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Archive for May, 2016

Lack of Quality in Articles Published on Saving Advice

May 18th, 2016 at 05:08 pm

I am disgusted about the lack of quality content in the articles being published here on Saving Advice.

Just now I noticed there is a recent article about how to mooch a free meal from others. Mad

The endless articles (and I do use that term quite loosely) about "Is Target open on Belly Button Day?" and "Are banks open on Mother's Day?" were bad enough. But this is a new low.

http://www.savingadvice.com/articles/2016/05/17/1041068_how-...

Fun Link

May 12th, 2016 at 09:20 pm

OK, so maybe my idea of "fun" is a bit abnormal, but I think this is super fun.

If you retired today, what are your chances of having enough resources to support yourself for the rest of your life? You can find out here:

http://www.cfiresim.com/

My success rate is 0.0%. I expected that. But I intend to check back with this site from time to time. And are you ever going to hear me "squeeee!!" when that dial moves from 0.0%. Big Grin

More Car Woes

May 11th, 2016 at 07:34 pm

The final determination on my car's transmission and clutch problems is that the part in the transmission is NOT covered under Ford's powertrain warranty, and that my clutch does not need to be replaced at this time.

I am really impressed with my mechanic. He stated he did not see why a part in my transmission (the source of the small leak) would not be covered. He faxed my parts list to an employee of a different Ford dealership with whom he has a working relationship to double check what the local dealer told me. It was confirmed; that part is not covered. He also stated that replacing a clutch is not regular maintenance; you replace it when it is going out and not before. He even stated that my money should stay in my savings account until the time comes. What a guy! I think I might have a little crush on him.

Regarding the small leak, he said they would check on it at every oil change and advise me if it gets to the point they recommend replacement.

So what do you think happened next? J came home Sunday evening and announced "I had to get towed here. There's something wrong with my car." Awesome sauce. (That is J's favorite slang).

So Monday morning I had his car towed to my mechanic. It needed a new alternator. Also, he said the tires are in bad shape and should be replaced immediately. (When I discussed with J, it turns out he knew that). So, four new tires. And I learned that J's ignition key had broken into two separate pieces and he had it duct taped together. Yes, that's right, duct tape. I had them replace that too.

So, there went $1,110.50.

J cannot cover this expense. He is still scraping money together for his car insurance due next month. I hope CurveBall gets a chance to breathe before any more demands are made.

The Folks at Progressive are Hilariously Funny

May 6th, 2016 at 06:40 pm

Also this week (it really has been a great week) I received my auto insurance renewal bill. My current insurance company, Mercury, wants $1948.76 for J and I for the next 6 months. This is a $200+ increase from last time.

I decided to get a few quotes online. Geico* will write the exact same policy for $1716.06, a savings of $232.70. Sounded good, but I thought I would let Progressive have a shot at my business. Those folks at Progressive are hilarious! They quoted $2576.76. I had a chuckle and then clicked back over to Geico.

*Geico is owned by Berkshire Hathaway and offers an 8% discount to shareholders. You can own just 1 share of Brk.B (currently trading at $144.xx) and qualify. You can qualify with Brk.A too, but I don't have a spare 220k sitting around. However, I learned this particular discount is not available in California.

Car Woes

May 6th, 2016 at 04:42 pm

Last Friday afternoon while running errands for work, my nose detected a burning smell coming from under the hood of my car. It was strong (making my eyes water) and chemical. It was the first time I had ever smelled it.

I called SB and had him come give it a look before heading home. He checked all my fluids and did say that the coolant was at the "minimum" mark. He went to buy some and added it before I drove home.

I left the car parked all weekend, and dropped it off with my mechanic first thing Monday morning. He said he believed I was smelling the clutch, and that my transmission has a small leak. He said it should be covered under my powertrain warranty, which is 5 years or 60k miles. My car was bought new more than 4 years ago and has 32k on the odometer.

I called the local Ford dealer and made an appointment for Thursday (yesterday). I had to pay the minimum labor charge ($120) for them to take a look. They determined the problem is my clutch is excessively worn. They recommend replacement of the clutch and shift tower, as well as resurfacing of the flywheel. And none of it is covered under the powertrain warranty. Their estimate for repair is $1375.00.

Did I mention that my car has 32k on the odometer? I feel that this sort of repair should not be needed already. Not a happy camper.

I declined to have the dealer do the work. Instead, I called my mechanic and have an appointment on Monday. He has not given an estimate yet. Even if his estimate is also $1375, I would rather pay him than the dealer. But I am fairly certain he will charge a bit less.

This has been an expensive week. I would like to rewind and try again.

Plumbing Woes

May 4th, 2016 at 07:48 pm

Yesterday evening, just as I was finishing up at a client's and preparing to leave, I began receiving text messages from home. There was water in Mr & MrsM180's bedroom. Smelly water. Upon investigation, it was discovered the hot water heater had sprung a leak. (Their bedroom shares a wall with the garage. The hot water heater is bolted to that wall). It seems a pipe had corroded and failed, leaving a hole in the side of the tank.

Doesn't that sound fun?

Our garage is cram packed with stuff, mostly belonging to SB. MrM180, J, and SB moved boxes out of the garage to clear work space. SB put the boxes in his trailer.

J called his gf's dad (a self-employed plumber), who said he would come this morning at 9:30. I went to work as normal, J handled everything. The plumber came as promised, took a look, and said a new unit was needed. He and J went to a hardware store and J purchased the unit (J is an authorized user on one of my credit accounts). I will send J over tonight with cash to pay for the labor.

J reports that the unit is now installed and we are back in business. I still need to assess the water damage. Not sure yet if anything else will need to be replaced.

Update: the final cost was $850

Mortgage Chips To Date

May 4th, 2016 at 07:25 pm

My mortgage payment has posted. This month I paid an additional $21.07. My new balance is $165,625.00.

Chips to date: $1,984.04

Interest savings this month: $7.28

Interest savings to date: $161.11

Eventually, the interest savings on the chips I have already made will compound to $4,250.98, provided I own this house until July 1, 2042. Which I probably won't. Stick Out Tongue

Look What The Kids Drug In

May 1st, 2016 at 05:40 pm

So yesterday J and his girlfriend were with some friends in a park, and they came upon this little guy:





He is a puppy. He has no collar. He is emaciated. His spine, ribs, hind hip, and neck bones all stick out. It's just awful. Not sure if he was homeless and couldn't find enough food or if someone had him and just didn't feed him. They said he was weak and lethargic before they gave him some food.

He appears to be part chocolate lab and part pit bull. He looks as though he could be the love child of our dogs Nala (yellow lab) and Buster (pit bull and terrier mix).

SB and I were at my mother's yesterday afternoon and evening playing cards. By the time I got home, MrsM180 was already smitten, having succumbed to his puppy charms.

He does have a very sweet disposition.

We are still tossing around names. My choice is Gilligan.

April 2016 Budget Report

May 1st, 2016 at 04:19 pm



Everything else this month included 138.00 for income taxes, 123.64 for medical, 36.86 for J's oil change, a new purse and wallet, and several dinners out.

I received a nice bonus and so tucked some extra money into my traditional IRA and my E fund.

I have a girlfriend who is the accounting manager of a small manufacturing company located in a nearby small town. She gave me a heads up that they will be hiring several entry-level employees for the factory soon. She gave the h.r. person J's name, and J has applied to the temp agency they use. Fingers crossed that J will have a full-time job soon.

I need to have some things done around the house. I had two shingles blow off in the last storm, so I want a roofer to replace them and take a look. My house was built in 1991 and the roof is original. I want to price some stamped concrete work for the backyard. In the front yard, I have a hedge which is just out of control. I allowed it to grow up and swallow two small trees. The hedge made a lovely barrier between us and the crazy neighbor. Now that he is gone, I feel the space would be better utilized as a parking space. We think we can handle the hedge and tree removal ourselves. If not, I will hire someone. To pour the concrete pad, I will definitely hire someone.

So, these expenses are going to slow down my E fund progress. I am going to try to pay for these expenses without resorting to debt. I really love having no debt other than the mortgage, and I really want to keep it that way.

Net Worth 4-30-16

May 1st, 2016 at 04:17 pm

Cash is up. Smile
Debt is down. Smile
Investments are up. Smile
Home value estimate is up. Smile