Why

To understand where you’re going you need to understand where you came from. After working 16 years straight in IT I’m starting to feel burnt out. It was fun working at a consulting firm after grad school. Every 6 months brought a new client, a new challenge. I was assigned to projects in Florida and Belize during what would’ve been cold winter months back home, which worked out nicely. There was also a lot to learn as a junior IT consultant. Days were anything but routine. Continue Reading

Adult Conversation

Kids are excellent at monopolizing the time to the point where there’s very little time left to actually think about anything else. Between a full-time job, the commute, the daycare hustle and other daily chores it’s hard to find that uninterrupted moment where you can sit down and really figure things out. When we’re home, our lives revolve around our son – because we love him, obviously, but also because we feel guilty about seeing him only 2 hours during an average weekday. He is in daycare and we are at work. Continue Reading

Easy Money

This is the easiest $250 dollars I’ve ever made. There’s just not that many (legal) ways to make $250 in 15 minutes – guaranteed and without any risk. No wonder it’s trending on Slickdeals and other deal sites. Read on if you want money for nothing… I’ll share a trick that makes this as painless as it gets, something I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere else. Continue Reading

Cost of a Speeding Ticket

I got my first speeding ticket shortly after buying a car back in 1999. I was pulled over on college grounds by campus police for going ten miles over the limit. I pled guilty and paid a fine. Somehow this traffic violation never showed up on the driving record so my insurance stayed the same. That worked out because I could barely afford to keep a beater Toyota Paseo on the road as is. This experience caused enough anguish to never want to be pulled over again. Almost twenty years of driving later that first ticket is still my last (knocks on wood). Continue Reading

It’s a Blur!

A problem with having an oversized two-car garage is that it’s oversized enough to comfortably store other things besides the two cars that we have. Most of our neighbors don’t even park inside their garages – their cars can’t fit because of all the junk in there! We’re talking 3,000 sq. ft homes with 4-5 people living in them yet somehow the stuff ends up taking over the garage. I guess we’re doing a decent job keeping the stuff contained since our garage is reserved exclusively for our cars, bikes and tools. Continue Reading

Reevaluate

My best friend – let’s call him John – lives on Long Island, New York. Recently John hit a rough patch, deciding to separate from his wife after just two years of marriage. They don’t have kids or own a house together so it should be pretty straightforward, financially, to go through a divorce. As it often happens after a major life event, John is ready to make some other changes in his life. This story is about two small but financially significant changes that transpired. Continue Reading

Replacing Rear Shocks on a Mercedes-Benz Ultimate DIY

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You don’t have to be rich or go into debt to drive a luxury car. Anyone that can afford a used Honda or a Toyota could own a BMW or a Benz if they are willing to a) drive an older model and b) get their hands dirty. Today we’ll address the latter with a step-by-step DIY on how to replace the rear shocks on a Mercedes-Benz. This post is based on a Mercedes-Benz C-Series, AKA “W203”, but the general approach is similar on other Mercedes models as well as other car brands. For illustrative purposes all pictures were taken while replacing the rear shocks on a 2003 Mercedes-Benz C320.  While there are other guides on the internet, I found them lacking some important details – stuff that “I wished I knew” before I started. I decided to document the procedure in the most straightforward fashion to crate a definitive one-stop guide on the subject! Continue Reading

When it Pays to Shop

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over and the packages have been appearing on our doorstep daily this week. I don’t shop a lot but some deals are just too good to pass up this time of the year. I’d never drive out to a store to fight over some trendy consumer product but I’m all about doing a bit of shopping from home. Continue Reading

Xeriscaping Continues

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Fall is my favorite season… Last time we had AC on was back in August and we just fired up the gas furnace a couple of weeks ago. We usually get 4 months per year where HVAC sits switched off. If we need to cool down the house we use box fans. If it gets cold we open all the curtains to passively heat with the sun. Sometimes I fantasize about living in a place like San Diego where the weather is always perfect. Although I bet plenty of people in San Diego still run the AC. We have neighbors that never open their windows too, which never ceases to amaze me when we are out on a perfect day. Continue Reading