After separating from a company it used to be the only option for continuing healthcare was joining COBRA or looking for private coverage. Nowadays with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) there are more affordable options. That’s a good thing since you’re required to have coverage or pay a penalty.

In order to determine what options are available to you, I recommend starting at your state dedicated site or even the Healthcare Marketplace where eventually you’ll be directed to Healthcare.Gov to began the application process. I found the interface was set up so that even someone with limited computer experience could navigate the site pretty easily since it’s designed to walk the applicant through the process step-by-step.

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Well, March gave us a full month of Unemployed Joe. We pulled the reins back pretty hard on most expenses, especially dining out. We’re still working on rolling up our March expenses so we can compare to February to see the impact we were able to make with expenses, but we do have a peek at our dining out expenses.

February dining out expenses – $161.10
March dining out expenses – $82.47

Wow! What a difference. And the expenses we did have eating out were reduced further as we only went to places where we were able to get a discount – BOGO or coupon. Not too shabby. And the majority of the expense is because I’m a divorced dad and see my son a few times a month for dinner and of course we tend to dine out opposed to bringing food from home. Realistically, we would have our dining out expenses less than $20.

Nicole also has tracked our grocery spending. Perhaps we were a bit naive thinking we didn’t really spend that much. But considering March came in at about $325, I think that’s pretty good for two people. Our February grocery expense was closer to $285. We expected to see an increase in grocery shopping with eating out so much less in March. Something worth considering, however – we purchased quite a bit of food in bulk for use down the road – chicken, beef, sausage, etc. We would be able to cut back on grocery shopping even more, but it’s kind of fun and we only buy things we are going to use and are a good deal at the time. I know, that’s step one of a shopaholic. I mentioned to Nicole we should stop buying groceries for a month to see how much we can get through in the pantry and freezer. Not sure we could make it a month, but we may try a week or two.




Our weekend kind of started – well beginning Friday – started off pretty busy. We went to the Cubs game via some free tickets Nicole scored from work, along with a parking pass. We’re South Side fans in actuality – White Sox fans for those of you not familiar with Chicago – but it’s hard to pass up free tickets to any sporting event. We ended up only spending $12 grabbing lunch to bring into the park with us. Pretty nice outing for the price. Of course, that doesn’t include the hour drive to and the two hour drive home from the park. Thank you, Chicago traffic.

Enjoy your weekend!

Ikea Visit

Monday Dinner Recipe

How We Have Fun On A Budget



We had a productive week here on ET! I was pretty happy we switched our wireless service to Ting. We’re only a week in, but so far so good! Being the big movie buff I am, I highlighted 10 movies which showed me a little something about business. And we’re considering switching home security to more of a DIY option we’ll monitor ourselves via the Almond 3 router. I’m really looking forward to the home security change. Not only will this save us $40/month, but we’ll still get the peace of mind to go with having a home security system.

Sunday Randomness

10 Movies That Taught Me A Little Something About Business

Ting Wireless Review

Home Security Alternative

How do your trips to Costco go?

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!


In addition to Target and Walmart, we regularly shop at Costco for groceries. Costco is fun to browse since they carry such a range of items. But inevitability it happens – we end up buying several items not on our list. I know we shouldn’t be so impulsive, but sometimes it happens for good reason. Take our trip today to Costco, for instance. We stopped for gas and a couple grocery items. We planned to stick to our list but it didn’t quite end up that way.
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I thought I’d have a little fun on a Monday morning to start the week off. While they may not have taught me how to calculate the payments on a 30 year fixed mortgage, these movies taught me (a little) something about business. This list started out as only 5 movies, but then my list grew to 21! I went with the middle of the road, so in no particular order, I give you 10 of my favorite business related movies.
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Another busy week. Here we are coming into April and opening day for Major League Baseball. Go Sox! And let’s not forget about hockey. The Blackhawks are once again playoff bound!

Laid Off Or Fired? Now What?

The “New” Retirement Number?

Joe’s Latest Addictions

Free Magazine Fridays

I also added a new Recommendations page giving a few apps and websites worth a try. We don’t endorse anything we don’t already use AND most importantly like!

14-0809_2016 Opening Day



We’ve all seen them. Those pesky little articles and calculators showing you how to calculate the amount you’ll need at retirement to manage x dollars a year. I kind of view these calculators and articles like I do a winter weather forecast here in Chicago. I look at all the forecasts from the local news outlets, and then pick the one I like most. That seems to work! Well, it may not work with retirement, calculating the money that you think may work – but it feels like it should with how overwhelming it is to review “estimates”.

Seriously though, Nicole and I have spent quite a bit of time reviewing, reading, estimating, running all those calculators just to make sure our comfort level with savings will be enough. I am hopeful in having enough by the time we retire so we can manage. But ideally, Read More →