April 2016 – Republic Wireless Bill

Republic Wireless Logo

The April payment to Republic Wireless for my wife’s phone was $18.72. That includes unlimited calling and texting, 512 MB of data, and a $1.09 credit for the data she didn’t use the month before.

There appears to be a lot of good things coming this year to Republic, such as the addition of a GSM network (most likely T-Mobile), updated WiFi calling, new phones, and a financing option for phones. I’ll update you here as I learn more.

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

February 2016 – Project Fi Phone Bill

Project Fi

For February 2016, my Project Fi bill came out to be $35.47. That includes:

  • Unlimited calls and texts for $20
  • 2GB of data for $20
  • Taxes and fees for $3.23
  • Refund for 0.776 GB of unused data – $7.76

This gives me access to both Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks so as they battle it out to be better than one another, I benefit either way.

Easy budgeting for your bills

Bills

If you spend time each month “paying bills” like they show on TV, you may be doing it wrong. We’ve set up a system so getting the mail is actually fun again.

What did we do? We automated it and here’s how you can do it too.

Find all the bills that you pay monthly that stay the same amount or can be put on a budget to make them the same each month. Some examples include cell phone, cable, internet, natural gas, electricity, mortgage, car insurance, and life insurance.

Take the monthly amount for these bills and add them together. You then multiply it by 12 to get the yearly total of the bills. After you’ve woke up from the shock, divide that total by the number of paychecks you get in year. Check out this example.

Cell phone – $50
Internet – $35
Natural Gas – $70
Monthly Total – $50 + $35 + $70 = $155
Yearly Total – $155 * 12 = $1860
Paycheck Amount (bi-weekly) – $1860 / 26 = $72 (rounded up)

You now know how much you need to hold out of each paycheck to pay the bills you’ve selected. Now, what do you do with that money?

I’ve talked before about being a fan of online banks. The reason I’m such a fan is because of the flexibility. I can start a new account in a matter of minutes without having to go into the bank. On top of that, they’ll mail me a debit card. That being said, the next step is to start a separate account to use to pay these monthly bills.

You’ll need to fund the account with one month’s worth of money so you aren’t overdrawn. In the example above, that would be $155 that you would put in on the first of the month. If you don’t have that much extra, you can always start with fewer bills and add more later as you get the funds.

After funding your account for the month, you’ll need to set up automatic transfers (online banks also make this very easy) to occur the day after you get paid for the Paycheck Amount you calculated. This will make sure that the money for your bills is not spent on other things when it shouldn’t be.

Finally, you need to set up bill pay for each of the places that need to be paid. You can either do that through their website using the debit card or routing and account number for your account, or you can use the bill pay service provided by your bank.

That’s it! While it may sound like a complicated process, it’s actually very easy to do and definitely worth the trouble. When we’re away on vacation, I don’t worry if the bills will be paid on time. If a bill amount ever changes, we rerun the math and update the amount that gets transferred each month to our bills account. (Hint: Using spreadsheet software makes calculating the Paycheck Amount very easy when it needs to change.)

What do you think? Are you ready to automate a bit of your life? Leave your comments below to let me know what you think. If you have any questions, you can leave those there as well.

Bonus: If you’d like to get started using this method and need a little help, send me a note through the contact page and I’ll help you get started!

Featured Image courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Cut your cable and internet bill

Cable

If you’ve got cable TV or internet, I’m sure you’ve seen your bill creep up over time. After the promotional period expires you’re stuck with whatever the latest price is that they’ve got to offer. You can go out to their website and see all the great deals they have to offer…to new customers only. So what are you to do?

You can try switching services to get a lower deal, but that’s a pain. Below are two ways that I’ve personally used to keep the same services you already have, but at a lower price.

  • Look for fees on your monthly cable or internet bill that you can eliminate. Do you see a “modem fee” or some other device fee? When it comes to cable modems, did you know you can sometimes buy the same device that you have in your home for a little more than the monthly fee you’re paying? I’m currently helping a friend drop their $5.99/month modem fee by getting the same model modem on eBay for $8.55 with free shipping. At that rate, you will start saving money in less than 2 months.
  • Call your provider and ask for one of the offers they have online. Sounds pretty simple. However, the first person you usually talk to can’t do much, if anything. If their first offer isn’t appealing then ask for something better. You can always say something like “I was really hoping to lower your bill but keep the same services.” Eventually they’ll transfer you to a “customer care associate” or to the “retention department”. At that point, you’re talking to someone who can make the necessary changes and give you a deal. I’ve personally used this method to keep our internet bill at the same rate after the 12 month promotional period. There is usually a month or two where I end up paying the higher rate, but eventually I get it locked back in at the lower rate for another 12 months.

Potential Savings: In the examples above, I’m personally saving $15.99/month by eliminating the modem fee and keeping my internet rate the same. That’s over $190/year. You may be able to do even better than that.

If you have any questions on how to use either of the techniques above, simple leave a comment below or use the contact page to reach out to me. If you’ve found any creative ways of saving money on your cable TV or internet, leave them in the comments as well.

Featured Image courtesy of franky242 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net