I Miss Streaming Music But Not Enough To Pay For It

One of my favorite RSS feeds is that of Slickdeals.  I actually have two different ones that go and grab deals in their ‘Front Page’ and their ‘Up & Coming’ sections.  I’ve found some pretty cool deals and coupon codes along the way.

A few months ago, I happened to see that there was a free 3-month trial of Google Play Music.  I had always been interested in streaming music services.  The price, usually around $10 per month, kept me at arm’s length.

Reading the Slickdeals information, it turns out that they typically offer a one-month trial, which I could have had at any point, but the three-month trial was a rarity.

I signed up.

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Financing Options after a Foreclosure

A foreclosure is a big black mark against your credit. There’s no getting around it. Lenders will be less willing to work with you and if the foreclosure has been within the last 2 years, they may not be willing to work with you at all. When a lender is making a credit decision on a borrower, they are trying to assess your ability to repay the loan. A recent foreclosure makes a very strong argument against your ability to repay a mortgage.  This being said, a foreclosure doesn’t mean that you will never be able to buy a home again. Given enough time, you can buy a home after a foreclosure as long as you continue to keep your credit clean. Here are some financing options after a foreclosure.

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Brown Bag Ideas: How I Keep Lunch Fresh

I don’t go out for lunch.  Period.  Or at least, it’s pretty rare, maybe once or twice per year.  Outside of that, I brown bag it.  Well, actually I have a reusable bag that’s gray so as to save on waste, but you get the idea, right?

So, how do I keep it fresh.  Well, it’s not easy, but really the secret for me is mixing and Brown baggingmatching, all while staying within a few guidelines.

Generally there are four components to my lunch, and presented in the normal order which I eat them:

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Cutting the Cost of Entertainment Technology: The Actions that Matter

Today, a reader is offering an outside perspective on how to reduce cost of entertainment based technology.

Ever since I away from my parents’ house, I knew I wanted to keep the cost of entertainment to a bare minimum. My parents were the techie-type that would go out of their way to purchase new gadgets, T.V.s, and all others just to keep up with the mb-twenty-201308marketplace. I, on the other hand, wanted to get the maximum bang for my buck. What I started doing was truly looking at the cost of technology and figuring out whether it offered a substantial return on investment. My line of thinking was that if I didn’t get enough entertainment-per-dollar then it needed to either be ousted or sourced through a new solution.

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US Heading For Economic Problems If Literacy Levels Stay Low

Most people know that the USA no longer leads the world in education.  However, few Americans realize how literacy levels have fallen compared to other countries.

A report by the Education Testing Service (ETS) outlines how the drop in educational standards is much worse than most people imagine. This review analyzes information gathered by the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

According to the report, America’s Skills Challenge: Millennials and the Future:

Recent research reveals an apparent paradox for U.S. millennials (born after 1980, ages 16–34).  While they might be the most educated generation ever, scores do not match.  They consistently score below many of their international peers in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments. As a country, simply providing more education may not be the answer. There needs to be a greater focus on skills — not just educational attainment — or we are likely to experience adverse consequences that could undermine the fabric of our democracy and community. Real world career building skills are important.  Someone going into PR or marketing would benefit from public speaking and writing classes.

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My First Big Running Fail

I’ve posted a couple of updates on how things are going with my running program.  Although March still has some time, I can say that it’s shaping up to be another solid month, except for an experience earlier this week which was a giant fail.

I do all of my running at the gym, on a treadmill.  For me, this works out very well.  I don’t get bored.  I find it challenging, and I don’t mind the drive and all that.

Still, I was tempted to give an outdoor run a try, and after my wife came back from her second one of the year and talked about how great it was to be outside, and just be able to go, I figured I’d give a small outdoor run a chance.

I knew it would only be a short run, around the neighborhood, but figured why not get out and try.

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Good Old Uncle Sam Will Be Getting Our Money This Year

I got an e-mail I knew was coming regarding a 2015 tax refund.  The e-mail was from our CPA (and family friend).  The e-mail started  “Welcome to the world of No Tax Refunds”.  This wasn’t a surprise as I had done some rough math.  Still, that’s never news you want to get.  Especially for us, having gotten used to refunds for the past few years.

Our Normal Two-Part Refund

We typically get a refund from Uncle Sam.  For simple years, we have the proper amount taken out of my paycheck that would normally lead to a balanced return, but things like itemized deductions (mortgage interest, etc.), credits for having children, and other various components usually push us to get a refund.mb-money201308

On top of it, we always have a ‘refund’ fund running in our savings account.  Whenever we make any side income, we put a percentage aside.  In addition, if we sell stocks, or do other things that we know will be counted as income, we’ll put a percentage aside.

Typically, the two of these together makes for a nice chunk of change, though usually it just goes toward savings goals, having funded our new roof, built our ‘one day new’ car fund, car repairs, vacation funds, and things like that.

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Good Ways to Make Money from Home

No matter if you want to work solely at home or need a secondary source of income, there are plenty of ways to make money at home. You don’t need to invest in gimmicks either. Check out the below five ways to bring in more money working from home.

Educate Others Online

With the advances in technology and strong interest in learning online, you can sell your knowledge online to make money from home. You don’t need an office space; just your webcam and yourself. People are willing to pay you good money to teach them:

  • A new language
  • How to make a video
  • How to sew
  • Tutor them in math or history
  • Show them how to draft a resume
  • Teach them how to play an instrument

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How to Save Money on Moving Expenses

Moving is exciting. However, it is also costly. There are a few simple things you can do though to save you money on your moving expenses.

Get Packing Materials Early

As long as your move isn’t unexpected, you can start getting your packing materials early. You’ll need plenty of boxes, tape, and material to wrap fragile items in.

There are plenty of places you can get boxes at little or no expense. This is where preparing for your move early comes in.

  • Ask your employer if you can start bringing boxes home. Product deliveries, grocery deliveries, and copy paper boxes make excellent moving boxes.
  • Ask family and friends on your social media networks to donate boxes.
  • Browse around on the free section of Craigslist and Freecycle to see if anyone has posted they’ll be leaving boxes outside.
  • Stop at your grocery or liquor store and ask if you can grab boxes. Those boxes hold heavy items such as vodka and are great to pack your glass wear and other knickknacks in.

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Accomplishments Are Sweeter When You Push Through

Last Tuesday before bed, I laid out my clothes for the next day, including my workout clothes, as I had penciled in a workout for the next morning.  When the alarm went off on Wednesday, I did not want to go!

Why I Didn’t Feel The Motivation

  • I didn’t feel good – Spring is great, and I love the highs in the 50’s that we’ve been mb-2015-03-alarmclockgetting, but it generally brings about some sinus congestion, and this was in full force.
  • I didn’t sleep good – For some reason, I was tossing and turning all night.  One of those nights where you’re hot under the blankets, and then cold as soon as you take one off.
  • My sleep was off anyway – The daylight savings shift, which took away an hour, was only a few days old, and my body had not adjusted.  My 4:40am alarm was only 3:40am according to my body.

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