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The spending creep

September 25th, 2015 at 06:00 pm

It really is true that as you earn more, you spend more. I try my best to resist that tendency unless there's a really good reason.

After years of being a tightwad with my landline phone and Internet bill (I'm currently paying $57/mth) I decided to double my Internet speed for another $10 a month. Mainly because I'm now working at home twice a week and there are many times my work-issued laptop is very, very slow. The IT guy at work explained why; it taps into my home broadband, which is just 6 mb. Hopefully I'll see some improvement at 12 mg. There are times when all I'm trying to do is access a certain Word document in a subfolder on a shared drive, and I have to wait about 4 minutes just to drill down one level.

The rep also said I should see reduced "buffering" when I'm watching a movie. That would also be greatly appreciated. So we'll try out the faster speed and see if it's worth the extra $10 a month. I wince to think my total monthly bill will be about $69, although I know there are many people who pay $100 or more for cable/phone/Internet or some combination thereof.

Today I sold a 2nd piece of my mom's art to a coworker and friend for $425! I had emailed her a bunch of seashore-inspired pieces, she picked out these two, and i brought them into work in the trunk of my car. On our lunch break, we walked out to look at them and she really liked Bedlam at Sea. (So do I, but I have to part with some of them.) She took it home tonight and will have a check for me next week.

My mother would be happy. I'm actually doing better selling my mom's art than the 2 galleries who now have her work.

I really do appreciate these sales since I think my friends did this yes, becus they liked the art, but also becus they felt they were helping me out. And there are only so many people I know who will do that. I don't anticipate all my art sales to go so easily when they're being marketed to strangers.

Tomorrow morning I'm dropping off several boxes of old paints, turpentine and other toxic chemicals my mother used with her art at the household hazardous waste drop off. I'll be glad to get this out of my garage, making room for my car to fit in again over the coming winter.

After that it's back to her condo once more. I have a lot more work to do now that the buyer has said she doesn't want any of the existing shelving in there. There is shelving in 3 locations:
1. Her studio. The kind with vertical metal brackets and shelf supports. Got most of it down except for what's attached by 2 stuck screws. Will see if I have any WD40 to loosen them up.

2. Her lower level studio. This will be a real pain. This isn't shelving, but is a fairly expensive picture hanging system. It's basically some aluminum brackets installed horizontally going around all 4 walls, high up on the wall and close to the ceiling. From here she hung these vertical bars that slide along the brackets and allowed you to hang paintings and re-position them if you wanted, without putting any holes in the wall. It's meant for use by artists, primarily. It will be a pain unscrewing everything and then by right i should spackle over the holes. I hope I can do this all myself. I might as well keep all this myself and maybe someday when i move to a condo i can put these up in one room and hang lots of art.

3. The storage room off the lower level studio has more shelving. I'd forgotten about these. All will have to come down.

There is still stuff to move out with my handyman (I know you're getting tired of hearing about this) but at least the couch is sold and my dad helped me remove all the over-sized, unframed art last night. Then we had dinner at the diner.

Outside of those must-dos, it is just the usual chores this weekend, like filling the car gas tank, grocery shopping, hopefully doing some yardwork, making granola and of course, visiting mom.

I had a productive conversation with the owner of a contracting firm I'd used to install new slider doors in my mother's condo before I put it on the market. I gave them a "C" and went into great detail about things I wasn't happy about. NOthing to do with the install, but more with their back office operations.

Anyway, this guy had tried calling me several times after reading my Angie's List review, but becus numbskull here (me) didn't know how to retrieve messages from her smart phone (there's no manual!) I didn't actually listen to his message until last week.

I called him back and we had a good talk. He said my review led to some internal conversations there that caused them to make a decision to end their practice of only refunding half the $175 fee for giving estimates. This was just one of my issues with them. I reasoned that if their goal was to reduce the number of people asking for estimates and then not giving them the work (basically wasting their time), they would still achieve that goal if they gave a full refund of the estimate IF they got the job. He agreed. However, when I then asked for a refund of the other half of the $175 I had to pay, he said he would give me a credit in that amount on the next job I gave them. I was a little miffed about that, but felt good that I got them to change their policy. And he was not at all defensive about talking to me, which most people would be. He was very professional so I give him credit. He did seem to sincerely want to making his company better.

Tonight I updated my review to report all this but I'm not sure I would use him again because I don't want to waste $175 if I got an estimate and then went with someone else. I mean, the whole idea of getting an estimate is you get 2 or 3 of them and then decide. If I wanted to ensure I wasn't throwing away $175 by going to this same guy, I'd have to not care what his price came in at. 99.9% of companies today don't charge for estimates so IMO this does not help their company.

5 Responses to “The spending creep”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I ran into this issue with some mold companies when our house was in the process of being sold. They wanted a fee just to do an estimate. If they did the work the fee would be credited to the full bill. Well geez, I'm not going to pay you to give me a price if I don't happen to go with you. Originally, I decided to not have them give a bid. In the end this company did the work. Ironically, there was not a fee ever discussed the second time we called. Crazy! In the end it really did work out for us, but it is bad public relations to charge such a high fee for estimates. Maybe worth $24-30, but $250 in our case, is terrible.

  2. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    That doesn't make much sense at all to have to pay for an estimate! I'd think it would be considered part of the cost of doing business.

    I just upped my Internet speed today too (from 20 to 24) but my cost "dropped" about $3. I called to complain about the price jump (from $67 to $82) and was told that the best they could do was give me a $10/month discount for 1 year. Or (after I mentioned how ridiculous it was that I was forced to have a phone line I didn't use) they could drop the phone line, and raise my base rate (guaranteed to stay the same as long as I don't make any changes, other than moving service). Option two actually worked out to be about $4 cheaper than the other one - because the phone line added "toll charges" of $7 or so each month. It's a racket.

  3. PatientSaver Says:

    Yeah, at first i was pleased my comments had caused them to change their policy, but I don't want to pay ANYTHING if it's not certain I'll go with them. Knowing I'd be out the $175 estimate fee if I didn't go with them would pressure me into going with them even if I felt there were other reasons to go with someone else.

    And wow, frugal texan, your internet must be super fast now. Smile

  4. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    The change in speed doesn't happen til Monday, but yes, it is pretty fast most of the time. Smile

  5. starfishy Says:

    i would imagine that the reduction in wait time for downloading docs and less buffering of movies will be well worth the $10 extra a month! that would drive me crazy... Smile

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