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Our Sony Blu-Ray Player Crapped Out, Welcome Samsung!

In December 2012, we bought a “Sony BDP-S590 3D Blu-ray Disc Player with Wi-Fi”.  It sucks.  We want to bash it into a million pieces. We’ve had problems with it for about 6 months but now it is just useless.

Quick Death

It started with issues with its remote. So we replaced the batteries, and nope. We then thought it was the remote, so we bought a new one (exact same remote, brand, etc) and yet, still issues. Replaced the batteries, and again, no love. You have to be 3-4 feet away for it to work at all.

Then it refused to load Netflix unless it was rebooted. Now it can’t connect to anything like Netflix, YouTube, etc. That makes it nearly useless to us.

New Blu-Ray On the Way

We finally have called the death of the $100 piece of poop.  I started looking for other options yesterday and pulled the trigger on a $60 refurbished “Samsung BD-F5700 Wi-Fi Blu-Ray Player”.  I passed up 7 different Sony brands to find it.  It has 4 out of 5 stars from user reviews, has wireless capabilities, and has the features we need:

  • Accesses Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, etc.
  • Has an HDMI output
  • Plays DVD’s and Blu-Rays
  • Bonus – Comes with a free HDMI cable, which is nice for us since we wanted another one anyway

I bought refurbished since it had the exact same reviews and overall rating as the new one.  I also splurged $5 on a 2 year warranty that will fix it or replace it if it breaks (no deductible or anything like that).  That still made it $15 cheaper than buying new.  Normally, I would have bought new since there wasn’t much of a difference, but I just had a feeling and liked the warranty idea.  We’ll see if it works out.

Have you had to replace anything lately?  I have no respect for a company that makes a product like this that can’t work well for at least a year, lol.

Samsung Blu-Ray

Moving? 7 Tips to Help Keep Your Wallet Full

This post was brought to you by Annie Davis.

When it becomes necessary to move because of a job or simply because you want a change in scenery, it can be expensive. Suddenly you realize you’ve accumulated quite a bit as you’ve lived comfortably in one spot over time. As you look at the cost of uprooting the family and all your possessions, you might appreciate some suggestions on how to do it without breaking the bank.

1. Move Yourself

Moving

Image via Flickr by popofatticus

As tempting as it is to hire a professional removing company, it’s also an expensive way to go about moving. You can save hundreds if not thousands by hiring your own self-drive Luton van instead. Then bribe your family and friends into helping you load it. The expense of a couple large pizzas and some beverages is going to save you a lot of dosh when all is said and done.

2. Check Out Your Moving Options In Advance

There are several removal options you should check out. Call each one and get a quote. Compare the prices of hiring a van to hiring “cubes” or “pods.” These are containers that you fill with furniture and household items which the removal company then delivers to your new location. You may know someone who can get you a deal or offer you a lorry of his own. The point is to investigate the possibilities long before you have to hit the road.

3. Schedule During Downtimes

Removal services or self-drive van companies charge different rates for different times during the week or month. They can charge higher rates when the demand is up, so find out when the demand is lower. Ask when their rates come down. It could be during the week or during the Fall. It can almost be guaranteed that rates will be less expensive in the middle of the month compared to the end of the month. Either way, you should be able to find a time that is less expensive if you ask.

4. Decide What Comes and What Stays

Start with your furniture. Some of your older pieces may not be worth the expense to move them. When packing a big Luton, space is important.

You could have a moving sale or list your items on Gumtree. You may have lots of items that will be easier to replace than to move. Selling them will save the cost of moving them, putting extra money in your pocket in the meantime.

5. Purge Your House

You could sell or unload your items as listed above. But if you’re like just about anyone else in the world, you have a great deal of items which you don’t use anymore and probably couldn’t sell for very much. Instead of hanging on to them, either throw them out or give them to charity shops.

You might have old decorations throughout your house which would just take up valuable space during a removal. Let them go; start new and fresh in your new home. Use local fresh flowers from direct2florist to brighten up your new place until you have a chance to decorate.

When going through old items you’ve held on to for years, it’s easy to fall into the trap of saying, “what if I need that one day?” If you haven’t used it for the last 2-3 years, you’ll never need it. It’s just taking up space and will cost you to take with you. Go through your closets, go through your boxes, go through everything stored and clean house.

6. Don’t Pay For Boxes

Don’t buy new boxes for your move; all that new cardboard can be extremely expensive. Instead, approach stores in your area. Ask for boxes they’re throwing out. For that matter, seek out cardboard recycling locations and see if they’ll give you some. A grocer’s shop is a good place to find heavy-duty boxes, as are hospitals, laboratories, and restaurants. Another excellent resource would be someone who has just moved into your area.

7. Eat Your Food, Don’t Move It

As the time for removal approaches, start going through all your stored food and eat it. Go through your pantry and your freezer. That will save you on groceries and reduce what you have to move at the same time.

There are many great ways to save money along the way if you make a plan. Use this time to clean out and streamline your life. Save a bit of money in the process and you can start fresh in your new home.

BFS Reader Profile – Evolving Personal Finance

The following is a new profile for the BFS Reader Profile series. Today we are getting to know Emily and Kyle at Evolving Personal Finance. Thanks for participating!

Personal Background

Hey everyone!  My name is Emily and my husband Kyle and I blog at Evolving Personal Finance.  We are PhD students in the sciences/engineering at a university in North Carolina and we are (crossing our fingers) getting to the end stages of those degrees.  We are both 26, have been married for almost two years, and have no children or pets yet.

Our blog is about the periodic re-equilibration of a family’s money management that happens when the family goes through transitions.  We anticipate many financially-related upheavals in the next few years – getting real jobs, moving, buying a home, having a child – and we want to document how we navigate those transitions.  We are particularly trying to keep lifestyle inflation in check and the blog provides some accountability for that.  In between transitions, like right now, we write about financial situations that arise in our lives and how we live a fun lifestyle on a smaller income (in comparison with most other PF bloggers!).

Financial Background

We are fortunate to have our tuition paid for by our advisors and our yearly stipends for the research we perform combine to about $52,000, which is close to the median income in our city.  Our monthly expenses total around $1800 (rent, utilities, food… the usual) but we save an additional $850 for large, irregular expenses like flights, parking permits, season tickets to our university’s men’s basketball games, and our CSA subscription.  The remaining $1250 of our take-home pay goes to our tithe and retirement accounts.

We only sort of have debt, if that makes any sense!  I have some student loans from undergrad but they are in deferment, and we have invested the money we set aside to pay them off to try to get a bit of a return before I graduate.

Our Goals

The only long-term financial goal we are working toward at the moment is to fund our Roth IRAs as aggressively as possible – we are not quite fully funding them as of now.  When we finish our degrees and get real jobs (with real salaries!), we will start saving for our next car and a down payment on a house.  Our ultimate goal is to live in southern California so we will probably rent for a while yet while we save up.

One aspect of Budgeting in the Fun Stuff that I love is the community Crystal has fostered in the comments and through guest posts.  There is a great diversity of perspectives.  I enjoy participating over here and I hope to have a similar community on our blog in the future!

My question for the readers is Do you have any financial goals that you are not currently working toward?  What are you waiting on?  I look forward to your responses and thanks for reading!

Crystal’s Comments:  It sounds like you two are just on the right track.  Congrats on your upcoming PhD’s!  Is Southern California the expensive part?  Is all of California the expensive part?  No matter…good luck with your goals and congrats on your progress!

If you would like to participate in this series, please follow the guidelines found at BFS Reader Profile and submit your own story. Everyone is more than welcome and you can stay anonymous if you’d prefer. Thanks!

Weekly Favorites and Gratitude!

If you haven’t already (or to see the new content),
please also check out my new blogs,
Crystal Clear Thoughts and Dog’s Life For Me!
If you want to take advantage of the weather to exercise, consider joining the
Inner Couch Potato Homicide Challenge!

My Favorite Posts this Week

Guest Post on BFS

Thanks for a great guest post!  I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Blog Carnivals that Included BFS

Carnival hosts, please email me if BFS is included in your carnival so I don’t miss it in my roundup, thanks! I know how much time these things take, so as always, I am truly grateful!

Other Info

  • Eric at Narrow Bridge is hosting a Best Money Decision Giveaway!  Just leave your story of your best money decision ever by October 15th for your chance to win 500 free business cards!
  • I am also a staff writer at Sweating the Big Stuff. You can see my posts every Wednesday – this week’s was Are You Missing the Big Picture?

Feel free to email me if you have any suggestions. I’d love to add a few more blogs to my regular reading list or at least give a shout-out for great posts or contests.

If you would like to guest post on BFS, please send me an email with your idea or post and I’d love to have you over for the day! If you are a business, please email me for more details. Thanks!

As always, thanks to all the bloggers that teach me something new every day. Thanks to all my commenters for making this blog the community I want it to be. Thanks to all my lurkers too. I hope everybody is enjoying this as much as me!

Weekly Favorites and Gratitude!

My Favorite Posts this Week

  • Squirrelers with Frugal Baseball Player – Version 2.0  I thought this guy had a great idea!
  • First Gen American with Pros and Cons of Fixer Uppers  Spot on list…Mr. BFS and I avoided fixer uppers while house hunting simply because all of those projects would stress me out.  Her kitchen looks great though!
  • Everyday Tips and Thoughts with 10 Tips For Buying A New Home  Great suggestions!
  • Saving Money Today with Building Multiple Streams of Income  I think this is the straw that broke the camel’s back – I will be starting at least one other blog/website.  I’ll let you all know when it’s up and running and what it will cover.  :-)
  • Get Rich Slowly with What Are Your Favorite Finance Books?  I like his list of picks.  My favorite finance book is The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach.
  • Car Negotiation Coach with Your father was wrong: How NOT to negotiate car price  Researching the price you are willing to pay is way better than negotiating on dealer-specific terms any day.
  • Moneyed Up with Are Hobbies Worth the Money?  I agree with Ramsay, hobbies are totally worth it!
  • Frugal Zeitgeist with How to Reduce Household Spending  Cutting back on food would save us a ton…
  • Best Colleges Online with 10 Things Grads Should Know About Retirement Planning  A pretty good list of steps to take to start saving for retirement.
  • Money Reasons with Things To Do In The Fall  I am sooo looking forward to the coming season!

Carnivals that Included BFS

Thanks for putting tons of work into these carnivals! I know how long these things take!

Guest Posts on BFS

Thanks for the day off! I appreciate all of my guest posters for giving BFS readers quality content and allowing me to have a little breather from my 7 day a week schedule.

If you would like to guest post on BFS as a fellow blogger, please send me an email with your idea or post and I’d love to have you over for the day! If you are a business, please email me for more details. Thanks!

Other Info

Feel free to email me if you have any suggestions. I’d love to add a few more blogs to my regular reading list or at least give a shout-out for great posts or contests.

As always, thanks to all the bloggers that teach me something new every day. Thanks to all my commenters for making this blog the community I want it to be. Thanks to all my lurkers too. I hope everybody is enjoying this as much as me!

Weekly Favorites and Gratitude!

My Favorite Posts this Week

Guest Posts on BFS

Thanks so much for the day off!

If you would like to submit a guest post to BFS, please shoot me an idea or the actual post. I’d also appreciate a one or two sentence introduction for the piece. I’ll get back to you quickly and will give you as much advance notice as possible on its posting date.

Blog Carnivals that Featured BFS

Thanks for putting your time into this!  I truly appreciate being chosen each and every time!

Carnival hosts, please email me if BFS is in a carnival you are hosting so I can be sure to add it to the list.  Thanks!

Other Info

Feel free to email me if you have any suggestions. I’d love to add a few more blogs to my regular reading list or at least give a shout-out for great posts or contests.

As always, thanks to all the bloggers that teach me something new every day. Thanks to all my commenters for making this blog the community I want it to be. Thanks to all my lurkers too. I hope everybody is enjoying this as much as I am!

Weekly Favorites and Gratitude!

My Favorite Posts this Week

Guest Posts on BFS

Due to my post-vacation loopiness, I had a lot of assistance this week.  I would like to sincerely thank everybody who helped me out!!!  These are the awesome people who helped me to cover this week while I was unpacking and catching up at work:

If you would like to submit a guest post to BFS, please shoot me an idea or the actual post. I’d also appreciate a one or two sentence introduction for the piece. I’ll get back to you quickly and will give you as much advance notice as possible on its posting date.

Blog Carnivals that Featured BFS

Other Info

Feel free to email me if you have any suggestions. I’d love to add a few more blogs to my regular reading list or at least give a shout-out for great posts or contests.

As always, thanks to all the bloggers that teach me something new every day. Thanks to all my commenters for making this blog the community I want it to be. Thanks to all my lurkers too. I hope everybody is enjoying this as much as I am!