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Your Mission This Weekend: FIX Something

by J. Money on Friday, December 2, 2011

smashed tv

[UPDATE: I called Comcast and within 18 mins got my bill lowered by $35/mo!! WOO! That's $400 a year of savings! Your turn :)]

So I’ve been a naughty little budgeter lately, and haven’t dealt with something that’s been driving me BONKERS:  Fixing our cable bill!  I’m too ashamed to admit how longs it’s been going on, but needless to say we’ve been losing at *least* $50 a month for a while now.  Every time I sit down to do it, though, I somehow convince myself I have more important things to do! (I don’t) I imagine this is how normal people feel about sitting down to do a budget, or review their credit card statements, or something ;)  It’s not always fun!

But this weekend we put a stop to that.  I, Mr. Personal Finance, do solemnly promise to call stupid Comcast and do whatever it takes to get my bill down to a normal amount again. No more $200+ bills!!  (And no, I am not gonna give up my cable and premium channels, so don’t even suggest it ;) I don’t mind spending money on it, it just needs to be *reasonable*!).

I urge YOU to pick one of your *hates* and do the same this weekend!  Don’t be like the stupid J. Money and keep pushing it toward the back of your head – be the GOOD J. Money!  Stand strong with him, and knock it out once and for all.  How can we be so smart in other departments, but then fail on the easy ones??  I’m over it, friends.  And my wife is too.  I’m pretty sure I’ve promised her at least 5 and 1/2 times that I’d do it already, haha… (sorry  honey!).

If you can’t think of anything off your head to fix, here are a few ideas:

  1. Your budget (if you need a new one, check out some of these)
  2. Your checkbook (if you even remember what they are? ;))
  3. Your credit card interest rates (did you know that a 5 min call can literally save you hundreds of dollars down the road?  If you’re paying more than 12% call them ASAP and speak to a manager!)
  4. Your insurance premiums (do you still need that much insurance? do you need MORE?)
  5. Your will (this remains on my list still, too – hard one!)
  6. Any lame presents/gifts that need returning? (this is easy!!)
  7. Any lingering bills you’ve been putting off (if you have the money, of course. if not, do a review of your skills for possible side hustle ideas?)
  8. Any invoices that you really need to send? (I’m looking at you, Mr./Mrs. Freelancer!)
  9. Any relationships you’ve been neglecting (not money related, but can still relieve stress!)
  10. Anything around the house that needs *literal* fixing?

Which reminds me.  Our upstairs toilet keeps flushing weirder and weirder as the days go by.  And I’m pretty sure it’s wasting more water (and money!) as this happens too… *sad trombone*  One thing at a time though, right?  What will YOU be fixing this weekend?

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(Photo by schmilblick)


{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Denis December 2, 2011 at 7:01 am

I’m actually going to do 3 of those things this weekend in preparation of losing my full time job soon and going strictly freelance.
Budget, credit card interest rates and invoices are all getting a good look at this weekend!

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2 Grant Gannon December 2, 2011 at 7:55 am

I bought a dual-flush converter kit for the toilet earlier this week from Amazon. I live in Birmingham, Al. My water rates are very low, but our county declared bankruptcy a few weeks ago on account of a sewer system that is $4 billion under water (heh). Sewer rates are astronomical and are calculated purely on water usage. So I bought this for $18.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002NKRR7Y/ref=oh_o02_s00_i00_details

Lifehacker.com pointed it out, and I ordered one. The “quick flush” (liquids & paper) claims to use 70% less water than a standard flush.

My water bill averages $65/month. This device could pay for itself pretty quickly.

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3 Chris C December 2, 2011 at 8:29 am

This weekend??? Why are we wasting the 86,000 seconds that we are given today? As Nike would say: “Yesterday you said you would do it tomorrow.”

I have this weekend off, so I need to take that time to realign my entire focus. I have gotten so inundated with the day to day that I am failing to act towards the long term.

Grant Gannon, I will have to look into that kit! Sounds like a great idea.

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4 Rachel @Balance and Blueberries December 2, 2011 at 8:43 am

My closet/dresser. It’s gotten out of hand. I’m going to go through all of my possessions and either keep, sell, or give away. Does that count as “fixing”? We’ll go with yes….

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5 Serena December 2, 2011 at 8:48 am

Thanks for the kick in the pants! I just had a baby 2 weeks ago, and I need to add him to my insurance asap! Must be done before 30 days post-partum.

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6 Daisy December 2, 2011 at 9:50 am

I need to “fix” my life! I desperately need a place to live and a job in the new year. I also need to fix my cell phone bill! It’s getting ridiculously and needlessly high, because Rogers is a soul sucking demon company.

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7 Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity December 2, 2011 at 9:57 am

2 questions: Does it count if I am going to be fixing something for my parents (their disposal is done and since I did my own installation they got me doing theirs too)? And if I started fixing my health and got back into working out, but began a couple days ago does that count too?

I have one toilet that I completely shut down after my water bill doubled one month and I didn’t want to be bothered at the time to fix it. Good thing I live alone in a 2/2 so I don’t miss it!

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8 Kim December 2, 2011 at 10:10 am

Thanks for this push! I totally need to submit my work expenses and a dental insurance claim. That will earn me back about $300 altogether.

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9 Megan December 2, 2011 at 10:18 am

I’d love to fix our budget. I also wish there was a quick fix for my husband’s spending habits (they are atrocious)! However, when my freelancing income is barely enough to pay our bills and my husband is unemployed, it’s not easy. Plus, the Army hasn’t done the right paperwork so he can receive unemployment yet. We are up a creek without a paddle. :/

This has become kind of a mini-rant, but I’m really struggling lately and could use some prayers/good vibes. :)

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10 Brian December 2, 2011 at 10:36 am

J$ – Good luck with Comcast, you should be able to significantly cut that bill down. They tend to negotiate better rates (at least in my neck of the woods).

This weekend my mission is to finish adding the extra insulation to the attic (should only need 2 – 3 more rolls). I finally have access to my mom’s minivan again and the time to do it, so I’m out of excuses. After that I’ll try and make sure the snow blower is ready to run (that should keep the snow away for a month or so).

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11 Melissa December 2, 2011 at 10:57 am

I will take this challenge J. Money! I’ve been putting off dealing with a situation with my landlord (in a nutshell, they are trying to raise my rent retroactively, and claim I owe back rent, which I’m almost entirely sure is illegal), and I’ll take care of it this weekend!

Maybe, if I’m super ambitious, I’ll finally get around to cancelling that MNBA credit card that I signed up for THREE YEARS AGO to get a free thing, and never actually activated. Yikes!

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12 A Family of Geeks December 2, 2011 at 10:58 am

No time for fixing. M-I-L Geek is moving in on Christmas Eve and we have to rearrange the entire house so everyone still has an office to work in.

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13 PKamp3 December 2, 2011 at 11:06 am

Brother in Law will be here so we’ll fix things on the house. Sweat equity!

When I first saw this I thought you were going to attempt to fix the TV… I think it’s done for!

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14 Trinnie December 2, 2011 at 11:16 am

Dude, I WOULD LOVE to call Comcast for you…I am no joke when it comes to customer service. I always end up getting what I want…and don’t get me wrong, I start off very nice, but watch out if you don’t listen to me…(I guess it has something to do w/where I work and the quality of service I give when I’m on the phones…) Herbie’s line when he calls companies, is “you’re better off dealing with me…you do not want my wife on the phone. I’m the nice one” haha

My mission this weekend is to “fix” the late homework I have to turn in. *sigh* and continue planning our trip down to New Mexico for the holiday! :)

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15 Mercedes December 2, 2011 at 11:46 am

I need to fix my cable bill too. They just started charging me for all the freebies they give you when you sign up, and I don’t even use them anyway. So i’m paying an extra $40 a month or so and that is just plain silly! Maybe I’ll get around to it this weekend! ;-)

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16 Stephanie December 2, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Provided I can find the time (it’s going to be a VERY busy weekend) I want to finally bring my husband’s pay stub to the AT&T store! We can get a 15% discount on our bill by bringing that thing in, we’ve been eligible for the discount through both of our jobs for YEARS now and have never cashed in on it. Silly us. :-P

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17 A Family of Geeks December 2, 2011 at 12:58 pm

And apparently I was tempting fate because we just burst a pipe under the kitchen sink. Now we get to fix the sink, the cabinets, the flooring and the basement. Joy!

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18 retirebyforty December 2, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I’m going to call Lenovo and see if they can fix my laptop’s keyboard. One corner is soft and clacky. It’s annoying. I need to do a will too….

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19 Andrea Travillian December 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Love the challenge! Anyway I can get you to talk to Comcast about my bill too when you call?? I absolutely hate talking to them. :) I fixed our 2 of our toilets a couple weekends ago, can’t wait to see the difference in the water bill, that had been a months old problem.

This weekend our task is Christmas shopping. This is one thing that I do hate to do, so I force myself to be prepared on a specific day. I hire a babysitter, and head out for one solid day so it is done and over with.

I am also going to tackle new investment options as a get done task. We rolled an old 401k and I am still working on getting the final bit back into investments. But I actually consider that fun! :)

Good luck with Comcast.

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20 Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager December 2, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Bills.

And I’m going back to physical therapy – so my leg too!

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21 Happy Homeowner December 2, 2011 at 5:21 pm

I’m “fixing” the selfish, moody, up-tight Bostonians, one good deed at a time–all month long! Hahahahaha….

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22 Nick December 2, 2011 at 11:05 pm

I’ve been meaning to fix a few things, so there’s no time like the present. But I’ll go for 4 (because one of them is really easy…)
(a) shower courtain rod
(b) investment portfolio analysis (with adjustments if necessary)
(c) finish two books (I read 5 books at a time, generally reading a chapter of each and rotating through them, but it’s time to finish a couple of the books, so I can rotate some new ones that are piling up…), and
(d) knock of 3 day-gig projects that have been hanging out for a while.

Actually, let me take care of (a) now. I’ll be right back.

OK – did it. Nice! Only 3 left to go!

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23 Mid Life Miser December 3, 2011 at 9:03 am

I’m going to fix about a half dozen strands of Christmas lights. Its decorate the outside of the house day. Fun, Fun, Fun (in my sarcastic voice)

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24 thefrugallery December 3, 2011 at 10:38 am

How are you saving $50 on your bill without losing premium channels? I must learn your tricks! I am a shameless tv-aholic and I cannot give up my DVR!

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25 J. Money December 3, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Guys – these are great! Y’all are SO much more ambitious than I am, I love it!! Just don’t get too crazy and try and fix everything and then give up. One “Win” at a time, k? Easy ones usually first so you start feeling like a rock star :) Now go go go and report back! You have less than 48 hours and I’m expecting some updates :)

@Denis – Oh wow! That’s exciting sounding! You ready for the big change, or kinda scared/nervous/happy all at the same time? I remember being in such a haze for 2-3 months :) If I can help with anything, just holler!
@Grant Gannon – Ooooh I like it! Will you tell us how much you end up saving, and how fast/slow? I’d be up for giving it a shot too! I’m starting to get real conscious about stuff like that, I just don’t have anyone here to keep me motivated and FORCE me to do the changes, haha… I hope it works for you!
@Chris C – So you’re never allowed to plan ahead? ;) I’m learning that there are certain days/times/moods where I can get a LOT more done, and more efficiently, if I plan to do them at the height of whatever area that is. For example, Saturday mornings and week nights after 10pm I get a TON more done w/ blog upkeep and management than I do during the day – when a) I don’t feel like doing any of that, and b) I’m not as creative so I leave all the busy work to do those times. I also schedule in personal stuff from the week into the weekend and go hardcore hustle mode during work days/nights. Guess it’s all a matter of just knowing how you work, though. There are certainly slackers that will keep pushing things off and never get ‘em done.
@Rachel @Balance and Blueberries – Yes! It does :) Also? You should be friends with Blonded and Balanced, haha… you have similar blog names ;)
@Serena – Awwwww congrats!!!! I can’t wait until I have a mohawked baby!! :) (and yes — go go go and add him!)
@Daisy – Oh jeez, that may be a tad bit much to do all in one weekend, haha… stick w/ the cell phone bill first and then start brainstorming! :)
@Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity – Haha, yes to all of that – they all count. But only if you come HERE to then fix some of my stuff ;) Deal? I’ll even pay you!!
@Kim – Great! Don’t forget!!!
@Megan – Well good thoughts and prayers are on their way, Missy! It’s damn good you have all those side gigs going too! That’s awesome. And just remember that it’s all a *phase* right now :) It WILL get better, and you have to have the lows to appreciate the highs. Keep us updated, okay?
@Brian – Go for it!! It’s def. okay to have two goals, but just make sure you concentrate on one until it’s completely finished. Sometimes having more sidetracks you and then you end up not doing either (if you’re like me at all). But both are admirable feats, my friend :) Let us know if you get to knock them out.
@Melissa – Haha…. one of those is much easier than the other too ;) I say cancel the card (15 mins) and then get right on that asinine landlord (15 hours?).
@A Family of Geeks – Well that’s fixing something! Fixing your new life to allow for Mother in law, haha…. good luck with that :)
@PKamp3 – Haha… if that was my TV I’d totally keep it actually and just gut the whole thing. Make a cool fish tank or table w/ it ;) OOOooohhhh better yet – put my computer monitor in it!!! haha… how cool would that be?
@Trinnie – I believe it!! Haha… and honestly, I’m usually pretty good too once I get going. All those years managing customer service has got paid its dues over time ;) I just hate starting from scratch which is always my problem… but paying $50+ for NOTHING every month is just plain stupid. I’m interested to see how easy/fast I can rectify this one… will let ya know!
@Mercedes – Maybe??? What is that talk?? :) Let’s do it together (ow ow!) and see who wins, deal? 48 hours and counting — go!
@Stephanie – HAH! That makes me feel better, even though it shouldn’t, haha… I hope you can do it!! Weekends are worse for going into those stores though, bleh. Def. worth the free money though :)
@A Family of Geeks – WHAT?? Oh no!!!! I’m so sorry to hear that, man… that absolutely blows :( On the plus side, you’re gonna beat all of us in the “fixing” department! haha… go go go! :)
@retirebyforty – One of those is more important than the other fyi ;) But one’s a LOT easier too! Haha… I always go easy first, then hard next. That way you at least feel like a champ while trying to fix the next and not come out a chump. (See what I did there?)
@Andrea Travillian – Haha…. and good luck to you too! I like that idea of 1-day shopping and it being over with. Esp if you don’t like it (I actually LOVE it — getting out of the house and spending money. I rarely do it anymore :( Which is good and bad). Hope you fix Comcast soon too!
@Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – Great! Don’t try and do too much though and give up – one at a time :)
@Happy Homeowner – Haha… I’m not exactly sure what you mean there, but consider me rooting for you anyways ;)
@Nick – HAH! now THAT is what I’m talking about, I love it :) A man of action — can you rub off a little on me, good sir? (oh wow, that sounded really really bad…)
@Mid Life Miser – That is fun fun fun to me! Haha… I have all my boxes out now, just sitting in my living room, and waiting to be put up. That’s my goal for tonight while watching movies… gotta decorate this place up!
@thefrugallery – I don’t know yet, that’s why I have to call ;) But I know that before I wasn’t paying $50+ and now I am. So I’m gonna see what the options are to go back to “normal” or even see about switching… usually mentions of that helps speed up the process too ;) Fingers crossed!

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26 KJJ December 3, 2011 at 1:13 pm

I’m going to fix my 401K contributions! Great post J$, love being productive!

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27 Matt, Tao of Unfear December 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I just put a freeze on my cell phone account because they wouldn’t let me downgrade my plan to a value 200mb/mo data plan, since I’m still on contract. Now, instead of them getting $20 a month, they’re getting $0. And since I’m working from home, I generally have a wifi connection, so it doesn’t affect me much. Sucks that I don’t have a connection while travelling, but there’s usually wifi once I get where I’m going. I might pay to get out of my contract and unlock my phone and switch to a different company, since I can essentially get the same plan that I’ve been on for half the price. My only concern is that the customer service will be worse (customer service with my current company is stellar).

I also need to find someone to sew the pocket back onto my jacket (or go get some thread and attempt to do it myself). I look pretty homely walking around with a pocket falling off of my jacket. Haha.

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28 Alicia December 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Well not sure if we’ll get to it this weekend, but we def have to get a move on with our Wills and Living Trust. Maybe I’ll make that a “by-the-end-of-2011″ goal.

One of my goals for the month was to try and start doing food prep ahead of time so mealtimes in the evening weren’t so hectic. So this weekend I would like to wash/chop/thaw my food for the week. Less ambitious compared to some of the other posts, but I won’t dread making dinner quite as much if I know some of the work is already done.

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29 Money December 3, 2011 at 5:08 pm

One of my very first posts was about fixing your cable bill. It’s so easy to do, I do not understand why not many people take advantage of it. I write a step by step process of how I did it here: http://fatmoneypig.com/2011/10/how-to-reduce-your-cable-bill/

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30 Dannielle @ Odd Cents December 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I fixed my hair… I consider this to be a good thing because it really needed fixing and I did not have to take a trip to the salon and spend $60 to get it done! :)

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31 Brian December 4, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Fixed the DSL! Service from ATT has been going south for awhile, and have meant to switch. But I realized this morning that they are charging me $42.95 a month for a service that they now sell for $19.95, and that’s not the promo price. So, I guess it’s back to Comcast. At least they haven’t blatantly overcharged me in awhile :)

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32 J. Money December 6, 2011 at 1:27 am

DID YOU ALL COMPLETE YOUR MISSION?? I WANNA KNOW!

(Spoiler alert — I did not. But I do have a good excuse: I ended up taking on a 20 hour project this weekend which netted me a few thousand dollars ;) So Comcast is back on my list to reach out to again! Probably in the morning.)

@KJJ – Good one! Did you end up doing it?
@Matt, Tao of Unfear – Haha… why don’t you just put it in your pockets? :) I throw my iPhone in one of the back ones when I’m walking around – only gets me in trouble when I forget to take it out when I sit down. Yikes.
@Alicia – That would be nice :) But really only if you come over here and do it for us too, hehe…
@Money – Cuz we hate talking to them! And they’re usually rude :(
@Dannielle @ Odd Cents – Wow, good work! You do it yourself? Or have a friend?
@Brian – Haha, wanna trade?

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33 Money December 6, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I love talking to them :) sometimes I call them for fun, just to ask how their day is going. They usually respond by giving me free HBO. :D

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34 J. Money December 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm

HAH! You are something else. You should blog about that too ;)

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35 J. Money December 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I DID IT!! I called and got $35 off my bill every single month, with no loss of any service!! WOO!!! One of the best experiences I’ve ever had with Comcast actually – maybe they’ve updated their game?

Either way, easiest phone call of my life ;) I highly recommend it if your bill is getting outrageous too!

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