Watching TV For Free With Hulu

I have to admit, I’ve become a pretty big fan of Hulu.com, the site where you can watch many TV programs or movies online without breaking the law. I had been watching it for various programs that were older or to see if I wanted to perhaps watch a particular show that I’d never gotten into on first run.

However, it really came in handy the past two weeks with one of my favorite shows: The Office.

I normally have my DVR record The Office, but for the last two weeks it didn’t work out. Two weeks ago, for whatever reason, the DVR didn’t think it was a ‘new’ episode. As it’s only set to record new episodes only (as to avoid it recording re-runs or syndication versions of shows, which would quickly fill up the machine), it skipped the recording.

Last week, I interrupted the recording because I was watching the NCAA tournament game (University of Michigan was playing) and it tried to record the two scheduled recordings: Grey’s Anatomy and The Office. I told it to stop recording The Office so that I could continue watching the game.

No fear, I was able to watch both shows on Hulu. Granted, my office chair isn’t as comfortable as the couch or bed that you can normally watch TV in front of, but it’s really not bad. You have to watch less than a minute of commercials on Hulu, which is less than if you watched it on TV real time, and still less time than even fast forwarding through the commercials on the DVR.

I applaud NBC and other networks for participating in Hulu. It’s nice to see companies realizing that the traditional ways of reaching people are not the only ways.

Oh, and by the way, it was worth interrupting the show. Michigan won! (Though unfortunately, they lost the next game).

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Expenses For Maternity Clothes Haven’t Been Too Bad

Danielle asked how we’ve managed with the cost of maternity clothes for my wife during her pregnancy.

The answer: Not too bad.

Quite honestly, my wife didn’t start showing until about the fifth month, and only just recently has been to the point where her regular shirts don’t fit her anymore. She’s just now entering month eight.

She is taller, so the way the midwife explained is that the baby has more room to grow ‘up and down’ where with shorter women, they have no choice but to push the belly out.

What’s been lucky for us on top of that is that my wife has a smaller waist, and she hasn’t put on a lot of weight on her hips or butt, so she was able to wear a lot of the pants. She has bought a pair of maternity jeans, and was also wearing stretchy pants, but outside of that, we have been pretty lucky. She did use the ‘Belly Band’, available at maternity stores, which basically is a piece of spandex that grips the pants and belly and holds everything in place, allowing you to leave jeans or pants unbuttoned. It’s totally not obvious, and by the design, it just looks like a t-shirt hanging down.

When we did buy clothes, my wife has been fantastic about hunting down sales. We shopped a lot at Kohl’s, and a few other stores, and rarely bought anything that wasn’t on sale or that we didn’t have a coupon for.

I don’t have an exact dollar amount on maternity clothes spent so far, but I know I had thought it would be around $500, and it has been nowhere near that, so all in all, we’ve been pleasantly surprised!

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Updates on Baby Beagle

Baby Beagle is less than two months away according to our doctor! Wow, how time has absolutely flown.

Scary and wonderful at the same time!

Anyways, some of the things we’ve done over the last few months:

  • Purchased our baby furniture – We ordered baby furniture from Buy Buy Baby, who also owns Bed, Bath & Beyond, so we were able to use 20% off coupons for all of our furniture. Added bonus: When the salesman put the order in on the computer, the prices were about 10% less than what they were labeled on the sale prices. Very pleasant surprise that saved us a little extra
  • Registered for showers – Both of our mom’s have generously offered to each throw us a shower, so we registered for all the stuff we thought we’d need, and then some!
  • Painted the nursery – We have a four bedroom house, so we had the luxury of each having an office. With the baby on the way, we knew it was time to combine offices. So, we had to move all of our stuff together, which also made us clean out and throw out a TON of stuff. That’s a good thing, and it’s amazing how much stuff you gather in just a year and a half (which is how long we’ve lived in our house). After that was done, we re-painted the room (green on three walls and green and brown stripes on the fourth wall), added some closet shelving and also added a ceiling fan (all with the help of my father-in-law).
  • Lived financially as if my wife wasn’t working – Today was my wife’s last day, actually, but we’ve been getting our financial business in order well in advance. I’ve leveled a lot of our monthly expenses so that there aren’t as many peaks and valleys, and we’ve been cutting back my wife’s paychecks to where we automatically put the money somewhere other than our bank account, so that we’re prepared once the paychecks stopped. This has involved us changing a lot of spending habits, namely eating out, buying clothes, and entertainment. We’ve spent the last two months living basically as if my wife wasn’t bringing home an income, so now that she’s not going to be, it won’t be as daunting.
  • Gone through most of the childbirth classes – Our instructor runs a class that meets once a week for three weeks. We’ve completed two weeks and will wrap up next Monday. It’s been an ‘eye-opening’ experience especially since they show you videos and all. Yikes! But, it’s taught us a lot and we’re feeling much more prepared about a lot of things.

All in all, we’re getting ready, and even if we weren’t, it’s happening regardless!

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Checking Back In With A Net Worth Update

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted and I apologize for the delay. But, I’m happy to report that the project I’ve been working on at work has gone very well. I can’t share too many details because of confidentiality agreemens, but I’ll just leave it that it’s been one of the most gratifying projects I’ve worked on in my career, and I’m proud to have been on such a great project.

Anyways, now that we’re back I’ll share the net worth update for March 2009.

As you remember, February was pretty brutal month in the stock market, and therefore the net worth update was what I had expected: Not good.

Overall, our assets dropped 2.33% in value, but on the plus side, the debt we carry dropped by 0.81%. This was thanks largely in part to an ‘early’ income tax refund that a good portion of which was applied to debt.

What happened was that after I changed my filing status from single to married, I started getting a lot more take home pay. I took that and stuck it in an earmark of our savings account titled ‘2008 Tax Refund’. Now that I’m reasonably sure that our actual tax preperation will give us a refund, I simply took that money and applied it as if we’d gotten a full check from the government.

When we get our real check, we’ll have a bit more to apply to debt as well.

But, anyways, overall our net worth fell 5.0% for the month. Not good but given the free fall that took place in the stock market, I’m not too worried and think we’re headed on the right track, especially given the fact that we’ll soon be losing my wife’s income since tomorrow is her last day!

More on that as we continue to resume regular posting!!!!!

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