This blog contains some simple tips and advice from two regular guys. We're not accountants, financial advisors, or brokers, so follow, ignore, or discuss our ideas as you see fit.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Article: Maybe you don't need a new computer after all

Posted By Paul

An interesting article on free tools that help you maintain your computer:

15 free downloads to pep up your old PC

Some of them sound really promising, I plan on giving some of them a try.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Article: Marriage And Money

Posted By Paul

A great article on The Dollar Stretcher about dealing with money in your marriage.

I liked the fact that it called out some specific points such as how money should be viewed as a "we" issue instead of a "me" issue. The author specifically mentions secretly hiding money from your spouse as an unhealthy way to deal with money problems in a marriage.

I also liked that he mentioned that you should try to appreciate the differences in the ways you and partner view money. Usually in these sorts of articles the partner who is more comfortable spending is presented as a problem that needs to be managed. I liked that the author says that:

"If you're a penny-pincher and you'd married another miser, you'd likely never enjoy the fruits of your hard work!"

I also really liked the fact that the author suggests that couples formulate financial goals together. That can take the form of a budget that BOTH people agree on, and that this budget can include fun things as well.

A good article for newlyweds or anyone married couple that is struggling with money issues:

Marital Bli$$

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Some Great Websites For Replacement Parts

Posted By Paul

For those of you who try to do your own repairs around the house, here are some great web pages I found:



Both pages let you search for and purchase parts for various appliances. I was trying to find replacement wheels for my dishwasher rack and was able to find and purchase them no problem.

An added bonus is that both pages have pictures where the part is sitting on a 1 inch grid background so you can take a good look at it and make sure it's the right part.

Repair clinic even has a cool feature where you can search based on just the physical description of the part. They have a variety of search criteria that aren't based on knowing a part number, name or brand. For example you can do a search where you essentially say:

"I want to replace a part from a microwave that is between 2 and 3 inches long and is plastic and a single color."

I did the above search when I wanted to replace the part on my microwave that hooks into the motor and makes the turntable turn. Thanks to the page I found out that it's called a "turntable drive coupler", but I never would have guessed that. The above search gave me the part I needed and thanks to the photo I was able to confirm that it was the right size and it was exactly what I needed. It's great to have a page where you can find and order a part without even knowing what it's called or what it does.

I've used both pages and each time I got the correct part to replace the one that had broken.

A great resource when those mysterious but important parts on your appliances break and need to be replaced.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A way to save on home projects.

Posted By Paul

I recently completed a home project where I tiled the floor of one of the rooms in my house. At first I was worried that I would run out of grout or tiles, so I made a second run to the hardware store to get more.

Well of course I ended up with more than I needed. Luckily this time I made sure to save receipts and also keep my un-used building supplies (bags or mortar, bags of grout, and boxes of tiles) in good condition so that I could return them.

I had one extra bag of grout, one of mortar, and 3 unopened boxes of tiles. I contemplated keeping the grout and mortar in case I needed to do repairs, but ultimately decided that I could always get more, so there was no point in storing the bags in anticipation of needing it some day. I had one box of tiles that I had opened, but since I only needed 2 of the 12 tiles in the box there were 10 left which I figured was plenty to keep in case I ever needed to do repairs.

A quick trip to the hardware store with my receipt and they were happy to take back the unopened building supplies. I got my money back for those items, and saved a little storage room in the garage.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Saving By Simplifying

Posted By Paul

(This is an old posting that I forgot to publish).

Hi Everyone,

Happy New Year! Those of you familiar with the Portland area are aware that the week of Christmas was highlighted by an unusually heavy snowfall that made getting around town treacherous.

So I found myself sitting at home, unable to go anywhere. I decided to tackle cleaning out the garage. Well I ended up with a lot of stuff that I no longer needed, which I took to the recycling center or Goodwill as soon as the snow melted.

How is this frugal? Well my wife and I had been talking a lot about how we could increase the storage in our house (more shelving, etc.). Tackling the garage came at the perfect time because we discovered that many of our storage problems disappeared once we got rid of a lot of stuff that we didn't need.

Here are two prime examples:

1) Old infant car seats - they take up a lot of space, so I finally hunted down a place where I could recycle them (see my earlier post Recycling Child Car Seats).

2) Paint - it was only when I went through my garage and gathered up all of the cans of paint that I realized just how much I had. Can after can of paint that we kept in case we needed a touch up, plus several cans that came with the house. I was amazed when I piled it all together and found over 30 paint cans of various sizes, most of which were less than half full. With a little research I found a place where you could take them for recycling and safe disposal (if you live in the Portland area, the info is here). Once I got rid of all of that excess paint a third of the storage space in the garage was suddenly empty.

By just doing these two things we were able to free up a bunch of storage space in our house, so now we feel like we won't have to spend a lot of money on buying stuff for extra storage or worst of all, renting a storage space (see my earlier post Paying For Storage).