Sometimes Being Cheap Costs Money

Yes, sometimes being cheap can cost you more money than just spending what you need to spend. An example of this is my latest car repair. I’ve known for a while that my water pump was going bad and wasn’t going to last much longer. When I had my car in for service in late May I though about getting it replaced then. I decided not to since I was already spending so much money and thought it would be easier to afford later.

This week my water pump finally went out. I really couldn’t afford the expense of fixing it now any easier than I could in May so that logic was faulty. I was lucky that it went out when I was near home and I was able to drive it to a close by repair shop without it overheating. Although this repair shop has reasonable rates it was still more than I would have paid to have it fixed in the small town shop I was at in May. If I would have had to pay towing fees or missed work this could have been even more expensive. This is a case where being cheap was not the frugal choice.

I think I have learned my lesson on this one. While I had my car in I had them replace the timing belt and leaking valve cover gasket as well. The gasket was needing replacement for a while and was costing me money by leaking oil. The timing belt in my car has never been changed and with my car having over 210,000 it was time to do so since the timing belt going out can ruin the engine. Now I just have to hope that my car keeps going long enough to justify the money I spent on the repairs and maintenance.

This Week's Festival of Frugality Picks

This week’s Festival of Frugality is being hosted at the Frugal Law Student. Here are a few of my favorite posts.

Millionaire Mommy Next Door presents A Year’s Worth of Weekly Cheap Dates. As a poor law student these ideas are helfpful.

The Happy Rock gives Cheaper Than Cheap Tip Of The Week #1 – Pretend You Are Running Out  This is pretty much what I do

Fish Creek House discusses Present Simplicity. I like this idea and want to make my life even simpler.

This Week’s Festival of Frugality Picks

This week’s Festival of Frugality is being hosted at the Frugal Law Student. Here are a few of my favorite posts.

Millionaire Mommy Next Door presents A Year’s Worth of Weekly Cheap Dates. As a poor law student these ideas are helfpful.

The Happy Rock gives Cheaper Than Cheap Tip Of The Week #1 – Pretend You Are Running Out  This is pretty much what I do

Fish Creek House discusses Present Simplicity. I like this idea and want to make my life even simpler.

What the World Eats

This photo essay at time.com shows what fifteen different families from around the globe eat in a week and how much it costs them. I spend about $25 a week on food which is ok but I could do better. It is interesting to note that generally the more processed food and soda a family consumes the higher their food cost.

Saving Money at the Movies

I’m a big movie fan and watch lots of movies. I can watch DVDs very cheaply or even free but I still like to go to the movies. For some movies,like Harry Potter, I just can’t wait for them to come out on DVD. Also,big,action-packed, summer blockbusters are a better experience seen on the large screen at the theater than on my small laptop screen. Here are some ways to keep the cost of going to the movies down.

  • Go to the matinee. These are usually a few dollars cheaper than the evening shows. Check to see if there special showtimes that are even further discounted. Locally, AMC theatres has a special $4 price for the first show of the day.
  • Wait for the movie to come out to the dollar theater. These seem to be going away but if there is one near you it is an option to consider.
  • Buy discounted tickets. Some theaters give you a discount if you buy tickets in bulk. Also you may be able to buy discounted tickets through your employer.
  • Ask for a discount. Most theaters offer discounts for seniors and students and there may be additional discounts available as well.
  • Buy tickets off eBay. These tickets go for more than I pay locally but they can be a good deal if you live somewhere with high ticket prices.
  • Go to free movies. Sometimes free tickets are available to sneak previews of movies. I’ve done this and just had to fill out a short questionnaire about the movie. I did have to wait in a long line to get in the movie and the theater was packed so I don’t really consider this worth the hassle.
  • Another source of free movies are kid’s movie programs that some theater chains offer during the summer. These movies are free but are usually movies from the previous year and have a morning start time. Since I don’t have kids this isn’t really an option for me.
  • Concessions can easily cost more than the tickets. An easy way to save here is to eat before attending the movie and not buy any concessions.
  • If you want to eat during the movie bring your own snacks. Most theaters have a policy against this but often it is not strictly enforced.
  • If there are two or more of you attending you can buy the large size with a free refill and split it.
  • Join the chain’s club. AMC offers its members a free small popcorn on Wednesdays and Regal offers a free small popcorn on Tuesdays. Also your club card earns you points for purchasing tickets and concessions that can be redeemed for free tickets and concessions. Additionally when you use your card you are usually given a coupon for a small discount on concession purchases.

Taking Cold Showers to Save $45 a Month

I previously posted about having my gas turned off because I felt that the monthly bill of roughly $45 was too high. My plan then was to take my showers at my school’s fitness center with the occasional cold shower at home. That plan didn’t work because my school requires you to pay to use the fitness center during the summer unless you’re enrolled in summer classes. Since I’m not yet enrolled for the fall semester I would have had to pay $40 a month to use the fitness center which would have basically wiped out the savings from not having a gas bill.

So now I am taking cold showers at home. They actually are not as bad as I thought they would be. You get acclimated to them after a while but I certainly don’t luxuriate in them. This has a green side effect in that I use less water in addition to using less energy. I also bought a solar camp shower from Wal-Mart for $6. This actually works pretty well on sunny days. The problem with it is that it is already starting to fall apart.

When I tell people that I’m doing without hot water they think I’m crazy but I think it is well worth it for the $45 monthly savings. What would you do to save $45 a month?