We are Going to Save Almost $900 on Bills This Year by Doing Two Things

I kind of breezed over the many major milestones and changes we’ve gone through in the last year in my last post.  Just to pluck one out of the list, I went back to school.  I never completed college when I initially set out.  I graduated high school right into the recession and long story short – I couldn’t even afford community college.  I spent the years since then working retail, then office jobs, and eventually got settled in a stable job with solid pay, an amazing boss, and a great team.  Problem was, I was bored out of my mind.  8 hours a day in a cube with little to no challenging work or projects was agony.  I could actually feel myself becoming less intelligent.  It wasn’t until I left my job and started school that I even realized how unhappy I was.

Suffice it to say that quitting a great job and going to school full time isn’t cheap.  Alex works really hard and there are lots of things we’ve done to mitigate the insane cost.  Today I’m going to share 2 of the things we recently did to lower our monthly costs to live.

We are cutting cable and switching to Sling TV

I’ve been itching to cut cable for a few years.  I basically watch Game of Thrones, Outlander, Rick and Morty, and Friends reruns.  There is no reason I would need traditional cable.  Alex, on the other hand, has a never ending rotation of shows he “needs” to watch in addition to sports.  To keep our costs down for cable and internet, he would periodically call Comcast and complain about how high our bill was and they’d do whatever lying/magic they had to do to lower it a bit.  Rinse and repeat every 6 months.  Cutting cable never seemed like the right option because there were no other options with sports, and that’s really important to him.

Then I saw an ad for Sling TV.  Could this be the solution to our TV woes?  I perused their website and it looks like they have every channel we’d want, you can add on DVR, and local sports. They offer premium channel add ons for HBO and Starz (GoT and Outlander, respectively).  Some quick math and I realized if we added on literally everything we could ever want, it would still be cheaper than what we have now. By 40 fricking dollars a month! We ran it by our roommates and they were totally on board.

There are going to be a few upfront costs to switching.  You can stream Sling TV through a Roku stick, Amazon Fire stick, and whatever the newest Xbox console is.  We (and our roommates) have PS4’s.  Sling offers a free Roku stick when you sign up so we just have to pick up one more (approx $35) and all of us will be good to go.

We are also switching our internet provider.  I think I’m just over the run around with Comcast.  I know that they are all the same, but at least we can use an introductory offer elsewhere to lower our bill for a while.  We recently got a new modem as well so I’m hoping that will also speed things up for us.  Ours is really old and we have connection issues.  Tomorrow, our new internet provider is coming to set us up and then we’ll start Sling.  I’ll check in again once we’ve had it for a while to share our experience.

I lowered my car insurance bill and didn’t switch providers

I have been wanting to use Mint for a while, but my bank wouldn’t allow them to link up.  Until recently.  I’m not sure what changed (maybe it was my 2 emails over the course of 5 years).  In case you aren’t familiar with it, Mint is a website/app that you can link your bank, investment, and bill accounts to.  You can, “Manage your money, pay your bills and track your credit score with Mint.”  I really love having a consolidated view of my finances, but that isn’t why I’m bringing it up.  I linked my Progressive account and I got an alert from Mint.  It said that I was paying 25% more for car insurance than their average user.

This prompted me to go onto Progressive’s website and run a quote for myself.  If you can believe it, Mint was right.  My quote was actually more than 33% lower.  The kicker?  I got double the coverage, halved my deductible, AND lowered my payment.  I called Progressive and the guy I was talking to (to cancel my previous policy) was absolutely tickled about what I had done.  It seriously made his day, which made my day.

There are a few factors that made my payment go down so much.  First, it had been about 3 years since I got my policy and I just let it auto-renew that whole time.  Concurrently, my credit score went way up over the course of those years.  Also, and I don’t love that this is the way it is, I got married.  Apparently just getting married would have lowered my payment by $10. Not sure how that makes sense, but there is an actuary somewhere that could explain it. From a 5 minute online quote and a phone call, I saved us about $400 over the course of the next 12 months. My payment went from $108 to $75 per month.

 

Savings

Switching to Sling: $480

New Car Insurance quote: $396

Total: $876

 

There are probably a few other bills we could lower with a little attention, but these are the two that we just recently addressed.  I feel like we are still learning about personal finance so I get a little obsessed at times, and it paid off this time. If you’ve done other things to lower your monthly bills (utility or otherwise), let me know!

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Plus Size Favorites for Fall 2017

Life has been hectic since I last posted.  I got quit my job, got married, started my BDes program, went back to my job part time. It’s been insane and things don’t seem to be slowing down.   With all these changes and responsibilities on my plate, my wardrobe has taken a hit.  I purged like 6 trash bags of clothes I didn’t like/didn’t fit/never wore and I was left with a closet of clothes that are uninspiring (but at least they fit, amiright?).  I’ve been slowly picking up pieces that I like that can tow the line between work and school, but feel more like me.  So below are a bunch of things I like that I’ve actually purchased (from Target)!

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1 / 2 / 3 / 4

1 / I’m wearing this dress as I’m writing and it’s one of my favorite purchases in a while. The adorable small scale pattern is something I’ve been looking for for a while.  There are tiny white dots and X’s dusted all over a comfy black dress. The flutter sleeve is on trend and the tie is unobtrusive and ties wherever you like.  It’s a nice length on me (I’m 5’8″).

2 / I bought this top a while ago.  What drew me in were the stripes on the collar and sleeves.  What moved my hand to snatch this and deposit it in my cart is the length.  This is a generous length.  I would say it goes down to just above the crotch of my pants. For me, this is ideal.  This top has some fun and sporty features while being comfy and cool.  #noragrets

3 / Just picked this up and I have to say it’s not something I’d typically purchase.  The print is so spot on though and the split back is fun.  I think this is fashion forward enough for me to enjoy wearing to school while still being work appropriate.  I pair it with a black tank underneath because I prefer longer tops and I don’t want any peekaboo in the back.  I LOVE that it has a more substantial sleeve than a cap sleeve.  I could write an entire post about the sleeves in women’s fashion.

4 / This sweater attracted me but I was kind of back and forth on it.  I got a giftcard as a thank you from a friend so I used it to pick this up and I have to say I’m glad I did.  I wore it to work and school (a little casual for work since I already wear jeans) and I got a ton of compliments. My classmates are 8-9 years younger than me and much more adventurous when it comes to fashion.  I’ve been trying to push myself out of just really basic stuff and I think this was worth it.  It’s off the charts comfy and warm and the fabric is so cool and textural.

I’ve realized lately that despite the push for more acceptance and exposure, there really aren’t a lot of resources for plus size women looking for fashionable AND affordable clothes. Maybe I’ll share more of my finds as I see them.

Also, none of those links are affiliate links because LMAO ain’t nobody paying me to post once a year.

5 Ways to Tell if You’ve Become the Bride You Said You’d Never Be

Bad news, guys.  I’ve been engaged all of 2 months and already I’m starting to see that wedding planning changes a person. I once thought that I could never earn the title of Bridezilla and that I would be “so chill, you don’t even know.”  I was wrong, and here are the things that opened my eyes:

1. The times you used to talk about the weather, you now use to talk about your wedding.

Maybe you thought you weren’t going to be the girl who tells the cashier at the grocery store about how your venue visits are going, and yet here he is hearing all about how maybe the space is too small for the number of people you planned on but oh em gee is it just so perfect. You will get so used to friends and family asking you about your wedding plans that the topic is going to spill over in to other, inappropriate situations.  Your mailman, nail tech, McDonald’s drive through person are all perfect targets for your wedding small talk.  Your poor coworkers (who you probably wont invite) are going to get the brunt of the situation.  Waiting for everyone to get to your meeting?  Chat up the early birds with wedding minutiae. This is your life now.

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2.  Your social media accounts are rife with clandestine wedding related posts.

What looks like an innocuous cocktail Instagram pic is paired with “Margs with my bestie after doing some wedding planning! (all the emojis)”  Maybe your MOH tags you while you are visiting a venue.  You make a ring holder in ceramics class and share a pic on Facebook.  You don’t say that it’s going to cradle your new rock, but your sudden interest in jewelry organization makes it pretty clear. It’s all there, if only you are looking for it.

3.  You’ve already cried, and not tears of joy.

Real talk:  I cried at brunch with Alex a few weeks after we got engaged.  I was overwhelmed by my family turning their noses up at the fact I was thinking of getting married in 2017 vs 2016, I was getting teased for my wedding theme, and he was giving me a tough time about something I can’t remember.  I am sure their hearts were all in the right places, but the moment Alex slipped a ring on my finger I felt a huge pressure on my shoulders and I didn’t want to disappoint.  I got over it pretty quickly and the date and theme are still going full steam ahead.  You don’t think the pressure will get to you, but it got to me over a piping hot breakfast skillet and a side of pancakes.

4.  Your decision making skills are leaving something to be desired.

I used to make decisions with laser focus.  Choices? Boom! Decision.  Now I can’t choose between 2 very different venues. It has gotten so bad that I have had to make 2 trips, with 2 different groups of people so I could poll them.  One of my venues is 3 hours away.  I’m being an insane person.  This is an illness only cured by signing a marriage license.

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5.  Despite all the pressure and drama you’ve said something along the lines of, “I wish I could have 2 weddings.”

Maybe all the Pinterest browsing has inspired you so much that you can’t decide which theme you want (see #4).  Your mind has been so perverted that what seems logical is, in fact, completely illogical.  You start to lose sense of what is normal anymore.  The idea of paying extra for nicer chairs (when perfectly fine chairs are included in your venue) seems reasonable to you.  If you, like me, are stuck between 2 venues you are absolutely prepared to work out every pricing detail for both venues to determine which is actually the most cost efficient.

If any of these apply to you, it’s ok.  The thing about being engaged and planning a wedding is that they are both temporary stages of your life.  After it’s all over, you will be married and maybe things will settle down.  You’ll return to your previous state of chill.

As for me, I know Alex is ready to help me see some perspective and my friends are ready to help me achieve whatever crazy DIY project I’ve concocted.  I get to marry the love of my life and I’ll probably have a super wonderful wedding.  I realize now that just because it’s made me a little crazy doesn’t mean it’s any less meaningful.

It’s Real Real

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted and there are a million reasons why (most of them out of my hands), but as this blog is mostly for me I wanted to write a little update.   I considered a slew of perfectly predictable post titles like, “He Must Have Liked It,” or, “We’re Going to the Chapel,” but I thought I would reach back a few years and pull an obscure quote from a show that I say all the time.  Because that is what Alex and I do.  We have spent the last 6ish years quoting with each other, and it looks like we will be for the foreseeable future because….

He put a ring on it and we’re getting married!

Ring

The whole thing was adorable and perfectly us and I love him forever. I really can’t wait to be married to him.  Between this big news and some other super fun house related progress, there will be some posts coming up soon!

Week 1: How I Did and Goals

Mondays are going to be my weigh in days and that naturally lends itself to the day I reflect on how I did over the last week.  Weighing in everyday would very likely turn me into an insane person.  Maybe I would if I got one of those fancy scales that updates your weight once you step on, just because of the fanciness of it all. But, let’s be honest here, I don’t have the money for that. SO every Monday morning I’ll stomp down the stairs in my pajamas and step on my cheap Target scale and peer at the numbers with my sleepy eyes and type it into my app.  I did amp myself up enough to step on the scale this morning and I was greeted with good news – I lost 4.4 lbs! It did feel nice to know that I was moving in the right direction even if half of that is really water weight.  I am still struggling to even come close to my step goal, but managing my calories paid off this week.

Speaking of goals, there are a lot of individual goals that make up The Big Goal.  In a vague sense, my goal is get healthy.  But what does that mean?  Mostly it means that I need to lose weight.  I also need to get more fit and I’d like to have all my PCOS symptoms go away. By setting smaller, daily (or weekly) goals, I will be able to achieve The Big Goal.  At least, that’s the idea.  I have a lot of weight to lose.  It’s a number so large it seems insurmountable.  Ridiculous even. To keep myself from getting overwhelmed or disheartened by it’s largeness, I set a smaller goal.  I would like to lose 25 pounds by the end of May by averaging a 2 pound weight loss each week.  When you weigh as much as I do, a 2 pound per week weight loss goal is not crazy.  If you weigh 150 and your ideal weight is 145, doing that in 2 weeks might actually be really hard and not sustainable.  As much as I’d like to think that I can take on this weight 25 pounds/3 months at a time, that ratio will probably change the closer to my goal I get.  Even that is too much to worry about right now.  It’s only been one week and I’m taking it a day at a time.

Every day, all I focus on are these goals:

Water – 90 ounces.  I like to get a minimum of 64, but my doctor recommended I be trying to aim for about 90.  It’s not as hard as I anticipated because I try not to get any calories from my beverages and ordering water when you are out saves money.

Calories – 1500-2000. I know that seems like a wide margin, but I try to let my FitBit guide me.  It gives you an approximation of how many calories you’ve burned vs how many you’ve eaten.  So if my day is more on the sedentary side, then I eat less than a more active day.  The app has a cute little speedometer graphic that tells you if you are within the ideal range.

Steps – 10,000.  I haven’t hit this goal more than 3 times since I’ve gotten my FitBit, but I’ve definitely improved my average number.  I want to always get more than 5,000, but my real goal is 10,000.

I focus on hitting these goals each day, or doing my best.  I don’t want to get bogged down by the prospect of my larger goals. I am confident that if I keep myself on target daily, I will achieve those  goals down the line.  It seems strange to me that after all of the false starts I’ve had, this time feels like the real deal.  It’s all finally clicking now.

What are your daily goals?  Have you ever felt something “click” like this?