One Month with a Google Chromebook & Chromebox: Why I'm not going back


For the last 2 years, Google has been peddling Google Chrome OS and its answer to budget computing. Google Chromebooks represent the vast majority of laptops under $300.

If you’ve not tried one before, a Google Chromebook runs only a browser. The idea is that you can complete most tasks online, and therefore it’s best to have a computer that focuses on just one thing- the internet.

Google’s Chrome OS promises to be always up-to-date, never have viruses, never slow down, never crash, and have a startup time of just a few seconds. We’ll find out. The device I’ll be using is a 2013 Samsung Chromebox.

Why I'm doing this

Up until now, I’ve been using a 2009 Apple Macbook Pro. It was great at first, but as is the way of computers, it has steadily declined, to the point where startup takes several minutes, it’s slow, and requires an almost daily reboot.


How long should I keep financial documents?

Important documents

With both daughters off at university I've started what has become known at our house as the great purge of 2013. Both attics are being cleaned out and I'm reevaluating items that were once too sentimental to toss. Bins of old files are being sorted and I now have reems of paper stacked in the office. As I was culling the files I found myself saying, "Hmm, I might need that," far too often. I've always kept tax documents for seven years and everything else for three except in a few areas. Looking back, I'm glad I broke that rule of thumb.

Two things happened this year that required I dig up documents dating back 15-20 years. Some I could find and some were long gone. I'm not suggesting that anyone keep every piece of paper or financial document for 20 years, but we need to keep enough to protect ourselves.


iPhone vs SLR

iphone vs slr

Can you use an iPhone as a replacement for an SLR? These days, the camera on the iPhone is so good it might make sense.

Here’s a table of the benefits of each:


  • iPhone 5 - 8 megapixels, iPhone 5S & 5C - 8 megapixels, but better optics
  • No lens cap to worry about
  • Panoramic mode
  • Photos backed up to iCloud instantly
  • Photos tagged with GPS coordinates of where the photo was taken
  • Light & portable
  • You probably already own one

dSLR Camera

  • 10 megapixels +
  • Better pictures in low light.
  • Better pictures when the subject is moving
  • Expensive to buy- definitely a luxury item



Frugal Gardening Tips: How to keep deer and rabbits out of the garden

deer and rabbit repellant

Most experienced gardeners have known the gut-wrenching feeling of seeing entire crops decimated by insects, disease or four-legged critters. There is a large variety of chemicals, sprays, traps and gadgets you can buy to save your garden from unwanted pests. Garden maintenance can cost a fortune if you aren’t careful. With a little bit of work and some basic items found around the house you can save your garden and your wallet.


Vote for ConsumerFu in Plutus Awards


The Plutus Awards recognize personal finance bloggers and websites for their hard work in writing about and educating others on topics in personal finance. The awards will be given out at a ceremony on October 17, 2013, the night before FinCon is set to begin.

We're excited to announce that ConsumerFu qualifies in two categories. You may nominate and vote for us by following the links below.


How to Travel Around the USA on Amtrak in 15 Days

See the USA on Amtrak

The USA is a spectacular country, but its vastness daunts many who’ve considered travelling it all. Greyhound discontinued their ‘Discovery Pass’, which was formerly the explorer’s choice, leaving the only option to buy single tickets in advance.

Amtrak, the USA’s national rail system, offers a unique alternative that is affordable and comfortable.

A little bit about Amtrak

Amtrak is the only nationwide passenger rail service in the US. It runs at a loss, and operates on privately owned freight lines. It historically has a reputation of being frequently delayed, although in recent years it has become more dependable.


64th Edition of the Lifestyle Carnival


Welcome to the 64th edition of the Lifestyle Carnival! Submit your blog article to the next edition using our carnival submission form at Blogger Carnivals. Thanks for tuning in. There are some great reads listed below.


Alexis @ FITnancials writes Moving To Chicago - Recently I visited my mother in Chicago, and she brought up the idea of me going to school there and living with her. The idea instantly got me excited, but the situation is much more trickier than that.


How to avoid the pitfalls of back-to-school shopping

school bus

With August fast approaching and school supply lists hitting mailboxes, it is important to have a buying plan so you can avoid the pitfalls of back-to-school shopping. Follow your plan and don't drop hundreds of dollars buying things your children either don't need or won't need for several months after school starts.
As a kid I loved getting my new box of crayons, colorful construction paper and big fat pencils when mother would take us to buy school supplies. This past week I've been out with my youngest making purchases for her dorm room. It's a good thing we only have to go through this freshman year because these "necessities" add up and can break the budget.
Here are some tips for helping your child enjoy the back-to-school shopping process without draining your bank account.


How to replace your landline


If you want to save money on home telephone service, think about ditching your landline. Technology continues to bring new products to the market and improve old ones. Some of the products offer the familarity of a traditional handheld phone while others require a computer monitor, laptop or tablet. Most offer substantial savings over a traditional landline phone service.
Currently, we bundle our cable, phone and high speed internet with Time Warner Cable and we pay what I feel is an exorbitant rate. My husband and I finally got fed up enough with cable that we're ready to cut the cord, but we might as well cut the phone at the same time. Technically, ours isn't a landline, but it costs almost as much each month. Since I'm shopping for alternatives I thought I'd share my findings here. 


Frugal Gardening Tips: How to prepare the soil

gardening tips for soil

Most gardeners aren't blessed with perfect soil. For many of us the addition of composted material, gardening lime and peat will be all we need to grow fruits and vegetables in our gardens. If you're new to gardening or you aren't getting the results expected, give these steps a try to better prepare your soil.


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