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Frugal Retiring News, Issue 81,2016 2016
February 24, 2016
What is taking most of our time lately
This is our new rolling home which will make us snowbirds this summer. It is a Foretravel 1992 Silver Anniversary that sold for 300K in 1992. We had one exactly like it... We sold it in 2005, so we are quite familiar with the product and the quality.
As you can tell from the cracked decals it has a long way to go to look sharp on the outside.
We have been concentrating on redoing the interior... New floors new carpet, rebuilt shades, new valances, new mattress, flatscreen TV,... All set for our maiden shakedown cruise on March 1... A short 3 night stay in the Sedona area of Arizona.
I am sure that we will find many more projects to do after this trip.
I have had a lot of mechanical work done and wasted a couple of months trying to get the RV interior redone by a "professional"... With the help of a friend the floor and carpet was done ourselves and we saved ourselves a lot of money by doing so.
For instance the new carpet that we have put up front was a remnant from the carpet that was on display at a local carpet and flooring store... Since one of the salesman is a friend from church carpet that would normally cost $4 to $5 a yard was had for 10 bucks.
The more work that we do ourselves, since we have more time than money, seems like drudgery while were doing it but gives us a sense of satisfaction upon completion.
We hope to get the coach repainted in Mexico. If we bring down oueselves the high quality US paint, primer and clearcoat we can get the coach painted for $1000 or less. New decals alone would cost almost $4000 in the United States.
Frugal Living Tip number OneMy frugal wife Has become addicted to a website, Pinterest, that you all should be aware of if you don't use it already...she uses it for recipes, decorating ideas, and finds new ways to save or organize on a daily basis... Highly recommended for those that want to remain frugal.
Frugal living tip number twoShopping online Is no longer an option for those that want to remain truly frugal.
With the exception of Costco because you cannot beat their customer services and return policy... Especially for electronics... You will almost always pay more than if you bought the item that you want from Amazon. Perhaps Ebay as well
Think about it for a moment, when you walk in Best Buy, you are surrounded by lots of young knowledgeable salespeople... Think of the rent that they pay and the employees salaries. There is no way they can compete and stay in business with a company that pays little or nothing for advertising store space or inventory.
Once you know exactly what you want go home and find the best price for that item online and buy it there I can almost guarantee you that you will save money.
Ever get a lot of help in making your decision on a TV or a computer from someone at Costco? Ever get pressure to buy something ? It is all part of their business model they have a smaller selection, fewer people and rock-bottom prices.
For instance we bought a 32 inch flatscreen TV from Costco, are keeping the box until we are sure that that is what we want for our RV. We know we can get another television from Costco with minimum hassle.
Incidentally you can use this technique at the car repair shop. When they come out and tell you that you have to replace part XYZ you will be paying top dollar for part XYZ.
I can't tell you the number of times I have had a problem diagnosed at various mechanics, gone and found the part online usually less than half of what the shop wants to fix right then. I buy the part online.
Think about it... they can't afford, and you wouldn't want to be without your car, to tie up a service bay on waiting for a much cheaper part to be shipped to them... Get it yourself, if you can't install it they will be glad to charge you their labor rate... You will save big bucks.
Frugal living tip number threeAnother resource, and the only magazine that we pay for is Consumer Reports.
They accept no advertising dollars from the producers of the products that they test. You benefit by getting a truly unbiased opinion on what is best for you.
They make their money by selling subscriptions, we have had ours for 20 some plus years, and wouldn't think about buying something if it's something that they have evaluated recently.
Especially if you are in the market for used car, and if you want to save money that is the way to go, you will get an unbiased report of that particular models reliability and/or weaknesses in certain areas... You can be a very informed buyer and not be swayed by the billions of dollars that each company spends on advertising.
Be smart and get a subscription or subscribe online to this very fine and highly recommended product it will pay for itself over and over.
Frugal living tip number fourWhile I'm talking about Amazon you should take advantage of their bestsellers list when you have a choice of various items to purchase.
Take a look online at any product you may want to buy from them... Note how many people have purchased that particular item and the rating that they had given it... You will find that there are many items that have no feedback whatsoever... Don't be a guinea pig, rely on other people's experience and go to their best sellers list for that particular item before you make your purchase.
No sense reinventing the wheel... If I am faced with saving a couple bucks on an item with no reviews but notice that the same item is at the top or near the top of their bestsellers list... I will take the one that most people have bought.
So use sites like Amazon, but use them wisely, and rely on people that have bought the same product previously and are very pleased with the product performance.
Same thing with eBay, look at the number of sales that the merchant has made and look at the percent of customers that are satisfied with the service they received.
Frugal Living tip number fiveOne of the reasons that we purchased an RV exactly like the one that we sold in 2005 is the outstanding customer service you can receive from Foretravel.
I have availed myself of their free tech advice about a dozen times since I bought the coach.
I have been walked through several problems and they are very helpful in making sure that I get the right part.
Incidentally, taking a picture of your problem on a smart phone and emailing it to is invaluable in making sure you get the right part or right solution the 1st time.
Until next timeAll the best.
Gary and Julie
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