Jobless Indiana teenager rewarded for long walk in the snow


Jhaqueil Reagan

Jhaqueil Reagan, 18, was walking to an appointment at Dairy Queen, a fast food chain, in Indianapolis, when he approached Art Bouvier to ask directions.

Mr. Bouvier, the owner of a Cajun restaurant, told the teenager that he was still about seven miles from his destination.

“I said, ‘You’d be better off on a bus especially in this weather.’ He just said, ‘Okay, thank you.’ And he kept going,” Mr. Bouvier told local television station WLFI.

“I’m thinking to myself, here’s a kid walking almost 10 miles in the ice and slush and snow for the hope of a job at minimum wage. That’s the kind of story your parents used to tell, my parents used to tell.”

After dropping him off, Mr Bouvier asked for Mr Reagan’s phone number and later posted the entire story on his Facebook page, prompting a huge response. The story has been shared nearly 4,000 times and attracted hundreds of positive comments.

That evening Mr. Bouvier called Mr. Reagan, who did not get the job he initially applied for, and offered him a job at his Papa Roux Cajun Cooking restaurant.

Mr. Reagan told local television stations that he had struggled to find work since he left school two years ago when his mother died. He completed his secondary education while caring for his siblings.

Speaking about his new job, he added: “I’m really lucky I met him…He told me about it and I was just so surprised. I was awestruck. My heart’s just racing right now. I’m just too excited, just excited to start.”

Mr. Bouvier added: “The next time somebody hands me a sob story about needing money for this or that, because they really want to make their lives better… I hope to be able to introduce them to Jhaquiel.”

How a Family of Four Manages to Live Well on Just $14,000 Per Year


Danielle Wagasky

Danielle Wagasky lives with her her husband Jason and their two young children in a three-bedroom family home in Las Vegas, Nevada. While Jason, a member of the U.S. Army, completes his undergraduate studies, the family’s only source of income is the $14,000 annual cost of living allowance he receives under the G.I. Bill. Despite all odds, the family has barely any credit card debt, no car payment, and no mortgage to speak of.

Wagasky has been sharing her journey to living meaningfully and frugally on her blog, Blissful and Domestic, since 2009.

Wagasky finds inspiration everywhere from the library to tips from readers on her blog.

“My husband told me he’d heard about this book, [America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money],” she said. “We talked about it over the phone and I read it and thought how it could apply to us.”

The couple had a single savings goal in mind –– scraping together $30,000 for a downpayment on their home in their native Henderson, Nevada.

The mindless spending was out, and Wagasky came up with a budget she could make work. “I changed the way I was grocery shopping and started working my way up, ” she said.

She stopped eating out and learned how to cook.

With a $7 bread-maker she scored at a local thrift shop, she never spends on store bought slices. She’s not shy about professing her love for wholesale stores like Costco, which is her go-to source for baking ingredients.

Everything in the home is either hand-sewn and or made from scratch.

“Everything must be budgeted,” Wagasky wrote in a June entry on her blog. “From family outings, to toiletries to clothes purchases. It must be budgeted.”

And she takes Do-It-Yourself to the extreme. Everything from laundry soap and clothing to the kitchen her husband installed in their new home was either crafted by hand or thrifted.

The family swapped cable for Netflix and Hulu. They also use a simple antennae to pick up basic cable channels.

She goes to the grocery store once per month, pays cash, and never goes over budget.

With a single source of fixed income, there’s no room for impulse purchases in the Wagasky household.

They budget $400 for groceries each month and that’s it. “Once that $400 is gone, it is gone,” she writes. “There are no extra shopping trips made because there is no more money.”

They are a cash-only household but keep a credit card for emergencies.

Wagasky said they have no credit debt, but they do charge emergency expenses on plastic when absolutely necessary.

They paid for both of their cars in cash and have no car payments.

After Wagasky’s husband left active duty and started school, the couple knew they would only have $14,000 per year to live on. So they paid off the $8,000 he owed on his truck while he was earning more and they could afford the expense.

They also bought a van, which they saved $10,000 for initially and were able to pay the remaining $12,000 owed within a year. Having zero car payments is a nice relief.

She skips all kiddie snacks in favor of healthier, cheaper DIY options.

Like anyone with simple math skills, Wagasky was quick to realize how much cash she was wasting on prepackaged snacks for her children. She cut them out completely and whips up homemade granola bars and trail mix instead.

By the time Wagasky’s husband came home from Iraq, they had managed to scrape together the $30,000 they needed for a downpayment on a home.

“But we decided the best option would be not to have a mortgage payment at all,” she said. “We found a fixer-upper that didn’t have a kitchen … and we paid cash.”

Price tag: $28,000. With the leftover cash, they were able to finish the kitchen and install wood flooring throughout the house.

BigDog Robot Can Now Hurl Cinder Blocks

image719If you thought the military’s BigDog robot was scary before, then get a load of what it can do now.

The four-legged robot, developed by Boston Dynamics with funding from the U.S. Army’s Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance, can now pick up and hurl cinder blocks. Boston Dynamics posted an online video (below) showcasing BigDog’s new skill.

In the video, the 240-pound robot picks up a concrete cinder block, moves it to the left, then tosses it over its right shoulder before the block hits the ground and smashes into pieces.

“The goal is to use the strength of the legs and torso to help power motions of the arm,” according to the video’s description. “This sort of dynamic, whole-body approach is routinely used by human athletes and animals, and will enhance the performance of advanced robots.”

Big Dog, dubbed “the most advanced rough-terrain robot on earth” can run at speeds up to 4 mph; climb 35-degree slopes; trek through muddy trails, rubble, snow, and water; and even carry a 340-pound load on its back, according to Boston Dynamics. The goal for BigDog is to eventually go anywhere people and animals can go.

Besides BigDog, Boston Dynamics is also working on several other animal-like robots. The company is developing a robotic pack mule, dubbed the Legged Squad Support System (L3), which can walk up to 20 miles carrying 400 pounds of gear, even up and down hills.

See the video below for a look at BigDog in action.


From London’s Daily Telegraph, Yahoo Finance and PC Magazine