This is the weekend! After careful analysis of the garage sale market, updates from the Chicago weather teams, a scientific study from MIT…well, not really. More like Joe has finally stopped dragging his feet so the garage sale is finally happening! Thankfully, the forecast is looking good. We’re only doing the sale on Friday and Saturday as I wasn’t sure we would have enough product for Sunday. But who knows, once we’re set up, we’ll see what happens and maybe run Sunday as well.
We’ve been pricing all the items we have up for sale this past week and trying to get things set up in the garage so we can just pull them out on Friday morning.
We came to realize a few things:
Pre-printed price labels – must have
Plenty of tables – must have
Kicking the cars out of the garage so you can set up – must have
Hanging up clothes, looks better and doesn’t take up table space – must have
We really only had a couple of tables ourselves and wqickly realized we needed more. Thankfully a friend had a few she let us borrow. This will make our presentation look all that much better.
And forget visiting the local Target/Walmart/Home Center for garage sale supplies. Instead hit the dollar store. Cheap and pretty nice. You don’t want to spend $30 on supplies and start the day having to make all that up first.
I’ll put together a recap for next week after it’s all done and we’ve sold everything! A guy can hope we sell almost everything.
Tesla’s monster lithium ion battery production facility has been under construction since 2014. What’s crazy to me is that by 2020, the Gigafactory will be producing more lithium ion batteries than the entire world did in 2013.
While it’s still a ways away from full completion, the facility is already manufacturing battery equipment for its current vehicles. The facility is being built in anticipation for the Model 3 – A $35k electric vehicle meant to bring battery powered vehicles to the Average Joe – which was unveiled earlier this year.
The Gigafactory is critical to Tesla’s mission of bringing a reasonable priced battery-powered vehicle to the average person. Go big or go home, right? It’s part of the plan for them. Economies of scale will allow Telsa to put out the batteries with a savings of 30% being passed right down to the cost of the vehicle. Pre-sales for the model 3 by mid-May were already at 373k according to Tesla. The Model 3s won’t even ship until mid-2017. There is quite a bit of excitement and obvious demand for a vehicle like the Model 3.
In cooperation with Tesla, a drone captured the construction site back in April. You can get a real feel for the enormity of the facility. I’m looking forward to seeing a similar video once the factory is completed.
In full disclosure, I should point out we do have Tesla stock in our portfolio. I’m not a big fan of individual stocks. A matter of fact, I tend to stick with mutual/index funds, but that’s a post for another day. But with as exciting as this technology is to me, it was as much a no-brainer to own this stock much like we do Apple. I am excited to see such advances in technology like this; how can you not be when you think about our reliance on fossil fuels?
What really got me interested in Tesla stock was CEO Elon Musks attitude about increasing battery technology for “the greater good” so to speak. Back in June 2014, Tesla announced they would not initiate any patent lawsuits against anyone who wants to use the technology in good faith. It’s almost like he’s giving an open-sourced version to the world and saying, go ahead make it better. It reminds me much of the Linux open source movement.
Updating my original post for Shopkick. We’re both still using Shopkick whenever we’re shopping. Since originally posting this back in March we’ve accumulated around $25/each. I know it’s not life altering money, but it does pay for a weekly grocery trip for us to Target or Walmart. : )
Have you heard of Shopkick? We love it! It’s a smartphone app that gives you Kickbacks just for walking into stores, and also for scanning specific items. Then you redeem those points – called Kicks – for gift cards to your favorite places like Starbucks, Target, Walmart, and more.
250 Kicks is the equivalent of one dollar and can be redeemed as follows:
500 Kicks = $2
1250 Kicks = $5
2500 Kicks = $10
3750 Kicks = $15
6250 Kicks = $25
Try Shopkick, a super simple way to save some $$$. : )
After you click the above link, just enter your phone number and you’ll receive a one-time text with a direct link to download the app. After signing up you’ll be ready to start collecting Kicks!
Time for The Talk. No, not the kind of “talk” you give your kids when they’re young. This talk is about their finances, and final wishes. Yeah, that’s a tough talk to have. And an even more difficult one to start. “Hey, let’s talk about what’s going to happen to you and your finances when you die”. Depending on your parents, that might just work.
For my own personal situation, I was pretty fortunate. My mom – who basically manages my parents’ finances and such – really just started talking about it one day. She already had plans of adding her children to titles and accounts, power of attorney, DNRs and such. She said she has it covered and gave us any info we would need at the time. Nice! Where’s my EASY button?
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I tried four new recipes over the last week and have to say, Pinterest never fails me. I think they all turned out really good and I’ll definitely put these into the regular rotation. It’s funny though, there aren’t too many meal recipes I’ve made twice since being out of work. Why? There are so many recipes to try out there! There are a handful which I’ve made a few times; those are our go-to meals. But there has been far more new recipes I’ve made.
All the recipes can be found on our Pinterest board.
Chocolate Chip Scones
I haven’t tried baking much since being out of work, and I’ve been wanting to give scones a try. I found this low calorie scone recipe that looked really good and easy. What’s nice about this scone recipe is that it comes in at only 155 calories because there really isn’t much sweetener involved. Aside from the chocolate chips, the only other sweet ingredient is the maple syrup. But don’t worry, you won’t miss it. There is just enough sweetness. These scones were great with a hot cup of coffee.
Next up: Easy Baked Taco Pie. Another fast recipe to make. Just one pot and pan. The only adjustment I made was to the chili powder. I didn’t use any; instead I used Ortega taco seasoning as we have a bunch in the pantry. I also baked it in a 9″ square baking pan instead of a round one. We ended up getting 2 1/2 meals out of it. Not bad for what amounts to about $6 in ingredients.
I didn’t snag a picture of this one, the pic below is from Pinterest. I changed this recipe more than any of the others. I didn’t end up breading these at all. I just baked the chicken breasts with some salt and pepper. Once done, I topped them with ham and baked them in the broiler for just a minute to crisp up the ends of the ham. Then I added cheese and put them back under the broiler for about half a minute. Pretty simple. The thing I liked about this recipe most was the dipping sauce, mmm. I would make that again to use with other recipes.
Marinated Baked Pork Chops
This one we had last week. We were a little skeptical at first because the ingredients in the glaze seemed a little basic and the ketchup threw me a little. But the glaze was great. I’ll end up using it in other recipes just like the sauce from the Malibu chicken. Note – if you’re buying canned green beans, grab some fresh ones from the produce market. They’re not only a good price, but so much better and worth the extra effort. We haven’t had canned green beans in a long time.
The weekend is here! It’s going to be a beautiful weekend here in Chicago. I’m hoping to get out and enjoy it with some early morning bike rides.
If you’re located in the west ‘burbs of Chicago, one of the early suburban “summer” fests kicks off, Taste Of Glen Ellyn. We’ll be taking it in at some point this weekend.
What are you up to this weekend??
Seems kinda crazy to me to lose track of an account you may have opened, but it happens. Or sometimes a relative leaves you money you know nothing about. Both happen more often than you think; so much so that all the states have a way for you to check if there’s money out there waiting for you. All you have to do is visit your State Treasurers’ website. You see, all unclaimed property has to be reported to the state Treasurer. The state Treasurer then does what they can to connect the dots between people and their “lost” money.
Here in Illinois, we have ICash. Just Google your state treasurer – for example, Illinois Treasurer or Illinois unclaimed property – and there will likely be a link to an unclaimed property search on the main landing page.
Check it out, you never know. Especially for those who have had loved ones pass away. Be sure to search maiden names as well.
If you don’t live in Illinois, you may or may not be aware we Illinoisans have the distinction of having the highest property tax rate in the country. It’s downright ridiculous, there really is no other word to describe it.
I don’t often get into specifics of expenses, but seeing as property tax info is a matter of public record (as long as you know an address), why not.
Our property taxes for 2015 were $5,788. That’s right, nearly $500 a month goes to property taxes. I’m willing to bet that the majority of people reading this are thinking WTH? Unless of course you own a house in Illinois, then you understand. The killer part of the taxes we pay is that we own a town home. That’s right, we don’t even own the property our place is on. Better yet, we pay more in property taxes than the house around the corner from us, in the same township. Makes a whole lot of sense, right? It’s enough to make your blood boil.
If I could change one thing about where we live, it would be the property taxes. The rates are just idiotic. Now, the majority of our taxes goes to the school system. While we haven’t/won’t take advantage of using the schools here, I understand there is a benefit when we sell our place as the schools here are really good.
The counties need to find ways to reduce property taxes. It just isn’t right that a person could seriously end up paying more in property taxes over their lifetime than their mortgage or home value. There must be other ways to cut expenses or have other pension options for village/city workers. I know that last one about pension reduction isn’t a popular idea. But people need to understand that pensions are bankrupting cities across the country. Again, I’m not suggesting getting rid of them, but instead finding a different option that won’t bankrupt a city or cost taxpayers an arm and a leg.