Challenge Savings Update: $4,738.13

by J. Money - Published July 29, 2015[Edit]

david bowie dollar

Month #10 locked and loaded! Just two more months to go and our 12 month mission of savings will be complete :) Going by pretty fast too, eh? Gotta put those plans into effect TODAY if you want to see big results later! It all adds up over time!

Here’s where our savings account is now after 10 months:

challenge savings acct 7-15Pretty wild… Almost $5,000 banked from tiny changes here and there, which would have totally slipped through the cracks if I didn’t go out of my way to track and separate it out. I know I sound like a broken record over all these months, but creating that new savings account and watching it build like this is just so damn motivational! There’s no way I would have appreciated the gains we’ve been making if I hadn’t done that, and now we almost have enough to max out a Roth IRA! It’s incredible. And was incredibly *easy* too…

Though not all is bliss in Challenge Paradise however… I had the following calendar item pop up and smart me decided to completely ignore it.

cable reminder

You’ll notice the date there – June 2nd – and that I even set aside an hour to knock it out. But who likes to argue with their cable company with their precious time? Every year we have to do it and this time I kept pushing and pushing it off until the new bill hit me and BAM! A 30% increase from $90 something to $120 something. Ugh…

You won’t see it in this month’s #’s cuz I’m a few weeks late posting them up (sorry), but needless to say I need to get on the phone with them again and get it all worked out. I already tried calling them once last week, but 40 mins later I wanted to punch myself in the face as I had what seemed to be the worst customer service rep ever. All I wanted to know at the end was what it would cost to keep *internet only*, and the convo went eerily similar to Tonya’s over at TimeCast Cable:

(You HAVE to watch this before moving along… Seriously, it’s hilarious. And very accurate.)

Anyways, I couldn’t even get that info out of them (why do the systems always “go down” when you’re trying to pay less for something?) so I had to get off the phone before I threw it against the wall. It was hell. And I’ll need to do it all over again sometime this week. Pray for me!

Anyways, here’s how June’s savings broke down:

challenge everything june

Cell Phones (+$112.58) — Still reaping the benefit of kicking AT&T to the curb and moving to Republic Wireless. It’s never fun switching phones and carriers, but the Benjamin it’s since saved every month since more than makes up for it :) We’ve banked over $1,000 now from that one single change.

Cable/Internet/Phone (+$79.72) — We used to be at $170, then got it down to $90 by canceling some stuff and asking for discounts, and now we’re right back to playing the “I don’t want to cancel you, but I will” game. I’m not gonna lie and say I don’t enjoy watching TV, cuz I do, but if we can’t square this away I’m willing to give it a shot and just be done with it. Whether my wife agrees with me or not is another story ;) (She loves her reality TV)

Car Insurance (+$30.59) — This was the fastest cutting of them all. Literally a 15 min call to USAA and now we’re banking $30/mo since. Verizon needs to take notes…

Winning Lottery Ticket (+$2.00) — This is going to sound funny, but we had an Easter egg hunt last month because we weren’t able to get around to it on actual Easter day back in April :) My mother has put one on every year since we were born, and now that we all have kids it just keeps continuing on. Anyways, I found a golden egg and inside was a winning scratcher – woo!

markers for sale

SOLD: Art Supplies (+$10.00) — My wife asked me to “do something” with this pile of art supplies we had (we have like 10 piles of them for the kids) and so I just put them on Craigslist and a week later they were gone. She asked me what I did with them soon after and I told her, and she wasn’t impressed. She meant for me to just move them somewhere – oops.

old ativa shredder

SOLD: Old Paper Shredder (+$7.00) — This was a great sale because while this thing normally costs $40+ in stores, it’s blades were all mangled in one area and thus semi-broken. It still worked like a charm, but people tend to not buy up such things unless they’re a good deal. Which at $5.00 it was. Only when I went to make the trade, the buyer didn’t have $5.00 and only had a $10.00 bill, so I ended up with $7.00 since I couldn’t make enough change for her. This is like the 4th time people didn’t bring the correct amount (which is weird, cuz they all know it ahead of time?) but I’ll take that free money all day long… $2.00 is still $2.00!

Here’s what the blades looked like btw:

old shredder jam blades

SOLD: Vintage Lantern (+$10.00) — Oddly enough this was another item I was trying to offload that was broken! It took me 8 months to do so, but lo and behold someone finally wanted it and didn’t mind the crack in one of the panels (which honestly you couldn’t even see anyways). I wanted at least $20 for it, but I grew tired of it taking up space in my basement…

hanging vintage lamp

Found Change (+$0.84) — From all my walks over the month… $0.76 worth within 1 block/walk!

And just like that our Challenge Savings account gets $252.73 plumper.

You can see all the items I’ve hawked over the year here – Craigslist Tracker – as well as all the recaps of our monthly savings here on our main Challenge Everything page.

Hope this inspires you to start selling/finding/cutting down monthly expenses too! As MMM once said (which inspired this whole challenge),

“Every permanent drop in your spending has a double effect: it increases the amount of money you have left over to save each month, and it permanently decreases the amount you’ll need every month for the rest of your life.

That’s some powerful $hit right there… And proves watching your expenses is just as – if not more – important than growing your income. And true hustlers do both :)

—–
[Killer David Bowie bill by Zawezome]

Jay loves talking about money, experimenting, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his two beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Slackerjo July 29, 2015 at 6:08 am

In Canada we have 2 large telecom giants, the Blue one and the Red one. I worked for the Blue one for 2.5 years. Every single day I worked at Blue, at least one of the 8 different tools I had to use on a call, broke. Yeah you probably got a crappy agent but the tool probably was broken.

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2 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 9:45 am

On a scale from 1-10 how much do you miss working there? :)

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3 Slackerjo July 29, 2015 at 7:38 pm

I now work as a cleaner at a government building. The great ironies are a) my cleaning tools never break b) I occasionally clean the tech support department. Livin’ the dream. No seriously I am!

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4 J. Money July 31, 2015 at 1:09 pm

Hah!

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5 Stephen July 30, 2015 at 9:44 pm

There’s three large telecom companies in Canada, seems like you’re forgetting the green one!

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6 Hannah July 29, 2015 at 7:30 am

In the spirit of the challenge everything, I’ve been trying to reduce a medical bill. So far I’ve been through an automated system about 600 times with no luck getting a person. The worst part is that for this particular bill, I actually do think that they charged me twice for something, and the financial savings will be close to $200. I’m planning to keep trying until it goes to collections.

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7 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 9:47 am

ouch! that’s def. a fight worthy of pursuing. I feel like medical bills are the worst of them all as they’re always getting jacked up. But I’ve heard so many success stories of people who got them fixed that I feel like it’s only a matter of time that you do too :) Maybe you should just keep hitting “0” until a real person comes on? Haha… (or better yet – blog about it and see if their social media team picks up on it?)

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8 Debbie M August 2, 2015 at 10:58 pm

Also, if you have an insurance company, you can sic the insurance company on them.

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9 Tom Sharp July 29, 2015 at 7:32 am

Good work.

I left my work desk to go and use the vending machine, put in £1 to buy an 80p item and got 70p change back. Went back to my desk and got handed a collection for a leaving card!

Easy come, easy go!

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10 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 9:49 am

oh jeez, haha…

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11 Dee @ Color Me Frugal July 29, 2015 at 7:48 am

I love that MMM quote. I was stoked last month when I found out that our gym had been bought out by another gym and our monthly payment was going to drop by $20! I know some people are down on gym memberships, but we love the gym and go almost every day. And that means $20 less that we need to live on every month for forever!

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12 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 9:52 am

damn straight! nothing wrong AT ALL with using something you pay for – especially when it means GREATER HEALTH!!! I admire all those who go even just once a month cuz it’s all better than zero (though in that case not financially smart :)).

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13 Kalie July 29, 2015 at 7:58 am

These posts inspired me to finally sell some stuff. I’m kind of a minimalist at heart so I don’t have many valuable possessions, but I’d received some free and hand-me-down items I couldn’t use, that were nicer than anything I’d buy! So I made $100 this month by selling them. Not much, but I got over the hump of getting started, learned from some mistakes, and have less stuff laying around.

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14 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 9:55 am

Hell yeah – that’s a win all around, my friend! $100 is 5x more than I made last month on CL :) What do you plan on doing with the new money?

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15 Kalie July 29, 2015 at 11:39 am

It goes to my India trip fund–I leave soon for a short-term missions trip there.

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16 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 3:41 pm

daaaaamn – so cool!

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17 Ali @ Anything You Want July 29, 2015 at 8:11 am

Love that your cataloging this every month! I need to do this. I have too much crap around the house. Would be great to make some found money off of it!

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18 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 9:55 am

It makes for good stuff to blog about too :)

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19 Nicola July 29, 2015 at 8:17 am

I’ve been de cluttering this month and selling some stuff on eBay – hasn’t bought in much but less stuff and more money = better outcome! :)

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20 Elise@ Simply Scaled Down July 29, 2015 at 8:31 am

Awesome job! Our “Challenge everything” saving is growing, too! And I suppose you could say it got a little boost. We just had to move (suddenly…the well at our house went bad with e coli), but now our rent is a few hundred bucks less a month.

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21 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 9:59 am

e coli??? yuck!

freaky, and great, at the same time for y’all! can’t say I was expecting a comment like that today, haha…

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22 Steve Miller July 29, 2015 at 8:48 am

We have been looking to cut our monthly cable bill too. I saw this article recently: http://sustainablelifeblog.com/ultimate-guide-cutting-cable/. It basically says to buy Netflix, Hulu and put up an HD antenna for local cable. This could reduce your monthly cable bill to about $20. I think I may try this in the future. The only issue is that I love professional football and would love to get the DirectTV Sunday Ticket (I am a big Cowboys fan), so I am still on the fence as to whether I can do it.

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23 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 10:04 am

Hey! I was literally JUST on your site the other day after reading about your journey on someone else’s blog (can’t remember which?). Made a note to reach out to you but hadn’t gotten to it yet – and here you are today! It’s nice to e-meet you :)

RE: Antenna stuff – I think the key here is where you live. I kept hearing the same, so I ended up trying out a handful of them which worked as well as the Cowboys making it to the super bowl last season ;) (Sorry – Redskins fan here!). I ended up just giving them away on my blog, but we did sign up to Netflix for the first time ever and I must say it has enough stuff to keep you entertained outside of football. Which is partially the reason we haven’t let cable go too (with the other part being my wife really wanting it still). Def. worth a shot though and seeing if you’d have better luck!

Here’s my post on it if you’re interested:
http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2015/01/final-cable-tv-savings/

Thx again for stopping by, man!

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24 Stephen July 30, 2015 at 9:46 pm

Antenna’s don’t pick up a lot of channels, but in the denser areas you can get 5-6 channels, at least in Canada you can. I bought one and its great, gets me national and local news channels and then everything else I watch on netflix.

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25 Fervent Finance July 29, 2015 at 9:00 am

It’s amazing what you can sell on Craigslist! I need to get involved!

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26 Chris @ Flipping A Dollar July 29, 2015 at 9:13 am

“She meant for me to just move them somewhere ”

LMAO I love ambiguous directions. At least you got rid of some clutter while also making some dough. Just goes to show you that even when you’re with someone for a long time there’s still tons of opportunities for misunderstandings!

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27 Carissa July 29, 2015 at 9:58 am

I’m at the end of this post and I am still giggling over you selling your kids’ art supplies when you were just supposed to put them away! Well done on tracking your savings!

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28 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 10:04 am

It’s a good thing we have a ton of that stuff :)

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29 John @ Frugal Rules July 29, 2015 at 10:14 am

Ha ha, love the move on the art supplies. I don’t think my wife would be too cool on it either, though I still think I’d do it. I hear you on the cable. After slashing $100/mo off our cell bill last month my sights are on the cable. Why is it that the reps just don’t get it though when you call trying to cancel? You tell them it’s the price and many times they just don’t seem to get it.

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30 Mrs. Crackin' the Whip July 29, 2015 at 10:28 am

Loved the video! I have had such bad experiences with my internet provider that I will only communicate with them now via online chat so I have a full and complete record of anything that was said!

After I started tracking every dollar, I was shocked by the fact that we consistently net an average of $500 / month outside of our incomes. We are not side hustlers either. It just comes from a variety of sources.

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31 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 10:33 am

Holy crap, that’s awesome! And probably would have been spent or not even noticed if you weren’t tracking, eh? I didn’t realize we got so much “free” money either until starting this challenge ourselves. And amazingly enough I much prefer to keep the $$$$ growing vs wherever I would have used it anyways! :)

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32 Jim Wang July 29, 2015 at 10:33 am

Ha, I just went through the headache of talking to Verizon and getting my bill knocked down. Fortunately, they do 2-yr contracts so I won’t have to revisit for another two years.

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33 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Ugh, yes. Being able to sign a contract helps you save IMMENSELY. That’s the biggest hurdle it seems we’re having – not being able to sign for 2 years, or even 1 cuz we’re renting and won’t even be here in another year :(

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34 Shannon @ Financially Blonde July 29, 2015 at 10:33 am

Ha! I LOVE Tonya’s video too!!! I recently called the cable company with a client to get their bill lowered and we had a crazy similar conversation as well that went on far too long and ended with us on the phone with the “retention” department of the company where we finally got resolution for what seemed like a really simple request.

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35 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 3:43 pm

Wow – you really go above and beyond for your clients! Can I hire you to handle all my bill calling too??? :)

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36 Phriot July 29, 2015 at 11:28 am

I hit a recent record for found money in a single outing this month. On the first day I decided to start getting myself up at 5:45am to exercise before work, I found a $1 bill out on my run. I looked around for a person, but there was only like one car going down the street. It must have been there all night.

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37 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 3:44 pm

I think that’s a sign you should keep doing it :)

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38 Alexander @ Cash Flow Diaries July 29, 2015 at 11:34 am

Funny I also have a calendar appointment to contact my cable company every six months and renegotiate the bill. Im no longer locked into a contract so I just call them and threaten to cancel, each time they lower my bill to $35 per month for 6 months. Its great. I end up saving about $20 per month. It adds up for sure!

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39 Jason @ Phroogal July 29, 2015 at 11:37 am

What a massive savings in the cell phone arena! Congrats!

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40 Reelika @Financially Wise On Heels July 29, 2015 at 12:08 pm

I negotiate my memberships and bills in every six months as well. It does make a difference and the reality is, companies do give discounts, but we just have to ask!

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41 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 3:46 pm

Yup! Usually it works like a charm too for me, but apparently not this time!

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42 Debt Hater July 29, 2015 at 12:53 pm

I don’t blame you for not wanting to call and talk with Verizon, it’s lame that they just bank on people not fighting them in the first place. They’re all just trying to sneak price hikes into that. And that video is completely accurate. I remember when we were having internet problems a while back, every time I called had to jump through hoops just to get to the somewhat relevant part.

Here’s another video that I love that shows how Cable companies really operate (the language is NOT safe for work though): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ilMx7k7mso

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43 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 3:50 pm

OMG that is hilarious, haha… so true!!!!

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44 Tawcan July 29, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Booya on saving money on cellphone plans. Before I got a work phone I used to call my cell provider periodically and ask for a discount/deal. Worked most of the time.

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45 [email protected] and the Beach July 29, 2015 at 1:32 pm

Nice job! I love how you included the change you pick up too. Hey it all adds up right? So did you end up with some ponies? I hope not, however, they do sell pretty well on Craigslist. I thought about turning in my car and just riding the pony down to the beach, but I found out they really don’t like that. :) hee! Thanks so much for posting that video and all the other support you give me!

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46 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 3:47 pm

You keep blowing me away with your videos over there. So impressed (and laugh my ass off) each time a new one comes out! :)

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47 Maggie @ Northern Expenditure July 29, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Each one of these updates drives me wild that I live in Alaska where internet providers can still charge for Bandwidth and none of the awesome wireless cell phone providers can get a foothold (probably because of said bandwidth charges). Alaska does pay me to live here, which is good, but sheesh… telecommunications are a bear!

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48 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 3:51 pm

I want to get paid to live somewhere! How does that work? :)

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49 Maggie @ Northern Expenditure July 29, 2015 at 5:54 pm

Reverse income tax! It’s definitely a benefit we enjoy. http://northernexpenditure.com/alaska-pays-us-pfd/

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50 J. Money July 31, 2015 at 1:14 pm

That is incredible!! And so, SO, fascinating. Had no idea :)

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51 Done by Forty July 29, 2015 at 2:05 pm

Man, you are really proving how the little things add up.

I don’t care who you are: $5k is real money.

I’ve grown fat and lazy when it comes to challenging the items in my budget. I’m like Rocky at the beginning of Rocky II. Resting on my laurels, taking it easy, and, damn it, I’m going to get poor Mickey killed.

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52 J. Money July 29, 2015 at 3:52 pm

oh don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll go back to being lazy like I was the 6 years prior to starting this challenge :) you gotta hustle hard while the motivation’s there!

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53 Darcy July 29, 2015 at 3:20 pm

I don’t think I could give up cable, although we do have apple tv and netflix. My fiancé and I definitely need to decrease our cell phone bills though. Right now we pay almost 200$/month combined. His contract is up soon and we’re going to research some kind of family plan.

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54 J. Money July 31, 2015 at 1:17 pm

Ouch! Yes, you can DEF do better there for sure once you’re ready to jump on it. Republic Wireless, Ting, pay-as-you-go companies – there’s tons of places now that could get your bill in the $50+ range depending on what you’re looking for. You’ll save a ton!

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55 Christine @ The Pursuit of Green July 29, 2015 at 8:06 pm

We kicked satellite tv out a few years ago and haven’t looked back. We bought a Roku and subscribed to Netflix and it worked really well for us. Now we canceled Netflix and use Sling to get cable tv channels! $20 a month! More pricey than Netflix but I think we’ll end up going back and forth on that. I think there’s a special deal for the newest Roku where if you subscribe to Sling you can get the Roku for $50 instead of a $100 now.

I didn’t track the money savings though!

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56 J. Money July 31, 2015 at 1:22 pm

That Sling is def. looking good! Just checked it out to see all the channels – just having ESPN there is killer! And for only $20/mo?? I’m starting to get tempted :) And should call Verizon while I’m in the mood to battle them too – hah.

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57 Melanie @ Dear Debt July 29, 2015 at 11:10 pm

This is so inspiring! I love that you add found change too. I hope you weren’t in the dog house after selling those art supplies haha.

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58 [email protected] July 30, 2015 at 3:17 am

Way to go, Jay. I tell you, my friend, I’m off to my sexy spreadsheet immediately to see whether and how this works. Follow inspiration, I say :).

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59 J. Money July 31, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Good! Love to hear that! I’m going to ask you about it on our Skype chat today :)

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60 Nelson July 30, 2015 at 4:51 am

Republic Wireless is a great way to save money. I personally use Ting but my mom uses RW. Both have their pros/cons. I like Ting because I don’t use data much but when I do I like using 4G LTE.

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61 J. Money July 31, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Yeah – I think the best thing Ting has going for them is the ability to use the iPhone. I do miss using mine – not gonna lie – but not the end of the world.

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62 NDQ July 30, 2015 at 6:01 pm

I was going through that same routine with a satellite provider a few years ago. Finally, I gave it up. I still have Netflix and Amazon Prime, but I am happier than ever without it. The money per month was added to my monthly investment account transfer, so that money is now working for me every month. I rarely see commercials now, which is a bonus, because the marketers are getting access to my brain.

Try this: see if your wife will agree to a pay-TV hiatus for three months. Come up with a use for the monthly amount and work on the buy in/reward.

NDQ
“Nickels, Dimes and Quarters”
I’m on Twitter, @NDQaddsup

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63 J. Money July 31, 2015 at 1:26 pm

Nice! Love that you’ve added it to your monthly investments and not spent it elsewhere! That’s the key right there. I’m thinking of asking my wife about Sling to see if that’s a happy medium…

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64 Danell July 30, 2015 at 7:56 pm

Oh, man, I feel your pain on calling the cable company! I used to do that about once a year too. I ditched the cable completely though and only have to pay internet through them now. Even just that is $70 a month, which is crazy, unless I want turtle slow speed! We’re strictly on Netflix now and don’t miss regular TV at all. The $13 a month bill is awesome.

Love that you included the change you picked up in your tally, too!

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65 J. Money July 31, 2015 at 1:28 pm

I know! That’s partly why I’m OK keeping cable around because at $90 where we had it was only $20’ish more when you consider internet. It’s not like you can get to $0.00 unless you cancel everything! (Which I wouldn’t mind if I didn’t work online – hah. You can always surf internet/shows on the phone nowadays :))

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66 Matt Winarski August 8, 2015 at 8:16 am

So republic wireless is in the process of changing from the unlimited data plans… What is up with that?? Now I have one year until I have to change to one of their new plans (or find a new provider). Any suggestions? I was loving the $25/month *unlimited* everything 3G plan..

This may put a damper on your money saving challenge if you use a lot of data. :-/

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67 J. Money August 11, 2015 at 2:37 pm

Well, it depends on how much you use really, and *how* you use it. If you stream everything over WiFi you still have unlimited :) It just became too costly for those streaming so much off it and they had to make a change.

My contact over there said it’ll actually HELP 80% of their customers, and after running my own #’s just this week it turns out we’re in that 80% and will be saving an additional $18/mo on average! So I’m okay with it of course, though I will miss the *feeling* of everything “unlimited.”

Here’s what else my contact said (their PR rep):

“Current customers are grandfathered into existing plans until August 1, 2016. This under the firm belief that the vast majority of customers save money under the new plans.

Republic has a reputation for putting customers first so I won’t be surprised to see this get extended or amended although how isn’t known yet. Jon Schniepp, Senior Vice President of Product Marketing says “All we ask is you try our new plans for a few months. Try out the experience. We want you to save more, and we’re pretty confident we can get you there. If you decide they are not for you, switch back to the current plans, and we’ll see if we can work something out.”

So might be worth a shot trying it out now and then if it sucks reaching out to them? As for other carriers, the only one I have limited knowledge on is Ting Wireless who also charges similarly to the “pay what you use” type plans. Unlimited ones are seeming to go away/change again due to those who just stream stuff 24/7. But check them out – maybe you’ll like em too?

http://ting.com

You can have an iPhone with Ting which was the #1 plus in my books when researching :)

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