Illinois Property Taxes

If you don’t live in Illinois, you may or may not be aware we Illinoisans have the distinction of having the highest property tax rate in the country. It’s downright ridiculous, there really is no other word to describe it.

I don’t often get into specifics of expenses, but seeing as property tax info is a matter of public record (as long as you know an address), why not.

Our property taxes for 2015 were $5,788. That’s right, nearly $500 a month goes to property taxes. I’m willing to bet that the majority of people reading this are thinking WTH? Unless of course you own a house in Illinois, then you understand. The killer part of the taxes we pay is that we own a town home. That’s right, we don’t even own the property our place is on. Better yet, we pay more in property taxes than the house around the corner from us, in the same township. Makes a whole lot of sense, right? It’s enough to make your blood boil.

If I could change one thing about where we live, it would be the property taxes. The rates are just idiotic. Now, the majority of our taxes goes to the school system. While we haven’t/won’t take advantage of using the schools here, I understand there is a benefit when we sell our place as the schools here are really good.

The counties need to find ways to reduce property taxes. It just isn’t right that a person could seriously end up paying more in property taxes over their lifetime than their mortgage or home value. There must be other ways to cut expenses or have other pension options for village/city workers. I know that last one about pension reduction isn’t a popular idea. But people need to understand that pensions are bankrupting cities across the country. Again, I’m not suggesting getting rid of them, but instead finding a different option that won’t bankrupt a city or cost taxpayers an arm and a leg.



Nineteen eighty what?? I consider myself fortunate enough to have grown up listening to music of the 80’s. And not just listening to 80’s music, but really getting into it. Remember when you found the connection between lyrics and feelings? Music was so much more than some notes and words – it epitomized a time and place to you. That was what the 80’s and music did for me.

This list started out as a Top 5 list, then it became a top 10 list. I even had a hard time limiting the list to 10! So many great albums, many of which I didn’t truly appreciate until I was older.
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Happy Sunday everyone! It’s a really nice, albeit windy day here in Chicago. Sitting at the computer thinking about a whole lot of nothing in particular, I figured I would jot some of my thoughts down.

  • Hulu – We started a 30 day trial of Hulu this past week. I haven’t had a chance to really browse through the offerings yet. It seems like there’s a good selection of shows/movies. Nicole has been binge watching The Mindy Project though so we’re already getting some use out of it. We’ll post a review of Hulu at some point soon.
  • Mobile phone changeover – We went through a change in service carriers a few days ago. Nicole is putting together a post on it which will be out this week. Keep an eye out on Extrapolate! for the post!
  • Star Wars – Thanks to some free credits we had on Fandango Now we have a digital copy of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We watched it Friday night and we’ll see how many times I can watch it this next week. Yes, I’m a huge Star Wars nerd. I still have all the action figures from my youth to prove it!
  • Quora – I’ve been hooked on Quora since joining a couple weeks ago. Quora is like a better version (IMO) of Yahoo! Answers. The replies are a little more detailed, articulate and actually helpful. Not that Y!A isn’t, but you won’t see any sarcastic or stupid/mean answers on Quora. If you’re interested you can join and follow me.
  • Theme Change – I’m working on a theme change to the ‘ol site. As soon as I run it by the Co-CTO (Nicole) and get her approval, we’ll try a new one on for size. I’m excited to move to a new layout.
  • Garage Sale – We’re running through the house and garage to locate items to sell at a garage sale I’d like to have either late this month or early in May. It seems prime time as I think many people will be looking for garage sales coming out of winter. I didn’t have too much luck inside the house, but I think I’ll find plenty of items in the garage. We have accumulated quite a bit of “stuff” over the years. I think I’m also going to hit a few local garage sales looking for deals so I can flip the item for a better price.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Just a random post about nothing in particular. I’ve found myself really digging the following things lately.

Green Tea
You see articles about the health benefits all over. Ranging from lowering your cholesterol to helping to prevent heart issues. The biggest comes from it’s antioxidants. I like two brands, Uncle Lee’s Teas (Walmart – $5/100) and Stash (about $15/100).20160331_114849 (2)

Google Play
I was a regular Pandora user, but the amount of ads which were coming up was starting to be a bit much. I know, that’s what I get for the free version. Google Play has commercials as well, but not nearly as many. And it seems like there are a wider range of preset channels to choose from. I turn GP on in the morning and just let it run all day. google-play (2)

I’ve been really watching my diet and trying to exercise more since about October/November last year. But since having more time, obviously I can find the time easier. I think it’s because I don’t feel as rushed, I’m enjoying it much more. I lift twice a week and do yoga twice a week. I don’t have much experience with yoga, but there’s no doubt it relaxes me. I’ve been doing the P90X2 yoga and love it! It kicks my ass!
*In full disclosure, the man in the pic below is not me. : )p90x2-yogax2

I admit, I was pretty spoiled when it came to having my meals made for me. I helped clean up though, so it’s kind of like I helped cook. Hmm, maybe not. Anyway, I’ve been trying my hand at making dinners. I think I’ve done pretty well. Not some two ingredient meals either, some pretty good ones. Earlier this week I made Chicken Parmesan that turned out awesome! I know chicken parm usually comes with more of a spaghetti noodle, but we had some leftover macaroni to use up – just explaining the pic below. Today, I’m doing my first repeat recipe, pesto salmon, mmm good stuff. Let’s see, I also made some home made Sloppy Me’s I call them. “Me” because I’m Joe. Creative, I know. No canned sauce for me, this was all homemade. Let’s see what else, there was General Tso chicken, corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s day, chili mac & cheese, cajun shrimp alfredo pasta, And I have two soups I’ll be making over the next few days, broccoli cheddar, and minestrone.
IMG_0396 (2)


It’s not always easy to feel gratitude.

Complaints and Gratitude.

Complaints and Gratitude.

In fact, I think it would be easier for many of us to list all the things that annoy us. Case in point – the woman sitting behind us at a college concert this weekend who kept rustling through her purse to eat a snack even though food was prohibited in the auditorium. The noise she was making was extremely distracting and diminished our enjoyment of the show. People can be so rude!

Or how about all the annoying drivers on the road who can’t seem to realize their actions affect other people? Craziness!

See how easy it is to complain? But this week of all weeks is a time to reflect on the positive and give thanks for the good things in life – family, friends, and the pets we adore. Just the mere fact that I was born in the United States is reason to give thanks (despite my jokes that I’m moving to Canada (too cold)). I’m lucky just to have been born somewhere I have many more freedoms than other people in the world, not to mention an abundance of food, shelter, and water.

And on the days when people drive me crazy, as they inevitably will, I force myself to take a step back and reflect on all the things I have that someone else might not; someone will always have more than me, so it does no good to make a comparison to them. I’m sure some people would suggest you shouldn’t make comparisons at all, but if that works to make you a more grateful person, then I say go for it. Because when I’m not feeling grateful, I’m not my best self, and I want to be better today than I was yesterday.


And while we are on the subject, I think it’s important to show our gratitude to others. The simple words thank you often go unsaid. Perhaps it makes me a petty person, but if I do something nice for someone and they don’t utter those words, I can’t help but notice and think of that person a little less. Because at the end of the day it’s really not that hard to show someone that you appreciate them (or their actions) by thanking them. I hope you reflect on that and consider whether or not you thank the people in your life for the things they do for you. I know they’d appreciate hearing it.

And if you’re in the U.S., Happy Thanksgiving!


Tis the season to be giving back. With Thanksgiving later this week, now is a perfect time to reflect on the things we have and feel grateful for them. It’s also a time to think about those who are less fortunate and give to charity. We give money to the Northern Illinois Food Bank during the holidays so needy families can enjoy a special meal together, but any charity would welcome a donation!

Note: Charity Navigator is a site you can visit to research your charity of choice to ensure your donation is truly going to a cause and not being wasted. Unfortunately some charities can be scams, so this is a good place to start before opening your wallet.


Welcome to our site!

We’re Joe and Nicole, a married couple living in the Chicago suburbs. We decided to start our own blog because we get a kick out of helping others and thought what better way to do that than through a blog?

We’ll be the first to say we’re not experts in regards to anything you may read here, nor do we claim to be. However, we will be using this blog as a way to share experiences, opinions, thoughts, and suggestions which may be useful to others.

We’ll be primarily writing about finances, frugality, saving time & money, product reviews, marriage, and life lessons.  We encourage you to share your opinions in the comments or by submitting a question you’d like to see answered.

Enjoy your stay and please like us on Facebook so you know when there’s a new post on the site.