Penny Pinchers


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Hiking DejaVu

By Brittany Dale
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Looks like Julie and I were on the same wave length this week. I had planned to talk about our free hiking adventure as well!

We are lucky to live right down the street from a great little trail and now that the weather is nicer, evening hikes are finally possible. We really enjoy letting our dogs have a little more freedom and we get to experience more visual stimulation than can be afforded with a walk through our neighborhood. 

Please Note: Always always always make sure you are planning ahead. There have been many lost hikers in the past two weeks so make sure you know where you are going, you have enough daylight and you are prepared with food if the hike has even the slightest potential to be long. Don't be silly! 

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Hiking is Free!

By Julie Norman
Monday, March 31, 2014

Hiking is a free and fun activity for the whole family.  Really, throw on some clothes and sunscreen, fill up some plastic bottles with water and head out for a day of adventure! There are tons of great trails around Grand Junction and some that are within 10 minutes of town.  If you head down Monument Road to the Lunch Loop trails you'll find lots of fun places to explore.  From easy, almost flat trails to very steep ones, you can either get in a great workout or a leisurely stroll.  Here's a photo from my bike ride (if you have a bike already then biking there is also free ;) on Saturday.

For more information on the trails at Lunch Loop and access to maps, visit bikegjco.com!

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Frugal Friday Links: Tech Tips for Budget Travelers and More!

By Julie Norman
Friday, March 28, 2014

The Frugal Traveler at the NY Times is always finding ways to do things for less when it comes to traveling.  Recently he attened the EyeforTravel's Social Media and Mobile Strategies for Travel conference and picked up some good tech tips for budget travelers.  Find out what he had to say by clicking here.

 

Brittany's got a great link for Spring maintenance problems that will save you money. Click here to find out more!

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Traveling is Worth the Money

By Brittany Dale
Thursday, March 27, 2014

You know what isn't cheap? Driving to the front range and back. Even less affordable are the trips to eat or shop with family and friends. But it's absolutely worth it.

My boyfriend and I packed our furry children into the car with a suitcase and headed to Broomfield for a wedding this past weekend. We took two extra days off of work. Let me rephrase. I took two days off, he, deservingly, has started his spring break and didn't have to request the time off. The wedding was beautiful and we both always love getting extra time with family and friends. 

    

Our puppies just love the car. :) 

The trip isn't cheap. We use an entire tank of gas but we both drive cars that get great gas mileage which makes the $50 fill-up easier on the debit card than a $100 truck fill. We always try to bring snacks and sunflower seeds so we don't need to buy food on the way. We fill the iPod with podcasts (free) and good music to get us through the drive.

On a just-for-fun (ha!) trip to the huge Cabela's in Thornton I told myself, and everyone else, we wouldn't be buying anything. I have been looking for a good pair of hiking boots (after my slide down Mt. Garfield in my tennis shoes) for months and of course I found a very nice pair for $50 which I was told is a “great price”. My lesson here is that once I say “I'm not going to spend any money” I always find something I have been eyeing anyway. I unclenched my jaw, walked around in them for a while and gave the nice gentlemen behind the counter our debit card. I'm sure they will last a very long time and I will need them so it was a smart purchase but being overly frugal makes it hard to spend anything at all. 

Sometimes the idea of spending extra money is completely outweighed by being able to have time with our family and friends. It was wonderful to see everyone and I'm glad we were able to do so. We are very lucky to both have jobs and make enough money to be able to take trips and afford our bills every month. I'm reminded that I am lucky to even have the option to be frugal at all.  

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Hulu Pros and Cons

By Julie Norman
Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When we left cable about a year ago we used our Roku box to continue streaming Netflix shows and movies.  We also added Hulu Plus and, eventually, Amazon Prime.  All three channels have their pluses and minuses and together they still cost us less than cable.  We always have something to watch; with cable we'd spend fifteen minutes just flipping through channels.   Hulu Plus was my choice.  Amazon Prime was the BF's.

I originally chose Hulu because it has a huge variety of cooking shows.  It wasn't until after I started trying to watch them that I realized many were only available online.  I could watch very old Emeril Lagasse shows, but man...they were OLD.  They were before BAM!  I kept hunting around though and eventually found this guy: James Reeson and his show, "The Occasional Cook."    It was so interesting!  Each episode actually focused on a unique situation:  camping, a kid's birthday party, etc.   So, while the shows I originally wanted to watch weren't available, there were plenty of new and interesting food shows to find.  One point for Hulu.

We love to watch Comedy Central shows like "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" but, without cable, we have no access to Comedy Central.  No matter! With Hulu we can watch these shows' latest episodes the day after they air.  We never have to miss out on Jon Stewart even though we don't pay the cable company and arm and a leg.  This is also true of network shows like "Blacklist" and "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon."  We watch "The Blacklist" when it comes on on Mondays, but we never manage to stay up late enough to watch "The Tonight Show."  Still, on nights when network television is repeats or it's a weekend night and there's nothing on, we can watch an episode of "The Tonight Show" from earlier in the week, or even an episode of "Saturday Night Live," using Hulu Plus.  Another Point for Hulu.

One of my favorite things about Hulu is their large amount of workout shows.  In particular, I love that Hulu gives me access to all 33 Yoga Zone episodes.  Each episode is about 20 minutes.  This means that, if I'm quick, even on much lunch break I can get in a 40 minute yoga workout!  Yoga for Abs parts I and II, Yoga for Strength Training, even Yoga for Fat Burning are all available!  This scores bonus point for Hulu because it means on rainy or cold days I can exercise at home - no gym membership required!

Hulu DOES have one downfall.  It has a tendancy to freeze up in the middle of episodes.  Sometimes you can restart the episode and then it works fine.  Other times (about once a month) we have to completely restart the Roku box.  It's an annoyance for sure. Still, for $7 a month I think Hulu has proven its worth to us.  We can watch our favorite Comedy Central shows, watch lots of inventive shows that we'd otherwise never see and even catch up on late-night shows that we're too tired to stay up and watch during the week.

If you're considering cutting the cable cord, do it! There are so many ways to watch what you want when you want without cable.

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