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Fit in a Fun Friday – Gardening

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Okay, I’ll admit it right now, I have a black thumb.  I am a plant killer.  Yet, even I have been drawn in by the lure of color. Gardening may or may not be your cup of tea, but the results are usually worth it.  When we bought our home, it had grass in the front yard and a grass/weed mixture in the back.  I thought this would be fine to me since I don’t spend much time outside of my own home, but two years ago, HGTV did me in. The Gardening Bug Hit Me Just a few episodes of Designed to Sell convinced me that I needed some color and I needed it NOW!  In my tv show fervor, I seemed to forget that September in Houston is usually the end of planting season and that I can’t keep plants alive even if my life (or wallet) depended on it.  That started the saga of digging up areas for flower beds and hunting down plants that could survive an owner like me. After several failed attempts that month, I was finally able to get a surviving group of plants out front.  One Double Knock-Out rose bush got an area to itself.  Miniature Monkey … Read more

Insurance Coverage

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I covered the main ways of diagnosing your financial health in this past post.  I’ve been using Wednesdays to go further in depth on each point since I truly believe that financial health leads to less stress and happier lives. I have already covered the first five points – Spend Less Than You Earn, start an Emergency Fund, review Retirement Savings, evaluate Debt, and Diversify your investments.  The sixth point is to make sure you are insured correctly.  This means having the right amount of health insurance, car insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, and homeowner’s insurance. Health Insurance Health insurance is vital for good financial health since health problems can cost so much.  I’d suggest having a policy that at least covers the basic doctor visits and emergency situations.  I’d also pick a deductible that wouldn’t eat my whole emergency fund. I have the standard plan offered by my company for free.  My copay is $25 a visit.  I pay $10 for generic prescriptions and $30 for preferred medicines.  If I need more than 3 months, I have to order it from Medco in 3 month supplies for 2 1/2 times the regular charge.  Wellness visits like annual women’s exams are 100% covered.  My annual deductible is $600 in-network and $1500 out-of-network.  … Read more

BFS Site Problems – Are You Having Trouble Leaving Comments?

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Hi everybody! I was replying to comments last week and multiple browser windows started opening and wouldn’t stop until I shut down my laptop and restarted. This happened two times in 5 days and I just thought it was my old laptop. Yesterday I received this email from a reader: “Hey, I just wanted to check if you know whether anyone else is experiencing this when they comment on your blog. The last couple times I’ve commented on your blog in IE, it goes crazy afterward opening up tabs and I have to do an end task on IE 7 to get it to stop. If I try to comment on my phone instead, sometimes it doesn’t work at all.” I left this problem in the Blogger forum and have posted with the Yakezie bloggers as well.  I apologize if this has caused you any problems. Have you had this problem when commenting on BFS?  Do you happen to be way techier than me and know what’s going on?

Too Much Sugar in Our Food

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Funny about Money brought up a good point in Gimme That Ole-time Real Food…, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and sugar seem to be added to everything to make it more addictive.  I didn’t even know that Hellmann’s sixth ingredient is sugar. As a true carb addict, I never thought I’d write these words, but maybe there is too much sugar in our food.  There really is no reason that HFCS needs to be in as many things as it is.  I even found it as an ingredient in a canned spaghetti sauce we have.  Sugar was listed in our Prego and the Kroger brand, but HFCS was the third ingredient in the canned no-name brand.  Weird. I’m going to start paying closer attention since there’s no reason to make weight loss even harder on myself.  If I can successfully cut out just a quarter to a half of the HFCS I usually consume every day, it would be healthier and will probably make losing weight a little easier.  I’m going to cut myself down to no more than 3 sodas a week and try to pick foods that have short ingredient lists that don’t start out with a kind of sugar. I’m … Read more

Suggested Questions for the Always Broke

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Yahoo Finance had the article, 8 Questions for the Constantly Broke, and I thought they were worth rehashing.  Here’s their questions and my take on them: 1.  Do I know where my money is going? I do believe that the first step of getting finances under control is to keep up with what you are spending your money on.  If you don’t know what you are spending on, how can you cut the fat? 2.  Am I focusing too much on the month, instead of the year? The point of this question in the article was to suggest keeping up with one-time annual expenses as well as normal monthly ones.  That’s a great idea.  We started our car and home maintenance fund after being “surprised” by our homeowner’s insurance the year after we bought our house.  We haven’t ignored annual expenses since then. 3.  Do I do something everyday that wastes money? Daily habits like soda, lunches out, beer, smoking, etc can all kill a budget.  My hubby cut back on soda when he realized how much money and calories were being wasted.  I started saving a ton of money for us by starting to bring my lunch to work this … Read more

Yakezie Alexa Ranking Update – 245,385

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BFS is a member of the Yakezie Alexa Ranking Challenge!  My ranking last week was 291,555.  Now it is 245,385! The ultimate goal is to be in the top 200,000 by July 4, 2010.  I’m giving weekly rank updates in order to track our progress.  Not too shabby for a blog that started at 8,531,858 when it joined the challenge in March 2010! I would like to sincerely thank all of my readers and the members of the Yakezie Challenge.  Obviously, this would be impossible without all of you. In case you didn’t know, Alexa traffic rankings are determined by the numbers of hits a site gets by people with the Alexa toolbar.  If you want to be part of this ranking community, you can download the Alexa toolbar here. If you are a Yakezie member and don’t see yourself on my member list, please send me an email or leave a comment here to be added, thanks!

Fit in a Fun Friday – The Zoo

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One of my high school friends, Maggie, invited my husband and me to come visit about a month ago and take a tour of her job.  I know a private tour of somebody’s job doesn’t sound like that much fun…unless they work at a zoo! Yep, we got a free private tour of a zoo! It was great.  We were able to feed Jeffrey the giraffe and Babe the rhino (you can see their pictures below…well Babe’s booty and her companion’s pic).  My friend also told us the histories of each animal she knew and the funny stories that have happened along the way. They have one elephant that seems to take offense at inanimate objects…she mangled a fence without even trying.  We also met a wild turkey that refused to settle down…I swear, he thought we were really after his woman and could stay completely puffed up for hours on end.  He’s going to give himself a heart attack. The last picture is of Mukah, an orangutan that really thinks he is human… By the time we had seen the whole place, I felt like I had known those animals for years. I also remembered the ton other zoo visits I have enjoyed.  My parents enjoyed taking my … Read more