Recent Financial Tweaks and my Orange Key!

(Photo source)

I’ve been a little quiet on the blogsophere, but fear not, I have not fallen off the personal finance bandwagon.  I am tracking my spending  very diligently, and have been researching and finding “new” ways to save money.

A huge thanks goes out to all those wonderful PF blogs and my readers that keep inspiring me to keep trucking along my journey to reach financial freedom.  Thank you so much!

These are some recent financial tweaks that I’ve made.  They may be small changes, but I wanted to share them in case someone finds this information useful.

Negotiating my Cell Phone Bill with Rogers

If you know me, I’m not the best negotiator out there, but I try my best!

I started my 3-year contract with Rogers fresh out of school.  I got a $0 Nokia phone, and it has served me well ever since.  I have not hopped on the smart phone bandwagon, yet ;)

My plan for the duration of the contract was the Student Plan (includes My10, and 6pm evenings) with 30 added text messages for a total of $40.34/month including tax.   I did not have call display or voice mail.  It wasn’t outrageous, but it wasn’t great.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized I could have negotiated for a better price.  I thought that I needed to wait until my contract expired. Even after my awful experience with Rogers, I decided to stick with them.

I did some research on RedFlagDeal Forum and checked out Young and Thrifty’s step by step guide to negotiating a better cell phone plan.  Both are great resources and I strongly recommend you check them out!

In the end, I ended with this plan for $30.90 including taxes:

  • 200 anytime minutes
  • unlimited evenings and weekends
  • early evenings starting at 6pm (usually it’s 9pm… ugh)
  • caller display
  • 100 text messages (outgoing)
  • 3 way calling, call forwarding

I had to renew for a 12-month contract, which I was fine with.  My phone still works great, and I expect it will last another year.  I will do a separate post of how I negotiated with Rogers – is there any interest in that?

In total I save at least $120/year.  Not bad for a few minutes of negotiating by a newbie, right?

Upgrading to ING Thrive, Downgrading TD

I’m probably one of the last PF bloggers to jump on the bandwagon, but I just opened up a Thrive checking account with ING Direct.  I got $100 just for signing up (and adding my payroll direct deposit).

They have extended their deadline to August 31, 2011.  At that time, you must have your payroll deposited (that’s when you get the $100 in your account).

I was hesitant on opening another account, but I already had all my savings with ING (love them!).  My current main checking account was with TD Canada Trust – and you all know how I feel about them.

I downgraded my TD checking account to a Value Basic Banking (to withdraw cash only) and will use Thrive for all my daily banking needs.  I do most of my banking online, and I haven’t had to speak to a bank teller in ages (not to mention I get charged $1 every time I get something done by a teller at TD).

I’m really excited about my Thrive account because I get all the following perks:

  • $100 FREE after my first pay roll deposit
  • First 50 checks FREE
  • ATM card
  • No minimum balance
  • No fee’s
  • Unlimited transactions
  • Free E-mail money transfers
  • Great customer service
  • Free “Void” checks to be printed (what a nifty idea, I hate wasting checks that way!)

I’ve never had a problem with ING’s customer service.  That’s not to say they are perfect, but they are always there to take my phone call and fix my problem.   They also don’t hit me with ridiculous fee’s (I transferred money from my ING TFSA for free – TD charges $100 – $120).

The only down side of Thrive is the lack of ABM locations.  A quick search on their ABM Locator shows that there are only 15 locations in my City.  It doesn’t compare to the convenience of Green machines located at almost every street corner, which is why I kept my TD account.

In total, I earned $100 and saved an additional $35 (that’s how much 50 checks from TD costs).  Not too bad for making a few phone calls, eh?

If you would like to open an ING Thrive account, you can also use my referral.

My orange key: 32943516S1

You get an additional $25 and I get $25, too!

What financial or fun stuff have you been up to this summer?

Cheers,

P.S. Are you following me on Twitter @fab_frugirl?

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18 Comments

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18 responses to “Recent Financial Tweaks and my Orange Key!

  1. I just did the same thing. Opened an ING and got the $100.00 and downgraded my TD account. I never use cheques so I don’t have the same issue there but I do have an issue with the price they charge to have an account. Love ING!

    • I don’t usually use checks either, but there is the odd time that I need it (I think I used 100 over the span of 5 years).

      I just sent an email transfer with TD. Got dinged $1.50. Ugh.

  2. I did the exact same thing as you! I set up my payroll through ING, got my $100 (thanks ING), and switched my TD account to the simplest and cheapest account available. Also lowered my phone bill by switching to a newer plan, saving me $15 a month. Yay for earning/saving money!

  3. I have a few ING accounts, but it’s a little different in the U.S. Wish I got a $100 bonus! Also, we don’t have referral keys, we can only refer using email. Very tedious/annoying.

    But hooray for extra money!

  4. I will switch to pay as you go with Rogers, now that I have my company smart phone, which will hopefully save me a bunch of $.

    My old plan with Rogers was cheap, for around 25 bucks (everything included, even tax), I got: 100 outgoing texts, unlimited incoming texts and local calls, 300 day time outgoing call minutes, unlimited outgoing calls from 8pm on weekdays and on the weekends, caller ID and voice mail. I just read over your other post on why rogers sucks, and I completely agree – through my years of dealing with them, I’ve found them unprincipled, unreliable, and with no accountability whatsoever. The only reason I’m sticking with them for pay-as-you-go is that they’re the cheapest. But I’m not signing up for another contract with them, even if they’re the cheapest option. Rogers is the red devil!!!

    • I knew I should have been more stubborn and insisted on a maximum of $25 including taxes. Oh well. I live, I learn.

      I just feel that no matter how bad Rogers is, the other guys aren’t that much better. Bell? No thanks. Telus? No, again. I also live in a basement that is not in the downtown core, so I don’t think I’m the greatest candidate for Wind, Public or Mobilicity. I’ve heard both good and bad experiences about Wind.

  5. I did the same thing with TD! I transferred over to ING because it just makes more sense. I shouldn’t have to pay to spend my money.

    You can use your ING card at pretty much any credit union out there. Including coast capital. For free. So there are only a few of the actual ING ABMs but there are a whole bunch of machines you can deposit/withdrawal for free with

    • Thanks for the tip, Daisy!

      For sure, if I find that I can get by with getting my money from ING, I would close my TD checking account in a minute. I’m sure they will also have more and more locations to take out money from, as well.

  6. wow I did the exact same thing! I just got a thriving account and I normally bank with TD. Unfortunately, I don’t HAVE a payroll deposit so I can’t get the free money. Go grad school!

  7. Awe thanks for the mention! I can’t believe I’m considered a “resource”! Makes me feel special.

    You sound like you got a fantastic plan! Good job and glad they didn’t get you any trouble (haha they always do for me, I swear they have voice recognition for me and they always give me the toughest CSR’s).

    Good job on the orange key! I love my ING account too.

  8. Darn. I was ready to use your orange key when I realized that it needed to be a new account. It doesn’t let me input it anywhere. Ah well. :(

  9. Yes, there can definitely be challenges and frustrations negotiating with the big cell phone conglomerates!…

    Since realistically the cell phone pricing plans appear to be all over the map, I decided to set up a website resource called Dealboasters (smartphone edition) to give the premier negotiators out there a forum to boast about their best hard fought negotiated cell phone plans. In turn, everyone else can have a frame of reference to help in the dreaded re-negotiation process! Please drop in to share your incredible cell phone plan negotiation stories…After all, inquiring minds (especially those who are paying through the nose for their own plans) want to know!

  10. Pingback: When I don’t Dispute a Charge | fabulously fru-girl

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