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Archive for May, 2015

Dumb Phones?

May 30th, 2015 at 12:29 pm

Just wondering if anyone has bought any dumb phones lately. Where have you been buying your dumb phones? (Specifically, flip phones).

Dh's family is switching over to Ting with the latest promo. (They had just talked about how his mom wanted to splurge on some fancy phone and switch over to Ting. So getting $100 credit to sign up was pretty enticing and they were already getting ready to switch).

Dh really doesn't like the idea of buying phones on Craigslist, generally. But to be fair our phones are on the more expensive end. Not necessarily worth the risk. But anyway, to speed along the transition, he did pick up a couple of used dumb phones yesterday for $25/each. He told me he could not find them anywhere otherwise. I think at the least his Grandma might want something a little more new and nice, but will see. This does get them set up. (His mom will get the new smart phone and his sister has some old hand-me-down that she can set up on Ting's GSM. His dad just wants a dumb phone for whatever reason).

I think the GSM makes the switch much easier. When we switched it was from Sprint and we could just all keep our phones. Dh's family is on Verizon and so they will need all different phones for the switch. That's been the big obstacle though dh talked them into Ting a long time ago. I think they will be saving about $150/month with Ting. (They had just told dh they didn't care about the phone outlay and were sick of their giant Verizon bill and had some extra money. Good timing! All that and his mom is the only one spending more than $25 on a phone anyway. But I guess it's because of the GSM that his sister can use the hand-me-down).

Great Time to Sign Up with Ting! $100 off

May 28th, 2015 at 07:29 pm

Ting is offering a $100 credit for signing up by June 8th. $100 off of a phone or $100 to try Ting, if you use a referral code. Here is my referral link:

https://z181d126bt4.ting.com

They went live with GSM and so most phones can now just be moved over to Ting. (I think Verizon phones are the ones mostly that you can't just bring over?) But of course, you can check the Ting website to check if your existing phone can be moved to Ting.

Dh actually just switched to GSM since he has that capability on his phone. Ting took GSM off Beta testing and sent an e-mail about that a couple of weeks ago (offering a $30 credit to switch, which I think expired yesterday?). This means that while I am still using the Sprint Network, his phone is now on the T-mobile network. This also means that we have a lot more phone choices for the future.

I do have one caveat. My dh was surprised they took GSM out of beta because it was quite tedious to set up. No big deal to him, but you know, he doesn't think most his family or friends would have the patience or confidence to figure it all out. On the flip side, Ting's customer service is A+ so it's probably no big deal. (If you get stuck, surely they can get you through it). But you know, just fair warning. IF it sounds intimidating, don't do the GSM thing. Dh is the only one that switched to GSM in our 4-person Ting service. I also presume if you buy a GSM phone directly from Ting that it's already set up.

Fiscal Plans & Closing an OLD credit card

May 21st, 2015 at 08:19 pm

Payday this week. With the cash inflow I have ample cash savings + $11,000 set aside for 2015 IRAs.

I am thinking through our rough annual plan. $1,200/month to cash x 7 more months = $8,400 more to savings.

Planned Allotment:

-$1,000 Hawaii
-$2,000 Medical
-$1,000 Home Repair
-$3,100 to mortgage
-$1,200 to investments
----------------------
=$8,300

So I guess that is roughly where we are at.

We went forward with Hawaii plan this year even though we ended up doing some bigger splurges in recent months. I figured I could probably fund with credit card rewards. As is, we haven't spent our vacation budget and that will cover airfare. Our room is free. We are setting aside a generous (& also unnecessary) $1,000 for activities. This is like the *one* super splurge-y vacation I want to take my kids on.

Anyway, I am SO glad that I went forward with this trip. It seemed a little ridiculous, earlier in the year. But I kept thinking, "How much do we really need to spend? Worst case we lounge on the beach all week??"

I have seen a couple of angles to get airline miles but I am also fine with just cash flowing, which seems to be the much easier and more likely route. Relieved to feel that we will have ample cash for a splurge-y trip.

----------------------------------------------------

Car replacement talks are very up in the air. May be just put off until next year. Not feeling any rush to make any decisions.

I am always amused by perceptions that aversion to car payments is just about interest. It is so much more than interest! (Maybe interest is the least of it??) Right now it seems that we just don't have a lot of motivation to jump on a car purchase. The longer we wait the more cash we will have to buy a nicer car. Paying cash seems a very strong incentive to keep cars longer. I have always felt that, but just even moreso as we are considering next car purchases.

We endlessly save up $100/month/each to replace our cars so have a rough $15,600 set aside to replace this car. $100 x 156 months. Our budget will be $10k-$15k. I don't even know that I see the point in spending more than $10k. Last time we stumbled upon a car deal for about 33% less than we planned to spend, so I am hoping for something like that to happen again!

{I guess in the past the most we have had to save up for a car was just a few years??? So it's nice to have all that time for those little amounts to add up! But also not feeling like we need to spend all of it...}.

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In other random news, dh and I basically have identical credit histories except he still has his very first credit card. I don't know if I have a credit card that is any older than 2 or 3 years. If I don't use them I cancel them. Our FICO scores are identical. (Since having a mortgage, that seems to be the meat of our FICOs. 100% on-time payments and is the only other kind of credit we have had aside from "paid off monthly credit cards").

Over time I guess I thought he was hanging onto that for FICO reasons or something. I guess the truth is that he just wanted a backup card in case we were out and about and joint card did not work. Which was maybe a valid concern a while ago but today we have like 3 joint credit cards that we use often. (Chasing all those rewards!) We keep different cards in our wallets.

So anyway, he finally finally agreed to cut up that credit card and cancel it. WOOHOO! I am so happy because my fear was it getting fraudulent charges and not noticing. Or terms changing and getting hit with some fee. Just one more thing to loosely keep track of though it's probably had no activity for like a decade.

The deed is done! I shot them a quick e-mail the other day and they closed the card. The end. Goodbye 20-year-old credit card!

Spending & Organizing

May 14th, 2015 at 07:51 pm

House:

I have been really focused on house organization this month. Lots more to blog about that later.

Spending:

What a crazy spendy month! Mostly a lot of little things.

I took Monday off and had a nice mix of lazing around, organizing/purging, shopping, etc. Dh and I had a nice lunch out. (I'd like to say we did a spectacular hike or something like that, but I didn't plan ahead. I think it worked out).

We bought tickets to a couple of events that came up this month. I guess it doesn't matter that we missed the Robo Games because now ABC is filming "Robot Wars" in our area. At $10 a ticket (half what we usually pay) we get a redo! I am SO EXCITED!! (Otherwise dh and BM were in Japan for the Robo Games, LM didn't want to go, and unforeseen events and exhaustion kept me from dropping by for a bit). It will be different because it will be a network taping.

Other spending:

Vet visit this week.

Dh's $2,000-ish MRI (will get the bill soon, I am sure). I had really hoped that expense would go away or diminish but they want to keep checking him annually, indefinitely. It's a small price to pay to keep him alive and all. I just haven't given a lot of thought how to budget that for the long run and I guess maybe I should. (I've known for a year that this is "permanent", but just haven't dealt with that yet).

Dh bought a $90 pair of shoes after belaboring the decision for months. He was driving me nuts! Hopefully he likes them.

We needed to order new printer ink: $50.

I am sure I am forgetting many purchases - it's just been one of those months.

April Savings

May 2nd, 2015 at 02:18 pm

Received $50 bank interest for the month of April.^^

Redeemed $50 credit card rewards (cash back) from our gas/grocery card. Deposited this snowflake into investments.

Redeemed $27 cash back on Citi card. Deposited this snowflake into investments.

Savings (From paycheck):

+$200 to investments
+$300 to cash**
+$900 to IRAs

**I did pull out $1,800-ish for Japan expenses. (All this Japan stuff had been saved up last year, so am not considering it a step backwards for this year's savings).

Short-Term Savings (for non-monthly expenses within the year):

+$1,300 to cash
-$535 for Dentist/Ortho (for 3)
-$400 Summer class for LM
-$150 new glasses for LM

^^Monthly interest peaked this month. I have a 6% CD that matures this month. I can probably renew at 3% but you can only put $500/month into the CD and I have to pay a $35 annual fee to be eligible for this CU. That last part makes it not very worthwhile and it was kind of a pain anyway. (Membership was free for the first year). So I look forward to closing this account and simplifying. Between this and huge Chase checking incentives, I haven't really been paying attention to interest rates. I will probably close this account (and already closed the Chase accounts in December) and will shop around banks/CUs a bit. Probably look at what other CDs are out there right now. I don't expect much but may consider the Ally "raise your rate" CDs since we are so flush with cash. We could maybe just throw our emergency fund into that. I will check terms and pros and cons and other CDs before deciding for sure.

We have about "3 months" of emergency fund that I don't see ever using outside of an extreme emergency, so I think that money is appropriate for a CD. We haven't been this cash flush in recent years so haven't wanted to tie up much in CDs to earn a whole whopping extra 0.25%. But with our current situation it makes more sense to do that. (We also have lots of additional cash that we will not tie up in a CD).