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O'Reilly Auto Parts vs. Advanced Auto Parts vs..... Walmart?

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

I drive an old pickup truck, she's now an antique in vehicle years, I call her Ol' Nellie.  She's not the purdiest truck around, but she runs good.  She has 129,000 plus miles on her, she's paid for (No, she's not that kind of truck....) she's not nickle and diming me yet (If only something else was that cheap....) and she gets me from point 'A' to point 'B' just fine.  So I aim to keep her as long as I can, I see no need for a new truck, Ol' Nellie is fine by me. 

I do a few do-it-yourself things for my truck, top off the fluids for example and she does have a bit of rust on her, so lately I've been working on a few body repairs. 

So who has the best prices for that kind of thing?

O'Reilly and Advanced are auto parts specialty stores (obviously), but guess what, you pay a little extra at 'specialty' stores.

The Walmart price for the same product is significantly lower and bonus, the hours are better, with many Walmart locations being open 24 hours.

Rain-xJust check out the price difference on something as simple as windshield washer fluid.  The price for a gallon of Rain-X brand, 2-in-1 All Season Windshield Washer Fluid is $4.79 at O'Reilly Auto Parts.  It will cost you $4.49 at Advanced, but just $2.87 at Walmart.  O'Reilly is gouging you on the windshield washer fluid.

PrestoneNeed some power steering fluid?  The price for a 32 ounce bottle of Prestone Power Steering Fluid with Stop Leak will cost you $6.99 at Advanced Auto Parts.  It's 'on sale' at O'Reilly for $5.99, but it's only $4.27 at Walmart.  That's ouch on the wallet at Advanced!

And it would seem that the higher the dollar amount, the deeper the gouge....  When it comes to Bondo, the project I'm currently undertaking, a person can pay WAY too much for a one gallon container of Bondo Body Filler.  It will cost you a whopping $29.99 at O'Reilly.  It's 'on sale' at Advanced for $21.99.  You can get the very same thing at Walmart for just $15.44.  On sale at Advanced means you're still paying far too much!

BondoSo if you do light work on your vehicle, items needed for an oil change or topping off fluids like windshield washer fluid, get them at Walmart.  Doing some body work?  Buy your Bondo at Walmart.  But if you do more tasking things yourself, like replacing an alternator, you'll have to go to O'Reilly or Advanced for something like that.   I would wonder though, am I paying too much for that alternator?

Spend Wisely My Friends.....

via www.bacheloronthecheap.com


Pulse shooter originally planned to target Disney World

Prosecutors revealed Wednesday that the man who carried out a deadly mass shooting at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub in 2016 originally planned to strike Disney World. 

Prosecutors alleged that the man, Omar Mateen, had intended to open fire at Disney Springs, a shopping and entertainment area, but was deterred from doing so after seeing police officers, NBC News reported

It was then that he chose instead to go to the nearby Pulse nightclub, where he killed 49 people, prosecutors said.

"The target of that terrorist attack was not the Pulse nightclub," Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Sweeney said, according to NBC News. "The target of the attack was Disney."

via thehill.com


Spring Planting Time - Bachelor on the Cheap

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

It's that time of year again!  The temporary "pop-up" garden shops are getting set up in grocery and hardware store parking lots and I'm ready to get my hands dirty planting seeds.

I really enjoy gardening, being able to just walk out my door and harvest some tomatoes, lettuce, onions and an assortment of other veggies for a salad or a side dish is one of those priceless, simple pleasures of life for me.

The best part of having a garden, it doesn't get any fresher than that!

I like gardening so much, I even did an indoor gardening project this winter, but enjoying my hobby out in nice weather is SO much better.

20180320_081009If you're into gardening, now is the time to be planting seeds indoors to transplant in the backyard and/or patio garden after that last frost.  You don't need a bunch of gardening gadgets or containers to get started either, just a couple of cardboard egg cartons and some potting soil will do.  Pictured right, three eggs cartons, 'seed starting' with parsley, cilantro and Roma tomato.  In other cartons I've started lettuces, peas, green beans, cucumbers not in an egg carton, an avocado tree!

I'm going to have a bunch of great looking starter plants in no time and I'll be saving a lot of money vs. buying starter plants at one of those pop-up garden shops to boot!  That's Bachelor on the Cheap friendly.

And about that last frost, here's a planting guide to help you get started, as well as a hardiness zone map to help you determine just what kind of plants will thrive outdoors where you live.

Happy Planting! 

via www.bacheloronthecheap.com


IHeartMedia Bankruptcy: Radio Company Enters Chapter 11

IHeartMedia Inc., the biggest U.S. radio broadcaster, filed for bankruptcy with a plan to ease its debt load of more than $20 billion after almost a year of fractious negotiations with creditors.

The company, with about 850 radio stations and 17,000 employees worldwide, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Wednesday in Houston to keep operating as it tries to work out a way to turn the business around and pay its debts.

via fortune.com

Related:  Trucking Jobs


Using newspaper to start your charcoal is good, but Weber Lighter Cubes are even better

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

You can start your charcoal several ways, you can use lighter fluid, you can buy those ‘Match Light’ briquettes, or you can do what I think is the best way to go and that’s fire up your charcoal using a charcoal chimney. I don’t like lighter fluid for several reasons. I don’t like to store it, I don’t like running out, the smell can get on your hands and clothes, and inexperienced grillers tend to put too much on or start grilling over charcoals that aren’t really ready yet, giving your food that nasty fuel taste. Those ‘Match Light’ briquettes are OK, they’re very convenient, but they are more expensive and like the traditional charcoal/lighter fluid starting method, can put a fuel taste on your food if cooked over before the coals are really ready. Avoid the fuel taste risk completely and start your charcoal by using a charcoal chimney.

For tips on how to use a charcoal chimney if you're not familiar with them, go to www.grillinggoodeats.com

Weber Lighter CubesI recently bought a new Master Touch series Weber Kettle Grill and while picking up a few accessories for it, came across an alternative to using a few sheets of newspaper to start charcoal - Weber Lighter Cubes.  I decided to give them a try.

These non-toxic and odorless alternatives to newspaper rock!  They're easy to use, inexpensive and easy to store!

Only two cubes are needed to start a chimney full of charcoal and the cubes come in a box of 24, so that's 12 grilling events.  And priced at $3.99 a box, they may be cheaper than that newspaper subscription.  Here are a few bonuses to NOT having to use newspaper:   Bonus #1 - Storing newspaper takes up space and can be unorganized, the cubes take up far less space.  Bonus #2 - No newspaper ash blowing around on a windy day!  On windy days, I would lightly coat the newspaper with some cooking spray before stuffing it in the charcoal chimney. That extends the burn time of the paper and prevents those little ashes from blowing around.  But with the cubes, that step isn't necessary.

Pick up a box of Weber Lighter Cubes before your next grilling event and give them a try.  Just light a few cubes before setting your chimney of charcoal over the top of them and you'll have hot coals in no time!  According to the package, these things even light when wet!

Weber Lighter Cubes get 5 out of 5 stars

5 stars

via www.grillinggoodeats.com


Shopping at Dollar Tree - Bachelor on the Cheap

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

20180308_094548(1)It doesn't get any cheaper than this folks.

Regular readers know that I'm a fan of Dollar Tree.  For typical household cleaning products, soaps, sponges, detergents, etc., and kitchen goods like paper plates, napkins, foil, etc., buying such things at Dollar Tree saves you A LOT of cash.  Not only do you save on the cash, but you don't have to give up on quality/product ability either.

Yesterday was a shopping/errand day for me, I picked up a few items at Dollar Tree in checking some things off my "To Do" list.

Check out what I bought and the price I paid.

20180309_152601Dollar Tree:  It doesn't get any cheaper than that folks.

You can't buy all those items pictured and listed right anywhere else for just $13.98.  You just can't.

Dollar Tree gets five out of five Bachelor on the Cheap stars

5 stars

Spend Wisely My Friends.....


Mainstream Grocery vs. Discount Grocery: Save money at Aldi

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Are you interested in saving money without sacrificing on quality to do it?

AldiDo your regular grocery shopping at Aldi.  If you're not already familiar with the discount grocer, I'll show you why you should start shopping there. 

On my list of things to do today was grocery shopping, so after enjoying some bacon and eggs for breakfast (One never wants to grocery shop on an empty stomach) I headed out to my local Aldi to pick up a few eats.  It was business as usual, but on a whim while loading groceries into my truck, I decided to head over to the mainstream grocery store for some shopping.  Pulling out my grocery list for a second time, I bought all the same stuff at the 'Top Dog' store for a cost comparison.

Dillon'sI focused on buying the store brand (Kroger) to make things fair.  I did that because I already suspected Aldi would come out cheaper, but I thought it would be close in an item-by-item comparison.  And if you didn't already know it, buying the name brand in most cases is like flushing money down the toilet.  No, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is not the best of its kind out there.  A box of off-brand toasted oats is just as good as a box of Cheerios.

Here was my shopping list:

  • Milk
  • Coffee Creamer
  • Pork Sausage
  • Steak
  • Little Smokies
  • Lunchmeat
  • Sliced Cheese
  • Baby Carrots
  • Bananas
  • Salad
  • Avocado
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Canned Mushrooms
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Tortilla Chips

Aldi Receipt (2)I didn't deviate from the list, I just needed some bare necessities this week to supplement what I already have at home in the pantry and fridge.  I bought 16 items at each store.

My cost at Aldi:  $30.46

My cost at Dillon's:  $43.19

HOLY COW!

The difference is $12.73 on just 16 items and I bought the store brand stuff (whenever possible) at Dillon's!  I really didn't think the total bills would have such a big gap, but there it is, in black and white.  Can you imagine how much larger that gap would have been if I had bought name brand products at Dillon's?  And here's the kicker, I used my Dillon's loyalty card which rewards the purchase of the store brand stuff with discounts!

"So Mike," you ask, "Were there any notable product/price differences?"

Yes there was, most all to Aldi's advantage.  Check out the following examples:

  • The garden salad at Aldi was 89 cents for 12 ounces.  The garden salad (remember, whenever possible, everything purchased at Dillon's was their in-store Kroger brand) at Dillon's was 99 cents for 12 ounces.
  • The ham lunch meat at Aldi was $2.39, the ham lunch meat at Dillon's was $2.69, same weight containers.
  • A 1/2 gallon of milk at Aldi was $1.13, a 1/2 gallon at Dillon's was $1.79.
  • The price for a large Haas avocado at Aldi was just 49 cents.  Dillon's offered medium Haas avocados at 99 cents each.  Check out the pic!

Dillon's ReceiptAll but three items purchased at Aldi were cheaper than the same but store brand item purchased at Dillon's.  The only real outlier was the steak, but only because of weight.  I bought a top sirloin cut at both stores.  The steak at Aldi, cost $6.97.  Now marinading in the fridge, it weighed in at 1.27 pounds, or $5.49 a pound.  The steak at Dillon's, also marinading in the fridge along with the Aldi steak, cost $11.83, and that's with the loyalty card discount!  It weighed in at 1.48 pounds, or $9.99 a pound.  How the two steaks, using the same preparation, will differ in taste is another story.....

The bottom line to this story is, I'm a fan of Aldi.  They offer quality products and significant savings over a traditional, mainstream, full-service grocery store.  I have no problem bagging my own groceries.  I enjoy saving money for virtually the same product and that allows me to budget those savings (significant savings) into other areas of life. I don't do any regular shopping at a mainstream, full-service grocery store and if/when I do shop at one, it's just to pick up a few items as a matter of convenience or to take advantage of a coupon deal.  The mainstream store in my neck of the woods just happens to be closer to where I live, than the Aldi's or the Club Membership store (Costco, my second favorite grocery store) is.  So there you have it, logistics, is pretty much the ONLY reason I would shop at a place like Dillon's. 

Spend Wisely My Friends.....

Dillon's vs. Aldi Avocados

Dillon's vs. Aldi Steaks

Dillon's vs. Aldi steak labels

www.bacheloronthecheap.com

 


Shopping for a new grill - Bachelor on the Cheap

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

So I'm in need of a new grill.  But what kind of grill should I buy? Which is better, gas or charcoal?

Any kind of grill is better than no grill. A grill can be a piece of scrap metal and two cinder blocks standing over a small pile of charcoal, or it can be the latest stainless steel propane gas model with infra-red heat for searing and two side burners. Grills vary greatly in size, shape, fuel source, cost and most importantly, the ability to deliver flavor.

That last reason - flavor - is why I’m a charcoal grill enthusiast and my grill shopping on a budget will be done with that in mind. Don’t worry, you’ll get plenty of useful information from this article you’re a gas griller, but I’m here to tell you, charcoal grills deliver better flavor every time. Don’t get me wrong, gas grills have their place, but along with the great flavor charcoal delivers, charcoal has other advantages like the flexibility of using it to give big steaks that high heat sear, or using it to cook ribs low and slow. Another advantage charcoal grills have over gas is that you can easily add wood to the fire, putting another layer of flavor on that great looking piece of meat. You can add wood to a gas grill, but you’re pretty much restricted to using wood chips and you have to keep those chips away from the gas burners, almost forcing you to buy one of those gas grill accessories - the wood chip box. In my experience, the gas grill and those little wood chip boxes just don’t measure up to the flavors you can add using a charcoal grill setup. Here are some more advantages to the charcoal grill:
Grill advantage
You may have noticed, I left out electric grills in that breakdown. That’s because electric grills suck. Don’t buy one. They don’t deliver the heat they promise, you’re restricted to where you can plug it in and like the gas grill, they don’t deliver any flavor. Durability with electric grills is also an issue. I used to have an electric grill, I converted it over to charcoal after the element burned out.

“What about smokers?” you ask. This article focuses on grilling, smoking is a whole different level of backyard-cooking-meat-with-fire-experience.

So now that I’ve covered the advantages and disadvantages of the two main grill types and you now know that charcoal is the way to go, let’s talk about grills available with a budget of $150.00.  I've got enough space on my apartment patio to comfortably fit a decent sized grill, something with enough cooking grate space to prepare a delicious grilled meal for 4 - 6 people.

In shopping around, I found the following grills meeting my criteria: 

Weber Kettle GrillWeber Original Kettle Premium 22" Grill:  $149 at Ace Hardware, Cabela's, Home Depot, Walmart.  On sale for $134.10 at Lowe's.  This grill has a well-deserved reputation of durability, a 363 square inch cooking surface and an enclosed ash catcher that is easily removed for disposal.   The Premium model also comes with a hinged cooking grate that allows you to easily replenish charcoal without removing food.

Char-broil Charcoal Barrel GrillChar-broil Charcoal Barrel Grill:  $140.98, Walmart.  With 568 square inches of cooking space, this grill features adjustable fire grates and dampers, as well as a removable ash pan. The grates are cast iron, which are great for searing. It also has a swing-a-way warming rack and a handy side shelf.

Kingsford GrillKingsford 32" Charcoal Grill:  $129.98, Jet.com, Walmart.  It's $185.91 on Amazon.  This grill has a 495 square-inch primary cooking area, to include a cast iron cooking grid which is adjustable.  There is a pull out charcoal pan and you can keep your space organized with two, fold-able side shelves that include a convenient tool hook and a bottle opener.

Royal Gourmet GrillRoyal Gourmet Barrel Grill:   $128.03, Home Depot.  With a compact design this grill can fit on most patios, balconies and decks.  There is an offset smoker box but just 182 square inches of cooking space. 

All grills came with multiple online reviews, but Weber comes out on top with better overall and higher scoring reviews.   And while I take caution in putting too much stock into online reviews, they do provide a gauge of sorts in prepping for a purchase and a number of negative reviews on a specific product does raise some red flags.  There were a few red flags here, with one manufacturer for example shipping their grill without all the required parts to properly assemble.  Another manufacturer shipped defective parts.  Those kind of red flags are important, because unless you want to pay extra for an assembled unit, you'll be doing it yourself and you'll want to have all parts available and fitting properly. 

So what grill did I end up buying?

20180303_081530I went with the Weber Kettle.  There is a reason this is the most popular grill in backyards across the country.  And it doesn't hurt that celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay and Steven Raichlen prefer Weber as well.  Taken care of properly, this grill is going to last a very long time, it truly is built to last.  The Weber Kettle is also probably the most versatile of the grills I listed, I can grill, roast, smoke and I can stand up a whole chicken on a can of beer and still get the lid on!  Weber has also done a nice job of making the Kettle easy to accessorize with the Gourmet BBQ System. The array of GBS inserts, such as a pizza stone, wok, and griddle, will turn you into a grill master. 

20180303_081632
Read more about grills and finding the best deals at www.bacheloronthecheap.com

Spend Wisely My Friends..... 

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Start plants from seed rather than buying starter plants - Bachelor on the Cheap

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

The seed purchases I made through catalog and online orders back in December are starting to arrive in my mailbox.  Why such a delay?  Most seed companies don't ship until it gets close to planting time and they take starting seed indoors into consideration.

Starting plants from seed is a great way to not only save money vs. buying over-priced starter plants in the spring, but you get to customize what will be in your garden.  You get to choose what goes in your garden rather than having to settle for what a garden shop has in stock.

Every spring, you see all those pop-up garden centers being put up in parking lots, whether at the local grocery store or Walmart.  I still frequent those, but they are limited in plant variety and even bonafide garden centers might not have a particular plant variety you're looking for.  And again, you'll pay a premium for starter plants, it's spring time after all....

20180211_074647Enter seed packets.....

I received an order from Park Seed the other day.  My order included:

  1. Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
  2. Italian Large Leaf Basil
  3. Salad Bowl Mix Organic Greens
  4. Peppermint
  5. Radish Park Beauty Blend
  6. Dill
  7. Greek Oregano
  8. Chives
  9. Organic Arugula
  10. Organic Roma Tomato
  11. Cilantro Calypso

That total for that order cost me just $15.94 and that includes shipping costs.  I would have spent at least five times that amount for starter plants and I wouldn't have found all those varieties in just one garden center location, pop-up or otherwise.

via bacheloronthecheap.com