March 2017 – Republic Wireless Bill

Republic Wireless Logo

The February payment to Republic Wireless was $24.81. We’re back to just 2 phones on the plan, so our bill is now back around its previous levels.

Breakdown

  • WiFi Only Phone – $5
  • Wife’s phone using Sprint’s network on the Refund Plan (512 MB Plan) – $17.50
  • Taxes – $3.26
  • Refund for unused data – ($.95)
  • Total – $24.81

I’ve changed my phone to use Total Wireless this month, which uses the Verizon Network. In fact, it even says “Verizon Wireless” when connected to the network. I’ll expand on it in another post, but for now, I haven’t went without a signal at all, but have found that sometimes I don’t have as strong a signal in certain places as I did when I was using Republic (T-Mobile).

If you’ve used Republic or have any questions, let me know in the comments.

February 2017 – Mortgage Payoff Update

House Jar

At the end of February, our remaining balance is at 42.94% of our original mortgage that we took out in 2007. That’s a reduction of 2.74%. I had a little extra from the side business that I applied to it this month and now I have a clear idea about how much extra I’ll be able to apply from my day job every month.

How much longer?

Once all of the February’s payments are applied, we’ll have reduced our balance by about $4300. That also means we’ve broken through the $60k barrier. Currently, with the new monthly figures in place, we’ve got 24 payments left! That means our last mortgage payment would be applied on March 1, 2019. If you looked at last month’s amount, you’ll see that the number has been greatly reduced. That’s because I can now reasonably estimate how much extra we’ll be able to put towards it each month. I’m still shooting for the end of 2018 as the ultimate goal. This means that we’ll need to find some extra cash to cut it a bit faster. I’m expecting the side business will start picking up this year more, which will provide that extra amount that we need.

Photo by Tax Credits

February 2017 – Republic Wireless Bill

Republic Wireless Logo

The February payment to Republic Wireless was $48.57. This month I reduced my data level to 1GB, which reduces our bill by about $10.

Breakdown

  • WiFi Only Phone – $5
  • Wife’s phone using Sprint’s network on the Refund Plan (512 MB Plan) – $17.50
  • My phone on T-Mobile’s network using the Clear Choice Plan (1GB) – $20
  • Taxes – $6.10
  • Refund for unused data – ($2.73)
  • Total – $48.57

I’ve decided that I’m going to give Total Wireless a try. Overall, when I’ve got a connection on Republic using T-Mobile’s network, it’s usually very good and fast. However, when I don’t have a connection, I go for a while without anything. Total Wireless uses the Verizon network at an affordable rate. I’ll write a review after I’ve used it for a while.

If you’ve used Republic or have any questions, let me know in the comments.

January 2017 – Mortgage Payoff Update

House Jar

At the end of January, our remaining balance is at 46.1% of our original mortgage that we took out in 2007. We had some extra money to apply towards it this last month since I had stockpiled a bit during a job transition. I ended up deciding that now was a good time to apply it to the mortgage and knock it down some.

How much longer?

We’re almost at the point of breaking through another barrier. When I say barrier, I mean crossing the line of another 10k mark. It’s possible that by the end of the February, we’ll have crossed that barrier. At that time, I should also have a better idea about how many more months will be left before it’s paid off. I’m shooting for the end of 2018 at the absolute latest! Currently, we’ve got 49 payments left if we didn’t put anything extra towards it. That means our last mortgage payment would be applied on April 1, 2021.

Photo by Tax Credits

January 2017 – Republic Wireless Bill

Republic Wireless Logo

The January payment to Republic Wireless was $55.77. I decided to drop Project Fi and switch my phone over to Republic Wireless. So far it’s been a great switch. I’m using the T-Mobile network. They recently deployed 700 MHz bands in our area, so I get better coverage inside buildings in our area now. Below is a breakdown of our bill:

  • One phone on WiFi Only Plan – $5
  • One phone on Sprint’s network using Refund Plan (512 MB Plan) – $17.50
  • One phone on T-Mobile’s network using the Clear Choice Plan (2GB) – $30
  • Taxes – $6.81
  • Refund for unused data – ($3.54)
  • Total – $55.77

I’ve had pretty good coverage except when in the country in certain places. Oddly enough, there are times when I have better coverage than my wife has. I’ve had LTE coverage when she sometimes barely has 3G. Of course there are other times she has LTE, and I have no coverage.

If you’ve used Republic or have any questions, let me know in the comments.

Early Retirement – What does it mean to you?

I think many people fall into two groups when they think of an “early retirement lifestyle”.

One group thinks that since you’re not going to save for the same amount of time as everyone else (30-40+ years), you’re likely going to retire with very little. If you retire with very little, you’re going to live a very meager existence so you don’t burn through all of your savings quickly.

The other group may think it’s possible to save enough to have a nice retirement in a shorter time period, but that means you’re going to have to live an incredibly frugal life now. Personally, I think living frugally is what allows you to have margin in your life for the things you want, even if that thing you may want is early retirement.

I don’t believe that saving for early retirement needs to be either of the extremes above. Life is short, and anything can happen between now and early retirement, so you need to be able to enjoy life now as well as in the future. An important balance needs to be struck so chaos doesn’t rule.

Many of the topics I’ve written about up to this point have been about how to save money on a variety of things such as internet, cell phones, and even a trip to Disney World. If you’ve followed any of the advice, you’ve hopefully got some extra financial margin in your life. If you haven’t decided what to do with it yet maybe now is the time to go on this journey with me.

Perhaps you’re in a place where you really can’t imagine working for the next 20, 30, or 40 years and you question whether you’ll have enough to actually retire in the end. If that’s the case, than exploring this topic may help you realize you can make plan and live it out for a better future.

There may be some of you who aren’t in either of those two categories, and if that’s the case, that’s okay too. Let me know in the comments below what kinds of questions or skepticism you have. I’ve read stories in the past of people “retiring” by the age of 30 and figured that their situation was different from mine and that’s why they were able to pull it off. I’m 33 now, so I’ve already passed the age that some of these people were able to retire by. It’s never too late to step on the gas pedal and accelerate full speed into the future that we want. No one is going to do it for us!

Photo by Tax Credits

Early Retirement? Why Not!

Over the past several months, I’ve been fascinated by the idea of early retirement. Just the term early retirement can bring up a few different questions.

What is early?

I consider early to be anytime before when most people would retire. A quick search on the internet brought up a US News article where they surveyed 5100 employees and only 2 percent expected to retire before the age of 55. So we could consider anything before the age of 55 to be “early”.

What is retirement?

Well, that’s a different thing to different people. I view it as no longer having to do the 8-5 anymore. Essentially, financial freedom to do what I want when I want. It’s the point where investments and assets are making enough money to cover our everyday living expenses. At that point, we could do what we want, when we want without living like paupers.

What’s next?

I’ve learned a bit and plan on reading more on the topic from different sources. One authority on the topic is Mr. Money Mustache. Another that my wife found recently is The Money Habit.

Do you know of any authorities in early retirement? Is it a dream of yours to one day quit your 8-5? Let me know in the comments below. I plan on writing more about this topic as I learn more and develop a plan of my own.

It’s also the time of year to start planning what you want to do next year. Let me know what you’ve got planned in the comments concerning your financial future.

December 2016 – Mortgage Payoff Update

House Jar

A quick update on the mortgage payoff: at the end of December, we’re at about 48.6% remaining from our original mortgage that we took out in 2007. I won’t give an update on how many remaining months we have left at this point because we’ve got a couple of things that are changing that will affect the final number. I should have a more concrete number by the end of February.

Photo by Tax Credits

December 2016 – Project Fi Bill

Project Fi

For November 2016, my Project Fi bill came out to be $38.58. That includes:

  • Unlimited calls and texts for $20
  • 2GB of data for $20
  • Taxes and fees for $3.18
  • Refund of $4.60 for 0.461GB of unused data

I thought my data use would go down this month, but it stayed pretty consistent. It appears that if I notice I haven’t used much, I tend to use more.

I’m contemplating what my next option is. I like what Project Fi has to offer, but I’m disappointed with the limited number of phones available for use. With the release of the new Pixel phones and how much they cost (starting at $649), it just doesn’t look like it will be very cost-effective to replace my phone in the future with another one that supports Project Fi. T-Mobile has recently released their low band 700Mhz spectrum in our area, so that means we get better data coverage inside of buildings. That being said, it does take moving my phone to Republic Wireless a definite possibility.

If you’ve got a Nexus or Pixel phone, I’d recommend trying out Project Fi. If you’ve considered getting a Nexus or Pixel phone, financing one through Project Fi might also be an affordable option. Their new family plan options are actually pretty affordable if you don’t use much data and you can cheaply and easily add mobile data for certain tablets.

Google has also launched a referral program that allows new customers as well as the referer to get a $20 credit by using a referral link. If you’re considering trying out Project Fi, you might as well get a $20 credit by using the following link: https://g.co/fi/r/88E2KJ

Of course, I’ll also get a $20 credit if you do. 🙂

December 2016 – Republic Wireless Bill

Republic Wireless Logo

The December payment to Republic Wireless was $23.76. That includes unlimited calling and texting, 512 MB of data on one phone, and WiFi only calling on the second phone. We received a refund of $2.05 for unused data this month.

Our bill every month will be slightly higher now that we’ve added a phone with the WiFi only option. That phone costs us $5/month plus taxes and fees. It’s our new “home phone” that our girls can use when they need to make a call.

If you’ve used Republic or have any questions, let me know in the comments.