Coffee savings

While on a trip to England we got into drinking strong hot coffee during those cold and rainy days.

We found a coffee shop called Costa coffee very similar to Starbucks but we thought was better.   They served their coffee in china cups and saucers, although you could get coffee “to go”  (“take out”  in UK lingo) in paper cups.  The saucer was slightly offset so that a small cookie could be placed next to the coffee. We mainly had Americanos which is basically a double espresso with hot water.  That and real cream was wonderful.

When we returned home we would go for walks and stop off at our local coffee shop for our Americano fix but it was never the same, plus it was always in a paper cup. So instead of paying approx $5 for 2 coffee’s, which came to $30 a week  for 6 days if we walked daily. This obviously was not following our frugal goal, so we decided to buy our own Espresso machine and make coffee at home so we could control the coffee quality and have it in our own china cup.

As a starter machine we bought a DeLonghi single serving machine. This machine was in the $60 range, so it was in the lower cost range of espresso machines.  It turned out to be adequate for what we needed. The coffee  we made was great and we obviously saved a significant amount over the years.

So instead of spending a large amount of cash  in a coffee shops you can still have the pleasure of a cup of coffee at home.

Update  1/4/11 :- Inflation, today we went to restock our coffee supply and found the prices had gone up. It now is getting closer to $6 for a pound of Coffee, but still cheaper than drinking out.

After checking with Fresh and Easy supermarket they told me they are only on the West coast at present.

What is Computer info doing on the 2BRetired site?

One thing I have notice since I have been getting older, although I am fighting it, my memory is not what it was. We presently do all the web site and computer stuff ourselves. I will do a setting on this site or my personal computer then a few months later I have forgotten exactly how I did it. So we decided to put these how-to settings on this blog to help us remember how we did it, plus as a benefit to help our readers to be able to do the setups.

Park your phone

Since ATT put up their rates in our area we decided we did not need the second phone line, but wanted to keep the phone number for future use. We found a company called  family-phone.com that offers a service that parks your phone number with an answering machine.  So if any one calls that number we get an e-mail saying we have a message. Presently they charge $5 a month for this service, they have other services, but you save on all those fees and tax’s on the ATT bill every month.

The side effect also was that we gave this number on sales slips, so any sales calls go to a machine. This helped when we kept getting a $15 carpet cleaning commercial we just erased the e-mail. You can listen to the message also from the e-mail. You should try it.

Eventualy we will port the number to our Magicjack or Nettalk when that eventually becomes available.

Social Security something to consider

Its easy to apply online for your benefits.

I personally signed up to a apply online, but due to a wait to receive my password, I went to my local Social Security office.  A new one happened to open up  locally, and was close by.

To apply online click here:- or call:  1-800-772-1213.

I took my Social Security early at 62;  although reduce. For me I break even or gain if I die before approx.83 (pun intended).

The reason I took it early was my concern that the Government may change the rules. Due to this unknown and the possibility of being grandfathered in before any changes, I decided to take it at age 62.

Update Dec 2010.

There was a loophole in Social  Security rules that allowed you to pay back, without interest, what you received in Social Security payments before you reached 70.  You may then re-apply for a bigger payout.  Apparently they just discontinued this, which shows me that you cannot bank on any existing Social Security rules as they can change at any time.

Private and Company Pensions

Presently I managed to retire early because I qualified for my company’s defined benefits pension plan.  After 30 years and 60,000 hours it was a long time coming.  The closer I got to the 60,000 hours the more anxiety I had that I would not make it, due to lay offs and  work options getting less and less.

Finally I got the hours and was laid off at 59 1/2 so I had 6 months before I got my pension at 60. Then I got seriously sick, which is another story.

Now I am concerned about if my pension will be there in the future with all this worldwide economic problems.

Please leave comment about what you would like to see in this area.

Adding a Donations button to Wordress

First install the  PayPal Donations plugin.

Follow the plugin set up. After you have set up the plugin, you will notice that when you click on the Donation button on your page you get redirected to your PayPal account with your email address pasted across to top of the page. Now this is not a problem  for your donations but it could allows spammers the possible access to you email address. What I wanted was to change the email address to a logo. It took a me a while to realize it was not done in the plugin but my PayPal account web page.

Next sign into your PayPal account and click on Profile then lower down  More Options .

This brings you to the Selling Preferences page, then click on Custom Payment page.

When you get here click on ADD.

You will see a box for Header Image URL.

This logo must be on a secure https server also known as a SSL server. You can do a search on SSL Image Hosting and find a few free and paid choices.  I personally use SSLPic wich is free. Go to their site and follow their setups and they email you a secure URL location that you can copy into your PayPal Header Image URL secure http box.

You can click on our Donate button on the right bar,  just see what the logo looks like. You do not need to donate just take a look.  We used a free program called GIMP which is a open source graphic like PhotoShop to design our logo and photo’s. I will post a article all about GIMP in the future.


Installing a localhost and WordPress to you PC

By installing a localhost onto your computer you are basically creating a mini server on your PC. You now have a test platform to check out WordPress plugins and page/post layouts before updating your site.  Also I use my localhost as a working backup, I download my site to my localhost just in case my backup failed. There are basically 3 free localhost server software that I know of:  MAMP , XAMP for MAC or XAMP or WAMP for Windows PC. I personally use WAMP but the choice is your. Continue reading