Category Archives: Websites worth checking out

Tesla Turns Gets Power Going At Children’s Hospital In Puerto Rico

I’m so thrilled for them!  After all the hardships they have been enduring, it’s wonderful to see some good news from there.  Read the original article here at NPR.

TeslaPR

Weeks after Tesla founder Elon Musk and Gov. Ricardo Rossello spoke about the tech company aiding Puerto Rico, Tesla says it has restored electricity to a children’s hospital, using solar energy and batteries.- Tesla

I am a Tesla fanatic, I won’t lie. When I had the chance to pick up a handful of stock, I got a total of 7 for a decent price and have been sitting on them for years. I am not sure if or when I will ever sell them.

Is Elon Musk the second coming? Of course not, he’s a human with good traits and character flaws. But I do appreciate his innovations during a time of stunted growth in the US. We used to invent things, we used to build things, and he is one of a dying breed who actually still do.

In addition to the Tesla Powerwall, I am really excited to see the long term reliability of their Solar Roof.  I would love to disconnect from the electric grid and just use solar energy, and to have a roof that looks just like any other so it blends in?  What a bonus!  Look how gorgeous these tiles are:

TeslaRoof

Digging that slate look!

Where are all my fellow Tesla fans!?!

Budgeting 101

One of the most important things that so many people have never learned is BUDGETING.

I know, budgeting sounds scary, overwhelming, and restrictive.  For some it can make them look like deer in headlights, but trust me, once you get the hang of it, you can find it becomes easy, fast, and even enjoyable!

What is a Budget?

A budget is your estimated income and expenditures for a certain period of time.  Essentially: what you get paid and what you have to pay for with that money.

Why do I Need a Budget?

Without a budget, you are more apt to living paycheck-to-paycheck, make late payments, get assessed interest or late fees, and live beyond your means.  For many, this means living in a state of anxiety – who wants to live feeling anxious about money all the time???

How do I Make a Budget?

There are MANY ways to make a budget.  One of the simplest ways is by gathering bills and paystubs you’ve received in the last month or two, taking a piece of paper and hand-writing in 2 columns what each was.  For example:

SampleBudget
This is a very simplistic budget that covers a lot of the basic expenses a young adult might see.  Obviously individual situations will vary.  In this instance, this person is living within their means, with $400 left over at the end of the month.  This helps them to cover unexpected expenses, or just get a jump on the next month’s bills.

But I Live in the 21st Century!

Then guess what?  I have the perfect system for you!  It’s called You Need A Budget 🙂

There are a lot of budgeting programs out there, and I have tried quite a few, including the Dave Ramsey method (which I liked, but at some point felt got too preachy and judgmental) and Mint (which I found a little too simplistic for what I wanted), but until I found YNAB I just didn’t feel very successful.

YNAB allows you to budget not only from your desktop/laptop, but also lets you do it right from your smartphone!  Out at a restaurant?  Easily log your cost before you even leave the table.  With direct importing from banks there’s no need to go hunting for wayward charges, either!

What is You Need A Budget?

What I found with other programs was that you did a lot more “forecasting” – making estimates of what you will get coming in and going out in the future.  This can be nerve-wracking and problematic, especially if you get variable incomes and bills, or you have kids or elderly pets that may need emergency doctor visits, or you get sick and can’t work as many hours if you’re an hourly employee.

YNAB starts by focusing only on what is most important to you and making sure you give your money a job so you can plan ahead.  Confused?  Here is a quick video that explains the basics:

Are you going to make mistakes?  SURE!  We all do, but YNAB offers a variety of ways to get the help you need, especially when you’re just starting out – with a free online classes, a vibrant forum and an active Facebook group, you’ll only be a few clicks away from getting the answers or directions you need.

So what are you waiting for?  Go use their free, 34-day trial to give it a test run and see how you like it, and let me know if I can help you myself!

Note: this is not a paid post, I use this program myself and love it so much!  The annual fee is $50 for this program, which I have saved MANY times over and find it worth every penny, however if you choose to sign up for the program, both you and I will get a free month added to our subscription!

Hello, Hello Giggles!

I was so honored that Hello Giggles chose to run an article I wrote, so if you are stumbling here through that article, then GREETINGS! I’m so pleased that you clicked through to check out some more!

This is my “whatever I find interesting right now” site, some of it may bore you, some of it may thrill you, some of it may be way too weird for you. My business is Wellspring Trading, a company that deals in massage therapy products and all natural oils (great to add to daily beauty routines as a moisturizer or hair shine!), so please check it out if you have the chance!

Thanks for surfing by 🙂

-Carry

HAPPENING RIGHT NOW! The corpse flower is IN BLOOM.

EDIT:  The bloom is off that…rose?  Corpse flower has decayed, but what a neat time I had going back and seeing its progression.  Here is a link to the timelapse!

 

The corpse flower doesn’t bloom every year, in fact it can take DECADES for the temperature and humidity to be right. Washington DC has one blooming RIGHT NOW, and it will only last 24-48 hours. Check out the feed now while you can!

Streaming by Ustream

Love Is Louder

I came across this at just the right time, in just the right mood, in just the right way for me to pick up my markers.  🙂

The Infinite Cat Project

Just for fun, I present you with the Infinite Cat Project, a website of cats looking at cats looking at cats.

My pretty girl Asia was immortalized on the site back on January 31, 2005:

Cat #676: Asia contemplating Leon admiring Milo…

oh my goodness how i love this!

I discovered Humans of New York today.

It is amazing.  The blog wonderfully celebrates EVERYTHING.  I want to see a picture of every single person in NY 🙂

I love this woman - so conservative looking, then BAM. Not so much.

Weird Hobby #267 – COUPONING!

With the semi-popularity of Extreme Couponing, I wanted to share my own personal love of couponing.  I came to couponing several years ago, well before the TV show, and while I do not get the same kind of deals the people on TV get, I do save a significant amount of money.

First of all, please know that the people on the show are TRULY extreme cases (and achieved by some very extreme people).  That’s not to say it’s impossible to achieve those kinds of savings, but it seems like the stars all have to align in the just the right place for those kinds of deals to happen.  For instance, many stores have coupon limits, perhaps allowing you to only use up to 4 of the same kind of coupon per visit.  Or they have item limits, where you can only purchase up to a certain quantity.  Many stores also will not allow you to use expired coupons (some stores actually will, but they are rare).  And then there is the problem of having the items in stock.  When you have other people who shop at the same store you do who also like to coupon, you often run into shortages, requiring you to ask for rainchecks and running the risk of your coupon expiring.

BUT, there are some really great deals to be had out there every week, and despite the occasional negatives, it’s well worth the effort.

My zippered folder, bought cheaply at Walmart - I use the front pocket to hold pens, calculator and scissors.

When I started out, I joined a website called GroceryGame.com.  There are other couponing websites out there with similar goals, but I liked GG, it was easy to use and the people on the forums are always incredibly helpful and kind.  The program on GG is fairly simple – you sign up for stores you shop at in your area, the weekly deals are put together in a List, you choose the items you want from your List, then you print it and gather your coupons.  Each list will even tell you where to find the coupons for your items.

But gathering the coupons always seems to be the biggest challenge.  Sunday papers usually have inserts from several sources, most notably Redplum, Smart Source and Proctor & Gamble, and the spines of the inserts will tell you the date they were printed.  There seem to be two main ways to keep your coupons among the GG crowd – the Weekly Binder or the Baseball Binder.

With the Weekly Binder, you simply put each circular into a binder that can hold about 3 months worth of inserts.  When you print your List, it will tell you to look for a coupon you need in the Redplum insert printed on 2/26.  Then you pull out that insert, thumb through for your coupon and clip it.

The inside cover has these pockets, perfect for holding inserts I haven't cut up yet, or for holding coupons I won't use to give to others.

The Baseball Binder can be a little more time consuming, but I’ve found it so helpful that I use this method.  I have a zippable binder with baseball card inserts that are separated into two sections, and then alphabetically.  The first section is for food/consumable items, the second is non-food/medicinal items, and I alphabetize by brand.  When I get an insert, I clip all the coupons I think I would be interested in using, I sort them, and file them into the little pockets.  When my List is ready, I simply flip to the brand, pull the coupon, and I am ready to go.  The reason I find this method so much better than the Weekly Binder method is because I have, on occasion, found discontinued items or special markdowns that would not appear in a national grocery store circular (GG is very good about putting unadvertised sales on, but I am talking about a specific store’s “dent and scratch” discount area).  By being able to open my binder and quickly flip to the brand, I can decide whether or not it’s a really good deal for me.  Additionally, I do shop at non-List stores sometimes, and if I have my binder with me, I can take advantage of sales I find there as well.  If I left coupons in their original inserts, it would take me way too long to flip through them to try and find that one coupon I think I remembered seeing… not worth my time.

I used plastic pocket folders to easily separate coupons per store, and grabbing the coupons I need is easy with the alphabetical system

The goal of couponing is two-fold.  Not only do you want to save the most money by stacking weekly store sales with manufacturing coupons, but you also want to stock up on the items you use so you have them when they are not on sale.  Why spend $3.59 on a jar of peanut butter every 3 weeks, when you can buy 4 for $1.59 each and have 3 months worth for less than 50% off?  It may not seem like much money, but it adds up.  So why not save that money for something else?

If anyone has any questions, I’m happy to chat more about it – otherwise, go forth and SAVE!

I wish I could fly…

I absolutely love this woman’s website!  Her photographs always make me feel peaceful, like I would imagine it would feel like floating in zero gravity.

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