Saving money to pay off student loans and consumer debt

Mechanic Called

And it looks like our ’96 Toyota needs about $1000 worth of work. The noise I was hearing was the mounts on the front struts, both needing to be replaced ($660). The squeaking of the belts meant the belts needed to be replaced ($100) and we need new motor mounts on the car ($200). I knew the front end noise would be expensive and figured the belts need to be replaced.

I can do the AC and alternator belt but I don’t want to do the timing belt so I am just having the mechanic do all 3. I know from experience that the belts are about $25 each at a parts store so I don’t think I would save much by doing it myself.

Believe it or not, I have done struts and motor mounts before. They took me all day. I just don’t have that kind of time (or childcare) right now.

Fortunately I saved $2,000 out of the tax return just in case. I was planning on sending it to the auto loan place and I am a little disappointed that I can’t pay down the auto loan by that much. Oh well, such is life. We have saved so much with that little car, I can’t begrudge it the repairs.


July 2, 2008 Posted by | Unexpected Expenses | , | Leave a comment

Saving Money on Insurance

This article from Time Magazine reminded me on a way to save money on insurance. If you telecommute, bus, walk, bike or simply don’t work, you can get a reduced bill on insurance by claiming a certain number of driven miles in the year.

I’ve done it.

When husband and I lived in our beloved city, we shared a car and drove about 6,000 miles a year. I asked the insurance agent for the reduced driving rate and it knocked off quite a bit from my insurance. Now we live in suburb hell and drive considerably more, we don’t qualify. I am hoping to move back to the city in a year, sell one car and qualify for our “only driving to the store on Sundays” rate.

July 2, 2008 Posted by | Fixed Expenses | | Leave a comment

Car is in the Shop and Big Private School Payment

Tonight we dropped off our cheapie, paid-off Toyota with nearly 150,000 miles on it to be looked at. The poor thing was making a knocking noise in the front, passenger side near the axle. Hopefully it is nothing terribly big but we should find out tomorrow.

July 11 is the deadline for paying the deposit for the kid’s private school. The deposit is first and last month’s tuition rolled into one so that is a little over $1000 we need to shell out 9 days before payday. Fortunately we have the money in savings but paying that much at once still hurts. At least the girl is learning something and having fun.

July 2, 2008 Posted by | Fixed Expenses, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Wendy’s Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole

I just picked up a copy of La Dolce Vegan!: Vegan Livin’ Made Easy, thanks to my friend who sent me a Barnes and Nobles gift certificate for my birthday. I am sure he would be horrified that I used the gc to buy a vegan cookbook, being a devout meat-eater himself. lol The cookbook has quite a few cheap and quick vegan recipes that can be made out of staples found in the cupboards and I am making one tonight (Wendy’s Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole). Ok, with a cooking time of 1.5 hours, it is not quick but the prep time is only 5 minutes.

Tonight I making this casserole for dinner for me and the husband. The child doesn’t like lentils so she can have some leftover ravioli. I somehow hurt my back so I am taking it easy tonight. The actual cook time was closer to 2 hours but it was oh-so-good. I’m not complaining.

Oh, and to double the usefulness of the oven, the child and I made salt-dough ornaments that will cook at the same time as the dinner. A word of warning, don’t use course ground sea salt for this craft. Even though I told husband to dissolve the 1 cup of salt required there was still large granules in the dough.

Here is the ingredient list for the casserole:

3/4c red lentils
3/4c brown rice
1 can crushed tomatoes
3c vegetable stock (used water + bouillon cube)
1 onion
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
grated vegan cheese (I used cows’ milk cheddar, don’t hurt me *ducks*)

July 2, 2008 Posted by | Frugal Dinner | , , | Leave a comment