Hello friends! Life has been busy but we’ve missed this blog and wanted to get back into writing again regularly. We’ve been thinking about it for awhile and earlier this week I set a self-imposed goal to write an entry today saying we’re still here. Of course, I couldn’t have chosen a worse day to get back into the swing of things – the house isn’t clean like it usually is on Fridays because instead of knocking that out this morning I had to take the dog to the vet because she’s sick. Luckily, it doesn’t seem to be anything serious but just worrying about her has sucked my energy today. I’m also not feeling great either thanks to some changes in medication. But you know what they say about best laid plans.

I decided I could put off writing yet another day, or just do it. I chose the latter. I struggle with motivation most days, but lately I keep hearing people talk about how getting started is the hardest part, so I’m starting this up again regardless of the fact that I’d rather be napping on the couch right about now. I could really use a do-over for this day but I guess I just need to try and turn things around. I’ve been getting better at focusing on the positive things in life, although when you have multiple things going wrong in a single day it can be a challenge to do that sometimes.

I hope we still have people with this blog in their feed readers, or who will see our Facebook notification that we’re back, because we’re looking for your feedback on topics you’d like to read about. We love writing about frugality, tips and tricks, media, tech stuff, and everything in between. There’s no topic we aren’t willing to talk about, with the exception of politics and religion. So feel free to share your suggestions in the comments, or just comment to say hi. Expect another entry in the next day or two!


I was reading this article on employers helping to repay student load debt over at Y! yesterday. Pretty cool that companies are starting to realize student debt is a huge burden which is an issue that is only growing.


While I think this is a huge help to those college students entering the workforce, to me it’s just a kind of band-aid on a bigger issue – the expense of going to college. My youngest started at the local community college just this week. He’s taking a full class load and tuition for the semester was just over $2.6k. A deal actually as far as college tuition goes. In contrast, the four year school he is eyeing to go to after his two year stint at the community college is just under $15k a semester. Maybe I’m out of the loop on college costs, but $15k a semester?!? Now I understand this is an exceptional school for his career focus, but wow, $60k for two years of schooling!

The more I thought about it, aren’t we as a society, hurting ourselves? Forget for a minute the student and his or her mounting debt that will follow them to their grave. If the cost of education it putting off potential students, who is that really hurting? For example, with the Affordable Healthcare Act and a larger portion of the population aging, we will have a need for more doctors. We’re already seeing the affects in the South with a shortage of doctors. So while schools continue to be increasingly expensive to attend, our country as a whole will suffer because of a lack of interested students.

I mean, who can blame students these days? The average student load debt is about $30k. And that’s just for a four year university/state school. The debt increases if it’s a private college. I don’t feel a little debt is necessarily a bad thing – there are other lessons to be learned with having the accountability of a student loan – but when you read about doctors having $100k+ in load debt, something is seriously flawed with the system. Who’s at fault? I don’t know, but I’m willing to bet the schools hold a good portion of the blame. Some hiding behind a thin veil called “non-profit”, bah.



A little venting here about Social Security Numbers (SSN). Your SSN should be coveted and protected – seriously, it should be. In this day and age of identity theft and the importance of having good credit, you and I need to be unwavering in the attention we give in protecting it.

As I work through my job search it really amazes me the number of companies (I’m looking at you Ulta) who not only require your SSN for the online application process, but actually tell you that it won’t be used unless an offer is extended to you. Well then, why not ask me at that point? I wonder if these companies realize that all this does is turn people off from even bothering to apply. They’re losing qualified applicants because those that are in demand can easily apply at a company who doesn’t treat your SSN as if it were no big deal.

I have no problem giving it at the proper time, but to give you my SSN on the mere chance I’ll get an interview, let alone an offer? Please, no recruitment process couldn’t be changed so that your SSN isn’t obtained until the employer needs to run a background check, which they won’t do with 95% of their applicants. So now they have all these people’s SSNs, which can be stolen, just sitting in a database and god only knows how secure those are.

Just as bad are doctors offices which ask for your SSN when you first fill out the new patient paperwork. I’ve even seen a nurse or receptionist write it down on a piece of scratch paper. Scratch paper?!? You don’t know where that piece of paper will end up. And guess what? The majority of the time they don’t need it, so don’t give it to them. I never do. These days even medical insurance companies have moved away from using them as primary identification.

The only institutions who need your SSN is the government, banks/financial institutions, and employers (read: not prospective employers). It’s time we all should take a stand and make sure businesses understand how important your SSN really is.



I wrote a post a little before our garage sale and figured it would be good to recap everything and our overall thoughts about the sale.

Before The Sale

A couple weeks before the sale, we systematically went through the house from top to bottom, through all drawers, closets and boxes to locate anything we thought we didn’t use or want anymore. Even though we thought we found everything, it seemed like there was always something else to add to the sale. It’s amazing the amount of stuff you accumulate over the years.

We did the same in the garage. Went through all the totes, boxes, and cabinets. By this point I had to start leaving one of the cars in the driveway so I had a place to collect all the garage sale items. We also tossed out the idea to close family asking if they wanted anything sold that we could put it out for them. More on this to come.

Once we had everything together, it was time to price the items. We found these cool little labels pre-printed with prices at the dollar store which really came in handy. They also included some blank ones so you could write in your own price. I also prepped the main “Garage Sale” signs we picked up at the dollar store with our address and dates/times of the sale.

We didn’t have enough tables so we were lucky enough to borrow a couple from a friend. It made set up much easier as we could set them up in the garage prior to the sale.

Our village requires a garage sale permit. So after going down to the village clerk and forking over $10, we were good to go. There are a few rules in our village: signs need to come down after the last day of the sale, hours are only between 9am-6pm, limited to 4 sales a year, and signs must display address, times, and dates of the sale. There are fines here for not following the rules. Check your local village/city for requirements.

Our sale ran just a Friday and Saturday. On Wednesday I started posting the sale on Craigslist and then each day from then through Saturday. I also posted it on Nextdoor. If you’re not familiar with Nextdoor, it’s kind of a social network for your neighborhood. Check it out and see if your neighborhood has a following.

Read More →


A comment made on one of our earlier posts inspired this one.

As you know, the general wisdom is you should have x number of months worth of expenses saved for emergencies so if you lose your job you won’t go into debt before finding a new one. Perhaps I gave the impression at some point that we didn’t have money set aside for such things, but of course we do!

We have always lived below our means not just so we could save for retirement, but also to save for the unexpected. We could have spent more extravagantly over the years and saved less but we both feel more secure with money in the bank. There’s something to be said for that peace of mind. It’s certainly more important to us than a bunch of material possessions.

While it would have been easy to continue spending money as if nothing has changed, and we’d be fine for awhile, we didn’t feel comfortable doing so. We have no idea what the future holds, and I’m not being negative when I say that, just realistic. I’ve seen too many people remain unemployed (or underemployed) for years, and would rather plan for the worse case scenario than assume things will work out, not reduce our expenses, and possibly find ourselves in a bad situation. Not to mention the fact that it took us 15 years to accumulate our savings and we don’t want to burn through that in a fraction of the time.

That’s not to say we aren’t having fun, however! It’s just a more frugal kind of fun, like seeing movies at the discount theater instead of going on a big vacation. That being said, we’ll still go to Indiana Beach this year and spend $100-$200 for the day. And that’s ok, because that annual event is totally worth it to us. We’re being cautious with our money, but not cheap to the point of not enjoying ourselves here and there.

I hope that clears up any misconceptions regarding our current state of financial affairs.


The weekend is here! It’s going to be a beautiful weekend here in Chicago. I’m hoping to get out and enjoy it with some early morning bike rides.


If you’re located in the west ‘burbs of Chicago, one of the early suburban “summer” fests kicks off, Taste Of Glen Ellyn. We’ll be taking it in at some point this weekend.

What are you up to this weekend??

Extrapolate This! - Weekly Roundup - 515 to 521

Things You Do That Annoy Your Coworkers

Do You Have Unclaimed Property?

Illinois Property Taxes

Do You Suffer From Lactose Intolerance?


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