Mint SIM

I just paid $170.28 to cover the next year of DW’s cell service.  That’s $14.19 pcm for 2GB LTE and unlimited talk/text/2G data.  How?  By using Mint SIM.

Mint SIM is an MVNO – which is basically a service reseller.  They sit on top of T-Mobile’s network – which is pretty good – and offer dirt cheap plans.  There’s no contract, but they do offer discounts for pre-paying for longer periods of time.  You can see their plans here.  If you’re looking to save money on your cell phone bill, I’d recommend you do what we did and get their three-month plan (currently $35+fees – ours was a total of $41.49) to try it out, then pay for the year if you end up liking it.  (Once you have an account, the renewal is on sale, but that’s not shown on the public page.)

If you need more data, they also have 5GB and 10GB plans.  (Most people don’t need this much, but you can check your phone or your bills for historical usage to figure out what you’re likely to use.)

I just asked DW how she likes her service, and she said that she’s happy not to have to track her data anymore.  (She was on Project Fi with me before the switch.)  Her only complaint is that Mint SIM doesn’t support visual voicemail, which is a neat feature she had with Project Fi.  (She doesn’t get that many voicemails, though, so I don’t see that as a big deal.)

Let me know in the comments if you like a different service better.  I know there are dirt cheap options if you don’t really use your phone, but we use them frequently, mostly for data and texting.  I try to keep my usage below half a gig a month, but DW is on Pokemon GO more than I am and likes the freedom of the 2GB plan.

 

Note:  I have no relationship with Mint SIM except as a customer.  I’m not making any money through them or getting any discounts from them; I just really like their service, and I thought you might, too.

October Stats

Another quick stats update:

INTEREST RATE REMAINING BASE PAYMENT EXTRA PAYMENTS
Student Loans 3.80% $22,605.16 $183.34 $150.00
Mortgage 3.50% $303,741.46 $2,259.03 $0.00
Total $326,346.62 $2,442.37 $150.00

We received housewarming gifts from my grandmother and my aunt and uncle this month, so we immediately applied those to the student loans.  Other than that, breathing room is nonexistent, as always, here.

It’s getting colder, so heat’s been running some.  We bought some sealing solutions for the front door, and I’m hoping to install those this weekend so we can stop the enormous air leaks that make it more difficult to stay warm.  I also need to hit a store to get long johns and slippers.

We’re hoping to head to the local Regal on Friday to see The Nightmare Before Christmas in a theater.  It’s my favorite movie, and I’m very excited!  It’ll be nice to get out of the house a bit, too.

September Stats

 

Just a quick stats update:

INTEREST RATE REMAINING BASE PAYMENT EXTRA PAYMENTS
Student Loans 3.75% $22,872.24 $180.74 $50.00
Mortgage 3.50% $305,110.58 $2,259.03 $0.00
Total $327,982.82 $2,439.77 $50.00

I’ve got a new $183.34 student loan payment starting tomorrow; I assume that’s a late effect from the bump from 3.73% to 3.75%.

DW and I have been thinking through a move to Florida more seriously, and we think it would be very beneficial.  An additional 7%+ of my salary not going toward state and local taxes would be put directly toward my 401k, and we could probably even max out my 401k contributions.  We’d be able to take the equity from the house (minus lots of money for the sale) to wipe out my student loan debt and increase our taxable investments.  The rest of the monthly savings (from not having a house and from electricity due to shared walls) would go straight to taxable investments as well.

Okay, need to get some sleep, as I still have to get up to an alarm; however, I want to end by saying:  welcome, new readers!  Hope you like it here.  Feel free to introduce yourselves in the comments below.

How I get through the day

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been struggling with depression, which makes my motivation basically nonexistent.  I’ve spent many days this year just lying on the couch, watching TV or thumbing through Facebook or reddit.

I’ve started therapy, and the direction I was given (so far – have my second appointment tomorrow) was to take breaks during my work day to try to prevent the stress from building up.  This seems to be helping me get through the work day, but it’s still hard to have motivation for anything; I usually feel like breaking down at several points during the day.

But, not doing anything at all just adds to the strain as everything builds up, so I’ve started giving myself two things a day that I have to get done.  Once I’m done with those, I can sit around and wallow as much as I want, but this helps me feel like I’m still being a bit productive.  It also keeps things moving a bit more, which is good for me (and keeps DW happy as well).

Today, my items are to go shopping (by bike for the first time since the incident) and to write up my September Stats post.  Tomorrow, they’ll be to go to therapy and do something else, not sure yet.  DW is waiting for me to finish typing so we can go shopping, so I’m heading off to that, but I’ll be back to post the stats update later tonight.

Thanks for sticking with me.  I’m hoping to have motivation to write some more interesting posts soon.

 

June Stats

We’re nearing the end of the reno; in fact, we’re probably going to finish this week.  Though, you probably already knew that:  I’ve started posting a bit more again, so that was a clear sign that things were nearing completion.  We’ve pulled everything out of storage (saving $174 pcm) and started going through boxes and finding room for things – not to mention getting ready to donate tons of stuff.  We’re trying to lessen the amount of stuff we have around to weigh us down; life isn’t about stuff.  (To be fair, it’s nice to have some stuff.. but the amount that we need or even want is much less than it used to be.)

We’ve also been putting out just ridiculous amounts of recycling as we’ve been unboxing.  I wonder what our neighbors think.

I’m hoping to have some interesting things to share with you over the next month or two, but, for now, let’s continue to our stats for this month!

INTEREST RATE REMAINING BASE PAYMENT EXTRA PAYMENTS
Student Loans 3.73% $23,387.31 $180.74 $0.00
Mortgage 3.50% $309,274.07 $2,259.03 $0.00
Total $334,123.34 $2,439.77 $0.00

The exclamation mark may not have been warranted; we didn’t do anything special.  Hopefully next month’s will be more interesting.

What new laptop?

So, today, my laptop stopped working.  Well, not the laptop itself – it started up fine, but Windows wouldn’t load.  Terrible timing, really – I hate switching laptops (or anything else), and we’re still in the middle of just a crazy number of things with the reno and travel planning and life in general.  I went ahead and built a laptop on Lenovo.com* for $545, but we don’t exactly have a lot of spare cash right now.

I was able to start up in Safe Mode, so I started backing up my files** while discussing the situation with DW, who offered to share her laptop for a while.  In a past life, I would have just bought the new laptop and figured it out later – I don’t like being a guest on someone else’s computer, and I need something on which to manage the household.  However, things have certainly changed over the past couple years, and I was coming around to using DW’s laptop until we figured out what to do.

Of course, if I can run in Safe Mode, maybe I can still do a little work on my laptop.

But wait!  If I can run in Safe Mode, I can do some troubleshooting.  What might have happened to tank my laptop?  Since I can run my OS, it doesn’t seem to be a hard drive problem, so what else could have happened?  I installed updates this morning – could something have gone wrong there?

I did a System Restore to before the updates, and, presto change-o, I’m back, baby!  I have my very own laptop, and I’ve saved $545 today!  Not a bad day.

Of course, updates are important to install for security reasons, but now I have lots of time to figure out what to do.  And I’ve taken one more small step toward being financially independent:  by fixing a tool rather than getting a new one, I’ve delayed an expense and given myself a chance to approach it in a smarter fashion.  Maybe I’ll be able to keep this laptop running for a long while yet.

06/21/16:  It looks like the update re-applied but didn’t wreck my laptop.  Just a glitch with the original attempt?

 

* Lenovo laptops have good battery life, and the Lenovo site still allows you to customize a build to include Windows 7 Professional.  I refuse to move to a Windows system above 7.

** I back up my files irregularly, but I did have a fairly recent backup in case all went to hell.

May Stats

Nothing good on the money front; just the base payments:

INTEREST RATE REMAINING BASE PAYMENT EXTRA PAYMENTS
Student Loans 3.73% $23,496.24 $180.74 $0.00
Mortgage 3.50% $310,627.10 $2,259.03 $0.00
Total $334,123.34 $2,439.77 $0.00

The renovation is finally moving along quickly, but everything is more expensive than the contractor had allocated – plus, the carpet turned out not to be new, so now our guest room stinks to high heaven.  A good opportunity to learn to replace carpet!  Good weekend project.

On that note, we’re going to Brew at the Zoo at the Baltimore Zoo on Sunday.  It’s a 24.5-mile bike ride one way, so this will be the farthest we’ve ever gone by bike.  I’m a little nervous, since it’ll be so warm, but also pretty excited.

How is everyone getting on with the National Bike Challenge?  Let me know in the comments!  I’m up to 151.1 miles over 13 days of biking.