Cupcakes are Nice

It's like a lifestyle blog except my lifestyle is anxiety

Tag: spending

How I saved $100 on my wireless bill

I really loved my wireless provider, y’all. I loved the speed, the coverage, the bells and whistles. What I did not love was the bill. I was on a shared family plan with my parents, and even though that was supposed to save us money, I quietly wept as my bank account was drained each month on the bill’s due date.

When I finally decided to revamp my monthly budget, one of the first things I did was change my wireless providers. This is what I did when I decided to switch.

1. I looked for prepaid providers

Generally speaking, you’re going to be paying less for cellular if you have to pay at the beginning of your billing cycle instead of the end. Some of the Big Four wireless providers have prepaid plans, though there are some providers that *only* offer prepaid.

2. I compared coverage

There’s no point in having a super cheap wireless service if you can’t use it. The provider you choose should have a coverage map or some other indicator of where your cell phone will get 4G, 3G, or no service. Which plan you choose should depend on your region and where you plan to travel. One provider, for example, might be great for someone living in a particular city but have weak coverage in rural areas.

3. I incorporated the price of the phone when deciding to which to choose

The last time I got a cell phone, you could get the previous model iPhone for $99 or even free if you signed up for a two year contract. Now you have to set up installment payments or pay in full a large amount upfront. That’s not money I want to spends. Plus, if you’re buying insurance for the phone, that’s another big cost over the course of a year.

I really needed a new phone when I switched, so I bought a $100 ZTE that had good reviews and opted out of insurance. Even if the phone fell to pieces after the first month, it would still wind up being cheaper for me to get a new phone the next month than pay for the old wireless service!

There were smartphone options that were even more affordable than $100, but the ZTE had the specs I was looking for.

4. I got people to join me

Many pre-paid providers give you great deals if you get multiple people to sign up. I got my parents and my fiance to switch wireless providers, and each of us pay $30 for our bill and have our own data plan (my fiance even has unlimited!)

So who did I decide to go with?

Cricket Wireless. I’m really happy with the service and coverage. There were a few hiccups when I first switched over, mainly because I switched to an Android phone and my number was still associated with iMessage. However, I got that cleared up, the network has been reset, and voice, text and data is working smoothly now. The coverage is not quite as good as my previous provider, but I knew that going in, and I still prefer Cricket over my old provider.

Cricket is usually offering deals if you switch providers, and you are welcome to use my referral code if you would like to get a $25 account credit (and I get an account credit, too!)

There are several great wireless providers out there – just do your research, compare coverage, and have a good idea of what kind of data you’ll be using each month. Hopefully, you’ll be saving money in no time! Happy provider hunting!

This post is my opinion, and no one has sponsored me or otherwise influenced this post. I may earn account credit if you click my referral link.

How I went from Budget Failure to Budget Success 

I used to suck at budgeting. I would sit down, write out what I thought I should be spending, and feel really pleased with myself… until I’d need to make a random purchase for something unexpected or life got busy or I just decided that I didn’t *actually* need to follow my budget for whatever reason. I could never figure out why I couldn’t make my budget stick. I thought this was an okay way to live, though, because nothing “bad” had happened as a result of this lifestyle.

One day, though, my air conditioner went out and I realized I couldn’t afford to buy a new one. This was my wakeup call. I realized that I needed a lifestyle shift. I sat down, got serious, and decided I really needed to figure out this budgeting thing.

I’ve finally found a way to budget that works for me, and I hope that if you’re struggling to keep a budget that these steps help.

1. I started with monthly payments and worked my way backwards

There are some things that I will be paying for every month – mortgage, wireless, electric, internet, Netflix, etc. I wrote all of these down and compared it to my paycheck every month. That gave me a good idea of how much I would have left over to spend on everything else. I was actually surprised how much I had committed out each month. The rest of my budget had to revolve around what I had left.

2. I figured out ways to cut down on those monthly payments

After figuring out what my monthly payments were, I realized I didn’t have a ton of money leftover. Some of those monthly payments were either going to have to be reduced or I was going to have to stop some of them altogether.

TV/Internet and Wireless were the biggest two bills that weren’t my mortgage. I wanted to keep my TV package so I could watch Royals games (priorities, y’all), so I contacted my TV provider and told them I wanted a lower bill. I didn’t even have to threaten to cancel and they lowered my bill by $57!

As for wireless, I loved Verizon, but I didn’t love them so much that I was willing to keep paying huge bills. I looked at prepaid providers, as they’re generally cheaper, and after comparing coverage, I went with Cricket Wireless. I got on a group plan, and now my bill is $30 a month. I’m saving $100 a month, y’all.

3. I took note of irregular payments

I’m not going to have to pay my car tags every month, or take my dog to get his vaccines, or buy Christmas presents – you get the picture. I leave enough wiggle room in my budget so I can pay for the irregulars each month. A few times a year, I get an extra paycheck during the month that I will stash away and designate it specifically for certain irregulars

4. I manually entered every dollar I spent with a budget app

Mint and Every Dollar are a couple of free popular budgeting apps. You don’t even even need a budget-specific app – maybe just a notetaking one where you can record everything. I use an app where I have to manually enter everything – it’s easy for me to lose track of my spending if I connect my app to my bank account.

5. I put time into the equation

I know a head of cauliflower is cheaper than a bag of steamable frozen cauliflower, but when I come home from work, I don’t necessarily want to take the time and wash and chop and steam a head of cauliflower. I used to think I was so smart to get a head of cauliflower, but if I was hungry and didn’t have easy to prepare food on hand, I’d run and get fast food and bust my food budget pretty quickly.

Before I budget a purchase, I ask myself if I really will take the time to use whatever it is I buy. That has saved me lots of money.

6. I stopped using credit cards

Credit cards are bad, bad, bad, but they’re a bit comforting, because if a small crisis hits, you can just put your money on your credit card, right? But then the crisis standard starts out as an emergency trip to the vet and devolves into really needing that dress because it’s the last one at the store.

Credit cards are a real budget buster because they give you an excuse not to follow your budget. I use my debit card every time I make a purchase with plastic (and then I notate my purchase in my budget app, of course)

What works for me isn’t necessarily going to work for you, but the things I’ve tried might be worth a shot if you don’t know where to begin or you’ve had trouble with your budget in the past. You’ll have to find a system that fits your life and habits and commit to it. You can do it!

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