Festival of Frugality Picks

This week’s Festival of Frugality is hosted by Blogging Away Debt. I didn’t get around to submitting a post this week, maybe next week. Anyway here are some of my favorite posts from the festival.

How Frugal Are You? from Grad Money Matters. This is a great discussion of what frugality is.

The Most Cost Effective Ways to Stay in Shape from FreeMoneyFinance. Running is the exercise and I plan to get back to running regularly next month.

Throwing Away Money from Stingy Students. This one involves two topics I like dumpster diving and the value of spare change.

There are plenty of great posts besides these so be sure to visit the Festival of Frugality and see all the posts.

Turning Off the Gas

I’m talking about natural gas not gasoline. My local gas company has raised their customer charge from about $14 a month to $25 a month. This means that I have a $25 gas bill before I use any gas at all. This resulted in my current bill being $5 higher than the previous month even though I hadn’t used any heat and used less gas in this billing period. It appears that my gas bill will be $40 a month just for hot water and cooking.

That seems like an excessively high bill to me so I decided to fix it by canceling my gas service. Cooking won’t be a problem since I don’t do much cooking anyway. What cooking I do can be done with the microwave or George Foreman grill.

Hot water will be a little more difficult to do without. With the hot summer days a cool shower might be nice from time to time. I’m not big on cold showers though and I’m going to want a warm shower at least. This can be solved by showering at the gym. This will also force me to go to the gym more often which will hopefully result in my working out more. I’ve also considered getting a solar shower and using that.

So far I haven’t had to use any of these solutions. Although my gas was supposed to be turned off last Tuesday and I’ve already received my final bill I still have gas. I’m not sure if there is a delay in turning it off or what. I guess I’ll find out eventually when I either receive a bill or the gas is actually turned off.

Find a Mechanic You Can Trust

While I’m hiking I am posting some of my posts from two years ago when most of you weren’t reading this blog. This post originally appeared in May 2007.

This is probably the best way to save money on car repair. I needed to get my car repaired last week because it was running poorly and getting terrible gas mileage. That is never good but it is especially bad with the current gas prices. The first shop I took the car to told me the problem couldn’t possibly be what I thought it was and they would need to run diagnostics to determine the problem. I didn’t want to do that so I took the car to a second shop. They thought the problem could be as I thought but wanted to run diagnostics to see if there were any other problems. After running the diagnostics they told me it would take $430 to do the basic repairs and there was a total of $1200 of repairs that needed to be made. My car is worth $1000 tops so there was no way I was going to put that kind of money into it.

I ended up driving three hours to the mechanic in the small town where my mother lives. He had done repairs for me in the past and I was always pleased with his results and the cost of his services. He fixed the car for $140 and it now runs fine. I’ve had a dramatic improvement in gas mileage as well. Since I do delivery as my main job the gas savings will soon cover the cost of the repair. Even when I figure in the cost of driving three hours each way I saved a significant amount of money over what it would have cost me to have it repaired here. And I don’t think the total cost of driving there should be added to the repair since I also got to visit with my family and take care of some other business while there.

In conclusion when you find a reliable and honest mechanic stick with him. You could easily save hundreds and perhaps thousands in repair costs over the life of your vechicle.

I've Got Health Insurance

Starting June 1 I will have health insurance. The plan has a $5,000 deductible so I’ll only be using the insurance in case of emergency but it is still nice to have. I can visit the school clinic for free anyway so I really only need insurance for a severe illness or injury.

I purchased my insurance through eHealthInsurance(aff link) and the process was quite easy. This was a contrast to buying a phone and opening a Roth IRA. I’ve tried to both online this month and have been unsuccessful. When you visit their website they have a wide variety of health plans to choose from. Once you’ve made a choice you can fill out the application online and the forms will be mailed to you to sign. I was pleased with the simplicity of the process overall.

I’ve Got Health Insurance

Starting June 1 I will have health insurance. The plan has a $5,000 deductible so I’ll only be using the insurance in case of emergency but it is still nice to have. I can visit the school clinic for free anyway so I really only need insurance for a severe illness or injury.

I purchased my insurance through eHealthInsurance(aff link) and the process was quite easy. This was a contrast to buying a phone and opening a Roth IRA. I’ve tried to both online this month and have been unsuccessful. When you visit their website they have a wide variety of health plans to choose from. Once you’ve made a choice you can fill out the application online and the forms will be mailed to you to sign. I was pleased with the simplicity of the process overall.

In a Funk

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I’ve been in a funk lately and haven’t felt like doing anything. Not even updating my blog which I normally enjoy doing. I’ve had a lot of bills lately and I’m not making progress like I thought I would. My car is in for major repairs and I’m stressing over how much it will cost. Everything should be resolved this weekend and I hope to get everything back to normal next week.