Monday, May 13, 2013

Cyber Monday - Tell windows to alway prefer wired over wireless.

Windows usually does an alright job about pushing things through the wired connection if you're connected. However, sometimes it mucks up and here's how to tell it to always prefer wired connections.

For windows 7 (possibly older/newer versions this works as well, I haven't tested.) Go to run and type in ncpa.cpl or in my case, I searched for it. 

Once here, you'll want to navigate to the advanced tab on the top and go to Advanced Settings...

A new window will open and you'll want to be on "Adapters and Bindings" tab and move your "Local Area Connection" to the top of the list as shown here.

And that's it. Now you're computer will always prefer the wired connections of the wireless.

Any tips you're looking for specifically?  Let us know!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Net Debt - April 2013

Student loans: -$81,237.47 ($885.92)
Car loan: $0
Revolving Credit card debt: $0.
Mortgage: -$133,902.35 ($849.81)
Total Debt: -$215,139.82
Debt Jan 1, 2013:  -$216,875.08 ($1,735.26)

Paying down debt is a daunting task, that is for sure, especially seeing these numbers. It has been 4 complete months since the new year has started and so far we have paid off $1,735.26 or about $433 each month.

While we are sticking to the plan and paying down debt, it has its challenges. We put $418 towards one student loan, and $100 towards another each month.  Soon, hopefully next month, we'll have the federal subsidized interest of one of the student loans paid off, and then we'll make a little more progress paying down the unsubsidized portion.  Note: I really hate how loan companies set up the payment scheme, especially when making extra payments. They always set it up to pay equally across everything and not put it all towards the one that will make you pay it off the fastest.  gah!

Due to the student loans we're trying to pay off, we've settled for only paying $250/month to the IRA. The plan is to gradually increase the payment each year until we max out 2 complete IRA's.

On another note, my final exams are now complete and in a few more days my wife will have finished her 6 month probation period at work. These two things make me very happy.  ^_^

Our trip to Germany has been booked and is approaching faster than we thought. It will be a great trip, but we still have to make arrangements for someone to take care the kitties. Our trip to NY has been postponed to a little later than desired but still in the plan.

Also, we recently purchased an exercise bike from a friend, which has been a lot of fun.  The past few days while I had off from work to study and work on my final exams, I would get up, drop off the wife at work, and come back and bike for 25 minutes or about 6.25 miles. During that time, I'd be checking my other blogs, IM'ing with the wife, etc. very efficient use of time.  :-)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Cyber Monday - Cell phone plans - a comparison

Previously, my wife and I were on a prepaid plan with AT&T which we used very sparingly to save as much money as possible. However, as my wife began her job and we purchased a home, and adopted another kitty, our cell phones became increasingly important to call other businesses, schedule appointments and in general coordinate our lives. For the past 6 months or so, I was seriously looking at providers to see who has the best deal. I looked at family plans, individual plans, and other prepaid plans for us. I know that our usage would increase if we had unlimited so I primarily focus on that since so many things are unlimited now anyway. However, I did look at how much we would realistically talk as well, and many of these other lower priced plans came with too few minutes. Also, since I recently upgraded to a smart phone, I looked at data plans for myself and installed an app to track how much data I was using over WiFi. Below are my results:

From my calculations we were spending about $979.68/yr ($81.64/month) on our cell phones plus another $143 on our skype plan, totaling $1122 ($93.53/month) a year between the two of them. If we are able to save anything less than that, we would be saving. So after much searching, GoSmart started their business, and we signed up. I am paying for their $35 plan and my wife is paying for their $30 plan + $10 international calling and texting. Our savings: $130.08 per year (after tax). Also a perk of this new plan is that calling quality is much better than Skype because it no longer depends on internet connection and we have unlimited everything. The internet is fast enough for my phone as I don't stream any video (internet radio is crystal clear) and email/IM is perfectly fine on 2G. Everyone is happier and my wallet is a little bit heavier, which is great. Feel free to check out gosmart plan and check to see if it is right for you.

DISCLAIMER: I am not collecting any incentives by gosmart by endorsing them. We are just really happy we decided to switch plans :)