I’m one of those people who really really hates wasting money. I’m not exactly thrilled with spending it either, but if I get some value from my money then I feel good. But if I buy something that I never end up using it really bothers me. To avoid this as much as possible, I seriously consider any purchases regardless of the cost. I won’t pay even $1 for something if I’m questioning it’s usefulness.

Well, last summer I bought this day bag after carefully pouring over the reviews. I didn’t pay too much for it (I had a discount code), but after using it twice I realized the strap is extremely uncomfortable – it’s too think and cuts into my shoulder. What I thought was the perfect bag turned into something I didn’t even want to use anymore. This really irked me because otherwise I love all the different pockets and design of the bag. It’s been sitting in storage ever since because I couldn’t return it.

The other morning I was trying to find something to carry my lunch and snacks into work and decided to dig through the box where I keep all my bags to see if I had anything that was more suitable than the larger than I need bag I had been using. Then I saw it. Perfect! And it really is. The inside is even that type of material that wipes off easily if I happen to spill something inside of it. And because I’m only carrying it from my car into work and vice versa there’s not enough time for the strap to hurt my shoulder. You have no idea how giddy it made me to find a new use for this previously wasteful purchase!

It’s situations like these that make it hard for me to part with things I’ve haven’t used for years because often I will find a new purpose for them if enough time passes. There’s a delicate balance between hoarding and decluttering, that’s for sure.

Do you have any re-purposing stories to share?


Things You Do That Annoy Your Coworkers

It’s the end of the week. Thank goodness, right? Now you can get a break from your coworkers. As nice as they may be, I’m sure they do things that annoy you. Likewise, you probably do at least something to annoy them. Here’s a list of some of the irritants I’ve experienced over the years.

Around The Office

Playing music too loudly – It doesn’t matter whether you’re listening via headphones or speakers at your desk, if anyone who isn’t sitting directly in front of your computer can hear your music then it’s too loud.

Clicking a mouse like you’re afraid to touch it – I never thought I’d run into this one, but apparently some people poise their finger way too far above the mouse clicker so instead of a soft click, they sound like they are playing whack-a-mole with their mouse. Don’t be one of those people, particularly if you work in close proximity to others. That repetitive loud clicking/jabbing noise is irritating after several hours. It’s the equivalent of listening to a dripping faucet.

Barging into someone’s office or cubicle and launching into a topic without first announcing your presence – Give people a chance to stop what they’re doing before talking about something. In addition, stand at the perimeter of the cubicle and not right up against your coworker’s chair. No one wants your crotch in their face!


Emailing important information in a screenshot instead of within an actual file – A screenshot is fine if you’re just explaining something and using the screenshot as backup, but if you’re asking someone to setup an account, for instance, and the data is in Excel or Word, don’t send them a screenshot and make them have to retype all the info. Send them the actual file, or at the very least, copy and paste it into the body of your email. Think about how you’d like to receive the same information from someone else and don’t make their job harder than it has to be.

Neglecting to include attachments when forwarding an email – If someone emails you a question that includes attachments and you need to forward that on, use the forward option in Outlook and then CC the original person so they see you’re addressing their concern. Do not hit reply, add the new party to the thread, and then hit send. Now that new person doesn’t have all the information required to address the issue.

Addressing two entirely different topics in one email – If someone sends you two emails about completely different topics, please make it easier on everyone by responding to both emails separately instead of tacking your answer to both on one of them. It makes it difficult to follow the thread otherwise when in an email about time off you include “oh and yes, you need to do XYZ with the TPS reports”. Later when that person needs to justify why they did XYZ with the TPS reports, they aren’t going to remember to check the thread about time off for your answer. Unless you’re intentionally trying to make your colleagues’ jobs more difficult, please do not do this.

Hijacking an email thread to ask an off-topic question – Similarly to the issue above, this makes it difficult for people to follow a thread and/or find one later on. If you want to talk about something new, please start a new email thread.

Final Thoughts

Do you recognize yourself in any of these behaviors? It’s worth considering since most people aren’t going to address them with you but might like you less if you’re constantly annoying them.

What do your coworkers do that annoy you?


Seems kinda crazy to me to lose track of an account you may have opened, but it happens. Or sometimes a relative leaves you money you know nothing about. Both happen more often than you think; so much so that all the states have a way for you to check if there’s money out there waiting for you. All you have to do is visit your State Treasurers’ website. You see, all unclaimed property has to be reported to the state Treasurer. The state Treasurer then does what they can to connect the dots between people and their “lost” money.

Here in Illinois, we have ICash. Just Google your state treasurer – for example, Illinois Treasurer or Illinois unclaimed property – and there will likely be a link to an unclaimed property search on the main landing page.

Check it out, you never know. Especially for those who have had loved ones pass away. Be sure to search maiden names as well.

Good luck!
unclaimed property - extrapolate this



Admittedly, I am a bit worried about not utilizing my Excel skills each day. My old job pretty much required me to know a good deal of Excel. Excel was probably the one program aside from Outlook which I couldn’t live without.

Nowadays, it truly amazes me when I would run into co-workers who didn’t know how to use Excel for what it is, an easy way to collect and calculate data. You know that person, the one who sends you a spreadsheet that is busy as hell with colors, different size fonts, and worse yet – hard coded totals. WTH? Did the person actually break out a calculator (and I don’t even want to know if they used the calculator on the computer or an actual calculator). Ugh, you get what I mean.

So, I figured I would start putting out some quick how-to’s with Excel formulas. It gives me some Excel practice and can also inform others if they weren’t already aware of some Excel formulas. Now, I am starting with some of the basics. As time goes on I’ll expand and get into the more complicated formulas. But for the first few Excel posts, we’ll keep it pretty straight forward.

Read More →



Have you heard of  Shopkick? We love it! It’s a smartphone app that gives you Kickbacks just for walking into stores, and also for scanning specific items. Then you redeem those points – called Kicks – for gift cards to your favorite places like Starbucks, Target, Walmart, and more. 

250 Kicks is the equivalent of one dollar and can be redeemed as follows:

500 Kicks = $2
1250 Kicks = $5
2500 Kicks = $10
3750 Kicks = $15
6250 Kicks = $25

Try Shopkick, a super simple way to save some $$$. : )

After you click the above link, just enter your phone number and you’ll receive a one-time text with a direct link to download the app. After signing up you’ll be ready to start collecting Kicks! 



Do you rent your modem from your cable provider? If you do and you have Comcast you’re likely paying between $8-$10/month just to rent that piece of equipment. Did you know you could buy your own? Not only that, but the cost will pay for itself in under a year! We bought ours in February of 2015 for $70. At the $8/month rental fee we were paying, we recouped our money in a matter of 9 months. The best part is that now we’re saving that amount each and every month. Since we purchased the modem, we paid for the modem and already have saved $24 with the savings adding up each and every month.

A couple of items to note. If you’re going to purchase one, be sure to get one that is compliant with your cable company. And second, put the money in now for a good one because that bad boy will last years and you want to make sure you don’t have to purchase another one until you absolutely have to.

Yeah, that may sound confusing, but it’s not. Pretty much every cable provider will be able to utilize a Docsis 3 compliant modem but check first. A typical D3 modem with 4 downstream/4 upstream channels can handle 150 meg service. Most of us don’t have anything near that speed tier. However, in thinking about the future, you may want to consider a modem that can handle more channels. Here in Chicago for example, Google Fiber and their Gigabit service is coming here! Talk about truly being able to cut the cord from Comcast!

Our modem feeds not only our internet services but also our home security system. Don’t be intimidated – a good modem can handle the load. Now if you have phone service from Comcast, they will likely install a gateway which serves as a modem, phone and router. Sure it’s a nice piece of equipment (if it’s the right model), but again, you’re paying for the rental. And cable company phone service? Pfft. I’ll write a review on our MagicJack service, a much, much cheaper alternative. I keep adding items to include in my Cutting The Cord article that is coming soon.

Oh, and wait until I talk about routers…another piece of equipment where you want to front some money for a really good one.



Do you have trouble remembering to do everything that needs to get done? I’d say we all do. It’s why many of us keep lists of some sort, whether it be at work or home. Personally, I love writing out lists and checking things off when they are complete, but they aren’t very helpful if I don’t keep the list on me at all times and I’m not constantly re-checking the list. This is where technology comes in so you rarely forget something again.


Next week I’ll touch upon keeping track of things at work, but this week I wanted to focus on personal things. Most of us now own smartphones, and one of my most-used apps, after Facebook (I love this time-suck way too much), is called Alarmed. This free app has tons of scheduled items in it so I never forgot to do something. I have recurring reminders to take my vitamins, and one-time reminders as well. I find the app so useful that I purchased the $1.99 add-on to allow me to set the app to nag me if I don’t mark a particular item as complete.

Anytime I think of something I need to do that I can’t do immediately, I open the app and set up a reminder. When I forgot to put garland on my Christmas tree this past December, I immediately scheduled a reminder in the app for next year around Christmas time to remind me to do that because I’m just that anal retentive on top of things. When I get things in the mail, like reminders to take our vehicles in for an emission test, I check my calender to see what day is most likely going to be good for that, and I set a reminder.

Some people may prefer to use their phone’s calendar app for tasks but I don’t really care to use my calendar for that purpose. I like to keep it free for events to make it less cluttered. It also makes it easier to glance quickly at a date to see what I have going on.

If you don’t mind forking over $4.99, Todo by Appigo is a great reminder app too and is more robust than Alarmed, although last I checked it didn’t have the nag option that I’ve come to love and depend on. It does, however, have the ability to tie checklists to reminders to really add to the experience. I have the app installed, so I will use it for those things, and I even use it to keep general checklists that have no reminder. For instance, when I was looking for a job I had a checklist of things I wanted to find out before accepting an offer. I also keep a general packing list for when we go on vacation – actually I have two lists: one for things to pack and one for things to do before locking the house and leaving.

I don’t think I would remember even half of what I have to do if it wasn’t for these apps. What do you use to remember stuff?


I just love a good deal! And I don’t mean “I love spending money on something I wouldn’t have otherwise bought just because it’s on sale” because that is not saving money, that is spending it. I’m referring, instead, to when there’s something you’re planning on buying anyway (whether you need it or just have wanted it for a long time) and you’re able to get a discount on it.

I’m a big fan on stocking up on everyday items when they go on sale but I like to stick to non-perishables like toilet paper, laundry soap, garbage bags, etc. as nothing irks me more than to waste food. So when it comes to food, unless it’s canned items that have a shelf life of over a year, I am careful not to stock up too much. But with other stuff I really go whole hog. For instance, last year Target had our preferred toilet paper on sale. In addition to the sale they were giving out $5 gift cards for every two packages of toilet paper sold and there was a “save $2 now” coupon attached to each package. In all we saved approximately $7 per package of toilet paper and we’re still working through our supply of it well over six months later. Sure, we spent a lot of money at once to acquire it but that’s an expense we’re not going to see again for quite awhile. These are my favorite type of savings because they are on things I would have bought anyway so it’s a win-win.

For things that one wants, such as a new TV, it’s not as exciting because it’s still money out the door that could easily have stayed in your pocket. For those such instances you need to weigh whether you can truly afford it (hint: if you’re buying it with a credit card that doesn’t get paid off in full at the end of each month then you shouldn’t get it), how long it will last, and how much enjoyment you’ll get out of it. Certain items can be considered an investment, such as a new suit to wear on interviews and/or special events, whereas others are pure enjoyment – that new smart TV you’ve been drooling over. There’s nothing wrong with buying stuff you want (and really don’t need) as long as you’re realistic and smart about it; just do your research! Amazon.com is fantastic for reviews even if you decide to buy it elsewhere. Camelcamelcamel.com tracks items sold at Amazon, Best Buy and NewEgg and provides a price history as well as allow you to set a price threshold and get notified by email when it has been reached. You can read more about CamelCamelCamel here.

I also highly recommend the wait and see approach. Many times when someone wants something they want it right away and thus end up spending more money than if they had been patient for awhile and waited for it to go down in price via a sale or temporary price cut. The added bonus here is that the anticipation sweetens the feeling when the item is eventually acquired.

In addition, try practicing feeling grateful for the things you already own. Just because you don’t have the latest, greatest device doesn’t mean it’s worthless. Too often people take their possessions for granted which results in them constantly wanting to acquire new ones to get that happy feeling again. But that initial feeling is fleeting, so if you train yourself to appreciate the things you have you’ll find yourself enjoying them more and spending less money at the same time. Before you know it you’ll have accumulated extra money in your savings account which gives you a peace of mind that trumps that high you get when you buy something new.

Try it, and feel free to share your strategies in the comments.