Welcome to another edition of chit chat, after a long time. The first thing that I want to share with you is our recent spending spree. I spent thousands of dollars in last few months. Seems like there’s no end of it. Despite of living frugal lifestyle, our money drained, simply for one reason or the other
It all started with some costly medical procedure, then came multiple vacation travels and new clothes. The latest being a new pre-owned car at a steep price from the dealership. In between my mother got sick and I had to send money for her costly treatment in India.
Yes, I am in control of my finances and I am frugal, but we all need to take care of family, their happiness and well being. The vacation and new clothes are part of the family needs. We do not take very expensive vacation, we take short vacations. This year we went to various short trips like Savannah, GA, Orlando, Yellowstone and now Puerto Rico.
This time we went to Puerto Rico for 4 days. It was a good time off from hectic work schedule. Being checked in to a hotel right on the beach helped a big way. I really miss the beach swings and sea bathing. Best of all, watching sun rise above the sea right from your bed was an experience from a different world.
In case you’re planning to visit Puerto Rico, do keep in mind these tips. I wanted to have the trip learning published as a separate blog post anyway, but till I do it, here are some one-liners.
- If your credit card incurs foreign transaction fee, take out cash based on your budget before travelling. Pay with cash for everything while you’re in Puerto Rico
- Do not take out cash from ATM while in Puerto Rico, as there will be a minimum charge of $5, and there’s a serious threat of ATM fraud. So do not take out cash from shopping malls or gas stations. Banco Popular branches can be used in need.
- Do inquire if there’s a parking fee on top of the room rate in your hotel. We had to pay extra $15 per day parking fee, We were also charged a separate resort fee.
- Best Puertorican cuisine can be had on the streets. When you taste food on the street, just make sure it’s hot and right off of the grill/oven.
- It’s either Liquor or the tax on liquor which is low compared to US main land, so we had drinks at abysmally low prices.
- If you’re renting car there, pay tolls in cash and don’t use the toll pass provided in your car. I probably crossed only 4 toll plazas and got a hefty $43 bill from Hertz this week. Had I paid in cash I would have spent a quarter of that amount, or even lesser!
Now, about the car expense, constant trouble with our older car almost forced us to trade in for a newer model. KBB value (private sell) of my old BMW was $6900. The car needed all 4 tire, costing $1000 in replacement cost, and, there was a serious engine trouble to be fixed, due to which temperature was rapidly rising forcing the car to stop frequently. The lowest quote for the fix was $1,500.
So, per my calculation the true market price of the car was $4,400 ( $6900 – $1000 – $1500). I got the trade in price of $4,600, which was good and more than the expectation I had. I also haggled on the new car price and got it down to 15% off the listed price. But, you know, after very hard haggling both parties feel defeated. So here I am thinking – I could have bargained better.
The day before I sold it off, it took me 1 hour to reach home from work, covering 3 miles. I had it enough with that car. I took the next day off and went to the dealer, luckily I liked the very 3rd car I was test driving. After a lengthy negotiation deal was stuck.
So here I am, complaining about the spending spree. However, on the other hand we are both happy with our new acquisition, whenever we look at the car we feel proud. Even though it was not a new car, still it was certified pre-ownerd car and drives as good as a new car.
That’s it about sharing my life with you. Do let us know, if you can, about your spending in recent months. Are you doing OK on money saving front?