How I Got Free Cable TV (Thanks Verizon!)

2235601624_76a3d52fa7_zI know every PF blogger and their mom has canceled their cable TV subscription. Well I did once…and then we got a great deal on a big HD flat screen TV so we decided to get cable TV again. I know my logic is a little twisted, spend money on a TV to spend money on cable? But that’s besides the point.

We recently decided that since we barely watch live TV anymore, we would go ahead and cancel our cable TV and get a Netflix account.This decision was partially fueled by the fact that I found out that all 7 season of Gilmore Girls are on Netflix. Anyhow, this seemed like the right decision for us since we  tend to binge watch TV shows anyways AND a Netflix subscription is much cheaper (as low as 8 bucks a month with one month free!).

Right now, I’m paying $80 for internet and cable combined ($90 after taxes and fees), using the same provider. Yes, that sounds like a lot and it is a lot. The BF insists we get the super fast internet called Verizon FiOS since he does a lot of work from home that requires high speeds. I know the truth and it’s cause he wants it for his computer games. But I’m not complaining. If I get to splurge on a pair of shoes once in awhile, he can have his high speed internet. Anyways, since we use the same prvoider for both TV and internet, we get a bit of a bundle discount. If I decided to just get internet, I would be paying $65 (about $75-ish after taxes). That’s only about $15 in savings a month but since we don’t even watch cable TV, we might as well get rid of it.

So I called our cable TV provider, Verizon, and asked to cancel our service. Our conversation went a little something like this:

“Hi. I’m calling to cancel my cable TV service. I would like to keep my internet though.”

“Can I ask why you are canceling? Is it because you don’t watch TV or is it because of something else?”

“Yep, that’s exactly right. I don’t watch TV.”

“Alright ma’am. Hold on one second. Let me see if you we can find another option for you. [2 mins later] Connie, I found a promotion that I think might work for you. If you cancel your TV, you’d still have to pay about $70 for just internet. For only about $5 more and a 2-year agreement, you can get internet and FiOS local TV. That gives you ABC, Fox, NBC…all the major networks.”

“Um…no, thanks. Not interested in just the local networks and a 2-year contract. I’d rather cancel and just have internet”

“Ok, hold on one second. Let me see what else I can do for you. [1 min later] Connie, since you’re a valued customer and we try our best to keep our customers happy, we’ll give you a $20 discount on your bill every month for the next twelve months, with no changes in your service. That means your bill will come to $70 a month, after taxes.”

“That’s great, much appreciated. Thanks!”

Bascially, just by calling and threatening to cancel my service, I’m now getting both cable TV AND internet for cheaper than the price of just internet, for the next 12 months. That totally wasn’t my intention but hell yes, I’ll take it. That just goes to show that it’s worth it to call in and ask. You never know what kind of deal those customer service agents have up their sleeves.

And with that, I wish you all a very happy weekend!

4 Ways To Get More From Your Bank Or Building Society

11747005074_edc877d194_zToday, we have a guest post from Marijn, our friend over in the UK. Marijn has some great tips on how to get more from your bank or building society (if you’re in the UK)

Ever since the end of the Great Recession, it seems like barely a week has passed without major banks in the U.S. and UK being in the news. This week, for example, it was revealed that a competition enquiry was set to be launched by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), as the chances of a major shake-up of banks’ current accounts and small business operations in Britain become increasingly likely. This news should not come as a shock to account holders, especially when you consider the level of upheaval that has been caused by global financial unrest and technological advancement.

On another note, these factors can also impact on the experience of customers’ throughout the world. This means that you must work hard to get the most from your chosen bank or building society, and take individual responsibility for maximising your finances. Consider the following steps towards achieving this: 

  1. Online Banking

If you have not already done so sign up for your bank or building societies online account management service.  Doing so not only enables you to keep a better eye on your spending and interest accrual but it may also unlock online services that you would otherwise not have been able to take advantage of.  Many online services include handy tools that enable you to set and track your savings goals as well as keeping you up to date with the latest offers that you are eligible for.

  1. Make the Most of Benefits and Offers

Some banks or building societies have been known to provide additional services free of charge for their customers.  These may include changing your short change for you or allowing their business customers to use their meeting rooms free of charge.  It is well worth enquiring at your local branch to see if there is a service or a utility that you could save money by using.

  1. Access Rewards and Creative Promotions

In a bid to give customers more some banks and building societies operate reward schemes are on some of their accounts.  These schemes either involve a percentage of the money that you spend at participating stores being returned to you or the proffering of a cash incentive to deposit over a certain amount of money into account. Some accounts even include insurance products for a small monthly fee, as this may be worth considering if it saves you money in the long run.

  1. Seek Advice from Industry Experts

Individual service providers know their accounts and the rates that they use better than anyone and will be best positioned to review your account and provide you with advice on how to get the most from their services.  Some banks and building societies actively encourage account holders to come in and have a review with them such as, for instance, Saffron Building Society.  They claim that with just a few minutes with one of their saving experts they can review your account and ensure that you are getting the most for your money.  This service is not just restricted to existing member, while the group also has a deserved reputation for providing outstanding rates and recently received the coveted Fair Banking accreditation.

Get Fit On A Budget: My Frugal Fitness Tips

10621772123_8a03995745_zI’m not going to lie. I’ve never really been into fitness. Everyone thinks that I am because I’m skinny. But don’t let that fool you. I hate working out with a passion.

But over the past year, I made a commitment to myself to be to be more active and as Fergie would say, work on my fitness. Yes, it’s hard and some weeks, I do cheat. But I’m definitely more fit and in shape than I was a year ago. And I did it mostly for free. Need to get fit on a budget? No problem. Here are my favorite frugal fitness tips:

  1. YouTube Is Your Personal Trainer - I find it really hard to stay motivated if I’m just running on the treadmill or doing some weights. Boring. But I can’t afford a personal trainer. The good news is that there’s YouTube. There are plenty of fitness gurus with great workout videos that get you pumped. And they’re all free! My favorite is Cassey from Blogilates. She has a bubbly personality and her workouts are killer.
  2. There’s An App For That – Need a good workout? There’s an app for that. There are plenty of free fitness apps if you have a smartphone. One of my favorites if Couch To 5k. It really helped me start running when I had no prior experience and shockingly, it wasn’t that hard! There’s also a 10k version if 5k is too easy for you.
  3. Sign Up For A 5k – And on that same note, just sign up for a 5k, 10k, or whatever-k you feel is a challenge. I signed up for my first 5k this year without any training. It really motivated me to get my butt moving. Most races have an entry fee but it usually goes to a good cause and you’ll probably get a t-shirt!
  4. No Lululemon!  – Some people I know (I won’t name names!) love to buy overpriced fitness clothes from Lululemon. A hundred bucks for a pair of leggings? No, thank you. I buy all my workout clothes from Target, Forever21, or TJMaxx and they have all held up pretty well, for under $20 a piece.
  5. Get A Workout Buddy - Again, I get really bored when I work out so I like to have a workout buddy. My workout buddy is my boyfriend. We don’t work out together all the time but it’s nice when we do because we keep each other motivated.
  6. Get A Gym Membership in January – I personally don’t have a gym membership because I get all the work out I need from running and Youtube (and I splurge on an occasional class). But if you do want a gym membership, wait for a deal. January is a great time to sign up because most gyms are running promotions for all those people with fitness related New Year’s resolutions. If you live in the NYC, the city operates a few recreation centers for a low membership fee of $150 a year. Each center has a gym. While it’s not state of the art, it’s no-frills and has most of what you need. Some centers even have a pool!
  7. Splurge On Quality Sneakers - I will say that you need to splurge on good quality sneakers. You’re putting a lot of stress on your ankles and knees when you work out and I can really tell the difference when I’m wearing crappy shoes. My personal favorites are the Nike Free Runs.

See, you don’t have to spend a lot to get fit. And while you’re on your fitness journey, just remember to do what works for you. Everyone is different so listen to your body!

What is your favorite frugal fitness tip?

How To Get An Amazon Price Adjustment

Last week, I bought a bunch of stuff for our new kitten (meet her here!) on Amazon, including a big pack of cat food. While I was browsing Amazon yet again for cat supplies yesterday, I noticed that the cat food had dropped in price by about $3.50. Yea, it’s only a few bucks but I suddenly felt like I was being ripped off. So I went ahead and asked for a price adjustment. After about 30 seconds and a few clicks,  I got my $3.50 back. You can call me cheap if you want but that’s the frugal in me clicking in!

As you probably already know, Amazon’s prices fluctuate on a daily basis. Their pricing system is run by a much-too-complicated-for-me-to-understand algorithm that monitors their competitors’ prices, including their marketplace. So you might see something you purchased yesterday drop in price or increase in price today. I’ve noticed this a few times. And every time I’ve asked for a price adjustment. Even though Amazon gets a bad rep, they do have great customer service that has refunded me the difference every time. Did you know you could get an Amazon price adjustment? If not, here’s how (it’s super easy!):

1. Click ‘Help’ on the bottom/footer of their websitestep12. On the next page, click ‘Need More Help?’, then ‘Contact Us’

step23. Sign into your account

4. Look for the item you would like a price adjustment on by clicking on ‘choose a different order’

step45. Fill out the form as I have below:

  • Select an issue: Returns and refunds
  • Select issue details: Other return or refund issue
  • Enter short summary of issue: Price adjustment

step56. Pick your preferred method of contact and ask for a price adjustment:

step6I usually prefer to use Live Chat since I can get connected with someone immediately. They are usually very quick to respond to emails as well. I’ve never tried calling Amazon’s customer service.

And there you have it! Requires very little effort for a potentially large refund. It has worked every time for me. I’ve heard before that you can only get a price adjustment within 7 days after your order has shipped but I’ve been able to do it past 7 days. I guess it depends on which customer service agent you get.

Celebrate Your Small Frugal Wins

throw yourself a party!

throw yourself a party!

Last week, I made my weekly trip to Trader Joe’s (love this place by the way. my favorite store in NYC!). I saw this reheat-able meal of chicken with a coconut curry sauce for 6 bucks that caught my eye. I like chicken, I love curry, and the ingredients actually looked healthy so I decided to give it a try. It was a pretty large portion so with a little tossed salad on the side, my boyfriend and I were able to make 2 full meals out of it for us both.

Why did you just waste your time reading my dumb story, you might ask?

I have a point, I swear. Yes, my little story is pretty mundane in the grand scheme of things but dammit, I must admit that it gave me some satisfaction. Sure, it probably would’ve been cheaper if I made it myself but it took me literally 7 minutes to heat. I saved a bunch of time on a delicious and healthy meal that didn’t cost much at all. Pat on the back for me!

Getting to my point….it was such as a small little win but it was still a win. We don’t celebrate those wins enough.

Why You Should Celebrate Your Small Frugal Wins

Motivation. We’re quick to acknowledge the big milestones we reach, such as paying off all our debt or reaching a new high in income. But we can forget about the small wins. I like to remember my small wins because it helps keep me motivated. It’s only a small drop in the bucket but they still matter. Big wins can be so few and far between that staying motivated and on track can be a struggle. Saving or paying down debt is a really long road and at times really difficult. Even if it’s all in my head, I like to remind myself that I did something today to get me closer to my goal.

Small Wins Add Up To Big Ones

You also can’t forget that all your big wins are made up of small ones. All that debt you paid off? It equates to years of brown bag lunches, home brewed coffee and Fridays nights staying in. That extra $1K you saved up? That’s weeks of side hustling, plus overtime at your full time job. These things might seem irrelevant separately but together they add up.

My List Of Small Frugal Wins (Recently)

To get us all in the habit of thinking about our small frugal wins, here are some of mine:

  • I haven’t bought a coffee at Starbucks for the past month. (This is a borderline big-win since I’m a coffee addict!)
  • I sold an old sweater on eBay for $20.
  • I got a price adjustment on a pair of boots I bought just by asking ($30 back in my wallet!)
  • I made a giant meal using my Crockpot (which in itself is a small win since it cost me $15) and froze it for this week’s lunches.
  • I saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to GEICO (just kidding on this one, I don’t actually drive).

What are some of your small frugal wins?