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Frugal Retiring News, Issue 65, October 2014
October 22, 2014
Dear Subscriber


Ready for the drought?

Those of us in the Western states are well aware of the declining levels of water in our reservoirs... We should all take a look now at simple things that we can do to reduce the amount of water that we use.

Remember this advice is being given to you by a couple that used to stretch 90 gallons for two weeks... while on board our sailboat...

We did this for eight years and didn't really give it much thought... Fresh water was a finite resource and we treated it accordingly.

Compare this to the daily average of 400 gallons of water usage per family of four.

That's daily, compared to 90 gallons lasting us two weeks.

The picture of the cactus from our front yard reminds us that we switched to all native desert plants about five years ago in our home in Arizona.

Trees and bushes that we enjoyed in other places that we lived required more water and care... Especially during the rare freezes in Arizona... Than the plants that have thrived here for hundreds of years.

Frugal tip number one

A few of the things that we do to save water include installing a near instant hot water feature for our showers.

Here is how to get one like ours...It's $172 at Amazon.

It takes only a few minutes to install, a couple of wrenches. If I can do it easily you can too...no need at all for a plumber.

The amount of water that you waste waiting for the shower to heat up can be substantial.

As a habit from our boat days ...We still take our showers the Navy way... Lather up turn off the water... Turn it back on when you're ready to rinse.

Frugal living tip number two

According to USA today one third of Americans have no retirement savings whatsoever.

If you add no savings to credit card debt ...You really have a problem, I sincerely hope this is not you and that you use the tips on this website to help you retire as early as possible.

As I mentioned last month, just take a look at the number of advertisements you see on television that are touting various financial companies... The cost these companies spend on advertising is enormous.

I have often said that this is the way to choose a financial planner. Read this .

Frugal living tip number three

When you read this we will be in the middle of the Atlantic on our first reverse transatlantic cruise. That is, we will be flying to Europe and cruising back to Miami.

The cost of a 15 day transatlantic cruise leaving from Rome is $649... Even adding the airfare from Miami or Fort Lauderdale to this cost is cheaper, much cheaper than flying from Rome to Phoenix.

I would like to pass along a tip that we used to use the absolute minimum amount of our frequent flyer miles to get us to Rome... At least this worked with United airlines not all airlines will allow you to use miles for one-way flights.

I ran all the traps on the United website for Phoenix to Rome, LA to Rome San Francisco to Rome... And came up with a goose egg.

I called customer service for the frequent flyer portion of United Airlines and informed the lady I was fortunate enough to be connected with to see if she could help find a way to get to Rome using the economy number of miles, 30,000 miles apiece.

It took her about 30 minutes but she said she could do it if I flew to Los Angeles the day before, $73 apiece on Southwest, and then flew from LA to Rome.

She went above and beyond to help me, and when you are the recipient of outstanding service like that take the time to ask for his or hers supervisors email address.

A little note from a very satisfied customer will go a long way.

Incidentally since I did book over the phone, it was impossible to do online, it cost us an extra $25 a person... 50 bucks very well spent.

We all have enough bad experiences talking to folks over the phone that we should recognize folks that really help us out.

Surprise, surprise there was a recent article on the worst companies phone customer service,,, Dish network, DirecTV, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint were all in the top 10.

The point is a little kindness with a long ways.

Frugal living tip number four

When your car is 15 years old like ours with 221,000 miles on the odometer... You may want to consider arming yourself with a few spare parts.

More car tips.

A few months ago I mentioned a device that all mechanics use to diagnose error codes using the onboard computer that are in all cars made since 2000.

I also ordered a drive belt, one belt drives the AC; the water pump; the alternator; and the idler arm... So if that puppy were to break along beautiful I-10 going from Phoenix to LA you might be in a world of hurt, but having a belt that cost $15 at Amazon could save your bacon.

In closing

Be safe be frugal and be kind to others... Until November...

All the best,

Gary and Julie

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