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This & That

August 3rd, 2011 at 06:43 pm

July was a pretty cheap month, overall.

For one, we spent only $130 on auto gas. I think it's a record low, and I can't quite wrap my brain around that!

I was sick an entire week (didn't drive to work), dh has been sick an entire week (didn't drive anywhere), I suppose I didn't eat anything at all for a couple of days. Stuff like that. (I did spend $20 on 2 prescriptions what were useless and I didn't use. But still came out way ahead). Anyway, no school or activities, etc. But for piano lessons.

All that, and we drove 100-ish miles round trip to Six Flags.

Besides that and work, I suppose we just didn't really go anywhere!

'Twas nice on the budget.

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That said, I didn't scrounge any extra to the mortgage this month. No extra cash inflows. BUT, if I stick with the $50/month (tax holiday) - I did do that for 7/31 - and commit most my credit card cash rewards to the mortgage - may only have to come up with another $500 this year to meet my goal. (Easy Peasy!)

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Got off pretty easy with kids' party. About $100 for the bouncy house, $0 for the magician, $25 for party favors (magic wands). I hate party favors, and often skip them. BUT, I thought these would be a little more useful than a bunch of crap. Dh said they were a HUGE hit - so glad I got them. Food was within grocery budget. I could say $125 for an extremely successful/exciting party. BUT, dh's folks picked up the pizzas and I sent them a check for $30. Not sure they will ever cash it - but I tried.

If they cash the check, that is $77.50 per kid. Since it was for TWO birthdays. I'll never pull off 2 birthdays like *that* again.

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Well, this could REALLY suck, but no worries since dh found a good solution.

We had a power surge a week ago or so, and dh's PS3 absolutely died. Sure, we have tons of used games systems and games, and don't spend a lot on this stuff. BUT, he had bought the PS3 very early on, brand new. In fact, it was backwards compatible - with old games (which I now understand is very rare). It had cost $500+ - I am sure.

Power surge? KILLED the PS3.

Yeah - NOT HAPPY. Usually when dh buys more expensive equipment, it is of higher quality. So, I Was really ticked off.

Dh did his frugal research and decided the best option was to send it back to Sony for a newer refurbished model. Cost? $100.

I can certainly live with that. Phew!!!

Pros? It's smaller and more energy efficient. I believe dh said this would be okay for our no-cable switch and so we won't have to buy a roku. So, if you look at it that way - will cost us very little (versus cost of a second roku box). The old one did not have the same features as the newer ones.

Cons? It's not backwards compatible.

Of course, dh still has his PS2 - because he has like every game system known to man and refuses to ever give them up - so probably no matter. Just kind of a pain.

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Power surge problems did not end there. I found the garbage disposal to be dead about a week later. I Can't fathom that no one touched it all week, but seems to be the case.

Dh wasn't feeling well, but it was all clogged up and I don't have the strength to loosen the pipes to get all the food out. So, dh did that for me only to find there was no food in the pipes. All stuck inside the disposal I guess. LOVELY. The thing had been acting up a while, and I can't say I Was sad to see it go. (We've taken the pipes apart many times to clear up clogs). Just not happy with the timing and how it was dead but I didn't know and put a bunch of food down the disposal.

If dh was feeling better, he may have noticed sooner, but he didn't. There was a big red switch on it. After taking pipes apart and putting them back together, and being really aggravated with me? Flipped the switch. That's all there was to it. We could only chalk that one up to the power surge.

The experience renewed our resolve to replace it before we *have to.* It does need to be replaced. Some time this year. IT hasn't aged gracefully, and was probably some really cheap crappy thing the home builder put in (2001). We understand most our neighbors have replaced theirs already.

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We've also had minor dishwasher whoas. IT just looks absolutely disgusting.

So, while dh was sick I Was doing most the dishes. I flipped it on one day and it made a LOUD, annoying buzzing sound. I asked dh if that was *normal* and he assured me it was. Well, that sure wasn't normal when it was brand new. Nor most of the last decade. I said, "I think we are going to have to replace that sooner rather than later." Dh agreed. Besides looking like heck, it just hasn't been cleaning as well, either.

I'll probably do a little internet digging, just to be sure. I Was just reading the SA blog about how sometimes people throw away appliances when all they need is a simple repair. Reminded me of our switch problem with the garbage disposal. Doh!

But, anyway, I did look up dishwashers (having no clue what they cost because I never bought one before). I was impressed. Maybe it's time for something newer and quieter. Maybe even more efficient. I figure we use it just about every single day, so got our money's worth.

These would be the first repairs/replacements on the inside of the house. Bought in 2001. Can't say I can complain.

I can tell that my problem is I really don't want to jump the gun in any replacements. (What if it lasts another decade???). By the same token, I rather replace things before they break. Before you are stuck and have no choice. So, we've made a loose decision, but I wouldn't be surprised if it took us YEARS to execute.

I do like being able to keep an eye out and jump on a good sale. Time to start looking for a new dishwasher. Patience and time will buy us a good deal.

We've been blessed to have been homeowners for 12 years and never made these kind of decisions before. Sure, we have had a few minor repairs - but no replacements!

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I just got an e-mail that balanced billing for gas, doubled. $20/month to $40/month. To be fair, probably should have been $30 all along. I have no idea how they figure these things, since our annual usage is so consistent. Gah. Just wish they would charge the same amount every month - like $30? - it would all even out. I just looked and we have paid $14, $21, $26, $31 during the last 2 years. $40 in 2009.

Anyway, the main problem? I didn't turn down the water heater for summer. We barely use ANY gas in summer, because it is usually regularly 100-ish degrees, and the heater is extremely efficient for what little hot water we need (cooking/dishes). We like our HOT showers in the winter, but don't need HOT water in the showers for summer.

To be fair - June was more like spring, or even winter! But, July - I could have turned it down. I am annoyed how much that will cost us. I just turned it down.

ETA: Turns out bill switched to $30, and I didn't notice! Doh! But, phew - not as bad as I thought. Still charged 50% more than probably necessary in July. But I owe +$9 for last month. Luckily no late fee. I might not have remembered the heat was on too high otherwise - shocking bill did it - so for the best.

3 Responses to “This & That”

  1. ThriftoRama Says:

    Yeah. I'd spring for the garbage disposal. I think I paid $75 for mine. It was money well spent. So much less frustrating-- and not as loud as the dying one.

  2. LuckyRobin Says:

    I was going to say about the garbage disposal that they usually do flip off when there is a power surge, but most people don't realize there is a switch at all and just think it is dead. It's a pain to take it all apart and then realize it was just the switch, isn't it? If I were you, when you replace it, I would spring for one of the heavier duty models. They last a lot longer and chew things up so much better, so it makes the higher price worth it.

  3. Ima saver Says:

    I keep my hot water heater turned off all time except for showers and running the dish washer. My dh is a builder and he puts a switch in every kitchen so the hot water heater can be easily turned off.

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