Tuesday, December 12, 2017

My Hillbilly Elegy

As one may suspect by the title, I recently finished reading J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy.  It had been on my "to read" list for quite some time and having failed to find a used copy, I resorted to borrowing from the local library.  I toyed with the thought of titling this post along the lines of "compare and contrast" but thought the connotation conjured up images of high school essay questions..."compare and contrast your life experiences to...". 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Consumer Cellular, 46% in fees and delayed gratification

Summary: While there is much to like about Consumer Cellular (customer service, discount phones, easy to understand website and plans, etc.), the service is just too expensive.  Under the cheapest plan, I am paying almost $15 each month for the active line only (no voice, text or data) with each individual call billed in addition per minute – that could add up fast.  There are many other discount providers (such as AirVoice, Ting, Tracfone) that provide more actual service for less. At this point, I likely will complete 6 months with Consumer Cellular then request an unlock so that I can take the phone to another provider.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Post garage sale reflections

I’m one of those sick people who enjoy garage sales – both shopping and selling.  With our last soon to graduate high school we made a thorough cleaning of our house, shed, garage, basement, etc. and I held our big event over the past Memorial Day weekend. In this post I reflect on our event.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Prelude to a lawn sale

We’ve had a couple rounds of lawn sales and as we look down the road to some sort of move, it made sense to gear up for another round of purging. I started the process by identifying some of those hidden spots that hadn’t received significant attention previously.  For me, this was the basement, the shed and the garage but also quickly expanded to include other neglected hiding spots like closets, cupboards and drawers.  In sorting through the debris (quality merchandise), it was also important to designate an area to place the items to be sold. 3 distinct piles emerged; one in the four-season room, one in the basement and one in the garage.  Garage sale items from throughout the house were initially funneled to one of these 3 piles.  As the ultimate goal is to move them to the front lawn, the basement pile was quickly merged into the other 2 piles.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Great Reads – 3 from Spring 2017

In general, my reads are from used book purchases – many from the Colonie (William Sanford) library or the Book Nook (Crossings Park during the summer). In selection of books, I am attracted to books that offer something a little different and these 3 exemplify this quality.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

New York free tuition – What to do if you’re at or near the income cap?

This short post is a complement to a recent post in regards to whether you should decline free tuition from New York state.  In this post, I plan to explore the situation where you would like to partake in New York’s free tuition but have some concerns because you are at or near the income cap to be eligible for the program. Please let me stress and provide the disclaimer that this tuition program is new so the thoughts presented here are based on my understanding of the very limited information that is available thus far. I assume no liability for any financial decisions you may take and encourage you to independently research, verify and consult as needed.

Should you decline free tuition from New York State?

April’s budget agreement brought something new to New York – “free” tuition for New York State residents. As could be expected, politicians were quick to take credit and pundits were quick to complain. Among the criticisms is that this provision is for tuition only (currently around $6,000 or so) and does not include books or room and board. A second criticism is the stipulation that the student work in New York after graduation for the number of years that they received free tuition – if they do not, then the free tuition is converted to a loan.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

High inEfficiency Furnace

It’s great to see spring on the horizon.  While the winter wasn’t too severe as NY winters go, we experienced 2 instances of waking up to the delights of no heat / furnace not running.  The first time around, we spent about 4 days huddled around the gas space heater in our 4 season room.  Sometimes we were even able to get up to around 58 degrees; I guess that was preferred to the 10 degrees that we hit outside. Our installer, Family Danz, responded the first day but determined that we needed an electronic component (ignitor) which they could not obtain until the parts shop opened on the next business day and Family Danz promptly returned and completed the repair.  The cost for this go round was $1,000. During the installation the repair guy proudly related that it is a similar electronic component as is found in drones… well, we’re not interested in flying, we’d just like to heat our house, thank you.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Great Reads – 3 standouts from Winter

I continue to be an avid reader and have been steadily working through my accumulation of used purchases. Among this winter’s batch, I found 3 worthy of special note: