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AT&T Wireless Media Package Price Options

20 Oct

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AT&T is now offering media packages starting at $15 for 200mb. 

We were able to reduce our bill without reducing our usage.  This will save us $60/year. 

 

 

Check your plan here to see if you can reduce your bill.

Tightening the belt: aTM Fees

11 Aug

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With moving as often as we do, we end up banking with several different banks.  While some banks don’t charge ATM fees, others have charged me as much as $4!  ($2 from the bank I used and $2 from my bank.)  So to me, it is worth it to spend the few extra minutes parking and running into the nearest grocery store or supercenter if I need cash. I will simply make a small purchase of something I need that I can rarely get cheaper with coupons (milk, bread, etc.), use my pin number, and get cash back.  Most places let you get up to $100 cash back. 

 

If I needed cash once per month, that could be an annual savings of $48!  Every little bit really dies add up!

 

Annual Savings This Series:

  1. Cell Phone Bill – $480
  2. Electric Bill – $1200
  3. Auto Insurance – $311
  4. Extra charges on bill – $35.88
  5. Gas Loyalty Programs – $210
  6. Cable/Satellite TV – $660
  7. Contacts – $112
  8. Internet – $101
  9. Auto Maintenance – $272
  10. ATM Fees – $48

Total Savings to Date = $3429.88

Tightening the belt: Saving on auto Maintenance

16 Jun

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I am fortunate to have a husband that is a jack of all trades.  He has the ability (but seldom the time) to do basic auto maintenance saving us a great deal.  He is pretty good about taking care of his own vehicle, but seldom makes the time to maintain mine.  But he’s a numbers man:  so if I break down how much we can save by not paying someone to do it, I can convince him to make the time! 

 

1. Oil Changes:  At my last oil change, I paid almost $40!  I get an average of 4/year.  A new oil filter costs approximately $7 and 5 quarts of oil costs $22.  We already have a drip pan and the tools we would need, so doing it ourselves would save us$11, 4 times per year!

 

2.  Tire Rotation:  My last tire rotation cost $16.  I get an average of 2 per year.  We already have the tools for it, so doing it ourselves would save us about $32 per year.

 

3.  Car Wash:  I’m bad about car washes whether I pay someone, run through an automatic, or do it myself.  MAYBE once/month!  So, if I go through an automatic once per month at, say $5/time, doing it myself would save us $60/year!

 

Total savings:  $136 per vehicle!

 

Times that by 2 for both of our vehicles and that’s a pretty big savings!

 

So, if he doesn’t want to do it every time, I’m going to see if he’ll teach me.  (quit laughing!)  My guess is he would rather do it himself and avoid the argument we will have when he runs out of patience and when I run out of well…common sense! 

 

Annual Savings This Series:

  1. Cell Phone Bill – $480
  2. Electric Bill – $1200
  3. Auto Insurance – $311
  4. Extra charges on bill – $35.88
  5. Gas Loyalty Programs – $210
  6. Cable/Satellite TV – $660
  7. Contacts – $112
  8. Internet – $101
  9. Auto Maintenance – $272

Total Savings to Date = $3381.88

Tightening the belt: getting out of contracts/Early termination Fees

10 Jun

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I’m specifically referring to cell phone contracts, but I’m sure this can be applied to any service contract.  Several years ago, I got so mad at my cell phone company that I refused to pay them another dime.  But the early termination fee was RIDICULOUS!  $300+.  So, why didn’t I think of this then?!?! 

 

There has since been new legislation passed that doesn’t allow these outrageous fees.  One of the components of this legislation is allowing you to change your plan (including reducing it) for the duration of your contract without penalty.  Another part is prorating the penalty fee.  So, the fee may start out at that high price, but is then reduced each month you pay.

 

That being said:  If you wish to get out of your contract, instead of paying a high early termination fee, check to see if you can reduce your plan to the absolute lowest monthly plan.  You may save money in the long run! 

 

I mentioned this last week when referring to switching ISPs, but I thought it was worthy of a separate post.  As a refresher, our early termination fee would have been $85, but we instead switched it to a $9.99/month plan, saving us $45! 

Tightening the belt: Internet Service

2 Jun

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We just saved $101 per year by switching Internet Service Providers!

 

We have been using an AT&T wireless air card.  We originally signed a contract with them when we could find no other company to provide us a service while living way out in the country in Kentucky.  Since then, we have moved and have continued to fulfill our end of the contract.  BUT I called them and explained to them that the connection we got here was not great.  And for $60 a month, I wanted to swap to a company that I could pay for high speed that would actually be able to provide high speed where we live now.  The very helpful and friendly consultant suggested that instead of paying the $85 early termination fee, that we swap our service to a “family plan line”, paying just $9.99/month for the remaining 4 months of our contract!  WOW!  Great idea!  She just saved us $45!

 

So, we are going with Comcast – $45/month with a one time connection fee of $39.  Add that to the $9.99/month we will be paying AT&T, that makes our 6 month grand total $348.96 for Internet.  The next 6 months after that will be $45/month, or $270.  Our annual bill for Internet will be $618.96.  If we were to stay with AT&T, it would be $720.  

 

We will save $101 and hopefully have a better connection!

 

We have several factors that you may not have to deal with that could save you even more by shopping for a new ISP.  You can probably save more than us if:

 

1.  You aren’t under contract.

2.  You don’t mind signing a contract.

3.  You don’t shop the major chains.  (We move so often, we don’t call the locals so that we can stick with the same company).

4.  You live in a better area for service than we do.  Apparently, we couldn’t get AT&T home service where we are now. 

 

Annual Savings This Series:

  1. Cell Phone Bill – $480
  2. Electric Bill – $1200
  3. Auto Insurance – $311
  4. Extra charges on bill – $35.88
  5. Gas Loyalty Programs – $210
  6. Cable/Satellite TV – $660
  7. Contacts – $112
  8. Internet – $101

Total Savings to Date = $3109.88

Tightening the Belt: Contacts

26 May

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I just saved roughly $56 ordering contacts for my husband by simply doing a little research.  I saved even more than that on my own earlier this year!  It is surprisingly easy, too!!  

 

Here’s what I did: 

1.  I simply searched for “acuvue 2” on the Internet (his brand). And found the lowest price.  I applied a few available coupon codes for an additional 20% off and free shipping and clicked until I got to the screen with the total amount due. ($95.94 for 8 boxes or $11.99/box!!!)

2.  I went to 1800contacts website and I clicked on the “Unbeatable Price Match Guarantee” at the top right hand corner of the page.  I clicked to have someone call me immediately and they did. 

3.  I gave them my shipping information, doctor’s name, and phone number.

4.  I gave them the website and the total price that I found on the web.  They confirmed it.

5.  I paid with my credit card.

 

That’s it!  They do the rest!  They call and confirm the prescription with the doctor’s office, and they ship it to us!

 

Five minutes!  That’s all it took! 

 

I have used 1800contacts for several years now, and while I am a bit disappointed because they used to give you an additional percentage off the lowest advertised price, their customer service is always excellent and hassle free.  I do realize that there is a possibility that I could have shopped through ebates or another cash back site and got some cash back, but I opted to be loyal to a trusted company and save some time rather than money.  (I am not an affiliate of 1800contacts or paid in any way, I just really like them.  honest.)

 

Annual Savings This Series:

 

  1. Cell Phone Bill – $480
  2. Electric Bill – $1200
  3. Auto Insurance – $311
  4. Extra charges on bill – $35.88
  5. Gas Loyalty Programs – $210
  6. Cable/Satellite TV – $660
  7. Contacts – $112

Total Savings to Date = $3008.88

Tightening the Belt, Part 8: Cable and Satellite TV

19 May

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I’ll admit.  We have a TV addiction!  If we are home, the TV is on.  We have a set schedule of what we watch on each night, and we know when it’s time to rent a free Red Box movie because nothing is going to be on. But what we didn’t know when we were paying $60+ a month is that this holds true whether you have cable or not! 

Two years ago, we decided to stop paying for cable or satellite TV.  Yes, that meant sacrifice from us both.  I really miss “What Not to Wear” and my large selection of afternoon rerun sitcoms!  But we still get our basic channels using a digital converter box (which isn’t needed on our newer TV.)  In the city limits, we get approximately 12 channels.  When we lived way out in the country of Frankfort, KY, we still got about 5!  …all of the basic channels including a few PBS channels.  This next week is the week for season finales, so I thought it might be a good time to encourage you to make this cutback!  Nothing is on in the summertime, right?  Why not save that money and just give it a try!  If after a few months it doesn’t work out, reactivate.

 

Overcoming the challenges:

Children:  No, Cartoon Network and Disney Channel are not in the list of 12 channels we get with a converter box.  And I would say if your children are used to watching these, they will find this big change the hardest…AT FIRST!  But just as you will, they will learn to adapt their routine, and know when to pop in one of their hundreds of DVDs instead!  I promise, they will find something else to watch and soon forget about not being able to watch their favorite channels.  Still feel bad?  Why not offer to give them a one-time portion of the savings?  Take them to Wal-Mart and show them that since you are saving that money, you have some extra to spend on them!  Or just increase their allowance by $1/week! 

 

DVR:  This was probably the hardest convenience to give up!  But seriously,  you don’t NEED it!  What we do:  we bought a DVD Recorder (about $100) and some DVD RWs and use it just like we used the VCRs growing up.  It’s not quite as smart and convenient as the TiVo/DVR, but it does the job!  We soon learned to re-live without this luxury. 

 

Equipment:  You will need one antenna per household, one converter box per TV (unless you have a newer TV, then it probably has one in it already), and someone smarter than me to hook it all up!  I will add that an indoor antenna will not get you as many channels as an outdoor antenna.  This can be a pretty steep one-time expense.  Antennas start from around $50 and converter boxes cost around $40 each.  So, it may be a few months before you actually see those savings. 

 

So can you do it?  We did!  And we are addicts!  So, we have proven that it can be done. 

And I promise:  before long, you won’t even miss it!

Tightening the belt: Working gas loyalty programs using gift cards!

12 May

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Knoxville Mamabelle has the scoop on getting the most savings out of loyalty programs here.  Basically, she explains how you can earn points by buying gift cards for stores you are planning on shopping at to build points, and then saving on gas. Since Kroger and Shell have teamed up and you can spend your Kroger points at Shell now, I plan on giving it a try!

For example, if you buy a $50 Shell gift card at Kroger, you will earn 100 points, saving 10 cents/gallon!  Buy a $100 Shell gas card at Kroger, and you will earn 200 points, saving 20 cents/gallon.  etc., etc.

 

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How I plan to work it:

I budget $250/month for gas.  So, at the beginning of NEXT month (since I have already hit my gas budget this month), I plan on purchasing 2 Shell gift cards – 1 for me and 1 for my husband.  That will earn us 500 points, which will be $0.50 off/gallon.  If we were to fill up together 1 time/month and get the full 35 gallon discount allowed, that will save us about $17.50/month!  That adds up to $210/year!

Hopefully, with buying occasional groceries at Kroger and any other restaurant, store gift cards, etc. that I plan on shopping at anyways, then I can increase the amount of points earned and save this much more than once/month! 

 

Annual Savings This Series:

  1. Cell Phone Bill – $480
  2. Electric Bill – $1200
  3. Auto Insurance – $311
  4. Extra charges on bill – $35.88
  5. Gas Loyalty Programs – $210

Total Savings to Date = $2236.88

May Budget Check in Week #1

10 May
Spending Log
Category Monthly Budgeted Amount Amount Spent
Grocery $400 $451.09
Gas/automotive $250 $291.28
Other $250 added in with grocery
Dining Out $100 $79.53
Total $1000 $821.90
 
 
Earning Log
Category Projected Amount Earned Amount Earned
Craigslist $150 $125
Garage Sale $200 $450!!!
Rebates Received ? $124
Keeping my eyes open??? ?  
Total $350 $699

 

Awe, man!  I am so disappointed!  I was so focused on making money, that I didn’t focus on saving money!  It’s hard to find a happy medium!  I do have to say that $115 of that grocery/other budget was spent by my husband and I didn’t think to keep a mental note of it.  AND that I did buy an entire stockpile of groceries and a new vacuum (necessity) this past week! 

We also have another trip planned this weekend!  So, I plan on stocking up on pork chops at Ingles this week and going to CVS to roll my ECBs and get some more diapers, and then eating out of the pantry for the rest of the month!  I’m going to have to get creative on this one!

From now on, I’m going to be more vigilant in keeping track of our spending while on trips and also on my husband’s spending so I can make up for it in my spending! 

On a brighter note…how about that earning log, eh???  I’m pretty proud of that!

Tightening the Belt: Part 5 – Using Smart Strips to Reduce Your Electric Bill

28 Apr

 

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Smart Strips – like a surge strip, but is supposed to completely cut the power to devices when not in use saving you a ton on your electric bill. 

SmartHomeUSA breaks down like this:

If you leave your computer, tv, or other device plugged in:

  • 24hours/7days = you would pay for 168 hrs per week even when it isn’t in use!
  • 8 hours/7 days = you would pay for 56 hours per week!
  • Saving 112 hours/week on one device! 

Times that by the areas of my house that could/should use one and that really could save big!

  • Living Room TV, gaming system, dvd player – would save approximately 112 hours/week 
  • Computer/Printer – would save approximately 112 hours/week
  • Bedroom TV, dvd player – would save approximately 160 hours/week
  • Washer/Dryer – would save approximately 160 hours/week
  • Microwave – would save approximately 165 hours/week

Total = 709 hours of energy/week or 2836 per month! 

The smartest thing to do would be to buy a few more regular surge strips and turn them off when I am not using everything, but realistically speaking – not going to happen!  So I’m ready to invest. They are pricey, but come with a 30 day money back guarantee. I have worked a deal with my Amazon gift cards that I earned from Swagbucks gift cards to buy 5 for around $85.  They come with a 30 day money back, guarantee AND a $30,000 connected device warranty.  So, I guess I’m up for the 30 day challenge! 

I will let you know if I see any difference in our bill next month!