cast of unknowns at the time, and a semi-believable premise. This movie has it all. I can watch this one over and over, and I do when I see it come on TV.

Almost Famous (2000)

I have a handful of movies which are the pinnacle of all movies for me and Almost Famous is one of them. This coming of age movie follows a high school boy posing as an adult in order to start writing for Rolling Stone. He follows Stillwater in order to write an article about the up and coming band. Semi-autobiographical, its based on director Cameron Crowe’s early days as a writer for Rolling Stone. The cast is what makes this move for me: newcomer Patrick Fugit playing the would-be Rolling Stone reporter, Billy Crudup and Jason Lee as musicians in the band Stillwater, Frances McDormand as Fugit’s overprotective mom, Zooey Deschanel as his rebellious sister, Kate Hudson as a groupie who is a love interest for both Crudup’s and Fugit’s characters, and just a touch of Philip Seymour Hoffman playing a sort of mentor to Fugit. It’s funny, heartbreaking, smart, and honest. I can’t say enough about Almost Famous. If you haven’t seen it yet, go now. Get it, stream it, I’ll wait. Go. : )

Rockstar (2001)

While on the music theme, let’s toss one more in there – Rockstar – inspired by the story of Judas Priest and the departure of Rob Halford and his replacement Tim “Ripper” Owens who was singing in a Judas Priest cover band. I don’t know if situations like in the movie really happen when bands tour, but wow. The movie walks us through this unknown cover band singer played by Mark Wahlberg who is flung into a lead singer job for Steel Dragon. In the end, this is a love story; love of a girl and music. The final scene is great!

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

This is one of those movies (all of these movies are actually) where if I’m flipping channels and I come across it, I need to watch the rest of it regardless of what point in the movie it is. The movie follows Tim Robbin’s character through life in prison where finding redemption and peace isn’t always the easiest. Andy befriends Morgan Freeman’s character, Red, and through the years they bond, becoming the best of friends.

Snatch (2000)

Snatch is one of those movies where you need to pay careful attention. The dialog and delivery by the actors makes this movie one of my favorites. I really like Brad Pitt’s character in particular. Pitt plays a gypsy whose conversations you’ll barely understand. You may have to replay his scenes a few times or turn on subtitles. Yep, subtitles are an option so you can understand him. The movie has some really memorable scenes. All the characters are brought together in order to locate a priceless (stolen) diamond. All of whom are obviously in it for themselves. In the end it feels more like a movie about revenge.