We bought a composter a few months ago,

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but I saved it “for Christmas.” My brother, who is mechanically inclined, bailed on us for Christmas, so the other day my son and I put it together.
We bought it at Home Depot, and all the reviews say the instructions are horrible (they are!) and it takes forever to figure out how to put it together, yada yada. SO I thought: why not film it as we are putting it together? I have become a YT devotee because I am a visual learner. So my DD16 filmed it, edited it, and uploaded it (none of which I know how to do. In fact, when our camera died (cheapo new batteries) she’s the one who figured out we could webcam it (i’m not even sure what that is.)
ANYWAY. She called me in to see the “pre-final” product (which is mostly what you see at the links below. There are a few typos that have to be fixed later) and HOLY MOLY !! The kid’s got TALENT !! I told her, you know, this could be a real side business for you….taking people’s raw footage, editing in fade in/out, music, credits, wording etc. There’s a lot of people like me who want to film stuff, but don’t know how to get it from point A to point B and have it look nice.
Then I thought: HEY EL !! This looks like something you could do !! Maybe create some flyers, maybe go to some photo shops in your area & offer services, maybe offer classes in how to do it? Just saying. Low entrance costs…..lots of opportunity. Even if you low balled it at $10-40 a project depending on what they wanted, boy that could sure be a cash business 🙂

I want to return again for Christmas.

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I believe they stayed open until 3am on Christmas Eve night/Early Christmas Morning. I know we stayed until well past midnight that night, but at the time we had teenagers who could handle staying up late. I loved that it snowed over the entire park at midnight, just magical indeed!
Thinking I want to return anyway, I have to get my fix of Mickey and Minnie. (Those of you who are Facebook friends, did you see my new Minnie Mouse phone case?)

The first night we were there, the Magic Kingdom was open until 3 am

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3 am! I kid you not! My husband was so excited, and I told him he was nuts. There was no way I was staying out until 3 am with the little squirts. We did get to tour Belle’s new deal (I don’t know what you’d call it, but both my children were chosen to be part of the interactive play), and we rode the new Dumbo rode endless times (there are now two of them and the play area for the little guys) after hours, but by midnight, my littlest one was hanging out of the stroller. It was time to go. It’s a huge advantage to stay on property to take advantage of the extended hours, even if you aren’t staying until 3 am!

Oh yeah, any time it’s over two of us to fly we drive.

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To fly two is about the same price as driving from OK. But sometimes you can catch great deals on SWA and fly for a lot cheaper. That’s usually around our spring trip or our Oct trip. When we do 4 trips in one year we go for the Christmas decorations on both ends of the 366 days the pass is good, then to the EPCOT spring International Flower and Garden Show, next is the EPCOT Wine and Cheese (which is at Halloween time generally—neat decorations then).
At the prices you are getting quoted for the rental I think that car we discussed last night would probably be a better option in the long run for you. Now how to protect Lugnut. Hmmmmm.

I’m not much for resolutions for the new year,

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I’m not much for resolutions for the new year, but I’ve decided this is the perfect time to sit my husband down and do a weekly budget review with him. He’s working his tail off this time of the year, but he takes Sundays off (the only day of the week). The Detroit Lions are out for the season, so I don’t have to worry about intruding on his football time (my husband doesn’t care about tv, but does like to to root for the underdog, and we do live in Michigan, so I get it). It’s ski season, so we’ll ski tomorrow, and we get home; hopefully, the twirps will be wiped out, and we can have an early dinner and play a mad game of Fish or Old Maid and then tuck them into bed, and I’m going to go over all the budget things with him. I’ve added some new ING subaccounts for the new year (whole house generator because we go without power quite a bit each year for extended periods, and a vacation to Great Britain the summer of 2014 – Peppa Pig and Thomas the Tank Engine amusement parks anyone?). Our direct deposits have obviously decreased with the updated payroll taxes. I’ve been juggling things back and forth, and now it’s time to let him see what’s going on. I’ve been telling him, but the black and white will probably resonate with him more. I’m going back to the cash envelopes. We have enough of everything (clothes, toys – I over bought for Christmas so I pulled stuff for Easter baskets and such, even food since I’ve been stockpiling and stuff is starting to expire). No more bargain shopping for stuff because it’s a good deal (this is my problem. The transparency will be hard for me, but good for us). He is not a spender, I’m more of the bargain shopper so that make me the spender, but he simply doesn’t care about money. He’s content; I freak out. I want to spur him on to push his personal business (he’s nationally known for what he does and doesn’t capitalize on his skills) and to leave his independent contractors job (which isn’t paying us diddly squat after expenses any more). I think the weekly budget review will help immensely and will give him the nudge he needs to pursue what he really loves (and is awesome) at doing.

Because we are three adults we always stay at the value resorts

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generally the All Star Music if we aren’t staying in Ft. Wilderness—our preferred place to stay. We are seldom in our room(s) except to sleep so luxury is not needed for us. The evening Extra Magic Hours are our favorite too. I think we’ve done the morning one ONCE in all the trips we’ve taken. Extended evening hours let us move at a leisurely pace and they aren’t as crowded as the early morning hours are because a lot of folks tire out and go back to their resorts.
I love the luxury of an annual pass too. That lets us park hop as we want, and go just half days when we want. That combined with the discounts they have for AP holders all the time just makes it worth the extra you pay for them. Plus then we tend to go 2-4 times the year we have them too. Drive down twice and fly down at least once when air fares are low. I can’t wait to get back to doing that.

We love the extended hours so for us

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and especially with our family situation, being able to stay later or show up earlier (well, that’s never happened! lol) is worth the price of staying at the resort. We always stay at the Contemporary or Animal Kingdom but did try the Caribbean over Thanksgiving, and actually preferred it. Never have we known Disney to give away swag, but my children scored a princess tiara and wand, as well as a pirate sword and patch (look, it was all Dollar Store stuff, but my children loved it), and daily balloons (no balloons allowed at the Animal Kingdom resort because of the onsite animals). Caribbean Resort also offers a Magical Express bus that goes directly to the resort, bypasses all the other resorts, so that is a plus for those who use this service (we didn’t for earlier stated reason, but know others that do, and this is why they prefer this “moderate” Disney property).

I have an ADHD kid who is on a Ritalin patch

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When he has a meltdown, we are leaving IMMEDIATELY. I’m not waiting for a bus. Plus my family is in the area, so we drive to see them. Believe me, if I didn’t have a child who I need to remove from situations when he’s overstimulated, nor family in Orlando and the Coco Beach area (I’m from Florida), I would certainly take advantage of the Magical Express. It’s a wonderful budget saver, and I fully endorse the useage of it, but it isn’t always the only option for families. I simply have to be self reliant. No choice.

When we fly to Disney we stay on site

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and use the Magical express for free. That way we don’t need a rental car, they pick up our bags and deliver them directly to our room and then when we leave they check our bags in for us at the airport. It’s a free service and I love it! The Orlando airport hit us with a pretty big airport fee the one time we rented the car from there as well. Tom who is currently trying to figure out the best way to pay off debt and still have a WDW vacation this year

I wish I could recall who we used last year

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when we were doing the Disney thing. I know I looked them up online because I wasn’t familar with them. People wrote horrible things about the company, but whe couldn’t have been more pleased. The staff was lovely, the car they gave us was a terrific upgrade (a minivan from a standard vehicle), and no hidden fees. Plus, Autoslash offers you online coupons on their site to apply immediately, and they lowered our rate a number of times, always offering us the chance to switch companies or to stay with the one we’d originally booked with, and it turned out well.
btw, looking at our Payless deal with Autoslash, we’d booked an upgraded to the moderate vehicle (can’t recall what was their terminalogy, but it was above standard, but less than deluxe). We had it while we were in Florida for a week over Thanksgiving and our initial charge was $146 and then they slapped us with the additional $26 fee (I just went back and double checked). We know we still got a decent deal. We could have fought the $26 additional charge, but just didn’t feel like it, but knew we got screwed (husband had brochitis, 7 year old had a 104 temperature, and I still had a younger child and was whipped, so I figured this was a $26 lesson to NEVER use Payless and to ALWAYS book at the airport so I can walk away if I don’t like the deal, especially since I always travel with my children and don’t need any additional hassles).

Try Autoslash You don’t give them any payment info until you show up to pick up your rental.

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They have online coupons to knock prices off. If a competitor drops their rates for the same vehicles, they will match their pricing or ask you if you want to switch your reservation. One caveat, when asked to select the rental company, pick the one that is directly onsite at the airport if at all possible. Last year when we flew to Orlando, we did that. The price continued to drop and drop (we never opted to switch to the competitors companies since the original booking car rental place would match the newly, lowered price). When we went to pick up our vehicle, the one we’d originally selected wasn’t available, so they upgraded our vehicle after we asked them what they wold do for us. It was then that we gave them our payment info and paid for the vehicle. Last month we flew back to Orlando. Again we used Autoslash only this time, selected a car rental company that was off site. They promptly tried to pressure us into getting all the extra insurance coverage (that we did not need). I wanted to walk, but my husband knew they wouldn’t put us back on their shuttle, and it was late at night, and he just wanted to get over to our hotel and check in. About a week after we returned the vehicle, they charged us an extra $25 or so for “damages”. I knew we should have walked after their heavy handedness, and had we been at the airport we would have. Bottom line, Autoslash was still cheaper, and a larger named companies are represented by them too (by the way, it was Payless who jerked us around. We’ll never use them again).

I don’t have a specific answer for you

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but be aware that different rental companies use different criteria if/when they find out you don’t have a credit card. I wrote up our experiences with Enterprise Rentals, and it was pretty ugly. I ended up cancelling that particular reservation. But some weeks later, we needed to rent a big van from U-haul to move some furniture, and I was concerned I’d run into the same problem. When we reached the point of how payment would be made, the guy actually proactively said “we take both debit and credit cards, so whatever you have is fine.” Our rental proceeded without any hiccups at all. So whatever vehicle you end up with, be aware that some but not all companies will frown on putting it on a debit card. If you find one is really giving you a hassle (and you can go back in the archives to see what sort of hassle I got from Enterprise), move on and see if another company is easier to work with.If you end up working with Enterprise, try not telling them that you’re using a debit card. If your card actually has “debit” printed on it, like mine does, you may not be able to get away with that because they’re supposed to look at it. But see what you can do in that regard. Also, try the U-haul and Budget folks for a big van with seats. U-haul was very easy to work with and it sounds like Budget might be as well. They also tend to have more locations than rental car places – we only have one rental car place in town and that’s Enterprise. But we have half-dozen U-haul places and three Budget places. They aren’t advertised under rental cars but rather moving companies. Good luck!

Thanks Kathy for explaining it

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I was trying to write something, but it didn’t sound right. I have a sister who “dated” 3 different dealers to get her fix. I tried to point out her addiction and was told that I was lying–this after the first 2 were arrested and the 3rd was fired from his job for dealing at work. I finally had to cut ties for the safety of my family.