Delta Miles No Longer Expire

This one kind of flew under the radar for me, but I saw a notice in my monthly Delta SkyMiles report that said that their miles would no longer expire.

This is pretty huge as someone who doesn’t travel very often.

Last year, my miles were set to expire, and in order to avoid losing them, I redeemed some for a magazine subscription.  It was for Entertainment Weekly, a magazine that I’ve always enjoyed but realistically live without.  Still, it’s been a nice add.

My wife recently got a notice in the mail offering redemption of magazine subscriptions, and was mulling over getting one to avoid losing her miles.  I told her not to bother.

The companies that work with Delta and the airlines must certainly want to stay in business, but you have to imagine that their bottom line will be hurt as people hold on their miles versus redeeming them for a subscription just so they can keep their miles on ice.

Did you know about this switch?  Have any other carriers followed suit?

Grill The Burgers…Not The Grill!

Last month, we had Little Boy Beagle’s second birthday party.  It was a pretty small affair with only about a dozen people.

The plan was to grill hamburgers and hot dogs.

I was obsessed with making sure the grill was ready.  My parents had given us an older Weber gas grill.  While it was older in age, the thing is rock solid.  No rust and everything in really good working order.

We had already grilled out a few times before the party, so I was pretty confident that the grill worked fine.  My biggest worry was making sure that it was clean (easy enough: light it, wait until it’s warm enough, and use the brush to clean the grates) and that we had enough gas.  I was worried about the tank, so I enlisted my father-in-law to bring over a spare tank that I knew he had.

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Take A Vacation From My Problems? You Bet I Will!

I love silly movies, so it should be no surprise that What About Bob? is one of my all time favorites.

It’s now been twenty years since it comes out, but it can still draw more than a few laughs out of me every time I see it.

Looking past the laughs, there are a few lessons that I took away from the movie that bear reminding:

1) “Take a vacation from your problems” – One piece of advice that a neurotic Bob (Bill Murray) receives is to take a break from all that worries him.  Simply put it aside.  This is pretty good advice.  I remember another movie (can’t remember what it was) where the lead character, before entering his home every day, ‘hung his problems’ on a tree outside the door.  When his kid asked him why, he said that he hung them there and when he left in the morning the next day, there were always less there than he had left.  Everybody has problems, but they can’t be allowed to take over our life.

Read moreTake A Vacation From My Problems? You Bet I Will!

What, exactly, is a Debt Relief Order?

The following is a guest post from Debt Advisory Line.

The numbers of those in danger of defaulting on their debts have long reached worrying levels all across the UK. 13,653 people were declared bankrupt in England between July and September 2010. Faced with these troublesome developments, the UK government was forced into action. In April of 2009, it introduced Debt Relief Orders as a new procedure aimed at offering an alternative to bankruptcy. The move can certainly be considered a success: Today, debt relief orders are generally regarded as a powerful tool and have proven their efficacy. You, too, could benefit from them.

Read moreWhat, exactly, is a Debt Relief Order?

What If Employers Helped With Consumer Debt?

“You’ve done a great job this year.  Your performance is above expectations.  You’ve achieved all of your goals and have advanced your career path.  We see more growth for you in the future.  We want to recognize your accomplishments and feel that a fair representation would be….”

You lean in on the edge of your seat waiting for the next sentence.  5%?  10%?  How much more will you be making.

“no salary increase.”

Huh?  Bummer.  Well, there must be a fat bonus coming?

“Also, as you know, it is our policy not to pay one time bonuses.”

Read moreWhat If Employers Helped With Consumer Debt?

Don’t Turn Something Good Into Bad

There’s a guy that I work with from time to time.  We don’t sit near each other or work directly together, but our paths cross every now and then.  He’s a nice enough guy.  He seems good at what he does.  He’s easy to work with.  Yet I can’t stand being around him.


He wears too much cologne.

It literally gives me a headache to be in the same room with him for more than fifteen minutes.  There’s nothing wrong with the particular cologne he wears, he just puts way, way, way too much on.

He turns something good into something bad.

Read moreDon’t Turn Something Good Into Bad

The Case For CFL Bulbs

Lately, I’ve seen some buzz building about the government ‘forcing’ American citizens to convert to CFL bulbs by phasing out the sale of traditional (incandescent)  bulbs over the next few years.

Many of the opponents feel that this is some sort of violation of rights, taking away choice or forcing a lesser product down their throats.

I guess I see it as that the positives outweigh the negatives.  Yes, there are drawbacks to CFLs (see below), but in terms of what we gain, I think converting to CFL bulb (or LED bulbs, which I haven’t tried yet) is a net positive.

As we build more homes, as they get bigger, the energy demands continue to grow.  If we can save the need for additional power capacity or further dependency on oil, which is outside of our control in terms of both pricing and availability, I think it’s worth the sacrifice.

Read moreThe Case For CFL Bulbs

Shop Around For Your Utilities To Save Cash

This is a guest post from
Many people pay their energy bills without giving a second thought to where that money is going. It may come as a big surprise to many that everyone can save money on their energy bills, simply by taking a bit more time to think about who supplies America’s energy – and who gives the best deals on energy prices.

Shopping for an energy supplier is wonderfully easy in the digital age. Whereas once upon a time you might have felt there was no choice as to who supplied your electricity and natural gas, you can now view all the suppliers for your area and at the click of a button.

Before you start shopping around for a new energy deal to save you cash, think about your specific energy needs. How much energy does your household consume in a year? What are the peak times of year for your energy consumption? What sources of energy do you depend upon most heavily? You can consult your current energy provider to help gleam much of this information, while there are also gadgets available that monitor your electricity usage and provide you with a constant stream of information about your household energy consumption.

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Confessing Another Outrageously Stupid Move

This one falls into the category of ‘Things You Never Want Anybody To Know About’.

But, once it becomes clear that’s never going to happen, it makes sense to share the details and the aftermath.

The details

Picture it.  Fall 2010.  A cool fall day in Michigan.  (OK, I used to watch the Golden Girls, too, but that’s not even the confession here).

I was taking apart the patio furniture for the season.  The chairs went into the garage.  Next up was the umbrella.  The patio umbrella went through the hole in the glass table, fitting into an umbrella holder that sat on the deck below.

Read moreConfessing Another Outrageously Stupid Move

I Refused To Pay Someone What I Was Charged

Recently, I flat out refused to pay someone what I was charged.  They performed the service.  They did a great job.  But I wouldn’t pay the amount that was written on the bill.

See why.

When I turned on our sprinkler system for the season, I decided that a few things needed to be done.  I wanted to get my list taken care of before watering season really started.

  • A head had come loose in the front yard
  • Some of the pop-up heads along the street were too low, and as a result would get grown over every spring
  • We added a play set to the backyard last summer.  As the sprinklers were laid out, the set would have gotten drenched or a portion of the yard behind the set wouldn’t have gotten watered at all.  I didn’t like either option.

Read moreI Refused To Pay Someone What I Was Charged