How to Save on Your Cell Phone Bill (and Still Have Fun)

Oops, I forgot to blog for 8 months.  What can I say, I got busy at work.  

During that time, however, I managed to save a boatload of cash by switching up my cell phone and carrier.  I'm here to help you do it, too!

I was previously on Verizon (for a LONG time... 17 or 18 years?) and paying $156/mo for our two phones.  We always got whatever phone was "free" when the trade-in cycle was up.  The $156 was after 20% off I got for my employer discount.

Yikes.  This is just nuts.

We waited for our 2 year contract cycle to be up and decided to switch to Ting.  Ting is a contract free MVNO and uses the Sprint network and uses Verizon for call roaming whenever there isn't any Sprint coverage.  They have a great price structure for us where you pay for what you use as determined by the simple price buckets they have (S, M, L, XL for data, talk, and text).  Their super easy to use dashboard tells you how much data, calls, and texts you've used throughout your cycle so that you can manage your usage, if desired.

All we had to do was buy our own phones and switch!  When you port your numbers to the new phones, it automatically cancels your account with Verizon (although you should verify that yourself if you do this).

We bought our "new" phones through Glyde via the Ting store; we got refurbished Samsung Galaxy IIIs for around $200 each and they work beautifully.

So, how much did we save?  We plan on replacing our phones every 2 years, like we did with Verizon, so I will show our savings over a 2 year span:

Verizon: 

Phones = $0

Monthly Bill = $156 x24 months = $3,744 (omg, kill me)

Total Over 2 years = $3,744

Average 1 year cost = $1,872

Ting:

Phones = $400

Monthly Bill = $50 x24 months = $ 1,200 (this depends how much you use)

Total Over 2 years = $1,600

Average 1 year cost = $800

TOTAL SAVINGS = $1,072 PER YEAR!!!

Dang, that is a lot of extra money to shell out for absolutely no reason.  The only "con" is that there is no data roaming if you are outside of Sprint's reaches.  But, really, if you are in the middle of the woods you shouldn't need to be Facebooking.  

Just for fun, I did some quick calculations to see what I would end up with if I put the $1,072/yr in an index fund earning 7%/year on average.  In 10 years I'd have $14,811.  In 20 years I'd have $43,947.

I hope you can find some inspiration to cut the cord with big cellular.  There are many MVNOs using a variety of networks out there to look at, I just happened to like Ting and their price structure works for us.  Happy Savings!

By the way, I was not paid by Ting to say anything, nice or otherwise, about them.  This is all my own doing.

How to Grow Your Own Sprouts

Back in the depths of winter I was paging through the Sow True Seed catalog for seeds for my new veggie garden (which I will share about soon) when I noticed they had a sprout growing kit.  I love sprouts and had been buying them often for salads and sandwiches.  They are ubiquitous in California health fare but here in the Midwest, not so much.

I decided to splurge on the kit so that I could grow my own.  For about $15 it included the materials (plastic sprouting jar, 2 screens for draining water, rubber band) and two bags of of sprout seeds that will last me a while.

Not pictured here is the second bag of sprout seeds and a second screen.

Not pictured here is the second bag of sprout seeds and a second screen.

The process couldn't be any easier:

  1. Put 1 Tbsp. of seeds in the jar
  2. Cover the top of the jar with the screen wrapped with rubber band
  3. Fill the jar with cool water and let the seeds sit for a couple hours
  4. Dump out the water through your screened jar and rinse the seeds again, swishing them and dumping out the water right away
  5. Leave the jar semi-upside down in a bowl or something to allow it to drain but not cutting off the air supply
  6. Going forward, rinse the seeds and dump the water twice daily, allowing the jar to drain upside down in between
  7. You'll have full grown sprouts in a few days and they'll keep in the fridge at least a week
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drainsproutjar
sproutingsprouts

The photo above shows the seeds sprouting after only a day or so!  The process goes so quickly that I neglected to take a photo when they were do (sorry) but, rest assured, they turn out like full grown sprouts are supposed to!

Since you can grow a ton of sprouts (they fill the whole jar once they are grown) with just 1 Tbsp of seeds, the two bags could easily last 4 or 5 months if you grew them every week of two.  Sow True Seed also sells big bags of sprouting seed separately if you already have the supplies you need.  Sprouts in the store here cost about $2 per pack so growing your own makes a lot of money sense if you buy and eat them.

Lastly, the health benefits of sprouts are well known.  When a seed is sprouted, the "good stuff" becomes more readily available to the body- from antioxidants to fiber to protein, sprouts are just plain good to eat.  

Memorial Day Weekend Paint-a-palooza

Having a long weekend really helped me get a few things done including a couple painting projects I had been putting off a long time.

(1) Paint my filthy, ugly side door to my garage.

(2) Paint the top of the concrete retaining wall leading to the basement.

I started at Sherwin Williams and picked up a strip of colors I had a hunch would (1) go well with my roof and trim- for the door- AND (2) would look good with concrete- for the retaining wall.

I took it home, picked one and went back for a quart.  Lucky me, they were having a 30% off sale.  I picked "Perfect Greige" which is a warm gray with brown undertones.

Before!

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It's hard to see in the sunlight but you can see how chippy the paint was.  Before i painted it, I knocked off as much loose paint as I could.

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I should have taken a close up of the door as it looks inoffensive from here.  It was so dirty that after a major scrubbing I could see that there was dirt on it permanently. Ew.  Also, don't mind the bent siding- the ground shifted and now I can't get the darned thing back into place.

I put two coats on both the door and the wall and everything turned out great.  I just used a big brush- no roller.  I may repaint my front door with this color, too; I'm still thinking about it.

After!

This has really helped to warm up and clean up the backyard.

In other news this weekend, my favorite guy on the planet (mr. husband) used an a/c recharge kit to get the car blowing cold air again.  Thank GOODNESS because it was 90 degrees the other day and the air it was blowing was lukewarm.  This is an especially bad scenario because the car has black leather seats.

The kit from the store was $45 (including the pressure gauge and cooling refill) and I get a $10 gift card as rebate.  I figure doing it ourselves saved around $100.  The car is 12 years old so it was only a matter of time.

It feels good to get things done.  What have you accomplished recently?