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Tracfone vs. Other Carriers

Everyone I speak with says they want to be debt free.  Not many of us enjoy having payments each month.

The issue is not many of us are willing to put in the effort to become debt free.  Debt free means financial freedom, which allows us to live the way we want on our terms.

One of the largest discretionary spending items we have as families is the cell phone.  Families have cell phones for everyone including the kids these days and they have the data plans.

I went in and started to create accounts for two different phones.  One was on AT&T and the other was a Tracfone.  Below are the differences.

What is the difference between the two phones below?

This is the iPhone 6s, which you can get from AT&T.  I went through the online process to select my phone.  I made choices like a consumer would.  The plan that offered me plenty of data, text and voice, along with being able to swap my phone out for a new one whenever the latest technology comes along.

My total bill for a single phone was going to be over $150/month.  I had the option to add additional lines for $35 each as well.  We would need to add the additional phones also and those ranged from about $25/month extra unless you just paid for a phone.  I won’t use the additional phone costs in my calculations since you could buy some used ones on eBay or Amazon if you wanted to.

For 3 people, the cost of the phone with data plan would be ~$220/month.  To have a nice phone, data plan so we are always connected and plans (not the phones) for each family member per year the cost is $2,2640.

iPhone 6s

The next phone I looked at was the Tracfone.

tracfone plan

I did not select the top of the line phone, so the phone was free.  Remember we are now thinking like someone who wants to be debt free.  This means we do not care if our phone has Nikon and Cannon camera resolutions or that we can play Call of Duty on our phones if we want.

Knowing we want our phone for things such as emergencies, getting directions, letting family know we are on our way, etc… I selected the annual minutes plan with quite a bit of talk time.

tracfone checkout

Our bill for the entire year is $125 and the phone we selected gets triple minutes for life when we purchase more at the end of the year.  Tracfone minutes usually roll over if you use the same phone also (nice bonus).

If you buy 2 of these phones so family members who are leaving the home have one with them, the cost is only $250/year.  This is 10% of the regular phone carrier bill.

Both phones can do the following:

  • If we break down, we can call a tow truck.
  • Send a text if we need to letting someone know we are on our way.
  • Call for directions if we are lost.
  • Let our loved ones know we may be late home from work.
  • Letting our friends know we have arrived or on our way.
  • Check email if we have important work emails coming through.

Because we do not have an unlimited data plan with the Tracfone some unexpected side effects may occur however.  I do need to warn you about these as well.

  • You will have more money in your pocket at the end of the month.
  • Your head is not buried in social media, thus you enjoy the company of those around you.
  • You will not feel the need to text someone ever 2 minutes with what you are currently doing, wearing, eating, seeing etc… You can email or call them later.
  • Your family will enjoy your undivided attention and company more.

You get the point.  I see people on walks in beautiful areas and their heads are pointed directly down on their phones.  Enjoy the world around you and save money.  Does not get much better than that.

Oh and the hours worked saved with the Tracfone vs. the AT&T phone, drum roll please…   If you make $25 per hour and we factor in taxes taken from our pay, it comes out to over 129 hours of work for family phones per year.

Get a Tracfone and give yourself 3.2 more weeks of vacation a year!

 

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Tiny house Example

This is one of my favorite tiny house examples.  The reason why is because of how simple they have build their home.

Click the link below to see all their pictures.  Robert and Samantha really paid attention to the small details that make this home really nice.  From outlets to lighting, they really put together a beautiful and functional home.

Tiny house exmple

Tiny house on shedsistence.com.

Living small does not mean giving up comfortable living. It does mean cleaning less, having to maintain less and enjoying life more. We spend so much time cleaning, fixing, working to pay for extra square footage that we miss out on life.

What I love about their home is it looks comfortable and nice with room to still have friends visit and some elbow room for a couple which is very important.

I would probably have a big television on the wall across from the couch however for my Netflix addiction.  🙂

We did not go tiny yet, but we did go small with just a small 900 square foot cottage on the water.  Kellie and I only use 650 square feet of the home and the rest is for our son.

If we had not made the move to small, we would not have been able to dedicate ourselves fully to our own businesses and be 100% debt free.  We have more time for the important things in life vs. working for other people.

Remember living smaller and without debt does not mean sacrificing, it actually means you get more out of life.

Have a great week ahead!

 

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Breakpoints – Budget Perspective

We all need breakpoints in our budget in case something goes wrong, because it usually does.

Recently, Seth Godin had an insightful blog post about breakpoints as a metaphor for business.  I consider Seth one of my virtual mentors in marketing and sometimes his metaphors can be used for other areas of our lives.

A great example of breakpoints was used by Seth in his post.  Concrete workers will put in a line about every 3 feet of concrete.  The purpose of this line is to prevent unsightly breaks as the ground shifts due to natural or even man made (someone drives over the walkway) events.

This line prevents an uneven break and will help maintain the look and feel of your walkway even as time decides to break it.

Our monthly budgets are very similar.  Kellie and I put breaks in our budget on purpose.  The breaks are not the line breaks you see in concrete, but they are things we can break in our budget if necessary.

Here are some example of the breaks in our budget:

  • Cable and Internet bill
  • Eating out
  • Entertainment
  • Phone

These breaks in the budget are items we can turn off at any point in time if we needed to.  We cannot turn off taxes, utilities, groceries, but we can turn off fun and unnecessary expenses as needed.

In order to do this, we need to avoid contracts with companies.  Tracfones are great, because there are zero contracts.  If you pay for a regular cell phone, I believe T-Mobile lets you pay monthly vs. a contract as well.  I know some folks need more airtime for work than is reasonable for a tracfone, so just check with your provider.

Using a budget and an envelope system to track expenses we can stop our fun and unnecessary buckets if we run into any issues requiring our emergency funds.  We can also protect our family against the loss of work for any reason.

Breakpoints help protect us against Murphy moments.  Where are the breakpoints in your budget?

Have a great day!

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Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

We need to stop comparing ourselves to others and be happy with our lives.  Comparing our lives to the lives of others can be toxic.  Live your dreams, not someone else’s dream of what life should be.

cagefree_backyard_pond

Photo Credit: Kellie Chasse – KellieChasseFineArt.com

Remember some important comparison points:

  1. They could be working 12-16 hour days.
  2. They could have very high debt.
  3. If they lost a job tomorrow, everything could be gone.
  4. Their family life may not be as nice as it looks from the outside.
  5. They may secretly envy you (seriously).
  6. Consumption can be an addiction.

We never know the real story behind the lives of others.  Judging the success or lifestyle purely by what is visible from the outside is often a big mistake.  What lies beneath the surface could be a hot mess.

If someone takes trips a few times a year, drives nice new vehicles, has a big fancy home, a lot of toys then usually there is a cost.  We just see the wondrous adventures and toys, but we do not see the cost underneath all that.

What is the sacrifice to have all that?  Sometimes it can be a family fortune, which someone else down the line paid for.  More often than not, it is someone putting in a lot of hours at work and managing debt (sometimes rather skillfully).

Marketers have been using comparisons for years to show you what others have and how it can make you happier.  Watch a car commercial carefully for the messaging they are using.  How about the commercials or magazines who show people wearing certain clothing or using gadgets?

Remember it is the media’s job to create a large group of ultra consumers who will spend beyond their means in order to have things.

If you want to be free enough to make choices about your future, your retirement, and your finances, you only need to look inward.  Write down your goals and talk about them out loud.  Make your budget plan to fit those goals and tackle them.

If you want to work 16 hour days, because you love work and believe in what you do, go for it!  I still put in some long days myself, but it is out of choice, because I have great clients and I love my work.  Kellie is the same way.  We have a choice, because the goals were written down and we followed our plan.

Have a great week ahead!

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