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I need to keep better track of my money. The way I figured it, about 1/3 of my paycheck went for new tires and an oil change, 1/3 went to pay bills (there's always more to pay), and 1/3 should still be left, for groceries, gas, medical co-pays, etc. Except the remaining 1/3 seems to have virtually vanished, and I'm not sure how.

I'm trying to get my account info into Gnucash. At this point, it's really a bunch of data entry based off of bank records. My bank does QIF export, and Gnucash does QIF import, but I haven't checked to see how well that works yet. That's a project for when I have free time. Of course, my bank doesn't know that POS transactions at Wegmans should be linked to Expenses:Groceries and POS transactions at Kwik-Fill should be linked to Expenses:Gas, etc, so even after I do a QIF import, I'll still likely have to manually edit hundreds of transactions.

The car still needs some work. I have to change the serpentine belt connecting the alternator, the power steering pump, and the crankshaft. I've got the new belt, I just have to figure out how to remove the old belt and put the new one on. One of the fuel lines (probably the return line) is leaking, so I'm getting lousy gas milage. The leak is on the left side of the car, I believe right inside the front wheel. That needs to be replaced, and the estimate is 1-2 hrs at $55/hr, and about $30 for the new lines. And the "check engine" light is on. Unfortunately, because it's a pre-1996 model, it doesn't have OBD-II; Autozone's free service of checking your check engine light only works with ODB-II systems.

And that's the news from here.

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Only $55 an hour for labor? Wow. It's $70+ around here.

I keep a budget on Excel. It's simple, and it helps keep me from way overspending. I don't always hit the mark, but it does help keep me mindful of things.

The $55/hr quote was from a relatively new independent service station run by a local woman. I believe I saw $70/hr posted on the wall at the local Goodyear repair place.

here's my thought- decide what's a reasonable budget for "random needs" $200/$300 per paycheck? & then use the rest for the important stuff like paying bills, etc...
It's hard I know but I have confidence in you *hug*

This didn't stop an Autozone from pulling the codes from my '91 Olds Cutlass Supreme - what was done was two pins were shorted on the old style OBD connector to cause the check engine light to flash the code and then they were looked up manually in their parts computer. With some digging you might be able to find out how to do this yourself if your car has such a system and use another resource to interpret the results.

you want my guess? Food and gas. I budget everything via an Excel spreadsheet I set up.

It's ALWAYS food & gas sneaking the $$ out of the wallet.

*wry grin*

yeah- gas especially with the costs going up & up & up... & until we get the gas lilnes repaired the fuel economy is going down & down & down *sigh*

If memory serves me correctly, the alternator is attached by two (or four) bolts. One-half the bolts are at a fixed pivot point, and the other are on a curved slide-type bracket thing. One loosens the bolt(s) at the curve-slide end, and the alternator pivots downward. Slip off the old belt, paying close attention to how it goes. Put on the new belt. With a pry bar, lift the alternator back up to where it was, putting tension on the belt. Tighten the alternator bolts.
Do you have a Chilton's for the car?

I haven't been able to find a Chilton's for the car. I had a Haynes for the car, but I can't find it.

Is this the Prizm? If so, you won't be able to find a Chilton's. It's the same book for the Toyota Corolla and the Chevy Nova of that time frame, and the cars were so popular that all the books have been snapped up. Even the Haynes guide is hard to find. If I can find my copy (I have a 95 Prizm), I'll get you the applicable pages. I should point out that that is a pretty big IF.

I'd appreciate it. I have a '93 Prizm. I have a Haynes around somewhere but I haven't been able to find it lately.

can you temporarily stop, or at least reduce, the fuel leakage by wrapping the line with duct tape, or hose bandage, or anything similar? (yeah, gasoline will probably make it come off pretty soon... but it might help for a while.)

I wonder if my old engine analyzer would work with it. It worked with my '86 Chevy.

(replying to my own comment, yes) Look for a quick trick for your car, too. For the Chevy, it was grounding one lead in the diagnostic connector (bridge two pins with a paper clip) and it flashed the code on the Check Engine light.

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