The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Kate & Allie DVD Box Set

I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic for some old TV shows that I used to watch when I was a kid. Kate & Allie sprang to mind, so I checked Amazon to see if there’s a DVD box set available. There is.

I actually haven’t seen too many Kate & Allie episodes. I only watched it very irregularly, but heard a lot about it because a good friend loved the show. So I think a majority of the episodes would be new to me. That’s always a plus when purchasing a box set.

The only thing I don’t like is the price. $72 seems a bit steep for such an old show — even if the set does contain six seasons. I think I’ll wait and see if the price will come down to around $50 or so. For now, this goes on my Wish List.

Tea Tree Oil for Dark Acne Spots

Several months ago, I posted about my experiences with Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil. At the time, I used the oil only on full-blown pimples, and was disappointed when the pimples lasted just as long as they would have without the tea tree oil.

But recently I tried tea tree oil on a dark acne spot — you know, the kind of non-permanent “scar” that is left behind after a particularly big zit finally subsides. Usually those scars last FOREVER on my skin. I mean, we’re talking MONTHS here. This time around, however, I started applying tea tree oil once a day as soon as I noticed the dark patch starting to show. After only one week of this, there is a VERY noticeable difference in the scar’s appearance. It has faded almost completely away already! It’s still there and I’ll still have to apply a bit of concealer before going out, but this looks much better than if I’d just let the scar try to heal on its own time.

I tend to get these dark acne spots several times a year, which is embarrassing enough for someone in her thirties. But thanks to tea tree oil, at least I’ll only have to suffer for a couple of weeks instead of three or four long months. You have to try this!

Family Feud & Friends iPad App

I used to love Family Feud as a kid, so when I saw this FREE Family Feud & Friends iPad app recently, there was no question I would download it. Other than a couple of small issues, I think this is a great game!

Here’s the description from the iTunes Store:

Survey Says: Play the Ultimate Social Gaming Experience on the go!

You can now experience exciting Family Feud competition together with Facebook friends and other Family Feud & Friends players as you try to name the most popular answers to survey questions posed to 100 people.

Challenge your friends, family, and the larger Family Feud & Friends community, with built-in social features that enhance the game experience for all players.

Family Feud & Friends features:
• Social game play with Facebook friends, and the ability to follow personal and friends’ progress via daily high score rankings.
• Favorite elements from the TV show, including thousands of survey questions, ‘Fast Money’ play, authentic theme music and the familiar scoreboard in dazzling HD.
• Predictive text input and auto spell checker to make typing answers lightning fast.
• Retina display

Are you up for the challenge? Try it Now!

First, I think the graphics are great in this game. The display is very crisp and clear, and though there aren’t any screens that require a lot of detail (for example, there aren’t any people in this game) it still looks good. Second, there are just tons of questions! I know they will inevitably start to repeat (that’s the problem with ALL trivia games), but for the time being they’re new, interesting, and fun. Third, the typing is very easy. There is predictive text in this game, so you don’t have to type out entire words or phrases. That’s important since you’re on the clock for every answer. And fourth, your answers don’t have to match the survey answers EXACTLY. For example, if you type “job” and the answer on the board is “Career”, you’ll get credit for it. This kind of detail is often overlooked in other electronic trivia games.

Though I don’t like to complain about a free app, there are a couple of things I don’t like about this one. For example, I haven’t found a way to disable in-game purchases of coins. This makes me hesitate to let my son play the game because he often clicks through those alerts (“Are you sure you want to buy?”) without reading carefully. And I don’t like that you’re basically forced to log in with Facebook in order to enjoy all of the game functions. I get that the developers want something (data) in return for their free game; however, they don’t give enough in return. If you sign in with Facebook, then you should enjoy unlimited games instead of having to “pay” 2 coins each time.

Nevertheless, I still think this is a great app! Family Feud & Friends is totally addictive, and is one of the higher quality free apps I’ve come across. Check it out for yourself!

Pizza Hut Cheeseburger Pizza

Have you heard that Pizza Hut will be serving a Cheeseburger Pizza now? It’s pretty much what it sounds like: a regular pizza with mini cheeseburgers baked into the crust (like in the picture).

Look, I like pizzas and I like cheeseburgers, but combining the two just doesn’t make sense to me. The scary thing is, you know this product wasn’t rolled out without extensive market research, so it’s likely that people will actually try this thing. Not me, though!

Under Armour Coldblack Run Cap

Now that the weather is consistently warm, I can stop going to the gym, where all I see are muscleheads hopped up on novatest, and start running outside again. But that means I have to dress for the elements, which is why I recently purchased this Under Armour Coldblack run cap.

This is a lightweight, 100% polyester cap that is made with something called “coldblack” technology that purportedly blocks out the sun. (Hmm, isn’t that what all caps do, regardless of the “technology” used?) Anyway, this hat is part of the Under Armour Heat Gear line, so it’s supposed to keep you cool in the summer.

I’ve used this hat on numerous runs already. Although it hasn’t been totally hot out yet, I can say that this product does a great job of keeping the sun out of my eyes so I don’t even have to use sunglasses anymore. In addition, this is one of the most comfortable hats I’ve ever worn. I can barely feel it on my head, so it doesn’t bother me at all when I’m running. The sweatband also does a good job of keeping sweat from running down my face, which is obviously a benefit not found with sunglasses alone.

All in all, I’m really digging this coldblack cap so far. I don’t know that it was worth $25, but clearly a significant portion of that price tag is just for the Under Armour name. I’m interested in seeing how this cap holds up after a wash. I plan to hand wash it and then air dry it to minimize damage as much as possible. Still, I’m worried that the bill will somehow get messed up in the process. It feels like it’s made of something other than cardboard, though, so here’s hoping that doesn’t happen!

Tax refund alternatives?

A lot of people “count” on getting a tax refund at this time of year, and plan to use the money for rent, groceries, and other normal expenses. I know very few people who use their refund to splurge on vacations, electronic gadgets, and other unnecessary things.

But what can you do if you’re not getting the amount you expected? I was talking to my cousin about this very thing because he’s in that boat right now. He lives out west, and the first thing he’s going to do is apply for the best car title loans Utah has to offer. If he can get money loaned against his car, he’ll be able to scrape by until his paychecks start rolling in.

If the loan idea doesn’t work out, he might sell his car and downgrade to a cheaper model. He owns the vehicle outright, so that shouldn’t be too hard to do.

After that, it’s going to be the usual round of asking relatives for money, selling stuff on eBay or Craigslist, holding a garage sale, etc.

What do you do if you need fast cash at this time of year and can’t count on Uncle Sam to cough up a decent refund?

7 Things that Are Cheaper in April

I found this article via the Financially Fit section of Yahoo. There’s no point in linking you to the original, as Yahoo deactivates their links after just a few months, but here’s the gist. We all know certain things are cheaper to buy at certain times of the year, right? Well, the seven things you should buy in April are:

  • Cruises (currently 11% cheaper than in April 2011)
  • BBQ grills (though better deals might be available closer to Memorial Day)
  • Office furniture (again, check prices because they might dip even lower in May and June)
  • Desktop computers (current prices are comparable to Black Friday deals)
  • Spring clothing (mid-season deals are starting to appear now)
  • Home improvement products (just in time for spring and summer projects)
  • HD TVs (especially non-brand names, which are currently 14% cheaper than in December)

Audio Technica ATH-ANC7B Noise Cancelling Headphones

I live in a townhouse and share a wall with a neighbor whose kids take piano lessons. This neighbor is usually very considerate and friendly, and generally doesn’t bother me — except for those damn piano lessons. But since the kids only practice during “normal” hours (meaning neither too early in the morning nor too late at night) and limit their practice to about an hour a day, I feel I can’t really complain. So I ended up buying these Audio Technica ATH-ANC7B noise cancelling headphones to help me deal with the racket.

Since noise cancelling headphones are significantly more expensive than regular headphones, I did quite a bit of research before buying. There were some Bose models that reportedly performed better, but I wasn’t willing to spend more than $300 for this type of product. All the consumer reviews I read basically said Audio Tehnica provided the best price-performance ratio, so that’s why I chose this model.

It should be noted that I did not purchase these headphones for use on airplanes or to listen to my iPod or anything like that. The ONLY thing I wanted them for was to block out that infernal piano music coming from next door. In this regard, the head phones have been…okay, but not great. They do dull the sound quite a bit, but I can still hear too much of the noise for comfort. It’s really hard to put this into concrete terms, but I guess I can say I was expecting these headphones to block out about 90% of the noise whereas the reality is that they block out about 75-80% of the noise.

Overall, these headphones perform reasonably well for a $130 product. They are not great, but then again, I didn’t opt for the highest priced option, so I guess I got what I paid for. The consumer reviews I read were typically correct: Good product for the price, but not the best out there.