Freebie Tech Tool: Adblock Plus

Yesterday (Oct 21, 2015) was the future, at least if you are into cheesy 80 movies.  So while we may not have hover boards we do have some other neat things that they didn’t see coming, such as the world wide web.  Along with the internet, we also have a bazillion new advertisements competing for our attention each day in the form of banner ads, popups, and video preroll that we must sit through before watching the content we want.  Thankfully, there is a simple solution to reducing the amount of advertising that ends up on our digital screens and that is an Ad Blocker.

Adblock Plus

I personally use Adblock Plus.  It is free, unobtrusive, and supports every major browser out there.  It works a lot like caller ID.


A website, let’s say, has ads in it.  Those ads are fetched from some other server when you load the webpage.  ABP, looks at the addresses that the website is trying to load additional content from and determines if it is an ad server or not.  If additional content is trying to load from say,, then it will stop that.  Yay!

In Safari for Mac, my browser of choice, ABP shows as a little icon in the top toolbar.

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 11.27.08 AM

If you click on the icon, you can manually disable ABP for the webpage that you are on.

Everyone should be running an Ad Blocker.  If there is a particular ad supported website that you want to continue supporting (by seeing and clicking on ads) then you can whitelist (disable the ad blocker) for just that website.

Webpages will load faster with an Ad Blocker because you are loading less material.

Content + Ads = Total Webpage

Welcome to the future.  It is full of ads, but at least you can turn them off.

Mending in a Throwaway Society

It is no secret that we live in a throwaway society.  Companies spend millions of dollars in advertising to ingrain the habit of discarding old and broken merchandise in favor of new replacements.

Even though our ad consumption is way down (cutting cable TV will have that effect) I still have to consciously consider what to do when something breaks in our household.  This is not a new topic for this blog as I previously wrote about it here (Squeezing Every Penny).

Last week I caught myself again in the consumerist mentality when the bicycle pump broke.  The pump is probably 6-7 years old and is used mostly for inflating car and jogging stroller tires.


The rubber hosing had fatigued and snapped off by the chuck.  My first thought was to toss the whole thing and go to the store for a new one, but like the mower last year, I realized that was stupid and it was indeed a simple fix.

By unthreading the collar and cutting off the bad section of tubing, I was able to reconnect the hose to the chuck.


It is good as new and I saved $10-20 in the process.

You may be thinking to yourself, what’s the big deal about a $10 bicycle pump, it isn’t that much money.  The important takeaway from this is the mentality.  If you regularly repair and extend the useful lifespan of simple everyday objects then you are more likely to do the same for expensive items as well.

Case in point, I just spent this morning upgrading my work computer to the latest operating system.  The computer hardware is not officially supported.  I could have taken the consumerist attitude and spent $2,000 to buy new supported hardware that met my business requirements or I could take the frugal mindset and extend the life of perfectly capable hardware for a total of $0 (plus an evening and morning of tinkering around).

Father and Son Adventure

Frugal Boy and I had to drive to Peoria, IL this past week for an appointment (that went very well).  I didn’t want to do all of that driving for just one thing, so we made a day out of it and after the appointment we went to the Wildlife Prairie Park. The former state park is north west of Peoria and is a cross between a zoo and a nature preserve.

There are a number of exotic animals housed at the park, but the enclosures are large and offer many hiding places for the inhabitants.  I saw a red fox, two cougars, and some larger birds.


There are many miles of trails, along with cottages and even railroad cars you can lodge in.  We stuck to a simple trail that just so happened to have a playground in route.


Our admission included tickets to ride the train.  It was the middle of a school day, so we had the park to ourselves.  The volunteer engineer was a retired school teacher and a good sport with Frugal Boy.


This particular train engine was purchased from the St Louis zoo after it had caught on fire.  Volunteers restored it back to running order.  We went on the short loop ride and even sat up front with the conductor.  Frugal Boy wanted to press all the buttons and once he found the whistle became very restless.  A short while later, and many tears when we did not let him have his way with the whistle, we arrived back at the train depot.

The tears dried quickly after a pudding snack and additional picture posing.


It was an interesting park, and we barely scratched the surface.  Next time we’ll have to bring Shae along.