Archive for the ‘#05 Saving Money’ Category

iphone-5_large_verge_medium_landscapeShort answer: No.  99% of you have nothing to worry about. Here’s why and how to know if your safe.

Background
The US Librarian Of Congress choose that an a great exemption which allowed smart phones to be unlocked under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  The DMCA makes it legal for you to copy digital content from a CD or DVD and use it in a digital form on the format of your choice – such as a phone or tablet.   It is also what makes it legal for you to unlock your iPhone (completely legally) and use it on the network of your choice – Because once you own the the device/content – the DMCA says that it is your right as a consumer to be able to use that device/content on other mediums (such as another network if you choose).  So that’s the background.

Bottom Line
Because they decided that an exemption to smart phones will no longer apply this now means that if you purchased your phone AFTER January 26, 2013 it is illegal for you to unlock your phone – Unless your wireless carrier gives you permission to do so (which wouldn’t be in their best interest.)  This mean’s that as long as you bought your phone on January 25 and before – it is perfectly legal for you to unlock you phone and use it on a different carrier (Which is often a great way to save money!)

So right now there is a small minority of people who can’t unlock their phone.  But – if you just bought your phone within the last few months – you wouldn’t want to unlock it to go to a different carrier anyway because you likely signed a 2 year contact with terrible penalties for canceling early.  But if your 2 year contract is up – you are in the clear to unlock and move to a different carrier like t-mobile.

I hope this article was helpful for all of you out there wondering if you can do this.  I am about to do it myself and switch to T-mobile.  Stay tuned to this site to see how easy it is to make the switch from ATT to t-mobile!

487320_671407048033_2131453871_nMy wife and I normally a sucker for anything seasonal.  But we’ve been trying not to be impulsive with our money just because we see something pretty on Hulu (via their commercials since we don’t have cable – please see my article on why we will never need to buy cable again!).  So when my wife, Malia, informed me that McDonald’s Shamrock Shake was back in season I knew I had to try to help her not make an impulsive buy.  Apparently she has submission issues…

We went ahead to McDonald’s after she picked me up from Church to wet our pallets with some minty ice cream goodness.  The commercials were so appealing after all.  The promise of a light green minty ice cream shake.  Who ain’t have time for that?

Even as we pull up into the drive through we are bombarded by pictures of this delightful shake which apparently is going to solve all our problems and make us smile ridiculously hard – according to the ads. Six bucks later we get our shakes and on our way.

Then we notice the horror that rests in our cup holders.

shamrockshake2-thumb-250x396Now that they are putting the shakes in the clear plastic cups – you can see exactly what your drinking.  Which isn’t the evenly smooth light green color with some streaks of white running along the sides of the cup to give a “I’ve been mixed via a blender look” What we got were very dark patches green of syrup in an other wise slimy looking drink.

We thought, “Maybe it still tastes good…” WRONG.  Both of us got a MASSIVE hit of green mint syrup at the bottom of the drink that made me go temporarily blind.  (I sure hope it was the shake or I probably need to go see a doctor immediately.)  We took these disgusting drinks back and ask for fresher ones.  They try to pour me more but the “mint syrup” was almost gone so I watch them pour more syrup into this filthy container on the floor that was connected to a hose that mixed it with the “shake”  Then I watched as he poured us new drinks that looked and tasted even worst than the previous ones.

Conclusion
Don’t buy this death in a cup.  I’ll be the first to admit I need to do a better job about what I consume.  But this is a true waste of money and honestly is probably a determent to the health of anyone who stares at it for longer than 5 seconds.

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Sam’s Club & Costco: To some, a beacon of bulk buy savings… To me, a dissent into madness.  I want to save money, I really do!  It’s my #05 hobby on this website!  But for me, sometimes going to these bulk buy stories is more trouble than its worth.  Therefore I am introducing my latest hobby #33 “People Watching”  The following are my top 3 reasons why I hate going to these stores.

People Make The Parking Lot a Death Trap
It’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining, you’re hitting all green lights.  Everything is going great.  Then you pull into the parking lot.  Correction, you pull into the line, to get into the parking lot.  That is the case for my Costco in Gaithersburg Maryland.  There is stopped traffic before making the turn into Costco because so many people are trying to get in.  Upon entering their parking lot, it is as if people believe they are exempt from all rules of the road now.  Driving on the wrong side, bumping predestines with their SUV’s, double parking anywhere and everywhere… These are just a few of the practices of the parking lot as a driver.

As a predestine you must either stand your ground – or run for your life.  If a driver senses any fear or hesitation in your direction of movement, you will be hit, they will try to say you’re the one at fault!

People Block An Entire Isle Whenever Possible2012-05-09t143655z_1_cbre84814lm00_rtroptp_3_usa.grid-6x3
I’m dumbfounded every 5 minutes or so as I am unable to pass through an isle because some man or woman has blocked the entire isle with herself and her cart, blissfully unaware of that fact she isn’t the only person in the store.

Now, you might ask, “But, those isles are really big, even is she turned her cart sideways and stood in front of it, there should be room, right?”  Correct, in a perfect world this design would work.  But wherever their are people, we will find ways to mess things up.  For example, the following are three examples I encountered YESTERDAY.

  • There is a large steel support pole to the roof somewhere in the isle.  People are somehow attracted to these poles and puts their cart at an angle so that no one can pass as they browse the isle.
  • There is one of those free sample venders at the end of an isle.  There vender station takes up 1/3 of the exit out of the isle.  Therefore the logical thing to do is to place your cat at the other 1/3 and for you to stand in the middle while eating a free sample.  FAIL.
  • You have two carts – You may polity pull one of your carts off to the side, but your unruly 11 year old son is taking the other cart and crashing into everything that dares to try to pass him.

People Shop WHILE Waiting In Line. 
You see – there are always lines.  People go to these stores to buy a LOT of stuff.  So lines are to be expected.  I think it would be foolish to go to these stores and not expect to wait for at least 15 minutes in line.  Some people, however, think that is a utter waste of time.  So what do they do?  THEY GET IN LINE AND CONTINUE TO SHOP THROUGHOUT THE STORE.  Most commonly I see a parent with several kids with them.  The parent gets in line while the kids run throughout the store grabbing what they need so that by the time they get to the front of the line they’ve finished shopping…only this never happens.

“Oh, sir, wait just a moment, my baby had to go get something else out of the bakery section”  So now everyone behind you is waiting for Timmy to get back with 6 loafs of bread.  I don’t understand!  Is our world in such a hurry today that we try to time getting in line early while sending other people to get the rest of the food?

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My wife and I love movies.  I’m more the Action Adventure guy.  She is more the romantic gal.  As you can imagine it can be hard to find a compromise, however over the years we’ve been dating and now married, we’ve learned that we don’t watch movies so much for the movie – as much as we do for the experience.  Take this photo I took for example.  That’s my wife with a Extra Large bucked of popcorn from AMC theaters in Germantown Maryland.  What you may not be able to tell in that photo is that we are actually sitting on our couch at our home.

You see, for both of us – we are looking for a particular experience that this episode in our lives revealed.

The situation was we couldn’t afford to go see a movie but we still wanted to have the movie experience.  For me, all I needed was my 40″ Sony TV, Xbox 360 to rent the movie, and 2.1 Boss Speakers… Oh yeah… Turn the lights out, crank up the volume and I’m good to go.  My wife on the other hand…

For her, popcorn is everything.  And no… It can’t just be the pop secret bag in the Microwave.  Because I love my wife so much, I got in my car and drove 5 miles to the AMC theater – Ordered a extra large bucket of popcorn ($13.78!!) and brought it home so we could watch our $5 rental.

It was great.  Do you have any MUSTS for a good movie experience?

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Apple is releasing something new again?!  Oh, never mind… It’s just the iPad with more memory

1. It’s Unreasonable Cost.
At the moment, reports are pegging that the 128 GB iPad will run consumers about $929… wow.  That’s a lot of money.  With a 16GB iPad costing 499. at the moment, that means you are going to pay nearly double the cost of the device to get that extra memory.

2.  Your not going to use the space!Cloud servers are the way to go these days.  Google offers 25gb of free storage with every gmail account!  I keep all my documents in “Dropbox”.  I watch all my movies and shows on Netflix and Hulu.  (If you are unfamiliar of the glory that is netflix and hulu, please check out one of my earlier articles under hobby #20 technology).  That only leaves apps to take up all that room.

3.  Resell Value Will Plummet
It is going to lose its value very quickly.  Apple seems to be on track to release 2 updated models per year.  With every new model that is released, the current models resell will drop on average $70 dollars.  I’ve noticed that models with more memory lose even more value.

For example, an 16GB that cost 499 a year later will normally sell for about 425 on ebay.  However, a 64GB model that costs 699 will normally sell for about 549 a year later.  I noticed this trend as I’ve sold several iPads.  2 of my own and several for friends too afraid to deal with ebay.

Should you get the new 128GB iPad?  Why don’t you try a 32GB to start with…?  I love technology – I especially love Apple!  But some things are best let alone…  Thoughts?

The economy is rough right now.  Everyone is looking to save a buck here or there.  I would like to share with you how my wife and I save between 20 – 100 dollars a month depending on your bill.  My wife and I never had a TV subscription when we first got married due to being broke as a joke.  Now we don’t need or ever want a TV subscription.  Here is why

  1. Nothing is EVER on.  You’ve been there.  Sitting down, flicking between shows.  You spend maybe 5 – 10 minutes cycling through 200 channels and somehow nothing is on.  You finally find something but it is the end of the show, am I right?  Then the search begins all over again.  Before you know it, two hours has gone by and you haven’t really watched a full episode of anything.  So you’re paying between 40 – 120 dollars a month for the dish, or cable just so that you can work around the networks schedules?  That’s not the world we live in anymore.  AND THE COMMERCIALS!  Think about it for a moment.  You’re paying 40 – 120 dollars a month to watch TV and you STILL have to watch 10 minutes of commercials for every 20 minutes of show time?  Lets not forget all the hidden state fees, box fees, satellite fees, etc.  Think about it.
  2. Streaming is The Future of Home Entertainment.  My wife and I have a online subscription to Netflix & Hulu.  Netflix is more for the movie side of things where as Hulu is more for the TV side of things.  My wife and I watch all of our favorite shows on our schedule.  For 9 bucks for Netflix & 8 bucks for Hulu, we get significantly more content than anyone with a dish or cable has.  And we can watch all these shows “on demand”.  Doesn’t matter if we are at work, on the road, at home, if you have a device that can connect to the internet, it can connect to these two services.  The main downside is we can’t watch anything live, but here was the biggest revelation for us:  We were never home or remembered to watch ANYTHING live.
  3. Kids can use the technology.  I know a 3 year old who knows how to get on netflix, look up Thomas the Tank engine and watch episode after episode it.  This will be how our children watch entertainment in the future.
  4. But what about Football?  Baseball? Local News!?  National News!  Get a 25 dollar digital antenna and you should be able to get all the local channels if you just have to hear the local news while your cooking dinner or getting ready in the morning.  This will also fix the sports problems as well.  As for national news, all the major networks, Foxnews.com, CNN.com, Msnbc.com provide video segments of their shows from that day on their website.  A special tip of my hat to MSNBC.com because they will actually put the ENTIRE show on the web broken up in segments.  The other networks haven’t jumped on board to this just yet.  They also only show 1 commercial every few clips and its usually a self advertising one.
  5. Join the future and save money while you can.  One of the reasons its so cheap right now is because all the big networks and studios aren’t sold on streaming yet.  They are still stuck in their broadcast on TV ways.  As more and more people join up (I joined Hulu the day it opened, when it was still free, but gladly pay 8 bucks a month for all the content) you can expect a price increase at some point.  Netflix recently raised all its prices and got some major fallout from consumers for it.  It is still pretty cheap right now.  So dive in!  Make it work!  If you’re trying to save some money or saving toward a goal, this is an excellent lifestyle change.  This coming from a guy who grew up on cable tv all my life.  I’ll never look back!

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As a man (26) with a wife and baby on way, our whole financial situation is about to change.  Forget money, our whole lives are about to change!  No more sleeping in… No more buying random stuff for myself… No more quiet evenings as I decide what new hobby I will take on next.  All those other things aside, money is still a big issue.

If you’re a parent, you know how expensive toys and such can be!  I went to target recently and was blown away by how much they are charging for about 10oz of colored plastic they call a toy! See I’m having a daughter, so I already know I’m in trouble, because if she looks anything like her mom, I won’t be able to say no. Enter Michaels.

My wife and I went here this afternoon so she could walk around and hopefully have her water break.  “Clean up on Isle 4.”  Sadly that didn’t happen so we are still playing hot potato with those gallons of fluid in her belly ready to split out anywhere… probably my car 😦  Anyway, as we walked around we came upon an amazing section of the store.  The dollar section.  Now we’ve all been there before but this time it was different.  This time we noticed all the amazing kiddy toys and baby stuff in this isle! We thought to ourselves how great it would be to take Zelda (Our little girls name is going to be Zelda, epic, I know) into this store.

Just think, we give her $10 dollars and tell her she can have anything she wants.  Think of the gratitude! I would be her hero!  I can hear it now, “Thank you daddy!  Your amazing.” My wife was totally on board with this too, because she saw the prices for all that random junk at target too.  Some people might feel bad for getting their kids stuff from the dollar section or from the dollar store.  Bump that, I’d much rather spend 10 bucks on some cheap toys, but another 10 bucks in the bank for her college fund and then go to GameStop and get a little something for Daddy 🙂  I mean just take a look at these adorable little pink oven mits we found for a buck!! My wife couldn’t believe all the fantastic stuff there was.  By the way, this is my beautiful, amazing, wonderful, godly wife in this photo.  39 weeks pregnant and she is still as hot as the day I married her.  But that’s another topic for another day.  Bottom line: You can save a lot of money on kids if you teach them to be grateful when they are young.  They don’t know the first thing about name brands or any of that stuff. Take full advantage of the dollar sections until they start asking for Levi’s, Uggs, and who knows what. Oh well, off to one of my other 139 hobbies 🙂

Question: How have you saved money with your kids?  How do you plan to save money with kids in the future if you don’t have any yet?  LEAVE A COMMENT!  Thanks!

Hobby #2 on my list – Mobile Gaming.

So if you’ve been watching TV, Hulu, or Netflix, you’ve likely been bombarded with “The Sim, Free to Play!” commercials like I have.  And well, after seeing a commercial numerous times I decided to submit to the mighty advertising and give it a try.  I wasn’t a big fan of the mobile version.  My wife, however, has spend hours upon hours on it already. She already has about six Sims and is looking to upgrade her house.

So obviously the first thing, like any normal person would do, she does is have her Sims look for jobs.  She was highly frustrated to find out that once you send your Sims to work they are LITERALLY gone for 7 hours and return with only $135.  She was devastated because at this rate she would never be able to remodel their houses with only the finest digital wallpaper Sims money could buy.

Upon fiddling around with other money making options in the game she discovers that if you buy a bag of seeds for $40, you can grow $300 of potatoes in a mere 2 hours!  That’s a $260 profit!  But this is where our story turns into something straight out of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. It always starts off innocent enough.  But it always ends in horror…

She tells all the Sims to quit their jobs.  She pools all their money together and buys a new plot of land with no house on it.  She then plants 6 dirt patches and calls all the Sim’s over.  Finally she commands each Sim to tirelessly working the field, 2 hours a a time to bring in $1,560 in just 2 hours instead of letting them have a social life and bathroom breaks at a real job which would only produce $918 (among the six of them) in 7 hours.

Notice my wife's Sims Slaving Farm. Complete with a fence on all sides. Also protected against anything that might hinder productivity: Tv, Computers, Chairs, Human Resources Department, Bathrooms breaks, Talking, Questioning their Supreme Leader... But they can have all the potato's they can eat*!

*Limited to one potato per day.

Introduction!

What’s Up World!  My name is Theo Davis and I’m a hobbyhalic.  Very excited about the start of this Blog of mine.  I’ve always wanted to do something like this, but it has been terribly difficult for me to narrow my blog down to one thing.  Once I saw word press allowed me to create Categories it sparked the idea to blog about all the hobbies I love!  And I love a ton!  I’ve started 18 Categories today which I will slowly start to fill with posts.

Why 139?

Well… I have my reasons.  But my goal is to name 139 hobbies to blog about and entertain the world 😀

The Goal?

Some day I would love to start an actual website, but for now blogging just makes sense.  If you like a post PLEASE leave your thoughts!  I would love to hear your feedback, it might prompt me to blog more about that particular topic.  Well… Here we go!