Why Cell Phone Insurance Is A Must Have In Our House

There’s a lot of back and forth on whether purchasing insurance for electronic items is a worthwhile deal.  We have several things with insurance in our house, specifically our flat screen TVs, an exercise bike, and a dehumidifier.  All of these were purchased after careful consideration.  The exercise bike was a replacement of a treadmill that had gone bad and was covered under warranty, so it worked.

One thing we never even question is our cell phones.  Since I switched to a work provided phone, I receive cell phone protection automatically, as I was directed to sign up for it when choosing my plan and such.

But, the ‘must have’ rule applies for my wife.  Why? Well, to put it kindly, things don’t usually end well with her and her phones!

She has the best of intentions, but every insurance we’ve place on her phones has been used at least once.  In the few years we’ve been on a shared plan, she’s had three different phones, and all have been replaced.

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Our Smart Meter Is Not Yet Very Smart

A couple of years ago, DTE Energy, who provides our electricity and is the main carrier for the metro Detroit reason, began replacing regular electric meters with new smart meters.  Our community was one of those that was to receive the new meters.

mb-201309meterThe first difference is that the new meters are digital.  This made them easy to read, which was nice as compared to the old ones that had multiple dials.

The biggest benefit to the electric company is that the new meters could be ‘read’ via an electronic signal.  No longer would they need meter readers, nor would customers have to deal with estimated readings if the meter couldn’t be read, as the meters would transmit usage remotely.  They are also supposedly able to notify the company of outages, as they can identify meters which are no longer responding.    This additional broadcasting has been a major cause for concern as many people think that the signals are dangerous.  I guess I’m not as concerned as many here since cell phones, wireless router signals, and everything else seem to already be inundating the ‘spectrum’, so to speak, so is the electric meter really cause for that much worry?

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Two Seconds And Why High Frequency Trading Always Wins

Two seconds.  It probably took the average reader two seconds to read this.  Not much can happen in two seconds, right?


It turns out that two seconds can make all the difference in the world in the financial markets.  Enough to make (or lose) a fortune, as it turns out.

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Waived Cell Phone Activation Fees Are Harder To Come By

We have a family cell phone plan which covers my wife, my sister-in-law, and my mother-in-law.  My father-in-law and I both have cell phones provided by work, so it’s just the three lines.

mb-cellphone201308Recently, all three decided that it was time to upgrade phones.  They were all over two years old, and after some wavering and looking around, the decision was made to stick with Sprint.

My wife and sister-in-law both obtained their phones through Best Buy, where they got iPhone 5’s for $50 less than could be found elsewhere.  My mother-in-law also got an iPhone, but she was in the market for a 4S and got hers from a local Sprint store.

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What A Difference One Year Makes: Our Camping Year In Review

Last year I wrote a few posts about our camping ‘misadventures’.  There were three in total (parts one, two and three), and there were certainly a lot of different things that happened.  I figured that the first year would be rough as it was my first time ever owning a camper, and I was hoping for a better Year Two, and after finishing up the season, I’m happy to say that it was definitely a lot less stressful and a lot more enjoyable.

Here are a few highlights:

Seven Trips

We took a total of seven trips this year, compared to six last year.  All of our trips were at Michigan State parks, so we have a pretty good idea of what to expect. In total:

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I’ll Be Changing Companies But Not Jobs

Sometime in the next couple of months I’ll be working for a different company.  Yet, I’ll still be coming to the same place, going to the same desk, and performing the same job.  So, what gives?

Our work is being ‘insourced’.

I work for a health care provider.  Sometime in the early-to-mid 2000’s, they outsourced most of their IT functions between two different companies.  One company specialized in the infrastructure (network, servers, PC, phones), and the other was dedicated to the application systems that were used throughout the environment.

I work in infrastructure, and I started here in 2006. I was actually hired by that company in 2007, as it’s their standard practice to hire you first as a contractor before eventually bringing you on.  So, yes, for awhile I was essentially a contractor of a contractor.

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At What Point Does Declining Value Become A Concern?

I’ve had a few recent situations where I was presented with declining value in varying circumstances.  In each of the circumstances, which I’ve briefly outlined below, I pointed out the declining value through social media circles, and I was surprised to see the response by other followers.  Or, more exactly, the lack of response.

Halloween Fun At The Zoo

The Detroit Zoo holds an annual event called the Zoo Boo.  It actually stretches across most of October, and on Friday and Saturday nights, families can come and walk through a portion of the zoo where there is a corn maze, seasonal themed displays, an activities center, and some handouts of candy and other treats.  It’s pretty popular and we have gone for the last three years.  So, we were thinking about going again this year, when my wife pointed out two changes:

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6 Ways To Save On Halloween This Year

I can’t believe how much things have changed for Halloween since I was a kid.  When I was a kid, 90% of the decorating for Halloween consisted of buying a pumpkin and carving it a few days before Halloween.  There was one or two houses in the neighborhood that did stuff like put cemeteries in the front yard or something cool, and that always got the neighborhood abuzz.

Now, decorations are more and more complex and I see them appearing in yards as early as mid-September (personally, I think that October 1st is the ‘it’s OK’ mark for decorating, though my wife brought our stuff out on September 26th this year).  Heck, when I stopped off at the Salvation Army store for a routine visit, they had about 20′ of wall space dedicated strictly to Halloween decorations and costumes.

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How One Twig Almost Costs Us Thousands Of Dollars

We went for our (as of now) final camping trip of the season a week ago Friday.  It’s a typical fall in Michigan, where the weather was hot and steamy when we left on Friday, but cold by the time we returned on Sunday.

As we were running around to get everything ready, it was downright uncomfortable in the house.  The temps were only in the low 70’s, but the humidity was stifling, made all the worse when you’re running up and down stairs and in and out of the camper to get everything packed.

I decided that even though we’d be leaving in a couple of hours, there was no reason to exhaust ourselves, and that I was going to turn the air conditioner on.

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What You Need to Secure Your Golden Years

How is your retirement looking? Could you add more to the pot?

I’m a firm believer that you can never have too much stashed. For this reason, I also feel it’s important to plan for multiple income sources in retirement. Of course, everyone has their own ideas of what is a good amount of income. But one thing’s for sure: once you are retired, you can’t go back in time and undo mistakes.

Right now, the goal should be securing your golden years. How can you achieve this?

1. Build your liquid savings. Although a regular savings account doesn’t earn much interest, this type of account should be included in retirement planning. Having liquid funds on hand can be a godsend if you deal with emergencies, such as car and home repairs or medical expenses. Most retirees live on a fixed income and without a liquid savings account, meeting certain expenses can be challenging.

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