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April 2016

Why pay the price for cable TV, when you can have Roku?

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

When I moved into my new apartment a few months back, I made the decision not to get any kind of television package, I just wanted the internet. That decision lasted two months.

Try as I might to occupy myself with more productive things, there are times when a person just wants to veg out and simply do nothing, to be entertained without effort.

I'm already paying too much for an internet connection with Cox Cable, so instead of contacting them and paying too much to have TV added to my monthly bill (a premium package with a decent amount of channels would cost another $40 a month) I decided to check out Roku, a little device that streams movies and TV shows. 

Why didn't I do this sooner!

After reading the reviews online, I picked up a Roku unit at Walmart for about $50.  I now have TV, a plethora of entertainment options.  There are all kinds of free movie and TV choices with Roku, to include live local news, streamed from the internet!  The unit was easy to install and the wireless internet connection is flawless, no buffering.

Last night I watched some local news, live at 6pm.  I also watched the latest episode of NCIS, my favorite TV show.  That requires a subscription - CBS All Access, about $5 a month - but that's still FAR cheaper than adding TV via Cox Cable.  Since getting my Roku unit, I've also enjoyed a number of movies and classic TV shows, all free on Roku.  I can watch Fox News, ESPN, CNN, etc.  It's not live stuff, but it IS within hours of the original broadcast.  There are also all kinds of new viewing options available with Roku, NOT available on TV, a large variety free movie channels, free news channels, free cooking channels, free classic and recent run TV channels.

One thing I can see myself doing, is adding NFL.com to my Roku package in the fall.  It's another subscription, but that's the beauty of Roku, it's kind of a la carte thing.  I don't need a football package for the entire year, I just need it during the season.  I can cancel that subscription at any time.  You can pick and choose what subscriptions you want, still keeping your monthly costs UNDER what Cox Cable will charge you for the same channels.

Don't pay Cox Cable prices for TV!

Roku rocks, it's Bachelor on the Cheap entertainment.

Roku gets five out of five Bachelor on the Cheap stars!

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Get the least expensive haircut in town at Fantastic Sam's

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

If you don't feel like spending $20+ on a haircut, find the nearest Fantastic Sam's.  That's where I went today as a first time customer and boy I'm glad I did! 

Arriving at about 10am, I figured I would have to wait a bit as there were a number of patrons already being attended to, but I was seated for a haircut in about two minutes.  The lady cutting my hair asked how I liked to have it cut and she nailed it.  She was fast too and just conversational enough to avoid that awkward silence.

The best part:  A men's haircut at Fantastic Sam's is just $10.95.   I was in and out in under 15 minutes and I'm real pleased with the result.  The store was clean, organized and all employees seemed customer oriented, not just, "on the job."   I got my haircut at the Rock Road location.  I'll be going there again next time I'm in need.

Fantastic Sam's get five out of five Bachelor on the Cheap Stars!

5 stars

 


Ramen soup for dinner, Ramen hack #2,669

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

It's a bit on the chilly side today and the weatherman has forecast local temps dropping down to 34 degrees overnight.  Brrrr!  Cover those plants!

So, soup is in order.  The following is another doctored up Ramen recipe, my go-to food when I'm not in the mood to cook.  The best thing, is this belly-filler can be done for less than $3.  Cheaper than a fast food meal and considering this is a chilly night, this quick soup is truly belly warming appropriate.

Ingredients:

  • One package of chicken flavored Ramen soup
  • 5-6 sprigs of asparagus, rough chopped
  • One can chicken breast
  • One Tablespoon soy sauce
  • One Tablespoon dried, minced onion
  • One Tablespoon canola oil
  • One teaspoon garlic powder
  • One teaspoon hot sauce
  • One teaspoon dried parsley flake (optional)
  • Two cups water

Directions:

Fire up the soup pan and once hot, add the canola oil.  Open up the can of chicken breast, drain, add to the pan, along with the asparagus.  Let things sizzle for a couple minutes, then add all remaining ingredients, water last.  Stir, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and let things marry for about 3 minutes.  Serve with additional hot sauce.

The most expensive ingredient in this soup was the canned chicken breast, which I got at Aldi for about $1.50.  The Ramen soup goes for about 25 cents and the 5-6 sprigs of asparagus were part of a big bunch I purchased for around $2.50, also at Aldi.

Enjoy!

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A great Asian inspired meal for under $3

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Veggie stir fryLook at this heaping plate full of food and know that you too can create this fantastic bachelor meal for under $3.  If you like Asian cuisine, you can stir fry this up in a jiffy, even if you don't own a wok.

This is vegetable stir fry, that's right, a veggie stir fry, you won't miss the meat, you really won't.  Especially if you're on a budget.

The key to good stir fry of course, is to have all your ingredients chopped and ready to throw in the pan and knowing WHAT to throw in at what time and on some high heat.....  The beauty of this recipe is that you can use whatever fresh veggie ingredients you have on hand.  Be flexible with it.

Ingredients:

  • One cup rice
  • Two cups water
  • One tab of butter
  • Tablespoon, vegetable oil
  • 5-6 baby carrots, sliced Julienne (like match sticks)
  • 4-5 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 5-6 sprigs of asparagus, rough chopped
  • 2 green onions, rough chopped
  • Tablespoon, soy sauce
  • Tablespoon garlic powder
  • Tablespoon chicken boullion powder
  • teaspoon hot sauce (your favorite brand)
  • One egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Melt the tab of butter in a medium sauce pan, add the rice, half the garlic powder and chicken boullion powder, sautee for about a minute, then add the water.  Bring to a boil, cover, then simmer for 20 minutes.  While that rice is cooking, chop up the veggies.  A few minutes before the rice is done, fire up the wok or a large non-stick skillet on high heat.  Once the wok/skillet is hot, add the veggie oil.  Give it 30 seconds, then put in the carrots, mushrooms and let those sizzle for about a minute.  Next, add half the rice and the remaining garlic powder, let sizzle for another minute, giving some of that rice a nice crispy 'edge.'  Next, add the green onion and asparagus, stir fry for about another minute.  Add the rest of the rice and all remaining ingredients, stirring constantly, for about another minute.  The goal here is tender crisp vegetables and a lightly (but done) scrambled egg.  Salt and pepper to taste.

This is a very satisfying dish, both for the stomach and the wallet.  Enjoy!

Vegetable options:  Use your imagination and your taste buds.  Green pepper, red pepper, bok choy, celery, broccoli.  Just remember that something like celery will take longer to cook to 'tender crisp' than say, green pepper.  When broccoli turns bright green, it's tender crisp.  Don't cook it to death.   And adding meat just makes the dish all that much better, but it won't keep the cost under $3.

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