Back to Back Issues Page
Frugal Retiring News, Issue 78, October 2015
October 23, 2015

Two new items in October

Number one, By the time you read this newsletter, your intrepid reporter will have turned 70 years old.

Number two, we will be in one of our favorite cities, Rome Italy for a few days before boarding our ship that will take us on a 15 day transatlantic cruise.

We had done the transatlantic both spring and fall now for the last 3 years and at $50 a day per person which includes food entertainment and room we find it to be extremely frugal as well.

Anyway, I'm justifying it for my 70th birthday.

Frugal Living Tip number One

I'll combine a few of my frugal tips for travel,here is the link.With a few more...

Make sure you call Your credit card company and let them know that you're going to be out of the country or you may have an unpleasant surprise when you attempt to make a purchase of a souvenir of your travels... Also make sure that you have a card that does not charge foreign transaction fees.

The foreign merchant is paid in his/her own currency and 3% is tacked onto your bill if you don't have one of these no foreign transaction fee credit cards.

Don't bother carrying a lot of cash, generally your best exchange rate is using a foreign ATM... Try and find one that has the same logo on the back of your debit card as on the ATM itself.

The worst deals are the exchange stores or airport kiosks.

Make sure you bring adapters for electrical outlets because it seems like every country has different outlets and I've learned the hard way that using a cheap adapter can fry your electronics.

Make sure you have made copies of your passport and hide the copies somewhere in your luggage or whatever.

Losing a passport can be a major pain, disrupt your vacation, etc.

With a legible copy of the picture page you stand a much better chance with the officials, the cruise line, and the front desk at your hotel.

Frugal living tip number two

There are times that saving a few euros is not worth the hassle... Here is an example.

From the Rome airport you can save a few euros a person by taking a local train and Metro that will get you to the main Rome train station, called Termini, the hub for trains and all Metro lines.

Instead we have found that it makes sense to pay about $5.00 a person more and take the Leonardo express train from the airport to the Termini, nonstop... Carrying your luggage, especially luggage for a cruise, up and down a few stairs to switch Metro lines can be a real pain and you'll save at least an hour.

PS The new train service called Italo is highly recommended... It only goes between major cities but it is cheaper than the national railroad (remind you of Amtrak?) And the trains are nice and new.

I wouldn't even think about renting a car, especially in Italy, when the trains are so much more convenient, faster,etc.

Frugal living tip number three

How many times when you are in a restaurant, and pay by credit card do you carefully check to see that it is your credit card you're getting back when you sign your bill.

A new way scammers are stealing credit cards is switching them at the cash register which gives someone else the opportunity to run up a large bill on your card.

Another tip when you receive a new card, never ever sign the back of the card... Instead put the words "see ID", on the signature line immediately after you activate the card.

The clerk is supposed to ask to see your driver's license, and I find what used to be the exception is now the rule... They will ask to see your ID. I think it's always a good idea to say thanks for asking, when they do so.

We have been doing this for years, and up until lately very few merchants will ask to see your driver's license.

You are welcome.

Frugal living tip number four

Now is a good time to check and see that you're getting the best deal if you are on Medicare. You have a 6 week window if you want to make any changes to your plan.

Since with our new RV we are going to become snowbirds, I checked to see if the areas that we were going to be traveling in take the Medicare advantage plan that I have now.

Since you never know when you're going to get sick it's always a good idea to know that when you travel you are covered.

I am asked what I use personally, and I prefer the Medicare Advantage that are HMOs.

With a good portion of my fellow Arizonians being Medicare eligible I have not yet had any problems getting very good care.

If you are not 65 Use this service...I still like the idea of seeing a hundred quotes for health insurance in about 60 seconds without having to give your phone number and be pestered by insurance salesman.

Frugal Living tip number five

For most folks the equity that you have in your home is your largest financial asset... If this is you Look into refinancing.

It can be a pain at times but the Federal Reserve has held their interest rates at essentially 0% for several years and sooner or later rates are going to rise and if you have not taken advantage of low interest rate refinancing you will be kicking yourself.

Remember the good old days in the 80s when you got 16% interest on your checking account... Now you're lucky to get half a percent... Interest rates will be going up it just a matter of when.

In closing

Until next time, keep on being frugal and please share this site or this newsletter with your friends... That is the best way you can tell me that you enjoy the tips that you receive every month.

God bless,

Gary and Julie

Back to Back Issues Page