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Archive for February, 2009

Less Than 24 hours!

February 27th, 2009 at 10:11 am

The car is sold! Craig's list is amazing.

My 2001 Toyota Camry; 135,000+ miles, needs frequent oil and engine noises (disclosed), clean and good mileage though; gone to a guy who was completely comfortable with the engine noise.

We sold it for $500 under blue book. Would not have increased the price because of the known faults.

But that didn't stop 6 people contacting us the first day, and something like a call an hour today.

The guy paid cash. Green cash. (kinda scary actually)

Soooooooo....DH using the pick up truck as 2nd car (gas guzzler) for a short while and I get the Corrolla.

He is very keen on a hybrid, wish there were hydrogen cars ready!! The cash is going straight toward the down payment for a new one. We're not strapped, it means tho less going to saving until Sept when the last vehicle payment is made on our tractor.

And my spouse is completely thrilled with the hunt.

He's an expert, ask me how he got the last one (it has manual windows and un-power locks!!)

Car's making a clattering noise...

February 26th, 2009 at 10:17 am

it's been doing this for a number of months and I happened to see a family friend who is a mechanic last night. I asked him to listen and he took it for a short test drive.

His diagnosis: this is a baaaaad noise.

Probably the engine rods. Likely due to a couple of times in recent past years I waited too long to have the oil changed (the oil light came on for a couple days).

Not worth working on the engine unless it's a Bentley. Ummmm, this is a 2001 Toyota Camry. With 130,000+ miles.

Alternative plans of action (some pillow talk, eh?):

A. Sell it sooner to capture as much resale value as possible, For Sale By Owner type of thing.

B. Drive it gently until Sept when the last payment for our small tractor is made. Use for park n ride, around town, for example. Then trade in with new car purchase, and meanwhile watch the local dealers on how strong they want to make a sale as well as watch the Feds on what they might do to stimulate auto sales.

C. Drive it till it dies. Donate it to charity, but don't want to have to tow it to do so. Least safe of the options especially since I carpool 2 of the neighbor's kids to school (and would mess up their life for a day or so possibly).

Want to Vote?

Wouldn't have learned it any other way...

February 23rd, 2009 at 12:54 pm

But by experience.

What am I talking about? Last week my grandma died, s'ok, folks the important thing about this post is not personal.

What I want to explain is how I've learned over the past few years how to handle major hurdles of convalescence and end of life finances being her primary contact.

First and foremost, she supremely thought-through arrangements for almost all coming needs. Her choice was to have savings in a trust fund which I used to pay for assisted living, and then nursing home fees. She certainly gave myself, and an alternate person, financial power of attorney while being of sound mind.

When the trust was almost depleted I had to switch to Medicare of course. Yes, I'm sorry that happened, but she stayed with us much longer than she would have wanted.

She also had a fully paid burial policy in place with her specific wishes written in. That policy has been upheld by a mortuary and given me more relief than imagined. They met with me and took care of every last thing. Without any unexpected expense, without any decision needed by me under stress, without an inkling of pressure for 'flowers', 'service', nothing.

It's all good, and I hope some of you out there make it as easy for your family as mine has so far.

Time to tell your friends to bank...

February 19th, 2009 at 12:33 pm

in a place that doesn't need a bailout."

That title was a sign inside my credit union yesterday.

"NOT going out of business SALE" ~
That sign was seen by a person in New York who posted it to Twitter.

I notice how much exaggerations are used in the news, because I have kids. Words such as 'crisis', 'emergency', 'worst', etc. Count how many times you hear/see these. Think about that absorbing into a kid.

But hey! Mine are doing fine. We just got through both kids birthdays this month. Each had a grip on the costs because I limited size and scope of the parties and discussed with them why. (They got to invite 3 kids each). They went to the bank and saved 1/2 of total gift card/checks. Try telling a kid they can spend all the $20 ToysRUs card but none of the $25 check from Grandpa. They get it I'm sure.

More good news! We had a very good long weekend mini vacation. Four days in the snow. Who says it doesn't rain in Southern California?



Using one free Holiday Inn night (my husband's frequent stay points), and paying for a second, the four of us had a cross country ski afternoon in winter wonderland. The cost is reasonable; the experience many times over in value to my kids. I love HI, the breakfast buffet is included, the kids swam and jacuzzi'ed.

The next day we went on a treasure hunt for quartz crystals and obsidian, free to the adventurer! The family memories are worth more than any price.

Waste Not - Want Not (or What's in Your Junk Drawer?)

February 4th, 2009 at 11:02 am

Even non frugal people keep those bits of yarn, twist ties, foreign coins, and old postcards just in case the need arises some day. Right?

I am certainly the anti pack rat but here's some of the things in my home office drawer:

... a harmonica (I always wanted to learn)
... a part used box of reinforcements for three ring binder paper (antique?!)
... a plug-in thingy which expands any electrical outlet into 3 more outlets
... a couple partly used AAA batteries
... a partly used roll of 2-sided tape
... an extra coin pouch
... another coin pouch filled with a variety of key chains
... a small container of thumbtacks
... a very small pink pocket knife

What brings this to mind is a good use I put to some jewelry supplies this past week.

As is not uncommon to many of us crafters, I bought some supplies which were not used completely or did not work out for their original intent.

In this case, it was some very thin, part-silver wire. I bought 2 rolls of silver wire, one thin and one thicker, and have found the heavier weight to be more suitable for much of my work. But the thin wire was just too good to waste.

Rather than sell, give away, or throw it out, there it lay in wait in my studio.

Then, I was invited to enter an upcoming exhibit themed 'Healing Arts'. Faster than a speeding bullet I retrieved a raw quartz point which I had made into a rough pendant a couple years ago. This, I thought, might fit the theme if I made it into a necklace. (Organic folks of past and present feel quartz crystal has healing properties).

Now for a chain. I have a few mass produced oval links and wanted to connect them and weave a strand of small beads in and out of them as a chain. But it needed intermediate links, so I decided to handform straight links with -- SILVER WIRE WRAP!.

Here's the technique I mean (these are earrings I made to practice):

GEOMETRIC DIAMOND SHAPE SILVER WIRE WRAPPED EARRINGS




So, there you have it. From waste not to want not. Another frugal success story.

And by the way, what's in YOUR junk drawer?