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