May 01

Mozy App

Usually I avoid apps that involve signing into a web site (unless they really make my life easier and I use the online version already)….

Mozy is a backup tool I use on my desktop computer to keep it backed up.  It keeps my files backed up to the ‘cloud’.  Really you should always have a couple different formats of backup and one should not be near your computer.  With the outbreak of tornadoes recently it makes me think of all I would lose if my computer was destroyed.  To prevent a catastrophic loss of data I use Mozy to keep most of my file backed up.  It would take me a little while to get up and going, but at least my data would be safe. (I also back up pictures to photoshop.com – so I have redundancy)

This being said I am also the person that insight called to say I was using way to much bandwidth and they suspected I was file sharing.  My computer was backing up for the first full backup (but really I have a lot of data).

I noticed this morning that there is a Mozy app.  I assume it will let me check on files in the backup.  I got it installed and played with it a little.  As soon as I got into the app it told me my computer was backed up as of yesterday.  Good to know it’s a pretty recent backup.  I also was able to wonder around in my files.

But it was really slow. On the other hand it is pretty handy to have access to all my backed up files while out and about using just my phone. Those few times when I really wanted to show someone a picture or document and was out of town this could really be handy!

Of course for this to work you have to have an account on Mozy and have your computer set up to backup, but for me it definitely is a keeper.

Mozy does have an Android version too besides the iPhone version, and a home user subscription for one PC is $5.99 a month. My account is an unlimited one PC plan for home users, that they have eliminated. I’m not sure what my plan will be for my next renewal… Did I mention I have a LOT of data? But I do really use it now.

Apr 28

My Coupons App

For the Iphone I have been playing with an app My Coupons.  At first I thought ‘who would use this’ It seems like a lot of work to enter your coupon inventory.  It does have a feature to let you know what is about to expire and seemed handy, but entering all the information seemed like it would be Too time consuming. 

If only it had an option to download the weeks coupon inserts and add them in mass…  Today though at the store I realized I had a register reward (the Kroger type) for $10 that had just expired a couple days ago. I then could really see how this app could come in handy.  I think I’m going to start by entering my register rewards, then move on to adding coupons that I want to be sure and use.  Free, B1G1, and things that are for products that I will buy even if they aren’t on sale (so that I use them before they expire).

Apr 28

No more Cable

There are several places you can get TV shows without subscribing to Cable.  Most major networks allow you to watch their shows on the web.  (ABC, CBS, NBC)  as well as several other stations.

The first step is to figure out a good way to watch if want to see them on your tv.  In our house that is pretty easy.  Almost all our TVs have VGA input.  With the VGA input we just hook a laptop to the TV and use the TV as a second monitor.  We have plenty of old computers that can stream shows.  Besides that we also have the Wii or XBOX that can hook to Netflix.  A whole extra set of shows to watch. Netflix is less than $10 a month for a subscription to watch online.  Of course that’s not free and most are available free… I think we primarily use the netflix when all my kids are home.

Of course you can use an antenna to get some shows.

Hulu also lets you watch. There is a plus account for $10 a month, but plenty of shows without the plus.  Plus there are some like http://freetvonline.com, http://sharetv.org/watch, http://www.justin.tv/, http://www.getmiro.com/, http://www.beelinetv.com/, http://www.bigfiletv.com/, http://www.ovguide.com/, http://www.chooseandwatch.com/, http://www.pctvlinks.com/home.html, http://www.tvweb360.com/, and http://www.joost.com/… plus lots more.  I’ve even seen shows on youtube.  (I’ve caught Dr. Who there before the episode was released in the US)  I’m not sure how legal some of these are.

I mostly stick with the network streaming on their websites when I miss an episode.  I love catching the Big Bang Theory  if I miss it.

What’s your favorite place to watch your favorite shows?

Apr 27

Get out of Debt in All You

I just saw the Get out of Debt article in the latest All You magazine.

I agree with some and really don’t agree with others in the article.

1. Prioritize Payments.  They recommend prioritizing your payments.  Pay living expenses first (of course that doesn’t include cable, or anything that you can live without. It does include mortgage or rent, food, utilities, and child care)
Next pay other secured loans and last are credit cards and unsecured debt.  (Better a poor credit rating than out on the street with no food) Of course Cable and phone fit into this category.

2. Negotiate with credit card companies.  This will hurt your credit, but might help in the long run.

3. Borrow from your Home.  If you have equity and can this might be an option.  It will cost you closing costs though.  My problem with this is that your credit card debt is unsecured, your house debt isn’t – so you would be rolling unsecured debt into secured debt.  A BIG No – No….  You could lose your home this way!  If you have to file for bankruptcy, you could keep your house.

4. Borrow from your future.  This mentioned borrowing from your 401(K) plan. A BIG No – No also…  401(K) plans are protected in bankruptcy and if you borrow that money could be completely gone if you have to declare bankruptcy.  If you have to leave your job they may only give a short time to repay and the IRS will charge a penalty if you can’t repay.  REALLY a problem for now and for your future.  They didn’t mention borrowing from kid’s college money. I can see that coming higher up the list than this. 

5.  Enroll in a debt management plan (DMP).  If you got into debt due to overspending I can see this. Especially a plan that helps learn correct spending habits.  Watch for scams though.  They mention that a good program will help you get rid of your debt and rebuild your credit (as well as teaching you to live within your means) That’s great!  Choose a NFP that is approved by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.  Check out http://nfcc.org for info…  I have heard a lot of the Dave Ramsey plan, though I differ in views from his plan in several ways, in the case where a family needs to develop good spending habits it is one thing to consider.    

6. Steer Clear of debt settlement companies.  These are viewed as SCAMS and I totally agree.  

 I would recommend making a spending log to start with. Right down where you spend all your money (even the .50 gum on the way home)….  I use mint.com and check the break down every week.  It helps me track when I’m overspending and sends me a reminder.  Really knowing where all your money goes is the first step to managing your money.