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

Why You Should Open an Amazon Payments Account


Seeing this title in my Feedly app I was intrigued: “5 Reasons to Avoid Cash Back Rebate Cards”. I like cashback rebate cards just as much as rebate paper checks so how could anyone come up with 5 negative reasons and advise you to avoid them altogether? After reading the post I realized that if a leading personal finance blogger running Consumerism Commentary is not aware of how Amazon Payments can help in this situation surely there’re other people who can use this information. Plus, there are a couple of other situations where having a free Amazon Payments account can be beneficial. Let me explain.

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Box Fans Revisited


After a record-breaking heat wave we are finally back to cooler temperatures.  Despite my obsession with box fan cooling we had to resort to continually running our dual zone AC set at a chilly 79 degrees.  During the heat wave the night temperatures would barely dip below 80 and combined with upper 90s during the day there was no way to keep the house cool with the usual indoor/outdoor  temperature arbitrage.  Sitting inside our comfortable AC-controlled shelter we were once again grateful to Willis Carrier for his work over 100 years ago.

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Keeping Cool with Box Fans


In the continuing series about decreasing utility bills, I want to talk about probably the biggest weapon in our war chest of frugality when it comes to our electric bill.  Living in the southeast, I am acutely aware of of how miserable the weather can be with nearly 100% humidity and 90+ temperatures for weeks on end during the summer months.  Not surprisingly, most houses and apartments here have central AC or at least several window units.  Taking a stroll through our community on your average summer night one would see all the windows closed shut with a distinct humming noise coming from all the AC units sitting next to houses, usually behind a neat little fence as to not to offend the passerby with its unsightly mechanics.
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Reducing the Attic Heat


As I mentioned in this previous article, our utility bills continued falling every year that we’ve lived in our current home and have now reached the same level that we were paying at our previous home that was full 1,200 square feet smaller.  This is despite the fact that there are 4 of us living in this house while only 2 of us lived in the smaller house.  Although that might not be a big factor since the additional occupants are a baby and a cat 🙂  Anyway, I concluded that the main reason for this unexpected trend is our continued tweaking and optimizing as we learn and adjust to the house. Continue Reading

Decreasing Utility Bills


We have been living in our house for over five years now.  It’s a big place – around 3,200 square feet.  Our previous home was much smaller at around 2,000 square feet which was definitely more than enough, especially because it was just the two us back then.  We fell out of love with that home  when we discovered how noisy the neighborhood was because of the adjacent road and how we could not walk anywhere because of the the lack of any sidewalks in the area.  Unfortunately, both issues were overlooked by us in the excitement and the pressure of the bubble real estate market of the mid-2000s. Continue Reading