Product & Service Reviews Feed

Product Review: Water Shoes by Wave Runner

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Water shoes, a.k.a., aqua socks....  They're great for fishing, they beat any other foot gear when it comes to launching a boat or even if just bank fishing.  If you're stuck on the shoreline, water shoes give you the confident ability to wade out from the bank a bit and extend your casting range.  There's no fear of slipping on rocks and your feet won't feel like two anchors once you step out of the water because water shoes drain and dry so well.

So what kind of water shoes should you buy?

Don't go cheap.  That's what I did on a recent vacation and while the shoes I purchased did the job intended, the quality was less-than-stellar.  What I bought amounted to a disposable pair of water shoes.

20180603_080959I purchased a pair of Wave Runners at Walmart for $7.99.  They are a slip-on style, comfortable, the sizing is good - I wear a size 12 - and they fit nicely, the mesh breathes and dries well.  My only real knock on these shoes is the tread.  It's minimal.  As you can see from the pics, the tread is quite worn, after just two days of use.  Traction will most likely become questionable during my next fishing outing.  They're fine on sand, or perhaps at the pool, but I won't be able to trust them on mossy surfaces or sharp edged rocks/shells when wading into that next lake or river.

If you're in a pinch and/or forgot to pack your quality water shoes, the Wave Runner is OK, but know that it's a very temporary water shoe solution.  For $8, they did what I needed them to do on a two-day fishing trip that included a lot of bank fishing/wading.

Wave Runner water shoes gets 2 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  They're inexpensive, comfortable, dry well, but the tread doesn't last.  Spend the money on a water shoe with a thicker sole and better tread.

2 stars


The worst car charger on the market is made by iWalk

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

I recently assisted one of my sons with a phone upgrade at the local Sprint store, he got a Samsung S-9, nice phone.

While there and a bit of traveling on the agenda, I also picked up a 4.8 amp dual USB car charger, made by iWalk.  

First mistake:  Paying too much for the charger at a phone store, higher markup vs. say, Walmart.  Yes, I must admit, convenience got the better of me.  I paid $24.99 for the charger.  Sprint also offers dual port car chargers made by other vendors, but they're more expensive.

Second mistake:  This was an, "Oh yeah, I need one of those," impulse buys.  I didn't do any homework on this product, no asking around or reading any reviews regarding quality or performance.

iWalk 4.8A dual port car charger
iWalk Car Charger broken after first use

Long story short, I made the purchase and not two hours later decided to give it a try, my phone needed a charge.  Not only did I open the box and see a white charger inside even though the box said and the picture showed I was buying a black one, but guess what, the tip that engages the vehicle power port was not attached to the body of the charger, the insulator inside the cone tip was broken.  What was supposed to be a one piece gadget, was in two pieces, inside guts exposed.  I took the product back immediately and made an exchange, this time checking the product with the sales guy, opening up the box to ensure the charger wasn't broken.  This one was in one piece, not two and by gosh it was black just like the picture on the box!  But it wasn't removed from the packaging for a more detailed review.......  Could'a, Should'a....  Shame on me.

So I start traveling down the road, plug the charger into the port, plugged the phone into the car charger and so far so good.  My phone was at 23% and had charged up to 47% when I arrived at my destination.  I unplug my phone, pull the charger out of the port and guess what?  The tip remained in the port, same issue, broken insulator, rendering the charger useless.  Time for a refund.

iWalk Car Chargers Suck
Broken car charger tip

I'll be going for a different tip design with my next charger and it won't be anything made by iWalk.

The 4.8 amp dual USB car charger, made by iWalk gets zero out of five stars.  Even if this was a shipping issue, not the fault of iWalk, it begs the question, "They make it so fragile that a dropped box renders the chargers packed in the box useless?" 

I obtained two chargers and they both had the very same issue.  Chargers made by iWalk are NOT Bachelor on the Cheap friendly.  They suck, they're fragile, they're over-priced.

0 stars


Product Review: Organizing the closet with a hanging shelf by Threshold

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Threshold Closet Organizer
This thing makes getting dressed easier, seriously!

You almost don't need a dresser with one of these in your closet.....  Almost.

Even if you're already a neat freak, you can maximize/better organize your closet space with a 4 shelf organizer by Threshold.  With reinforced shelves that can take on a surprising amount of weight, the organizer easily attaches directly to your closet rod with three hooks. The unit also has its own hanging bar for, in my case, business casual pants for work.

I already had my closet organized into a 'work clothes' section and a 'not work' section, but the shelf organizer greatly improved on that setup.  I've got everything I need for five days of work clothes ready to go in that organizer.  Most everything is at or near eye level and the pants are just an arm's length away on that handy hanging bar.  All I have to do in the morning in getting ready for work is open up those closet doors and everything I need to get dressed for work is at the ready, in one central, neatly organized spot.  Everything is within easy and immediate reach.  No more going from closet, to dresser and back again.  No more laying out clothes on the bed.  No more bending over and reaching for something in that lower dresser drawer which for an older, taller guy, means a little something early in the morning.

I purchased the 4-Shelf Hanging Closet Storage Unit by Threshold at Target for $18.99.  It looks good, hangs well and it's sturdy.  I've got five t-shirts all folded neatly on one of those shelves, not cheap t-shirts either, it's a good bit of weight in that one section and that shelf can take it.   This purchase is Bachelor on the Cheap friendly and the closet organizer gets five out of five Bachelor on the Cheap stars.

5 stars

Spend Wisely My Friends.....




Product Review: The Salbree Popper

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

A friend of mine gave me a popcorn popper for Christmas, something I've never seen the likes of before.

Without question it is THE most easy to use, most efficient popcorn popper I've ever used and I've tried them all!  I've done Jiffy pop, cast iron over electric and gas stoves, stove-top poppers with a built-in crank handle, electric poppers using oil, air poppers, glass poppers for the microwave and of course, microwave popcorn in that paper bag that comes with food safety warnings.....

I was gifted a Salbree Popper for Christmas and it ROCKS!

This is a silicone popper that is so simple to use, even a caveman......  Wait a minute, can't be insulting cavemen or man cave dwellers.....

Seriously, this popper is dummy proof.  Expand the bowl, put some popcorn in to the fill line, lid it, nuke it for 2-4 minutes until pops are about 5 seconds apart.

20171228_102341Being a veteran of popping corn in the microwave in both the bag and glass popper varieties, I assumed I would be getting a lot of Old Maids with this.  Not so!  The Salbee pops evenly and doesn't use oil.  I also popped too much corn!  No, I didn't fill it past the fill line, but because the Salbee pops so efficiently, minimal Old Maids, the corn popped well past the top of the bowl and with my fairly low profile microwave, I had a tough time getting the bowl out when done!  There was popcorn spillage..... 

After gathering all the spillage (gathering for the mouth as well as back in the bowl), I topped the corn with some jalapeno salted butter I had melting on the stove.  DELICIOUS!

A big thank you to my friend for gifting this and I strongly recommend purchasing a Salbree Popper!  They retail on Amazon for $15.95 and come in a variety of colors.  They wash up easy peasy and the bowl collapses for easy storage.

The Salbree Popper is Bachelor on the Cheap friendly, the price is very reasonable.  Decent popcorn poppers of any traditional variety to include air go for about $20 and up.  This popper gets 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap Stars!

5 stars


Get Free HDTV with an Indoor Antenna

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Let's face it, cable TV just costs too much money, there's no ifs, ands or buts about it!

I'm a football junkie, both college and pro and I must admit, that after going through a spring and summer without cable TV last year, I was pining for football in September.  Despite loving my Roku streamer and all the entertainment it provides, it lacks football.  So I called the cable company and added TV to my internet package.  I was fine with that, not really liking the price but loving the football, until Cox Cable sent me my latest bill jacking my cable TV price up $19 a month.  It's a rate increase that crossed a line for me, pushing my total cable tv/internet bill to $161 a month!


I tried to do the online Chat on the Cox Cable website to talk about the rate hike, but I was blown off by their Chat Representative, who stated she couldn't discuss rate increases and gave me a 1-800 number to call.  Already having spent roughly 10 minutes in the chat... Waiting; "Hi, thanks for using Chat, how can I help you?"; verifying my ID; waiting; the rep asking for my patience while she pulls up my account information which for some odd reason takes forever; waiting; then I restate that I wish to discuss the rate increase and she responds with, "Oh, I can't talk about rate increases"....  Sigh....  You couldn't have just told me that when I opened up the Chat window leading with that very question??!!!    Frustrated by the run-around and not having the patience to call a 1-800 number for more of the same, I then wrote a snail mail letter to Cox Cable to see if they would drop me back down to the rate I was paying prior to the increase, you would think they would want to keep a good customer right?  I got no response.  So last Friday, I disconnected my Contour TV receiver (a box Cox forces you to rent for about $8+ tax a month), traveled to the nearest Cox Cable "Solutions" Store, turned in the TV equipment and reverted back to my internet only package.

So what am I going to do to avoid football withdrawals?  After all, the College Football Playoff, bowl games and the NFL playoffs are right around the corner.....  And heck, I'm hosting a Super Bowl Party!  I can't have a Super Bowl Party and NOT have the game on!

Mohu Leaf 30Enter, the Mohu Leaf mini Indoor HDTV Antenna

With a range of 30 miles, this multi-directional antenna picks up all the network affiliates in town and then some!  I'm getting ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS and a number of other channels (31 in fact).  Now about 10 of those are a mix of Spanish speaking, church going and shopping network so I won't watch any of those, but to remember - I WANT FOOTBALL!  I'll get plenty of football on the major networks.  This is free broadcast TV, the antenna cost me $18 at Walmart.  The only outlet I won't have for football watching is ESPN.  I can live with that.   The antenna is mine, there's no equipment to rent, no subscription required.  All the channels come in crystal clear, in many cases of better picture quality than what cable provided.  The only issue I have is the local ABC affiliate sometimes does that querky digital pattern distortion thing, but I have yet to optimize the antenna for the absolute best placement, so that issue may yet be resolved.

All the local network affiliates are within 20 miles of where I live and that's why I went with the 30 mile range antenna.  Mohu also offers other indoor antennas with 50 and 60 mile ranges in the $50 price range which if you think about is still an excellent deal given it's a one-time purchase.  I may have even picked up a few more stations with the increased range, but I figured I was getting what I wanted with the Mohu mini.  If you're in a more rural setting, then the 50/60 mile range models are what you'd need.

The antenna itself is paper thin, you can easily attach it to your wall or cabinet with push pins or velcro (provided), it's reversible (white or black) and paintable!  This purchase is a winner-winner-football-watching-dinner!

The Mohu Leaf 30 Indoor Antenna is Bachelor on the Cheap friendly at only $18 and delivers as advertised.  If you're thinking about disabling your cable, this is a great way to do it!  Now if you'll excuse me, the Chiefs are on Fox and the Patriots are on CBS.....

The Mohu Leaf gets five out of five Bachelor on the Cheap Stars!

Bachelor on the Cheap LogoBachelor on the Cheap LogoBachelor on the Cheap LogoBachelor on the Cheap LogoBachelor on the Cheap Logo

Download the Pacer walking app - it's FREE

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

I downloaded Pacer, a walking app, to my phone.

A free download, Pacer tracks your steps throughout the day and you can easily track your progress at any time.  The app even indicates stages for you, which is kind of a motivator....  Zero - 2,999 steps = sedentary. Walking 3,000 - 7,499 steps and you are lightly active.  Taking 7,500 - 9,999 steps and you are somewhat, or moderately active.  Walking 10,000 or more and you are active, as in taking steps to be healthy.  Helping you stay motivated to do more, the app also provides calories burned, 'active' time and mileage stats.  For even more data and features, you can subscribe, but I don't see the point.  All the basics you need are there in the free download.

The goal is to take at least 10,000 steps a day, or 4+ miles and keep my calorie count at around 1,800 a day.  If I'm disciplined enough, that should help me stay on track to losing about a pound a week. 

Walking your way to health....  It's fat losing and heart/cardiovascular healthy!  Get the Pacer app - it's a free tracker and that Bachelor on the Cheap friendly!

Buy your cleaning supplies at Dollar Tree

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

If you're not a fan of Dollar Tree, then I must ask, "Why not?"

Have you shopped there?  Have you given it a shot?

Dollar Tree 001Full Disclosure:  I had never stepped foot inside one of their stores until after my divorce, a few years back.  I only did so, upon recommendation from some work friends and the need to supply my apartment in 'starting out' again from scratch.

Today, I was in need of re-supplying my cleaning supplies and a few personal hygiene items.  Check out the list, look how cheap it is!   You would pay perhaps four times the amount for the name brand stuff at THE local big-name grocery store.

I got all the basics for cleaning and then some, for only $16.13!  Try doing that at Dillon's, HyVee, or even Walmart!   You just flat out, can't. 

"But Mike," you say, "Are those products as good as the name brand stuff?"

For the most part, yes, yes it all is.  To be fair, some of the products aren't as strong or seem to be watered down compared to some of the name brand counter-parts, but for the price, it's still well worth it.  The Dollar Tree offerings of laundry soap for example are every bit as good as something like Tide.  The hand soap, I can't tell a difference from name brands.  Mouthwash, same thing.  The Pine Sol copycat is watered down, but it works, and no, it doesn't take four times the amount to clean in comparison to how much you would pay for the real deal.   The foil, a bit thin, but I can double up in wrapping if need be and still will not be paying out what I would for the name brand.  Palmolive dish soap, that's a name brand you can get for $1 at Dollar Tree, how much did you pay for it at THE 'Name Brand' grocery store?  Too much!  And why pay too much for something as basic as a scrub sponge?  Get two sponges for the price of one at Dollar Tree.

Just remember that when it comes to the name brand stuff, in most cases you are being marketed, don't buy into their hype.  And don't take my word for it, do your own homework.  Test some products out that you purchased from Dollar Tree.  I think you'll be pleased with what you buy there.

Related Story:  Good Sense Trash Bags at Dollar Tree



Goodsense Brand Tall Kitchen Bags, Available at Dollar Tree

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

GoodSense Tall Kitchen BagsThey're strong, they're scented, they come with flap ties, they're inexpensive and most importantly, they do the job.

Regular readers know I'm a fan of Dollar Tree, I like to shop there and everything sold there really is just $1.  These tall kitchen bags are another example of why I like the store.  They are quality bags.  You get 10 bags for $1, the fresh scent is nice and the flap ties allow you to quickly tie up a full bag and take it outside to the dumpster or trash can.  Compare that to discount bags sold at places like Walmart - $2.75 for a 30 count box (9 cents each), but the bags easily rip, they're not scented, the quality just isn't there.   These GoodSense brand bags are every bit as good as brand name bags like Hefty ($7.63 for a 40 count box, that's 19 cents each) and you can really stuff them full.

The next time you're at Dollar Tree, pick up a few boxes, you'll be glad you did.

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 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!







A Review of the Serta 18" Queen External AC Pump Airbed

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

SertaI purchased this bed to get me by until I can get a decent queen size mattress and box spring set.  I've owned air mattresses in the past, the cheap, low profile kind that just aren't comfortable, leak air (becoming almost flat by morning) and just aren't easy to get in and out of for a big guy like me.  So with low expectations going in, I purchased the Serta 18" Queen External AC Pump Airbed for $75 at Target.  The bed was easy to inflate and I found it pretty comfortable.  I've been sleeping on it every night for nearly a month now and have had to put a little additional air in it a couple times.  It's a temporary bed situation, an air bed getting everyday use.  This Serta airbed has exceeded my expectations.

I give it 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.