Another busy week. Here we are coming into April and opening day for Major League Baseball. Go Sox! And let’s not forget about hockey. The Blackhawks are once again playoff bound!

Laid Off Or Fired? Now What?

The “New” Retirement Number?

Joe’s Latest Addictions

Free Magazine Fridays

I also added a new Recommendations page giving a few apps and websites worth a try. We don’t endorse anything we don’t already use AND most importantly like!

14-0809_2016 Opening Day


Here we are, April 1st. Signs of spring here in Chicago are everywhere, finally! Baseball season is right around the corner. Now we just need the warm weather. And in true Chicago fashion, there’s a chance of snow showers tomorrow.

I enjoy the mornings, sitting at the kitchen table enjoying a cup of coffee and reading a magazine. I like reading magazines. I have a few I receive digitally, and a good handful we receive in the mail each month. I always have people look at me funny when I tell them we receive 5 or 6 magazines a month at home. When they ask why so many, I tell them well, because I enjoy reading and I get them for free. They stop looking at me so funny when they find out I receive them for free.

I been using Reward Survey for years. Just with signing up and completing some surveys and profile information you could be eligible for credits that can be used on magazine subscriptions. They do have a limited selection of magazines but add new ones from time to time. For me, every Friday I receive an email with another survey to complete for a $20 credit towards magazines. The weekly surveys I complete are quick, literally just a couple minutes. If you’re interested, click the picture below.




If you don’t have a ton of money to spend, or you just don’t care to spend too much money this holiday season, but you still want to have a little fun with your family and friends, I’ve got a few low-cost suggestions on ways to enjoy the holiday lights this year:

Cosley Zoo is a small zoo in Wheaton that waives its admission prices for the month of December so you can check out their Festival of Lights. Here’s a sampling of some of the lights when we visited in 2011.

Aurora offers the Festival of Lights which is a free drive-thru attraction.

In addition, if you do a little Googling you will often find lists of homes in your area known for going all out for Christmas. Put together an itinerary and take the kids on a drive to check out the lights. We like to make some hot cocoa ahead of time to sip on while we make our rounds.

Candy Cane Trail (Carol Stream) – This home goes all out every year at both Halloween (when it’s called Canyon Trail Cemetery) and Christmas, including music synced up with their decorations. It’s a must see!

Holiday Lights at Lilacia Park (Lombard) – This park boasts tons of lilacs and tulips in the spring but in winter it’s lit up to celebrate the season.

Illinois Tacky Light Tour – This is a new find for me, but it looks promising.

Feel free to share your tips in the comments for places to see holiday lights.



Growing up my parents didn’t have a lot of money. However, every summer without fail, we’d go to the zoo, the aquarium, and the museum. My dad would take two weeks off from work and my parents would schedule our trips around the free days each location was offering.

Luckily, the free day tradition lives on so my husband and I can still take advantage of all the great things Chicago has to offer without breaking the bank.

Below is a list of the up-coming free days for our often-visited locations. Feel free to visit this site for a complete list of all museums and their corresponding free days for 2013. In addition, check out Bank of America’s Museums of Us program which offers BOA cardholders free admission to select museums on the 1st weekend of every month.

John G. Shedd Aquarium
September-December — Free on Mondays

Museum of Science and Industry
September 2013 — 9th-13th; 16th-20th; 23rd-27th, 30th
October 2013 — 1st-2nd
November 2013 — 4th
December 2013 — 9th