The best high quality, single ingredient dog chew

Our dog loves a great chew treat, and it helps to keep his teeth clean too. We have tried a number of chew-treats, but two single-ingredient chews are our favorites: dried sweet potato and bully sticks.

  • Dried sweet potato chews. Loaded with lots of great vitamins to keep your dog healthy. Sweet potato has vitamins C, D and iron and is great for humans too.
  • Bully Sticks. These last a bit longer than sweet potato chews, and don’t have as much sugar as sweet potato chews to keep your dogs teeth healthy too. Odor-free versions are of course nice and might save your nose and a slightly increased cost.

Related links:

  • BestBullySticks.com is our go-to place for cheap bully sticks. Look for the odor-free versions as well as the “free shipping” mixed-packs to save some extra cash.
  • DIY Sweet Potato Dog Chews recipe from Food.com is a great and super-simple way to make customized chews for your pup, and hey, if you make them yourself you can try a taste as well! On top of that, making them yourself helps to make sure you know what goes into your pets diet — organic sweet potato chews can keep not-so-great pesticides out of your dog’s body.

Top 5 picks for fantasy football draft advice

The NFL preseason starts soon and along with that your fantasy football draft will be starting soon! To win however, you might need more than just luck on your side, especially in the age of big data and endless analysis by experts on the web and TV. With that in mind, here are our top picks for where to find the best fantasy football draft advice:

  1. FantasyPros.com is the go to source for finding the consensus rankings of the largest number of experts (close to 100) on the web. They also have a great draft simulator so that you don’t make a big mistake on draft day.
  2. numberFire.com has some powerful math behind the scenes and a great interface to give you in-depth quantitative analysis of players to draft, when to draft them and why it matters to you.
  3. FFToolbox.com was #1 in NFL fantasy football draft accuracy in 2012 according to FantasyPros, and would be a great place to double-check when making your picks this year.  (and if you’re curious, check out the entire list of 2012 draft accuracy rankings here)
  4. The /r/FantasyFootball subreddit is a great forum for voicing your opinion and hearing what others think about players to draft, who not to draft, and how you can win in your league.
  5. ESPN.com is an excellent and necessary source to keep up-to-date on the latest news including injuries and rookies that will play a factor in your fantasy league.

What are your favorite sites for fantasy football advice? Any tips you would like to share on how you’re going to win your league this year? Either way, we will have a few updates on fantasy football throughout the season to keep your game in check.

Where can I buy cheap but good quality undershirts?

A good quality white, grey or other color undershirt is a wardrobe necessity, and often very overpriced at brick and mortar retailers. Luckily bulk retailers are available on the web to aid in your undershirt needs. My favorite is CheapesTees.com (whom I have no affiliation with other than being a frequent customer).

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when ordering undershirts:

  • Component materials. Is it cotton? Polyester? A 50/50 cotton/polyester blend? Look at your current favorite shirts (undershirts and otherwise) for a helpful guide for what you might prefer, as ordering in bulk means that you will have quite a few of a single shirt.
  • Quantity. Given a bulk order you might not expect to need a large quantity now, but undershirts often wear out faster than other shirts, so it may be worth ordering a larger quantity for future use.
  • Brand and product type. A 100% cotton shirt from company X might not be like a 100% cotton shirt from company Y. For example, the heavyweight versions by Hanes (Beefy-T) and Gildan are thicker cotton and may wear longer than thinner shirts.
  • Tagged or tagless. Michael Jordan of course prefers tagless, but not all shirts come in tagless versions.

Also, if you order from CheapesTees through August 9th, 2013, you can use promotion/coupon code WB520 to get an extra 20% off.

Related links:

Picking out the best portable bluetooth speaker for you

Jambox in the garden
Photo source: abrackin on flickr

Portable bluetooth speakers are great for playing music wirelessly from your phone or iPod touch (4th gen and above) in the car, outside, while on a trip in the hotel room, or in any room of the house. However, there are a TON of portable (rechargeable battery within, that is) bluetooth speakers out there, and unfortunately not a lot of information to help make the decision on which speaker to buy. So make sure to check out a few features below before picking out a portable bluetooth speaker to pair with your phone or iPod.

Features to look for:

  • Replaceable battery. A few speakers offer this nice option, and some even use a common cell phone battery that you can find (cheaply) on Amazon or eBay. Examples: GOgroove SRC, Nokia Play 360
  • Built in microphone. Yes, since these are bluetooth devices, they oddly enough often have a microphone built in as well for use as a speakerphone.
  • Long battery life. Battery life can vary a lot from speaker to speaker, so watch out, and check out the reviews to see how long the battery might last. Of course volume and music choices may change battery life as well, so buyer beware.
  • USB charging. Phone low on juice? Plug it into the… speaker? Yes, that’s right, some offer back-up charging for your phone if need be. Examples: TDK Life on Record A33
  • Warranty. When looking at speakers, you may notice that some come from basically unknown companies. Probably not the best choice, but even those often will have a 1 year warranty included. However, if you want some sort of peace of mind, pick a well-known brand, like Nokia, Cambridge Soundworks, Jawbone or Monster (yes, I am recommending Monster oddly enough — just please don’t buy their overpriced cables). Examples: Nokia Play 360, Jawbone JAMBOX, Monster Micro Clarity, OontZ by Cambridge SoundWorks
  • Size. Bigger is often better when looking at these small speakers, however, it often comes with a bigger price to boot. If you extend your budget to the $200+ range, you can get a large, still portable, bluetooth speaker that sounds great. Example: Jambone BIG JAMBOX
  • Price. Ah yes, price, the constraint that keeps us from owning one of everything (not a bad thing!). Price can vary drastically, although often (but not always) price increases with size and build quality. So as the saying goes, you get what you pay for — just make sure you’re not overpaying (check slickdeals.net or fatwallet.com for a hot deal before buying).
  • Great reviews (4 stars of 5 stars at the least). Unfortunately since many of these have not been on the market longer than even a few months, so it really is hard to know which speaker will be the best, durable speaker. Or even a speaker that won’t die after light usage. Nonetheless, check out Amazon reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations for now, or wait until a few of the cheap brands die off in the next year before making your choice.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? Well, that’s the nature of the game with new technology, and portable bluetooth speakers are new technology. Luckily they’re fun devices to have around. So either pick a cheap option and expect to upgrade in a year or two (or when it breaks unexpectedly), or spend the dough to go with a name brand that will replace your speaker for yours when or if it breaks.

All options under $99 (in no particular order!):
Anker Portable Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker (handheld size)
V7 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker and Stand
EasyAcc 2nd Generation Bluetooth Speaker
JLab Crasher Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Urge Basics Soundbrick Bluetooth Stereo Speaker w/ Built-in Mic
The OontZ Angle Ultra-Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker by Cambridge SoundWorks
The OontZ Ultra-Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker by Cambridge SoundWorks
Logitech UE 984-000298 Mobile Boombox Bluetooth Speaker and Speakerphone
Photive CYREN Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with Built in Speakerphone & 8 hour Rechargeable Battery
Bem HL2022D Bluetooth Mobile Speaker for Smartphones
a.m.p SP1 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
HMDX Jam Plus Portable Speaker
GOgroove BlueSYNC EDG Portable Bluetooth Speaker with Wireless Stereo , Rechargeable Battery & Blue LED Accent
mPulse GO Rechargeable Portable Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Speaker Box with 3.5mm Aux Port
Gear4, Inc. StreetParty Wireless Portable Speaker for Any Smartphone with Bluetooth
Monster ClarityHD Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
CHIL ChilBox Bluetooth Speaker with Speakerphone
GOgroove BlueSYNC SRC Portable Bluetooth Stereo Speaker
Nokia Play 360 Bluetooth Speaker

Options usually over $100 (also in no particular order!):
Sony Bluetooth Wireless Speaker system
TDK Life on Record A33 Wireless Weatherproof speaker
Jawbone JAMBOX Wireless Bluetooth Speaker (note, this is the smaller one)
Jawbone BIG JAMBOX Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Grace Digital GDI-EGRX607 ECOXGEAR – ECOROX Rugged and Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Beats by Dr. Dre Pill Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Braven BZ625BGB 625s Wireless Bluetooth Speaker/PowerBank
Native Union SWITCH Bluetooth Speaker
Monster Micro Clarity Bluetooth Speakers

Our favorite pick around $50: Photive CYREN 
It’s a great price, sounds decent (for a small speaker), has great reviews, looks nice and solid, although there are some reliability issues (as there is with most portable speakers, even the higher priced units) — arguably they’re less reliable in part because people carry them everywhere. But at under $50 (the lowest I have seen it is $29.95), you can buy a new one in a year or so without breaking the budget.

 

Our favorite pick at any price: Jawbone BIG JAMBOX
If you want something nice and hefty that will fill a room with solid sound (but still wireless), the BIG Jambox is your best friend. The only issue is the price, which is pretty hefty in the ~$250 range, but as they say, you get what you pay for — and you definitely get a lot more “oomf” at this price point.

What should I look for in a first or new checking account?

So you have decided to look beyond your current bank to try something new, or you are looking for your first checking account. Here are a few key things to look in a checking account, and a few examples of accounts that have these features.

  • ATM rebates when using your debit/ATM card at any ATM. These are becoming standard among newer checking accounts, especially those without extensive ATM networks. However, banks like Bank of America may not have rebates since they have ATMs in many locations already. I’d say either-or here — choose a huge bank (and the resulting downsides), or a bank with ATM rebates. Examples with rebates: Ally, Charles Schwab & Fidelity.
  • Interest. Nowadays (2013) interest is near non-existent, but some banks will have some interest (1%-2% or more per year via “reward checking accounts”)  if you use a debit card with them 10-15 times per month. Not bad, but not great. Examples: Ally has 0.40% interest without requirements, see Deposit Accounts for reward checking accounts with debit card usage requirements.
  • No foreign transaction fees. Nice when traveling — but not a common feature whatsoever. Example: Charles Schwab
  • Branch locations. Nice, but these days not as necessary. This varies a lot from city-to-city and state-to-state. It can sometimes be nice to go in and see someone face-to-face. Local credit unions are best in this case for friendly faces in my experience.
  • Open 7 days a week. Good luck with this one — you can’t win in every category it seems! However, TD Bank is one of the few that is open 7 days a week, and has extra hours beyond the typical business hours.
  • Check scanning via phone apps. Lots of accounts have this feature, and it can save you a trip (and gas/car maintenance). Examples: Bank of America, Charles Schwab, Ally, many others.
  • No monthly fees. This is a big one. All the big banks (Citibank, Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo) are charging monthly fees for simply having an account, so it’s best to look elsewhere if you want to keep your money… well, yours, and not in the hands of a big bank! Check out alternatives such as Charles Schwab, Fidelity or Ally for no fee banking.

Hopefully this gives you a good place to start when looking for a new place to store your money. Some might sound strange — such as the big brokerages, but being unconventional can oftentimes pay off for the end consumer, so don’t be afraid of trying something new, and don’t be afraid of ditching your old bank for one on greener pastures.

Relevant Links: