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Archive for October, 2010

Groundhog/Yard-Sale Day and Do-It-Yourself savings

October 26th, 2010 at 02:10 am

One of the best ways I have found over the years to save is to learn how to do things yourself. Don't be afraid, put a plan together and do it. I used that motto this weekend as I replaced not only the front brake pads on my car, but the rotors as well. Its the first car repair I have done without Yoda (i.e. my dad). I had a large repair manual for the car, and asked a friend from work over to help. I ended up doing most of the work, but he did bring some tools I needed. Plus having support there was nice, as was having a working car in the driveway in case I needed to go and get something was a nice peace of mind feeling. The parts cost $55, where as a local (and less expensive) garage wanted $220 to do it. I'm sure the dealership would have said $350 or more.

I just was determined to try it and see it through, and I survived (as did the car). I am adding this to the list of things I have figured out over the years. Its much more effective than trying to save quarters all the time (though maybe not as much fun).

Oh, and to make sure he knew how much I appreciated his help, I gave him $50 in gift certificates for a restaurant I used to do mystery shopping for. He said he went there that night and had a wonderful meal.

As for the weekend yard sales, to my amazement I have found more things to get for my mother and get for myself lately. Now a month ago, I picked up a hard to come by and very expensive slot car set that amazingly was never opened (Its mentioned here). Now that was an wonderful find for me. When I went out the door Saturday I thought wow, why couldn't I find one like that again. Part of my mind said back "Sure, like that's ever going to happen in your lifetime again. Dream on."

So I went out and spent $2 at the first two locations and then saw a sign pointing back to near my house (missed it on the way out), and decided to backtrack. I walk up and there amazingly is a box from the same manufacturer with another set. I figure "Well I'm sure this time its going to be beat up. Just be happy you found another one in any condition, there's no way that could be in great shape." I pull the box lid off, and there is another set, still new, still in the wrapper - again! Ok, final straw - the price has to be extremely high, right? - nope, he's selling it for $10 (This set is bigger than the last one, it definitely sold for around $200). After the $10 exchanged hands, I walked away thinking, wow its Groundhog Day, how could I hit that twice in a month??? Should I start buying lottery tickets???

The Save My Jacket project & more dating follies

October 14th, 2010 at 03:38 am

Guys don't have a thing for fancy clothes, or buying the latest fad, but when they have something they like... they hate to let go. Which leads to my jacket. I have a number of leather jackets, but there is one I have worn religously for years (probably around 10). Its a Wilson's Leather jacket, insulated, and has a removable extra insulated liner. Its a little rough on the edges, but I have used leather shoe touch up dye to make it look nearly like new in the past years. But last year the zipper started to come apart occassionally for no reason, and when I tried it during the first cold snap this month, the zipper wouldn't work right.

Heart broken (ok, maybe thats a bit much) I decided to freecycle it as maybe someone wanted to try to fix it up since it was still nice. I had photos taken ready to post it, but I hated to see it go. Then I looked at the zipper and decided it couldn't be that hard to replace, so I decided to look and see if I could find a replacement zipper. I must say ebay has everything, even zippers, and some were the right length.

Ok, but how do I get it fixed? Time to call in a favor with mom. I have been finding yard sale items for her this year, so we worked a deal. I buy her some replacement machine needles, and we'll try fixing it. I'm looking at a total cost of less than $10 for the fix. Admittedly, I have seen some nice jackets at sales in the $15 - $20 range, but I want MY jacket, as it works just right for me.

As for dating, nothing has been happening, but during a relative's wedding this past weekend I got asked the question of why I have no girlfriend / significant other. It was many hours out of town, in the back woods, so to speak. They said "you're good looking, you own your own home, make good money, nice mannered, ... so what's the deal?" I try to explain the problems with the women round here, how it nothing like where they live, but they think I'm exaggerating. Then today the Wash. Post comes up with a great article about modern dating. I say great, in that shows (inadvertantly) just how deluded some women are in this area. Good god, what attitudes. Anyway... if you'd like to read, go here. The reader comments are especially amusing. This article will be saved for me to take along on my next trip, so they can understand better the attitudes I have to deal with.