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.
Switching to Sling: $480
New Car Insurance quote: $396
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!