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Savin' Money June 2, 2014

Okay, so you know I love to share things I adore. I have two things (wait! Three! More?) to share today. 

1. Frugal Cell Phone Service

I've been ALL about the frugality lately, so much so that I'm selling things I don't need and not buying more of the same. Seriously, I want to retire young and happy and healthy, and I want Lala to be able to do the same, so we're really cutting back on everything we can in order to make that happen. Yes, it's fun to buy things we want! But it's even more fun to DO what we want. 

To that end: phone bill! We were paying Verizon $180/month for two phones with unlimited plans. That is a lot, and with our iPhones, there was no way to bring that plan down. That was their cheapest plan available for us (and I tried like heck to finagle things to lower it). 

Enter Republic Wireless. They have wireless plans for $5, $10, and $25/month. When I heard about them, I didn't think it could possibly be true and work well, which is why I've used it for a month before reporting back. 

But it's true. Because I chose the $10/month plan, I have an amazing phone, unlimited talk and text, and unlimited data whenever I'm on a WiFi system (which I am 95% of the time). To talk, it uses Sprint with Verizon as a backup when the Sprint coverage fails (which is good because in the Bay Area, Verizon is great everywhere, Sprint not so much). All of my calls have been crystal clear. Last week, when I was sick with the stomach flu, I watched Netflix and Hulu nonstop on my big Moto X screen, and it was phenomenal. 

And on Friday, when Lala and I were Official Tweeters for the San Francisco Opera's dress rehearsal of Show Boat (right??), I knew I might not be on WiFi, so I changed to the $25 plan so I could have unlimited data, too. You can change twice a month on the plan, with days prorated as you go. 

Dude. This is SO CHEAP. And SO AWESOME.

You do need a phone on their system (Moto G for $149 or Moto X for $299), which was a major stopper for me until I realized I could sell my iPhone for the same price as the Moto X, so it was basically like getting a free phone. Even with the $300 charge from Verizon to break my plan early, even with Lala not wanting to leave Verizon (or her iPhone) yet, we'll break even in three months and then save $110 a MONTH after that (I got her on a $60/month single phone plan).

It's not too good to be true. Check it out:

2. Bath Bombs

I do the research for you, aren't you happy? There's really nothing I love more than being up in the middle of the night, doing internet research on wacky things (luggage reviews on Amazon! My idea of heaven). And you reap the benefits of my research here, darlings. 

Lala and I love Lush bath products. They're gorgeous, they work great, and they smell wonderful. That said, one bath bomb runs $5 or $6 each. Even quartering them with a knife, that's a pricey bathing experience. 

So for Lala's birthday (WHICH IS TODAY!), I decided to try to make some really good ones. And I DID IT. These are fizzing, skin-softening bombs that even Lushophiles will love. 

IMG_20140530_120505217

I combined a couple of recipes, but my main inspiration was taken from Brenda Sharpe's great method, found archived here

Dry Ingredients:
Sift together in large bowl:
1 c. baking soda
1/2 c. citric acid
1/2 c. cornstarch
With whisk, add in:
1/3 c. epsom salts

Wet Ingredients:
In small shakeable container, combine:
2.5 tbsp light oil (almond/canola/sunflower)
3/4 tbsp water
1/4 tsp Vitamin E oil
1/4 tsp borax (an emulsifier)
Several drops food color
Several drops your favorite essential oil for fragrance
Shake it like it's your moneymaker!

Dribble the wet slowly into the dry, using a wooden spoon to mix. If it fizzes, you're going too quickly. When you're done mixing, it should resemble almost-dry sand. Pack into your mold of choice (I used this meatballer). Dry for a couple of days if possible before packaging, but they're definitely good for use that very night. (Pro tip: Pack tightly in meatballer, squeeze together, then use finger to push through top hole while opening the meatballer, then turn over and do the same on other side.)

Indulge with a long soak and good book.

3. Speaking of Good Books! 

BigtinyFeralknitter Janine gave me a wonderful book called The Big Tiny. About a woman who changes her life from top to bottom as she builds herself a tiny house, it's exactly the kind of confessional memoir I love. If you like sitting on the porch swing and reading about minimalism more than actually cleaning out closets, this book is for you. 

Dee Williams’s life changed in an instant, with a near-death experience in the aisle of her local grocery store. Diagnosed with a heart condition at age forty-one, she was all too suddenly reminded that life is short, time is precious, and she wanted to be spending hers with the people and things she truly loved. That included the beautiful sprawling house in the Pacific Northwest she had painstakingly restored—but, increasingly, it did not include the mortgage payments, constant repairs, and general time-suck of home ownership. A new sense of clarity began to take hold: Just what was all this stuff for? Multiple extra rooms, a kitchen stocked with rarely used appliances, were things that couldn’t compare with the financial freedom and the ultimate luxury—time—that would come with downsizing.

 

4. Giveaway! 

I keep adding things! Woohoo! Hey, I have a new thing. Once a month, I give away a book to someone on my mailing list. The only way you'll know you've won is if you are told within the email itself, so make sure you're entered. This time I'm TOTALLY giving away a copy of The Big Tiny to some lucky someone. 

*Disclaimer: Some above links are affiliate links, because dude, I'm saving money! 

Comments

That book sounds very interesting....I envy people who can do the minimalist lifestyle but for me, even trying would be stressful. That being said this weekend we are having a huge garage sale because we are having to redo our living space due to daughter and family moving home for awhile. Very embarrassing to go thru junk that has accumulated mainly thru laziness

I just finished reading Big Tiny! Loved it. I have also read about half of Map of Enough. I like Big Tiny better.

thought you would like this link. :)

http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140602/university-village/spending-no-money-for-month-provides-great-happiness-for-chicago-man

I would soooo love to have that wheel, but....space and finances say no!! I want to learn to spin the twenty plus pounds of paca fibre I have stored just waiting for processing and spinning. It is a wonderful color and, sad to say, all I will have because Doc is no more. I will treasure it all the more.

On the cell plan, I see the influence of Mr. Money Mustache. I have got to check it out, Verizon sucks you dry in return for their good network, thanks for discussing this.

With Republic, how about international plans? I'm on my way to someplace very exciting at the end of the month, and my $10 TracFone won't work outside of the US. (Won't even WORK.) I'm debating between getting a cheapie prepaid phone upon my arrival, or upgrading to a phone that allows me to use an international SIM or something but I want to avoid contracts if possible.

And the book sounds fascinating!

I gave up my Verizon account and went to Trac Phone with prepaid minutes. I seldom use my cell phone, preferring my landline phone for most calls, so this works well for me. It averages about $10/month for the cell.

Your recommendation of a reasonably priced phone and data plan may have actually lead me to give up my ancient (by tech standards) flip phone and palm pilot.
You certainly didn't steer me wrong with the "bed of nails", so we'll see how the phone plan goes.

Hi! This post didn't show up in Bloglovin. :( Not sure where the issue lies but thought I'd give you a heads up.

This just popped into my life and is perfectly in line with the frugals: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/490865454/good-and-cheap You can download the whole book for free, or donate $25 and get a print copy (as well as one that will be donated to someone who needs it). All of the recipes look like things that I want to put into my mouth and were designed to be cheap enough for people using SNAP. MASSIVE bonus in that it is cheap food that does not resort to 'eat a bunch of potatoes and starch.'

Love this! I've gone to a more frugal/intentional life here too and it feels good.

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