This is part 2 in a little three part series that details how we lowered our cell phone bill by over $100/month. Feel free to catch up before reading on.
- Part 1 – Breaking Up With Verizon
- Part 2 – I’m In Love With Ting! (this post)
- Part 3 – Glyde Smoothed The Way (tomorrow)
I’m In Love With Ting!
Some people say it’s not natural – that it goes against the natural order of things. But I can’t help it. I’m in love! And I don’t care that it’s with a telecom company!
Ting is an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) that runs on the Sprint network.
The basics of it go like this: Ting buys bandwidth on the Sprint network and sells it to Ting customers. Not every phone that runs on the Sprint network is eligible to be used on Ting, but our beloved iPhone 4S became eligible late in 2013 and they are adding more (even quite new Android devices) all the time. You can either buy a phone from Ting, or BYOD (bring your own device) that you purchased elsewhere. As long as it’s Sprint compatible and on their list of approved devices, it should work!
This is a little three part series that details how we lowered our cell phone bill by over $100/month. It goes something like this:
- Part 1 – Breaking Up With Verizon (this post)
- Part 2 – I’m In Love With Ting! (tomorrow)
- Part 3 – Glyde Smoothed The Way (the day after tomorrow)
Before we go any further, let it be known that we have been ridiculously spoiled in the cell phone department, and by that I mean that our cell phone bill was actually pretty close to the “average American household”. (The average per line bill was $71/month in 2012, ours was $80/line for smart phones.)
We each have an iPhone 4S and have a shared plan that has allowed us more minutes, texts, and data than we could ever possibly use each month. And don’t get me wrong, I love my iPhone. I use it for just about everything. From recording all my runs using RunKeeper, to getting paid for working out with Pact (FKA GymPact), to keeping on top of our finances on a daily basis with Mint, and a whole host of other apps. This little computer has become a sizable part of my life.
But for these luxuries, we have also been paying dearly…
The Details On Our Plan (And What We Actually Used)
Continue reading How We Lowered Our Cell Phone Bill By Over $100/Month – Part 1
Our New Energy Hedge
Most of the investments in our retirement accounts are ridiculously simple. We own a LOT of shares of Vanguard’s 2045 Target Index Fund (which Vanguard lovers know is just a dead-simple combination of their Total Stock/Bond, and Intl Stock/Bond funds that are designed to stay within “age appropriate” asset allocation ratios). We own a fair number of shares of lowish cost SP500 tracking mutual fund, and a lowish cost bond fund.
But there’s one that’s less simple. And, as a result, more expensive. It’s an energy industry mutual fund and I chose it when I set up my 401K at my current job in late 2008. The fund is not an awful one, but certainly not as cost-efficient as most of our other investments. And still, I chose to include it. Why?
My Relationship With Energy Prices
Continue reading Our Revised Energy Hedge
Welcome to our January 2014 Balance Sheet!
We use the structure of a monthly income statement and balance sheet in tandem to make sure we are keeping our expenses low and planting our pennies wisely. If you’re not already tracking your finances using these two methods, go to mint.com and get started today! If you have any questions about how we do this just post a comment and we’ll be sure to help!
Kindof a lot of action on the balance sheet this month. This month was a pretty big win for us.
That in mind… a bit crazy is the fact that we actually just hit the average for household net worth in this country, which was about $673.5K/household as of a few months ago. That’s $77.3 trillion / 114,761,359 households, and illustrates pretty well the difference between AVERAGE and MEDIAN, since the MEDIAN household net worth is just $10.9K according to this NYT piece. (That seems extraordinarily low, so if someone has another source/number please share!)
For our balance sheet, most of the action was on the assets side, where we had some increases and some decreases…
- First things first, I totally won the He Said/She Said poll on writing down the cars’ values (in politics it would have been considered a “landslide”), but we still compromised. Mr PoP’s car is now listed at $0 on our list of assets, so this was a decrease of $7.4K.
- We updated the market value of our rental duplex that I had neglected to do for over a year… that resulted in an increase of $33K.
- On the stock side, we had an increase of $15.5K on a month when the S&P went down 3.56%. Awesome, right? Well, until you stop and realize that a little over $22K was put into those accounts over the course of the month ($11K to fund our Roth IRAs for 2013, $1K to Mr PoP’s HSA, and another $10K went into our 401Ks this month – thanks to that big paycheck Mr PoP earned). So we were able to counteract those market losses for the month, and we’re still hopeful that the market will sputter some more so we can pick up shares at an even bigger discount as the year goes by. (“As goes January, so goes the year…”? *Fingers crossed* for all of us in the accumulation phase!?!)
But for the month of January:
- Our total assets went up by $45.9K
- Our total liabilities went down by $3.6K
- Net worth rose by $49.5K
- Total net worth as of the end of December is $673.9K, which represents a 7.9% increase this month.
We’re also trying out a couple of different ways of looking at the growth of our investments (for us, this excludes our cars and the house we live in) within the context of a possible early retirement scheme. So please scroll below and take a look at them and see if they make sense or if you have any other suggestions about what works best for you!
And for the details…
Continue reading PoP Balance Sheet – January 2014
Welcome to our January 2014 Income Statement!
This little guy was on the beach this morning, and he was too cool. Shame YouTube wasn’t letting me upload the video since he was opening and closing his shell (mouth?) much like a venus fly trap.
Mr. PoP and I put these income statements together for two reasons. First, we want to be transparent about our finances because we’re trying to be role models for other people who are trying to plant their own pennies (and end up with dollars someday!). Second, we do this to make sure we’re on track to meet our own long-term goals. If you’re not tracking your income statement and balance sheet, we highly recommend you start using a program like Mint to keep track of it all.
January’s in the bag, and 2014 is off to a pretty good start for us.
Income was pretty great this month, thanks to a lot of hustling by Mr PoP at his job as the fiscal year closed out in December.
Expenses weren’t too bad, either… well, except for our general shopping category. But most of that shopping spending is actually just 3 sizable purchases that are enabling us to save some money down the road – namely, a new bike for Mr PoP to make dropping down to 1 car not a big deal, and two fancy new-used Sprint iPhones to be used on Ting. When we sell our old phones, we’ll recoup some of this outlay.
All in all, a solid start to the new year.
The Bottom Line
- Earnings before principal paydowns and savings allocations of $18,935.
And here are the details…
Continue reading PoP Income Statement – January 2014