Category: Bills (page 1 of 9)

How I spend only $15.75 on my (smart)phone bill every month :)

I have a loooooong history of cell phone use, having had a cellphone since I started out with what was technically my dads Nokia 3310 when I was 14. This baby right here.

Over time I’ve graduated from bricks to flip phones to my first smart phone, the Sony Xperia Arc, in March, 2011. Along with the smart phone by phone bill started creeping up fast.  From early 2011 until the end of 2015 when I finally cut the cord I have many many months with extra fees racked up from over use, using my phone out of the country (necessity – running a small business while on vacation isn’t really a choice) and just being generally stupid messaging boys. (Because dating is fun). I’ve also tried to be prudent, but my internet addiction has generally resulted in phone bills that were too high.

In 2013 I finally started doing something about it and started negotiating with Rogers to get a better plan after about a year of frustrations with my voicemail being out constantly, not having reception for calls and bogus billing issues. I should have told them off sooner but I didn’t.   My service was awful and despite contacting them again and again to fix this, as service on my line was poor no matter which device I was using, I had finally had enough. I found Rogers increasingly awful to deal with over the time I was with them. I kept a log of calls, items discussed and names. I found this chart in my email recently, the reason I thought to write this post today;

I especially like the section I titled “bogus fees”, anyway, after unsuccessful negotiations with Rogers to just get a better plan – I haven’t been locked into contracts for a long time because I buy my own phones for cheaper (Ill tell ya later) – I ended up switching to Koodo 6 months later.  Koodo was infinitely infinitely extraordinarily better to deal with than Rogers. I never had any crazy bills, crazy calls to deal with, voicemail worked consistently well and I didnt have dropped calls etc like I had with Rogers. I liked that Koodo was simple, and seemed more modern, switching things was easy online and I had no complaints about them whatsoever.

I was with Koodo for close to two years, where I reduced my plan gradually by switching when their plans were on sale to end up at a monthly fee of $45 a month near the end of 2015 when I switched to Public Mobile prepaid (Public mobile is a sub of Telus so reception remained the same). I switched purely to decrease my monthly costs. I got a Public Mobile sim card for free during a promo and switched to paying $75 every 90 days for 3gb and using voip for calls and messaging. I had help from my boyfriend setting this all up. I set up a voip account, bought a number, added credit to make calls and send messages and installed two apps on my phone to do this. One for calls and one for messaging. It was a little tricky figuring out the right settings for Voip but there are tons of resources online to help figure this one out.  If you’re still following along the math there is that by switching from Koodo to Public mobile  I got my bill down to $25 + tax every month. (30 days) by picking the 90/day/3gb plan, also using referrals saves a few dollars. 🙂

Buuuuuut, that wasn’t good enough either.  Because then Fido popped up with tablet sim cards and a great $3gb/month for $15 plan in the fall of 2016, again credit to boyfriend for finding this deal. I got a simcard for free and switched to an Alberta based simcard with a $15/3gb a month post-paid tablet plan, taking advantage of a waived activation fee as well. (credit to youknowho-again for being as persistent as a cat trying to get a mouse)

 

I dont actually live in Alberta but take advantage of a lower tax rate this way, yay Alberta! My monthly post-paid bill is now $15.75 including all taxes which I happily pay. I am still using the original $25 topup for voip – call credit needed to make actual calls – which I’ve had for over a year.  I thus spend $15.75 a month on the Fido plan and $1.66 a month on voip credit for calls and messages. My total annual cost, allowing $20 orso for overages is $230CAD.

The 3gb in data is tons for my use and I have only gone over once while in Amsterdam and accidentally connecting to data… which only cost me ten bucks. My phone is clearly not a tablet so I make this work again by using voip for calls and messages, everything else works like normal. (I use voip messenger and csipsimple for this) I had originally ported my number but ended up buying a new number because I was tired of marketing spam.

Voip is definitely different than just going to a cellphone service provider, getting a number and pushing a sim card in a phone and everything just works. It’s a bit more hassle to set up because you have to do it on your own and I’ll be honest, some of the tech settings are confusing and I don’t know what terms mean. On the other hand there are many benefits, there are tons of people and information online to help figure this out. I can dump the apps I use on any device; is my phone dead? I can use the online portal to send a text, in a foreign country? No problem… find wifi at a coffee shop and sync my messages, make a call, I have no extra costs… all I need is data or wifi. And let’s not forget; I’m saving a pile of money – close to $400 a year – which is going directly back into an rsp so I can get ahead.

Making calls using voip over data gives me the exact same quality as using a regular cell line (which, I’ll be honest, because most of my time is spent in the boonies or a big concrete building is absolute shit anyway). My family and friends and co workers think I am insane. There was an adjustment period where any call not answered by me was blamed on “not having a normal cellphone”, which is simply not true, especially my mother said this weekly for a good two months.

Do I care? No, my finances are doing better than they ever have in my entire life because I am making better financial decisions. 🙂

A spending… ban…-ish for the rest of 2017

Those of you that have known me for a while may recall that I’m not a huge fan of entire spending bans, the logic being for me that when I restrict myself completely I tend to go overboard and binge after a while because I guess… discipline is not my forte in all areas of life!

But it’s a new year. New me. No wait, that’s one of those health slogans. 😉

New year, new financial plan!

There are a few items in my budget that I’ve wanted to address for a long time and I’ve always had a hard time with.

I didn’t tell him to pose haha, he just did!

 

Clothing

Last year I spent about $916 on new clothing, or about $76 a month. This includes bras – I’m not one of those fortunate enough to buy 4 for $100 at la senza… most of my bras are 40-50$ a piece :(- yogapants, shoes, new winter jacket and just various clothing related things.

I am so spoiled, I have always earned enough to be able to afford what to others are luxuries. I have good quality clothing and outer wear and it’s something I definitely don’t skimp on. BUT I have so much, I have five pairs of jeans I do not wear because they’re too tight, I have various other pieces I do not wear because they’re too tight! And simply, I just have enough clothes for years and there really is no good reason for me to buy ANY, any clothing at all this year. I already started this on February 15th, aside from a $90 Lululemon gift certificate I still have sitting around, there will be NO buying of clothes for the remainder of 2017.

Food/Groceries

The second category is food. I have since meeting my boyfriend gotten been ating out a lot less to the point where I mostly much prefer to eat at home. Eating out is expensive, I used to have coffee habit and after I kinda kicked that to the curb I did still eat out every once in a while, or picked up a tea. Enough for my “eating out” category to keep inching over $100 a month which is really too high. The end of the year in my YNAB budget also gave me this neat graph detailing more about my food and misc spending;

In 2016 I spent roughly $325 on groceries per month. That is a lot for a single person. I did eat A LOT of fresh fruit, I preserved a lot, I eat very healthy, i eat no processed things, I eat meat 1-2x a week, I don’t buy chips… fruits and veg cost quite a bit though. A lot of my eating out/ restaurant spending ended up in the blow money category since it no longer had its own category because I had erroneously hoped to largely eliminate restaurant spending. The blow money category cost roughly  $210 per month after removing the purchase of a new cyclocross bike and the cost of spa day for my birthday in October.

The blow money category really encompasses a lot of different stuff (not… blow, its just a term, I dont smoke weed etc) and sometimes I throw things in there that have no other home, it includes eating out though which after glancing through the expenses made up at least half of that $210 a month. Ouch?

I thought I was doing better with my spending in this category last year but clearly I have not. Because of that this month I embarked on a mission to only spend $130 on groceries during February.

Today is February 22 and I have spent $128.20 on groceries and $48.31 on eating out (1x tim hortons, 2x eating at work during snowstorms, one eclair and one snowstorm gas station run of chips/pop and one dinner out with my cousin, which was fun) and it wasn’t all that bad! I’ve been scrounging the cupboards and have been creative with meals.

It has been different, but not overly difficult. This is what self control feels like. I need to practice this a little more.  Curbing my food and clothing expenses will help add $2,400 to my savings this year. That’s two months of living expenses, or two trips, or a quarter of a new-to-me-vehicle. It’s money I badly need to save.

Spending-ban Goals for March:
$0 in the restaurant category
$145 groceries
$0 clothing etc

 

Goals and budget for 2017

Goals, shmoals. Didn’t set any this year because life was just chaos. I moved three times this year! I sold my house! I didn’t write about it because it felt so surreal for a while. It was about 6 weeks to close the deal, I moved. Yadda yadda, I’m alive, hey! Lets start with income;

My main job’s contract was renewed until December 2017, there will not be a pay increase which kinda sucks but I expect my net income to reliable be $24,352.44 for the year, which breaks down to $2,029.37/month (26 pays divided by 12).

Life has become a lot easier now that I am renting a one-bedroom apartment and no longer have to worry about paying the mortgage, electric expenses, renovation expenses and all the other “hassle” that comes with owning a house are all over with for now. No snowremoval to worry about… I just pay rent and that’s it! My rent includes internet and heat/electric so it’s just one nice round-ish number. It’s a nice change after 8 years of going at it alone trying to fix up an old house. I would NOT buy a house again by myself so for now I’m just saving for the future. 🙂 *o*

I’m setting goals right now for 2017. I started with doing a new monthly budget, things always vary but it helps to plan ahead and I’ll set up my monthly savings contributions accordingly.

My monthly anticipated expenses:

Rent: 450.00
Groceries: $175.00
Life insurance: $11.61
Clothing/misc: $40.00
gifts: $20.00
Blow money: $100.00
Health/Medical: $40.00
Car ins: $37.84
Copper (food/toys): $50.00

Total: $924.45 pre-savings (under 1,000, ha!)
Most of my other car expenses are deductible so I don’t count them in my personal budget. I have NO extra health insurance besides the basic provincial healthcare. I have NO disability insurance etc.

Left for savings transfers $1,104.92 = 54% of my net income! 🙂
I have completely ignored any travel expenses as all my travel is financed by a cottage cleaning job I have been taking on every summer for the past few years. It pays for every penny I spend on travel and that’s essentially why I do it! Out of my normal pay I’ll be budgeting my goals. I do have another third stream of income through renting out tourism properties for owners, which earns me another couple of thousand per year. I usually allocate this money to wherever it’s needed. This year I’ll plan to throw it completely at my vehicle savings, though I won’t count it here.

Total amount of regular income to be distributed: $13,259.04

RSP/TFSA: $448.14/month. $5,377.68 for the year.

House: $156.78/month
I set the goal for the year at $1881.28. I have some savings set aside for a future house and would like to round off the number by the end of the year!

Vehicle: $500/month will set me at $7,209.16 at December 2017 excluding any interest bits. This is only 60% of the $12,000 minimum I want/need to purchase a new vehicle. Assuming I’ll earn $2,000 with my seasonal job I’ll be at $9,209. I hope to make up the shortfall here by finding part-time employment, $2,800 in extra work shouldn’t be that hard to find… right? Categories where I may be able to scrimp are groceries, blow money and clothing. This will vary month to month.

As you can see, continuing to save for a future home and replacing my vehicle is still quite difficult on my income. I’m not really sure how I should handle this. Ideally I’ll be able to find supplemental income, which, since I won’t need it to live off, can be used entirely to siphon into my RSP’s/investments.

I set up the new goals in the widget bar on the side, let’s see how it goes!

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