Nineteen eighty what?? I consider myself fortunate enough to have grown up listening to music of the 80’s. And not just listening to 80’s music, but really getting into it. Remember when you found the connection between lyrics and feelings? Music was so much more than some notes and words – it epitomized a time and place to you. That was what the 80’s and music did for me.

This list started out as a Top 5 list, then it became a top 10 list. I even had a hard time limiting the list to 10! So many great albums, many of which I didn’t truly appreciate until I was older.
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I just had to plug this one real quick. I’ve always liked yogurt and enjoyed tossing in some dried fruit from time to time. But lately, I’ve been hooked on adding Aldi’s Banana Nut Granola to my yogurt. So, so good.

I prefer their brand yogurt as well, Fit & Active vanilla flavored. Along with the granola it makes a real good snack for those calorie conscience and for anyone who is looking for a protein boosted snack. Seriously, try it!

Joe-

My Latest Obsession - Yogurt With Vanilla

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What a first week of May it’s been. In typical Chicago fashion, the spring weather is going back and forth from cool and fall-like to the 80’s. Looking forward to some warm days to come.

So far our experience with Ting Wireless couldn’t be better. It’s only been a month, but we’re really pleased. Read all about it and our savings in Nicole’s post about it here or below.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!


DIY Oil Change – Is It Worth It?

Our First Month With Ting Wireless

Magicjack Review – Landline Or No Landline?

Joe-

Extrapolate This - Weekly Roundup

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We bought my vehicle, a 2008 Ford Escape, brand new. That’s her below, right before driving it off the lot.

Joe's Top 5 Albums - 1985-1989

It came with the first year of oil changes and like a dutiful new car owner, I took it into the dealership right on the mark. I would still get a receipt from the dealer, with the cost marked down to $0.00. But the $34.99 cost of the oil change they were charging got me wondering if I should be doing it myself.

Let me back up a little (while). My dad used to own his own service station – that’s what we call a gas station today. Back then they would provide service for any needs your car had, including maintenance. My dad was a mechanic for many years. Growing up I can remember spending time with him in the garage or in the driveway watching and *helping* him when he was working cars. It didn’t seem like much at the time, but as I got older I realized that taught me quite a bit about how to work on a vehicle. I can thank him and those learning experiences for my knowledge and appreciation I have of cars today. There aren’t too many auto repairs where I feel intimidated and won’t at least try it myself.

Back to the oil change. I stick to the same type of oil for each change, which is important. Switching back and forth between types (synthetic, semi-synthetic, and conventional) can damage your engine. Your car can use any of these types, but once you choose the type, it’s best to stick to it moving forward. Fortunately, the Valvoline oil I like has frequent coupons and is already a good deal from Walmart. My SUV takes 6 quarts of oil, so here’s the material cost breakdown.

    $ 15.00 – 5 quart Valvoline oil
    $ 3.00 – 1 quart of Valvoile oil
    $ 4.00 – Fram oil filter
    $22.00 – Total Cost

That’s the regular cost, however, without any discounts. I typically only buy oil when I have a coupon. Valvoline regularly puts out $4/off coupons so I stock up when I get them. That reduces the cost to $18.00/oil change. Not a bad deal.

To be fair, I priced out oil changes at a few places around town (including the extra quart of oil needed, which is an extra charge). The best price was $24.31. Basically, I am saving $6.31 on each oil change. Multiply that times the number of oil changes I’ve done over the 120k miles I’ve put on my Escape after that first year of free changes and that adds up to 24 oil changes, or a savings of $151.44. Not huge, but that does cover the cost of a couple of trips to Target for groceries!

Considering the work takes me less than a half hour, is it worth the effort? Many people would say no, but I say yes, just not so much on the money side of things. Being able to say I can do the work myself and understand how a car operates and is maintained is, in my option, priceless.

I’ve already had my son sit with me during a few oil changes so he can see the process. I’m looking forward to him getting his first car so I can show him on his own car how rewarding it can be to do the repairs yourself.

Joe-

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magicjack

Our story of cutting the cord (a detailed post coming soon) actually began about a year and a half ago. We wanted to reduce our Comcast monthly bill and the first casualty was phone service. At first we contemplated not having a landline at all. But then after hearing good things about magicJack we decided to investigate it further.

After reading the Amazon reviews, we decided to give the magicJackGO a try. We paid around $50, but now it can be found for $39.99 @ Target or Amazon
which includes the hardware and the first year of service. Even at $50 we figured it was worth a try.

Installation couldn’t have been easier. We plugged the magicJackGO into the power adapter and then into a power strip. Then we connected an Ethernet cable from our router to the magicJackGO Ethernet port. After that it only required a cord from our phone to the phone port on the magicJackGO.

The process of setting up the magicJack service was easy as well. After connecting the actual magicJack device to a USB port on our computer, it downloaded and updated software on the device.

Once installed, the magicJack softphone screen came up which looks like a phone dialer. There is a registration link on the left that takes you to the magicJack registration site to begin the process of account set-up – name, address, new phone number/porting, payment method, etc.

If you have an existing number with your current phone provider, porting your number is simple. You can go here to confirm your number is able to be ported to the Magicjack. After it’s confirmed all you need to do is to go into your magicJack online account, which you should have set up by now, and go to the TRANSFER section of your account to begin the process. The site claims it can take 5-10 business days for the porting to be completed but ours only took a couple of days.

After you’ve set up your account, completed the software updates, and either chosen your new number or ported your existing one, you’re pretty much done. We opted to plug in the magicJack directly into a power outlet and connect the Ethernet cord to it so we are able to make calls through a regular cordless phone handset.

Another nice thing feature is the magicJack App, available for both iOS and Android. You can use the app to make phone calls (from your home number) either via cell coverage or over WiFi, regardless of your location. You can also see and answer phone calls to your home number from the app even when you’re not home.

The one additional cost we didn’t catch when we originally signed up is that there’s an annual 911 fee of $11. The renewal fee for the magicJack service is $35, so your total annual out of pocket expense is $46/year ($3.83/month) if you want to have a landline in your home which is much cheaper than the $15 per month we were paying Comcast.

Joe-

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A while back we tried a new pizza place called MOD Pizza. It reminded me of a Chipotle, but for pizza. You could choose one of their specialty pizzas from their simple menu or build your own pizza. The pizza is prepared – built – in front of you in assembly line fashion and then baked quickly in their pizza oven.

On our first visit I was feeling a little adventurous, so I tried their Lucy Sunshine pizza off their simple menu. I can’t say I’ve tried artichokes up to this point, but I haven’t found a vegetable I haven’t liked yet so why not? The Lucy Sunshine includes MOD’s signature crust, garlic, mozzarella, Parmesan, artichokes, and dollops of their red sauce. It was really good!

A couple weeks ago I took a shot at making my own version at home. It turned out great, but still needed a little tweaking. Last night was take 2 at making my semi-homemade version – I cheat a little by using Pillsbury’s thin pizza crust.

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