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Cars!

March 7th, 2006 at 03:41 am

DH had to get new tires for his car. This is the first set he's bought, so it's not like they weren't due. But $300 for 4 tires, ouch!

I started thinking about my car. It's 8 years old now and probably not much longer for this world. So, it is time to start thinking about it's replacement. We are still paying on DH's car, so it's not like we can just absorb another car payment.

Now, IF my car lasts another 2 years until his car is paid off, no big deal. BUT ...

So, I started thinking. With the kids going to a new school next year (5-6 blocks away), we won't need 2 cars. I can get to work (1.75 miles away) on a scooter and save on gas. I don't have to drive on busy roads to get to work (there is one crossing over 2 busy roads - weird interchange) but it has lights, so it isn't a big deal.

It isn't worth it to go buy it now, but it will be worth considering if my car conks out before dh's car is paid off. We still have his truck if I need the car for some reason (he could drive his truck and I could take the car). Of course, it's even older than my car and probably just as much on its last legs as my car. In a pinch, he could drive the scooter to work, but he pretty much has to drive on major highways.

No gas day

March 5th, 2006 at 04:26 am

First one for the month.

We walked a total of 3.25 miles (give or take) to market days. While there, we spend $1.00 on cookies for the kids, $3 on sausages for the kids and $3.75 on tropical fruits.

We also spoke to the coordinator of the farmers' market and she wants me to be on the committee. I think I'll probably do it. I love farmers' markets and I do have some experience.

We'll have to be creative with this market. Most of the farmers here sell to wholesalers and are under contract. So we'll have to concentrate on the smaller, backyard gardeners. This will probably take scheduling classes and coordinating with the master gardeners and extension.

I got just a tad bit of sun today - LOL. I'm so fair, I wore a hat, so my face is fine, but I didn't think about my shoulders and neck. We left the house before ten and were back by noon, so sun wasn't something we really thought about. Thank goodness, uber-fair DS2 (so fair his skin sometimes looks translucent) didn't seem to get the same amount of sun, he had longer sleeves and a hat as well.

I spent a little time looking around at prices and things for sale. My thought is that it's flea market prices and people want a real deal, not a nice artisan piece. I don't know if the market could ever have that feel. I think if I want to sell jewelry, I'll have to combine it with produce or something and just be happy when I sell a single piece.

Expensive day

February 27th, 2006 at 03:48 am

First, we went out to eat. I went ahead and ordered a soda and it ended up being a can - so no free refill. I paid 99 friggin' cents for a can of soda. I thought 65 cents was too much.

Then we went to the movies (the cheap movies, but still ...). Luckily we resisted the movie popcorn and soda (one reason I had soda with lunch, we let the kids have it, that way if they asked at the theatre, we could say "you already had your soda").

We ended up spending $40 today. Geez, not so frugal family fun day.

On the good side, we walked to do all that. So it was a no gas day.

Car work today

February 23rd, 2006 at 04:59 am

I took my car to the muffler guy my mechanic recommended. He said there was a crack that was leaking and that it wasn't in a place he could weld, so he had to replace the part. $40 and 30 minutes. I was flabbergasted, I didn't know you could get any work done for $40.

I walked around under the car looking at it and asked him about my exhaust system. I've never had any work done (it's a 1998) and I live in a high salt area (close to the gulf). He said the muffler looks great and should last quite a while longer.

He guaranteed the exhaust system would pass inspection so that's what I have to do tomorrow. I have a highly developed sense of guilt, so I know if I go past the expiration date I will freak everytime I see a cop (I just got my brakelight fixed and the entire time it was out my heart would beat about 120bpm every time I saw a cop car which happens at least 2x/day).

When I got home, dh was home (he had meetings in the town on the opposited side of our town from his office, so he decided to work from home once those were done and save the gas (which just took a 25 cent leap in prices).

Since he was home and the library books were due back tomorrow, we decided to walk to the library. That means we walked 2-3 miles.

Productive Day

February 20th, 2006 at 02:38 am

We didn't go anywhere today (although I need butter and don't know what I'll do for b'fast tomorrow without it).

Instead, we stayed home and cleaned some. MIL is coming to town on Saturday, so we want to have the house looking as settled as possible.

While I was cleaning, I decided to set up amortization schedules for the ccs, the car and the house. I got the ccs done. If we continue paying the little bit we are now, it will take 2 years to pay off the balance. If we step it up a notch, we can pay it off in 1 year. If we work at it and put all that we can scrape, it will be paid off in October. I showed DH the spreadsheet and he's agreed to work with me to get it done.

I started the car's schedule, but the statements we get don't give the interest rate. I tried to figure it using their figures, and ended up with 2 different rates (I had 2 different statements). So that's frustrating.

Then I went through the cc statements and updated our expenses this month (dh doesn't always give me his receipts). We are $5 over the grocery budget already and milk is low and butter is gone. Part of the reason we are over is that dh did a stock-up when he was travelling, so we have stuff that will last us a couple of months. I suspect part of it is higher prices, but I'm not sure where all my receipts are to check.

Looking at the current expenses, we are on track to have enough money left in the bank to send a good sized payment to the cc this month.

Next month will be a little harder, we'll need to be sure to set aside the money for taxes. But, I think dh is finished buying for a little while. I think. I could be wrong. I know he wants one more chair before his mom gets here, but we may just pull the futon out of the front room and move it into the family room for now.

No Car Day

February 6th, 2006 at 01:16 am

Today is our first no car day of February (dh had to work yesterday).

Our goal is 5/month. I don't know how much gas this is saving (yet), but I do know we are getting more exercise (we still go to the stores on weekends, but now we walk).

Today, we stayed home because the kids are still not 100% but they have to go to school tomorrow. We had chicken and leftover veggies for me and dh, ds2 had leftover pizza and ds1 had refried beans and chips (I make the beans in large batches and some go in the freezer while the others are left for us to eat during the week).

DH cooked the oats for the week. We are almost set for food for the week - beans and chicken for suppers (we'll stretch them with veggies and other ingredients). Oats for breakfast. DH also made a bunch of french toast for the freezer for the kids (they love french toast).

Car Service today

February 3rd, 2006 at 04:46 am

I took my car in for its oil change today. I go with a local guy I can trust to do good work and to check all my levels. He also replaced my burnt out brake light - $36.

Then they gave me the bad news. My car will not pass inspection without some emissions work. There are several leaks along the bottom. He told me the muffler shop I should take it to (they don't do muffler work there). He says it should be under $100 and realistically more like $25-40. So, that's somewhat of a relief. I actually expected it to need some work there, they told me it barely passed inspection last year.

When I got there, I realized I could see the library across the town lake (water treatment lake, not very large at all). When they said it would take 45 minutes or so, I decided to walk to the library (I had my books in the car). Good idea, EXCEPT, I was wearing my calf high, 3" heel, boots. The library was probably a good half mile away (longer because instead of going the short way, I accidentally went the long way). I now have a blister on my big toe, but it's not some place that really gets pressure when I walk in normal shoes (I think the socks must have bunched up between the pad of my toe and the ball of my foot, because that's where the blister is).

And did I mention it was HOT today? 80s. And I was dressed for work in a cold office. So much fun. But now I have books to read and life is good.

Library back open

January 18th, 2006 at 03:53 am

I don't remember if I posted this here or not. But last week we walked to the library (1 mile there) and found out they were closed "until further notice" for electrical work. I finally called and found out they opened right after we were there (you'd think they could have dated the sign so we'd know if it was a new sign). So, when dh got off work, we walked to the library and I got new books!!!! I'm so excited, new books.

We lost power last night, right after I posted. It was off for 3 hours. I was starting to worry about the food in the fridge, we had just gone grocery shopping and I didn't want to lose that food/money. But, I got to take a bath by candlelight (it wasn't an electrical storm, just wind) and then read by candlelight. It was pretty nice, but I don't think it's something I feel the need to repeat. Burning a compact fluorescent is probably cheaper than candles (even though we buy the xmas ones on clearance).

Exploring car-less days

January 2nd, 2006 at 12:47 am

We now live right at a half a mile from the grocery store and kmart (and the grocery store is a good one with decent prices). So today, we realized that we had no idea where our sauerkraut is (gotta have sauerkraut on New Year's) and that we would eat what we had even if we bought new) plus we were out of milk, bananas and cold cuts, so we decided to walk to the store.

We took some water, our wallets and our plastic totebags (bought in Mexico for $1). We made a stop at kmart because DS2's sandals wouldn't stay strapped and it was driving him nuts and he needed new sandals anyway (first new sandals we've bought him since last year). Then on to the grocery store. Knowing that we would have to carry it all back with us made us a little more careful with what we bought. We got our milk, our cold cuts, some lettuce, sauerkraut and bananas. We looked at a few more items, but the sale items aren't things we use, so we checked out.

I'd call it a success. None of us are sore (we had several car-less days on the island over the holiday and those meant walking several miles) and the kids only whined a little bit. Next time we might build in a little more time and go to the park that's just past the stores.


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