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Frugal living Mexico style:fix it, use it up, or wear it out.

Frugal living Mexico style is easy. NOB it’s often simplier and cheaper to replace something when it stops working rather than try to fix it. Even if you want to repair something, you can’t find the parts or someone to do the work. Take cobblers for example, you can find shoe repair stands in every mercado, small or big. The larger mercados such as the Mercado Galvez have several. In Santa Rosa, I knew of two places in the entire town.  Husband routinely has his shoes resoled, it’s gone up fifty pesos since we moved here but it’s still 15% of what a new pair of shoes would cost, if you could find them. That’s a story for another day, however. We used to have a great appliance repairman. He’s fixed our washing machine twice. However, the last time I called his phone was disconnected. So I am in the market for a new washing machine repair man. Our machine ...

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Where did it all go? Look on your back!

Recently, I read that women spend an average of 20% of their income on clothes,to put that in perspective they spend  6% of their income on food. When I worked and lived NOB, I depended on those people. A great deal of the garments they bought ended up in thrift shops and from there into my wardrobe. When I was pondering my closet and lack of stuff to wear, I did research on the net about style. One website totally freaked me out when I read that the poster loved jeans and has over 200 pairs! How do you even keep track of that many pairs of pants? Are there that many styles and types of jeans? Has she never thrown anything out in her life? I have two pairs of jeans and one denim skirt. I am contemplating sewing another denim skirt. I just read an article about a woman in the UK who vowed not to buy clothes ...

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Time to adjust my expectations again.

Friday evening, La Muchacha announced that the washing machine was broken. She went into more detail, but that was the gist of the announcement. Since it was late, I didn’t do anything about the problem. Saturday morning we’d deal with it and call someone if necessary. Saturday is a normal workday for many people including repair men. Somehow, I managed to forget all about it until Sunday. Husband and I did some trouble shooting and decided that the problem was beyond our abilities. The nut and washer holding the agitator assembly was corroded and none of the various tools we had would work to loosen it. Early Monday morning, I called the phone number of the tecnico (washing machine repairman to you English speakers) that I had used five years before when the drum was out of balance. Amazingly enough, he was still in business. Our conversation went like this. I lead off with “Necesito un tecnico, mi maquina de ...

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The Frugal Expat

  This post was originally published as a guest post on Tightwad on August 25,2010 When we lived in California we lived a frugal lifestyle. Almost everything in our house was second hand; even our pets came from the pound. When we made the decision to move to Mexico we didn’t think that our habits would change that much. Now after six years, I can say that we’re still frugal but not in the same ways. I use my blender more than I ever did nob (north of the border). I still shop sales but that means that I know that the supermarkets have specials on vegetables on Wednesday .We buy our generic medications at Farmacias Similares on Mondays between 10am and 1pm and again from 5pm to 7pm, because that is when they offer an additional 25% discount. I know that the chain stores are more likely to run specials from the 8th of the month to the 14th, ...

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Lost in time and space

I have been lost in time and space the last few days. This morning, I went with Husband to buy new tires for the car. We talked about checking out various places but decided to go to Costco, because it was easier. I think we did okay, but since I have no basis of comparison I really can’t say. Husband and I have been discussing frugality, not as a general topic but as it affects us. We’ve always been frugal, some it is because of my nature and some because of circumstances. I have been reading frugal, tightwad or penny pinching blogs recently. Hoping to pick up some tips. Sadly to say, most of what I read doesn’t really apply to us. We either can’t do some of the things or are already doing them. Buying in bulk usually doesn’t save money here and I already cook most of our food from scratch. The number one thing that we could ...

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Mexican Math

Maybe I am influenced by Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland, but I often have what I call Through the Looking Glass moments. The Mexican week has 7 days just like ours but it’s counted different, so if an appointment is in week’s time, it is 8 days from now. Two weeks is fifteen days. I’ve gotten used to that, in fact, it makes sense to me. Now comes along an entirely different sort of math, sale math. Husband was in our favorite pharmacy, Farmacias Similares. In order to force him to speak Spanish give him more opportunity to speak Spanish, I waited in the car. Due to poor planning on our part, we hadn’t gone on Monday during the peak discount times, but since Husband has an INAPAM card, he still gets a 10% discount. This is a routine interaction, so I was surprised when Husband asked me for help. The clerk explained that Husband was buying three boxes and ...

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