1. Nancy Tinney

    i paid $20 for my tracfone phone (with double minutes) at walmart a few years ago. i pay tracfone $100 a year (400 minutes x 2 = 800) which comes out to about $8 a month. it’s not a smartphone, and i don’t use it as my primary phone, but it does fine for cellphone calling and i have lots more minutes than i need.

    • There is always a way to survive and excel while living “low on the hog.” At $20 for the phone purchase and $8 a month, I say “YES!” Nicely done Nancy. Thanks for reading, Ed

  2. Doug

    Enjoying the blog, Ed. Thanks. Came by way of the Mad Fientist podcast. Thought I would mention there is now a native YouTube app for the Roku. You can also get all the free TV you want with an OTA antennae! Great for network shows and local PBS.

    • Doug, we have an old Roku, so we can’t get the YouTube app. We’re just waiting for our old TV to crap out before we get another Roku. I like the OTA antennae idea. We bought some digital rabbit ears a few years ago, but they don’t work well in our present location. We get ZERO channels here. It’s time to look at a new, improved OTA antennae option. Thanks for reading, Ed

  3. We spend a god-awful amount of money on these things. Thankfully, Comcast has decided to raise their ridiculous rates even more…now Mr. P has even acquiesced that it’s time to do something.

    Once our cell contracts (who has those anymore?!) are up, I’m definitely going to look into carriers like Republic Wireless. Thanks for the extra motivation!

    • We are very happy with our Republic Wireless phones. But then again, it’s the only cell phone I’ve ever owned. I look forward to hearing what you guys do to reduce your cell phone expenses. Ed

  4. aceyou

    Hi Ed,

    Just wanted to say thank you for the work you put into this site. I found MMM a year ago, and it was life changing for me. I was a fed up teacher ready to make a career change to make more money. MMM showed me that a teacher’s salary is more than enough to build towards a nice retirement.

    Shortly after MMM I found your website, and it’s helped me nail down the teacher-specific nuances of investing that you wouldn’t get at MMM. I’ve since opened 403B’s for my wife and I, and as soon as those are maxed we’ll be hitting the 457’s. We opened Roth’s last year too. Also, your posts on tax planning have been terrifically helpful.

    There are now 3 teachers in my department that are doing net worth tracking together, setting yearly goals, and working towards FI. Your site has been one of the major catalysts for that. Also, your website, more than even MMM, has helped get my wife excited for the ideas of FIRE. The fact that you travel, are both teachers, and that you have a child…it aligns exactly with what my wife and I want to be doing when we are your age.

    Keep posting and adding concrete information for people. You are not just sending these posts into the abyss, people are reading them and getting great value from it.

    • Aceyou, thank you for the kind words of inspiration. Your message was music to my ears. I sometimes wonder if I’m actually reaching any teachers out there. I’m so happy to hear that you guys are actively pursuing financial independence on your “fat cat” teaching salaries…it can be done! Like many teachers, my wife and I sometimes feel overworked and under-appreciated, but that will never stop us from building our wealth. WE CONTROL OUR FINANCIAL LIVES…PERIOD! Would we like to earn bigger salaries? Sure, but we already make more than enough to save our way to financial freedom. Good luck on your journey to FIRE and thanks again for your encouragement. Ed

  5. Josh

    I totally do what you except I pay for Amazon prime, and I have two other friends who pay for Netflix and Hulu. We all share passwords and accounts sharing our “cable”and get free 2 day prime shipping. I also use Ooma for my home phone at $3 a month. Got it as a present and love it. Republic is the way to go for cell phones, but I may have to check out googles new cell options. I heard they compete well with Republic Wireless.

    • Josh, Nice work; Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime all for the price of one…you sneaky devil you! It sounds like you have a low combo bill as well. I hit my point in 2009 when I realized we were paying $165 a month for cable, internet, and phone (with NO cell phones). Those days are done.
      Have a great b-ball season, Ed

  6. ElleX

    I began using Republic Wireless last year and I am happy with the service and the price! My bill is typically between $13-16/month. I don’t have cable or a home phone line. I do have internet service ($45/mo) but I want to decrease this amount this quarter. I use a free Google Voice number as a “home phone number”. When someone calls this number, the call is forwarded to my mobile number. I have a Skype but don’t use it often.

    • ElleX, I like the thought of giving out a Google Voice number as a home number. I’m not using Skype as much anymore since we’re all on Chromebooks instead of PC’s. I think we’re slowly moving away from our Skype subscription. If so, our monthly bill will be $54!

  7. Thanks for the tips, especially on the internet thing. We’re going to call and see if there’s anthing we can do to lower our rate. 🙂 I didn’t k now I could ask for slower speeds, We do the same thing for “cable” and aren’t currently paying for a cell phone, but one day I think we’ll check out Republic Wireless. But I would like a cheaper home phone too. We’ll look into the VOIP phone thing. I’m sure we can save some money and not give anything up with our lifestyle with these tips. Now if only I knew the secret to an affordable college education with these 5 kids of mine. Hmmm… 😉
    Keep up the good work! I really do enjoy your blog!

  8. Ian

    Enjoyed your interview with Madfientist, and hearing about your experiences with FI.

    It is amazing what you get used to especially with lower cable, internet and phone plans (cip).

    No cable. Antennae and movies from the library work really well.

    I need to listen to I.P. Daley. and yourself, and go with the lowest internet speed and bill.

    For calls in the US and especially to Canada, I use a Google Voice number with the Google Hangouts app on our iPhones and computer. Freedom Pop has a free cell phone plan. I am now looking for a low-priced ($0) Sprint phone.

    Congratulations on getting to a million in net worth. Thanks for the inspiration to tackle the rest of my cip bills.

    • Ian, thanks for stopping by. I’m going to try linking my Google Voice number to my Hangout app. I think I can get rid of $60 a year Skype subscription and go with a free Hangout app. As for cable, we’re very happy without it. Heck, we can’t even get through our Netflix queue or my Youtube watch-later list. Good lucking lowering your cip bill. Ed

    • Ian, thanks for stopping by. I’m going to try linking my Google Voice number to my Hangout app. I think I can get rid of $60 a year Skype subscription and go with a free Hangout app. As for cable, we’re very happy without it. Heck, we can’t even get through our Netflix queue or my Youtube watch-later list. Good lucking lowering your cip bill. Ed

  9. Great advice’s, probably same internet speed would be enough form me also. I am using internet just for reading news, emails, blogging, sometimes i went on Facebook and that is it. I don’t have kids who want to play games online and don’t watch movies online.

    • Temmy, I imagine a 3-Mpbs speed would work just fine for you. See if you can change your service over the phone without the need a service technician. We saved $30 a month with a 5 minute phone call. Thanks for reading. Ed

  10. Thanks for post, probably I would be fine with 3-4 Mbps also, every saved dollar is welcome. Also I heard story that one of neighbors asked Internet provider to reduce speed of Internet, and his Internet provider offered him 40% discount on same speed if he signs contract for two years. That also sounds fine!

    • Tod, I like the 40% discount, but I sure hate contracts! Maybe I’d pull the trigger on that if I knew for sure that I’d be somewhere for two years. Thanks for stopping by, Ed

  11. Netflix is definitely the way to go instead of cable these days. Almost everything can be streamed online…sometimes you have to go to the dimmer parts of the internet to find the prime stuff but it’s all there!

  12. Wow, Ed. I just found this article: http://www.403bwise.com/403bstories/2013_11.html You are all over the place! I wish I’d have found this sooner. I am in the same boat you were but wasn’t asked to be on a committee regarding this. The number of brick walls we run into just to get our 403b funds efficiently going to the right place is crazy.

    Are you at a school now where they allow you to put those funds directly into a Vanguard, Fidelity type account?


    • Mark, it’s amazing how bad most 403b and 457 plans are. I used to write a lot about it, but the subject just made me a bitter and angry person. Instead, we’ve decided to quit our jobs in order to move our savings to better investment options (almost always a Vanguard rollover IRA).

      My current school does offer a solid investment option with Aspire Financial. We also use some annuity products to store money until we liberate it via quitting. When we use annuity products, we invest in fixed annuity products that DO NOT have surrender charges. We will not use any annuity products with surrender charges. Best of luck finding a decent 403b or 457 at your job. Ed

  13. I don’t think you’re cheap at all. It just depends on your lifestyle… I mean you say that you don’t watch a lot of TV. I don’t see the point of spending big bucks on cable or on a phone plan.

    We, on the other hand, watch a lot of TV and movies (we spend more time at home then at the movie theatre). An internet connection at 3mbps would be way too slow for us. We still opted for one of the slowest options. I believe we have 24mbps and streaming works just fine for long movies (cost us 40$/month). We trade a lot in order to get this service (i.e. we go less to the movie theatre or eat out less).

    Also — great move of using Netflix instead of traditional cable TV! I find that a lot of times we watch only a few channels and people pay big bucks for nothing! This is the case for us. We use ROKU which allows us to stream tv shows and movies, without the big price tag. Also, many TV channels likes ABC allows you to stream shows on their website for free. So why pay that much?

    I love your blog by the way!

    • Elle, thanks for the kind words. This past week my wife and I have fired up the Roku to catch up on a few show on Netflix. We’ve had more time to watch a few things since we finished school last week. We’ve watched very little Netflix over the last there months; paying a big bill for cable would be crazy for us. Plus, we all hate commercials. Everyone has to find their optimal price point, but it’s amazing how many people simply overpay for high-priced cable-internet-phone because it’s “normal.” Thanks for checking out my blog. Ed

  14. California656

    Dear Ed, I just “found” you through a podcast of MadFientist. I am a teacher (in my 50’s) trying to be financially independent. I may be late and I confess that I am somewhat jealous, but it’s better to start at some point, right? My first step is to eliminate my phone and internet excessive bill. I have Comcast and need the internet services for banking and emails. I use tracfone (I can’t switch it now because I purchased one-year minutes) and also have a chromebook (I use googlevoice). Could you tell us how you get yours? You only wrote that you pay $20. Who’s your internet provider? Thank you again for this blog and for sharing your wisdom. You guys, MadFientist, JLCollins, GoCurryCraker, really changed my life for better! I am looking forward to enjoying my journey!

    • Cali,
      Taking any step toward financial independence is always good in my book. My internet provider is Vyve, and my $20 a month plan is a measly 3mpbs stream. Most times consumers are steered to more than they actually need. Contact Comcast to see how much their bottom-feeder plans are. We use Republic Wireless for our cell phones; our plan is the unlimited calls and texts with no data, $26 ($13 a month each * 2). I use a Google Voice number on my free “crappy” phone. You probably know the routine: Google Voice + Hangouts + Hangouts Dialer = free WIFI-only cell phone. (Post to come!) Finally, I’m so glad to hear that you’re benefiting from my puny contributions to the financial independence blogosphere…it does inspire me to get off my derriere and crank out a few more posts. (Unfortunately, I have to be shamed into writing at times!) As for those other bloggers you mentioned, they are truly awesome guys who are changing a lot of lives for the better. It’s fun for me to make my contribution to this revolution, and I do view it as a revolution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *