3.29.2021

First checking account? Always know exactly how much is in your account - easy when you keep a check register! (How to fill out a check register! Great for teens and young people to learn).

Having raised three kids, I am always in "Mom" mode.  Sometimes when I'm teaching my own kids (young adults now) something I think about how many young people 'out there' were never taught simple, basic things and are struggling.

Another topic (on topic but veering off topic) is I have a soft spot especially for kids in the foster system who 'age out' and are suddenly out on their own with no one to be that 'parent' figure to go to with questions about things they have to deal with when adulting.

Yesterday morning I was paying a couple bills online and as I always keep a precise checkbook as my backup to always (always always always) know exactly what bills are paid, how much is in my checking account and an updated balance at all times; I again thought of all the teens and young people in their 20's that may be having to open a checking account or even writing 'paper checks' for the few things in life left that you need an actual paper payment for.  I know many young people go through the hassle of having to do a money order if that is needed;  which is a complete waste of time and extra money as you have to go to the post office or bank to get a money order, and you have to pay extra fees.

When you open your first checking account - GET ONE PACK OF CHECKS.  Banks used to give you your first set free, but most stopped that practice.  (Heck, banks used to give out free appliances for opening your accounts. No lie..  You opened an account and got to choose a 'gift' like a toaster, a blender, a knife set, etc.)  Now you can't even get a free little starter packet of checks!

So order 1 packet of checks, even if you think you'll always only need your debit card.  Tuck the checks away where you won't lose them.  When you start doing some adulting and you suddenly need a paper copy of a payment for many various possible reasons, they will come in handy.  

 

But this post is actually about your checkbook register!  (Yeah, I'm finally getting to the point!  Oops!).

A check register is great even when you don't write checks and you only use your debit card.  Most teens and young people and even many adults *only* keep track on their phone apps or computer.  But electronic systems go down all the time.  Phones lose coverage.  Phone batteries die.  Banks and computers have 'glitches' or sites are down for maintenance.  Yada yada yada.

I have been 'saved' by having paper copies of various things over the past 15 years when the rest of the world goes completely digital and because I've had my own butt saved too many times to count, I am never without access to my check register and can tell you exactly and precise in just seconds, WHAT has been paid, WHEN it was paid, HOW it was paid, WHEN it cleared my bank and what my BALANCE is.  

At all times.

The thing is, it's easy.  Really.  

I keep my register in my purse/billfold.  When I pull out my debit card to scan or swipe, I simply scribble in the name of the store and the amount I'm paying.  If I'm waiting around in line and have time, I'll go ahead and fill in the rest of the blanks like the date and how I'm paying (debit, check, app, scan, etc.).

CHECK REGISTERS ARE FREE FROM YOUR BANK.

This is basically what they all look like, with a few minor changes depending on the company they use to print them. 

This is my own system that I have used forever and it works great for me.  Change little things here and there if you wish to do what works best and makes sense for you.

Basically.....

First column:  Debit card?  Check number?  A deposit?  A fund transfer?  Scan & Go App?
Second column:  The date I'm buying it or paying for it.
Third column:  The name of the store or website OR if it's a deposit - where is the money coming from?
Third line is typically marked 'withdrawl'  on your register.  It's where you write in the amount spent.
Fourth is a tiny little box that used to be marked 'fees' but I use it for the DATE THE CHECK CLEARED MY BANK.  Example - you pay your online bill on 4/3 but it doesn't clear your bank account until 4/7. 
Fifth column:  Deposits.  Withdraws are money going OUT of your account and deposits are the money going IN to your account (payday, fund transfers, refunds, interest, etc.)
Sixth column:  Your running total.  Always add or subtract the amounts as you go and you will always always always know precisely how much money you have in your account at all times.  Down to the penny.


 

 

Hope that helps!!!

 

 

 

 

2.01.2021

Cheap phone case with a power button that won't let you press it? How I solved it!

  
 
About 2 years ago (?) I ordered a couple cheap phone cases on Amazon.  One of them was the one I decided to go with but it had a flaw.  It had a power button cover, but was a cheap Chinese case and frankly; the button couldn't work when the case was on.
 
If you don't use the power button often it might not matter but I use mine to screenshot photos because our family primarily uses snapchat, not text and it's the fastest way to save the photos my kids/husband send.  (Screenshot:  press power and home at the same time and you're done.)  
 
With this new case, and it's bad design/manufacture, the power button couldn't be pressed.
 
Not a big deal.
 
I just cut the plastic around where the power button was, and made my own.
 
I didn't give it a lot of thought and I didn't take my time, trying to precise or anything.  I didn't care what it looked like, I just needed it to work!
 
So in a matter of a few minutes I had solved the problem of a case that didn't allow the power button to be pressed.
 
This could also be done for the volume buttons I suppose as well, although on this case, the volume button covers were fine for functionality.
 
    
  • Use a razor or x-acto knife to cut the plastic case around the power button.  You can be more precise than I was by going nice and slow, but I just wanted it done.
  • Now you need a hard piece of 'something' to be your button presser.  The width of a simple Q-tip is the exact size to fit into the hole between the case opening the phone button.  So I used a Q-tip and cut it to the length of the power button opening.



Now you have to make the cover for the q-tip to give you something to press and hold the Q-tip in place.  You can make the button with hot glue.
  • Use a hot glue gun and draw a few lines on foil, roughly the width of the q-tip.
  • Don't worry about length, just pull it about an inch or couple centimeters, you'll trim it to size.



When the hot glue hardens (about a minute or so) you just cut a couple to the length you need and see which one is the best fit to the width and length of the q-tip piece that you've already fit to size for the cellphone case opening.




When you have one that is a good match, pop the q-tip into the opening first so it's laying against the power button.
 
Now top with the hot glue plastic piece.  If you've trimmed them both to size, it should fit perfectly down into the case opening and be roughly the same height as your case.


When I made this one (2018?  2019?) I popped it in and honestly, I always meant to update some photos and post this but I forgot ALL ABOUT IT.

Seriously.  After I made it, I never thought about it looked at it again and I've been using it for at least 1 1/2 or 2 years (I can't recall exactly when it was but it was a LONG time ago).

I quickly grabbed my phone from my purse and took a photo just now (January 2021) to show what it looks like today after using it daily and never thinking about it since I made it.....

I suppose I could make it look 'pretty' if I wanted to (maybe use a bit of gray paint to cover and match the case) but I don't really care and no one has ever noticed it (not even myself) so why bother?  Ha ha.


  






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2.13.2020

Our cream colored sectional - a small space sized sectional from Serta


I thought I'd take a second to explain why this photo looks a little off and grainy (?).  Funny actually.
I had a long list of things I needed to get done, and writing a review on this sofa wasn't one of them.  However, the local power company was outside the front of the house, on the main road, trimming trees around the power lines.  And they knicked something or other, and all the homes in the neighborhood lost power. 

Not a big deal, I stopped what I was working on online and decided to make something for dinner later that evening.  Um, nope. Don't open the freezer or refrigerator; not sure how long power will be out.  Lunch?  Nope. No power, so no stove or microwave.  Laundry!  Uh, power.

I looked at my list and everything I felt like doing involved electricity; but the things that didn't involve electricity were not things I wanted to do (like start prepping the basement level or bathroom or laundry room for painting!)

So, I took my cell phone, went upstairs to the (dark) loft area; and took a photo of the new sectional I had just put together.  The room is dark as it's in the center of the house, so I used the flash on my phone to snap a quick photo.

That's why this photo is such awesome quality!  Ha ha.

https://amzn.to/2w9K2gp

Another furniture post!  Yes.  Because we again gave some of our furniture to another one of our kids!  Ha ha.

When we moved into our current home, there was an open area at the top of the stairs that we called "the loft" and decided to put a tv up there along with some simple bookshelves to hold movies and games.  This room wasn't going to be used much and we didn't want to spend any time or money on it so one of my daughter's and I went out shopping, saw a nice black leather futon and bought that for the room.  I added a simple gray and white, some black and white throw pillows and some cheap black bookcases; and there it was for the next few years.

Pretty much forgotten and used actually as most everyone went upstairs to grab a movie but then watched it downstairs in the family room on the big screen tv.

Recently another child of ours was married and moved into their first home.  We donated to cause - gladly!  And it worked out fabulous that the basement of the new home had recently been refinished with neutral gray walls, dark wood floors and best yet?  Black ceiling tiles instead of the typical (and boring white).  Our black leather futon, the bookshelves, coffee table and rugs would go perfectly in their basement 'man cave' which gave me the chance to finally update this area for the first time in over 8 years!

LIGHT AND NEUTRAL, HERE I COME!  Ha ha.

And that is why I went online last week and searched for a simple, small, affordable sectional in a light color for this space.

What I found was a sectional with the dimensions of 57.5 x 80 x 36 inches which was perfect for the small space I had to work with!   I opted for this one: Serta Harmon Sectional,  in cream


Product Description from Amazon (where I purchased it)
  • 100% Polyester
  • Ideal for comfortable seating in small spaces
  • Contemporary design to suit any decor
  • Upholstered in soft microfiber fabric
  • Sturdy design supported with quality hardwood materials
  • Easy assembly required; tools included

It was SO FAST to put together.  It comes in one box and all I needed to do was attach the legs by simply screwing them into the already drilled holes, fold up the back piece of the sofa (you can see in the photo) and decide which side I wanted the 'L' of the sectional to be on and put the cushions in place accordingly.


This sectional has pros and cons.

I love the size.
I love the firm cushions.
I love the color.
I love how easy it was to set up.
I love how light it is for ease of moving, lifting to straighten the rug, etc.

Now the cons...

It's not really durable if you expect it to have really heavy use. Kids jumping on it would probably break the frame.  I lifted one end to move it onto the newly laid rug and felt like it was 'twisting' so the frame is very, very 'simple'.
The frame doesn't feel as durable to me as most heavier furniture I would use in a living room but seems fine as long as you aren't jumping on it and moving it all the time.
The fabric is 'magnetic' when it comes to attracting strings, fuzz and other little do-dads.




My overall thought on this purchase is that it's perfect for the space I need it for.  I don't anticipate many people using it since it's in an upstairs loft area that that is 'walked through' more than used.

It DOES come in other colors, which would be much easier to keep clean if that is a concern of yours!  The darker colors are beautiful and there are many, many colors to choose from.

I love this sectional for a college dorm room, a first apartment or a small area or living room of a single person, a young couple, a man living on his own or an older person.  Basically, just not for a big family with a lot of rambunctious kids as I really just don't see how it would last long with a lot of really heavy everyday use that kids bring to a home.  :)





 The exact one I bought - from Amazon
 



Serta Harmon Sectional, Cream









I Own This And Love It: Ashley Furniture Signature Design - Larkinhurst Brown Rolled Arm and Nailhead Sofa/Couch and Loveseat


Spur of the moment photo this morning - it's 3 1/2 years old and holding up great


This is one of the many, many posts that I have in old draft files that never saw the light of day.  As a matter of fact I think this post idea is about 3 1/2 years old now.  Yes... over 3 years!  And even funnier is that the photos I took at the time are probably in a draft file somewhere, but it would take too long to find them so instead I just literally walked into the family room and took 'new' pictures - but that works out better for my readers.

Why?

Because these are legit Larkinhurst furniture photos that are now over 3 years old and have seen a lot of 'life' and you can see how nice they are holding up.

About 3 1/2 years ago we gave our much-loved real brown leather furniture to our oldest daughter, who was moving into a home of her own.  We didn't really intend to do this, but things fell into place that we did and I was left looking for some new furniture!  However, we did not have a budget for it so the really nice, expensive, real leather furniture we had, was replaced with a fake leather but still nice looking set.  My thought process was that it was going in a family room anyway; not the formal living room; and if it didn't hold up well after a few years, it was affordable enough that we needed to be ok with that.

But when it arrived (because I had ordered it online and didn't get to see it in person) it was really nice looking!  And it looked real. And it held up really, really well!





Here is a close up of the rolled arms - we own both the sofa and the loveseat


Unfortunately, if you have pets, you probably know the 'smooshed back cushion' syndrome.  Cats like to lay on the top of the cushions and dogs like to jump up on the couch to bark out the window if they hear someone walking or driving by.....

This couch and loveseat have something I love to remedy this.


A hidden zipper!

This was a selling point for me on this set of furniture before I bought it.  I loved the hidden zipper because you can insert your hand and arm, and fluff up the stuffing!  Seriously!  Just reach in, push the stuffing back up and into place and your smooshed cushion is now fluffy again.
 

Here is a close up of the cleaning instruction sticker under the cushions.


Have I cleaned ours?  YES.  As a matter of fact, in the top photo above, the rolled arm you see as well as the cushion have been cleaned after little toddlers enjoyed sticky... something (?) on it.  I've cleaned juice spills, sticky food something-or-other and milk spills from a bottle and sippee cups. 

I've taken so long to get around to posting this Ashley Furniture post that I don't know if they even sell this set yet, but if they do, you can see that after 3 1/2 years, I'm still quite happy with our set and wouldn't hesitate to say yes, I like it.   Not as well as my expensive 'real' leather furniture, but for an affordable faux leather set, it's worked out pretty well!




Larkinhurst Collection



Signature Design by Ashley - Larkinhurst Contemporary Sofa, Earth

Signature Design by Ashley - Larkinhurst Loveseat, Earth


   Larkinhurst Traditional Earth Rocker Recliner with Nailhead Trim


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