A little gadget that drastically changed my driving habits

Connected cars were one of the big highlights at the 2018 LA Auto Show in November last year. Almost every brand had their own version, showcasing the unique features they had to offer. One of the features that interested me was the Mercedes mbrace service wherein a customer specialist at Mercedes is notified in the event of an accident or collision. Now, this is not a new concept, similar services are offered by On-Star. The part I did not like was the monthly subscription fees for the service.

 

One day, I accidentally, stumbled upon a social media ad of Automatic Car Adapter. It was $69.99 for a unit at that time and there were no subscription fees for the accident notification service. I decided to give it run.

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4 things a home owner should do immediately to save on energy costs

With energy costs on the rise, every home owner should be looking into ways to cut energy usage thereby saving costs and reducing carbon footprint. When we had bought our new home in 2014, the house came installed with all the standard fittings such as CFL lights, programmable thermostats, energy star appliances, etc which are considered energy efficient systems.

Here are 4 simple things to save energy consumption.

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3 Pillars of a minimalist Skincare

We all know for beautiful skin a clean diet and drinking plenty of water is essential. But the products you use on your skin is also very important. Especially once you are in your 30s or older a regular skincare regimen is very crucial for maintaining a healthy glow and ageing gracefully.

Walking into a department store or your local drug store skin care aisle can be very intimidating. There is always a newer better product on the shelf that promises ageless skin. The thing is, a lot of these products are good quality and they work pretty well. But if you are not following a few basic skin care rules even the most expensive and great quality product will not give you the best results.  For example say you bought a very expensive great quality cream such  Creme de Lamer costing over $300 but you are not using good sun protection during the day, you still will end up with crappy skin.

So here I list the 3 pillars of skincare. Whether you use only these 3 products or decide to add other products of your choice, these 3 products will ensure a good healthy glow to your skin.

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Save $30 or more per month on your phone costs

I, personally, feel landlines are a thing of the past.  We’ve had a landline phone connection through our Comcast subscription. Due to constant sales calls, we started ignoring it and in some case led us to missing some important calls like from our kids school. Monthly we were paying $30 for a service that was not providing a value to us.

Since we both had our cellphones with us almost all the time. It was time to eliminate land phone service, but then we ran into issues where we needed to provide a “home” telephone number. So I started to check on other free options or even a low cost option. Continue reading “Save $30 or more per month on your phone costs”

The Dynamic duo of Grocery stores – How we reduced our grocery bills in half

Food always has been a large part of our monthly expense. We enjoy cooking and eating food as a family. Cutting down on our weekly groceries seemed like a very hard task. We shop mostly at a local large chain supermarket which is very close to home. On an average our monthly expense on groceries were around $800-$1000. Which is not too bad for a family of four, who mostly eat at home and also try to stick to quality food products. But I still wanted to see if there is way to reduce the grocery expense without affecting the quality of food we ate. We tend to eat mostly “real food” instead of prepackaged processed food. We also choose mostly organic produce. That’s when I started using the 2 grocery store combination and saw that I was able to significantly reduce our grocery bills and at the same time eat quality home made food. These two are None other than Costco and Aldi

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Managing a side hustle while working full time

In a recent survey conducted by www.Bankrate.com , 4 in 10 Americans (37%) have a side hustle. With an average earning of $8k annually, that is some serious dough coming into these households.

My interest in side hustles started in around late 2014 after I read a few blogs about making extra cash. Since then I have gotten to a point now (2019) that I have registered my side hustle as a single member LLC. How and why did I do it? That’s the story here.

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7 ways to reduce plastic use

Our family has been making several changes so we can reduce the use of plastic in our household. Plastic debris is  slowly snowballing and  taking up our environment causing direct and indirect harm to humans as well as animals.

Few plastic manufactures are making innovative changes to make their plastic biodegradable. But these are a minority. Majority of the plastic products are still filling up landfills and our oceans. So we decided we will do our part in minimizing our contribution to this crisis. Here are few of the many changes we made in our daily life

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Shave off years in mortgage by a small change in monthly payment

We have been home owners, living the American Dream, since 2009. Our first starter home was a 1,600 sq.ft town-home with three tiny bedrooms. With our second child born in 2012, we had out grown the house by two fold. However it was not until  2014 that we finally decided to move into a 3,400 sq.ft new construction house. If it was today, we might have gone smaller, probably in 2,400 sq.ft. range but our justification at that time was the possibility of our aging parents coming to live with us. Regardless, we felt it was good time to buy a house as the housing market was beginning to recover from the Lehman crash is 2008.

After couple of months of house hunting, we finally decided on a new construction neighborhood which met most of the items in our list.

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Let’s Focus on value

 

As we approach the beginning of a new year let’s focus more on bringing more value to our lives. More value to our time , our relationships,  our choices and our money.  Money is essential for a comfortable life. There is no question about it. But getting too caught up in the rat race to make more money without proper planning will lead us to a bottomless pit of poor health and increasing cost to maintain our lifestyle.

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An overnight trip to Philadelphia for $150ish

Almost every city in USA has something special to offer during the holidays. In Philadelphia, we have the Christmas village featuring vendors offering authentic European food, crafts and ornaments. A special mention to mulled wine which is one of our favorite.

As a family, we plan a trip every year to the Christmas village and the surrounding Dibert park and City Hall. This time however my 6 year old was asking (borderline begging) to have an overnight stay in a hotel in the city. This is the same 6 year old who for her birthday wanted to stay at a hotel in NYC. In any case before committing to her, I wanted to check the prices.

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