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October 2009 - Posts - Yankee 2.0
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Yankee 2.0

October 2009 - Posts

  • What's your thermostat set at?

    I've been reading blogs and interviews and things about how different people stay warm and keep costs down in the winter. My heating system normally runs from November 1 -- March 31 (if it dips below 35 outside, I'll turn the system on sooner in October), and I keep my heat set at 62 when I'm home and 55 when I'm not. I wear a scarf in the house, but am pretty comfy (heavy drapes hang from all the doors and windows). How about you? How low do you go?

  • Gearing up for winter

    Brrr!!! It's really cold here in the Northeast. There were flurries in CT during the day, and snow expected over night in MA. They've probably got inches in Maine. And it's October 15th!!! This augers for a long cold winter.

    I've been getting my wardrobe ready for winter -- spending a little to save a lot. Here's what I've done so far:

    • Darned holes in a scarf. I have a lovely cashmere scarf that had a couple of moth or nail holes. I got 5cents worth of cashmere yarn at a wool store and sewed those babies right up. Looks good as new.
    • Waterproofing boots. I don't skimp on boots. I have a great pair and just finished applying a coat of waterproofing to them to get them ready for the Nor'Easter that's coming this weekend. The stuff cost $12.50 and it has enough for several applications.
    • Re-soling boots. Okay, so I have two pairs of boots. One pair is 10+ years old and needs new soles. I brought them into a cobbler today and will soon know how much it will cost to re-sole them.
    • Darning gloves? My favorite pair of gloves is three years old and there are holes in the fingers. The outer covering is black and the inner thinsulate stuff is beige. They look pretty sad, but I love 'em. However, they're not keeping my fingers as warm as possible, due to the holes. I am going to try to darn them, but may have to replace them with a new pair.
    • Dry cleaning. Brought a couple of things to the dry cleaners and they look nice and new. Dry cleaning extends the life of the clothes, too, by killing any biological stains that might be eating a hole in the clothes.
    • Closet clean out and switch over. Moved summer stuff into the cedar closet and took winter stuff out of the cedar closet. 
    • General hole sewing. I sometimes get underarm holes along the seams of sweaters. I made a little stack of the sweaters with these holes and have been darning/sewing them up.
    • Sock and thermies check up. Make sure I have enough warm socks and long johns to get me through the season. If not, get 'em now.

    Those are my winter clothing tips. Does anyone else have some ideas to share?

  • Car turnover

    I love my car. It's a 2002 Hyundai Accent Hatchback that I bought in 2004 with 4,000 miles on it. I did have to take out a loan to pay for it, but I paid the loan off in 2 years, and it's been all mine since 2006. My little car was very inexpensive (around $7500). It gets great gas mileage -- about 30 in town and close to 40 on the highway. And I can fit just about anything in the hatchback -- I've moved a desk, a couple of couches, and boxes galore. The excise tax is $25.00 per year, and my car insurance is also very low. I can park anywhere -- I've taken my little car to Montreal and NYC a couple of times and drive to Boston regularly, and I can fit in tiny little city parking spaces. 

    My check engine light came on recently -- right before I needed to get my annual inspection. So I brought it to the dealer. They fixed the problem (some sort of exhaust pipe) for $500, and gave me a long list of other stuff they suggested I fix. The repairs totalled around $1500 (on top of the $500). I have just passed 80,000 miles on the car, and I was hoping to get 150,000 out of it -- or about five more years of driving (so I could save up for a new one in that time). 

    I decided to take it to an independent shop for a second opinion. The guy at the independent shop told me which things on the list were important (timing belt) and which I could ignore (struts and steering bushing), but he said around 100,000 miles, it would get too expensive to keep fixing and I should think about a new car. So I brought it back to the dealer for the timing belt ($300), and I asked someone at the dealership how many miles I could expect out of the car. She said she's got a customer with an older version of my car with 400,000 miles, and I should get at least 200,000 out of it. 

    I figured that both shops had a vested interest in my keeping the car (the more repairs I need, the more potential new business they get), but that the dealer also had an interest in getting me into a new car. If the dealer says I can shoot for 200,000 without a lot of problems, that's news I can use!  I may have an emotional attachment to my ca, but I also don't see any reason to get a new car when I can fix mine up here and there and keep it running. I guess I have to decide how much per year I'm willing to pay in repairs, and whether putting that money towards a new vehicle makes more sense. 

    I had three big fixes this year -- brakes (needed on any car), the timing belt (suggested every 60,000 miles -- I hadn't done it before), and that exhaust pipe (an old age repair). These totalled around $1,000, and I'm hoping I won't need anything big anytime soon. I think if I start paying more than $1500 per year in repairs, it's time to get a new one, but then I think "well, I won't need a new one of those (whatever I got fixed) anytime soon, so I should keep it."

    Does anyone have a system that they use to evaluate when keeping an old car is no longer an economical choice?

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