Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I'm a Credit Card Hypocrite

Credit Card Hypocrite

The other day my wife and I were shopping for a new laptop, she changed jobs and were without a computer for the house, unless you include "my computer" which my wife purchased around 2006, it has no battery so it must be plugged in at all times, cannot download pretty much anything because of a certain error message about running a program that from a drive, and heavens forbid you X out of something, it could be another 15 minutes before you are able to get back on, and did I mention you also cannot restart the computer or shut it off without unplugging it.  Oh yeah it's a Peach!  But I digress........ 

We did our research on computers before hand and had maximum budget before taxes, she knew pretty much what she wanted between 1 or 2 computers, it really came down to the size of the screen, which was a difference of $200.  Because my wife and I keep our separate accounts and one joint account for items we equally contribute for ie mortgage, food, utilities, etc  this purchase was all her, I can deal with the Peach listed above.  I like any loving husband gave my wife advice on the purchase as we were doing the research together.  I said and I quote "I would put the purchase on a credit card you might as well get the miles/cash bonus for a purchase you plan to make anyway"  HYPOCRITE!  Now I haven't used a credit card for I believe about 2 years ago to make a large purchase of Airline tickets.  I am credit card debt free and I have been the anti-credit card guy since then.  So why am I giving advice to use a credit card? 

It all starts with what I can control and what I cannot control.  My wife is smarter than I am and I can't make her not use a credit card, I can do my best to influence her and provide her as much information on why you shouldn't use a credit card.  Dave Ramsey for example mentions a study that says credit card use at McDonald's found that people spend 47% more when using credit cards instead of cash (  Now I believe the difference is we are not making a random purchase, this is a planned purchase with an expected amount that we have in cash available for this purchase.  So my turning point would be I believe if you are making a large planned purchase, cash available in your checking account, it is not against the rules(Finance and Fitness Dreams Rules).  If you are able to get an extra $10(1% of $1000) for this purchase.  This makes the assumptions that you will pay the bill in full and on time, which definitely factors into the decision.  There is many factors that need to be considered, but as I have mentioned previously I am not going to use a credit card to make purchases, now or in the future, I have loan debt to pay off and I do not feel comfortable putting any amount of money on my own personal credit card. 

My advice for my wife is slowly progressing to putting ALL purchases on the debit/checking, but like any habit, one of the hardest things to do is stop doing it "cold turkey" so we are working on a process of gradual reduction.  My wife has been in the habit of grabbing whatever card is in her wallet, debit or credit and making a purchase.  We have slowly progressed to using 1 credit card only to make purchases, then using that 1 credit card to make only business expenses.  She has since changed jobs and no longer needs to make purchases on the credit card for business expenses.  After January 2014 is over in theory there should be zero purchases on the credit card and only debit purchases.  Because we tend to travel a credit card purchase will be in the mix in the form of airline tickets, car rental, hotel, etc and I think it is in our best interest.  I will pay cash directly to my wife when these purchases are made.  It's not a credit card free life, but it is certainly still heading in that direction while we work our way to Financial Independence, 

6 years 4 months and counting..................... 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Finance=Fitness Lose Weight=Savings, etc

The name of the blog much like most of my posts here are Finance and Fitness Dreams, I think there are so many different correlations to each other, that it deserved a special post to compare a little.  I will be the first to tell you I struggle with both Finance and Fitness, I'm not 600 lbs or filing bankruptcy, but I struggle to not eat an entire bag of chocolate covered pretzels or rack up credit card debt and I think these are highly correlated.

Let's start with a couple things that always pop up when talking about Fitness or Finance.  He's born with great genetics, that's why he has a 6 pack or the finance equivalent they were born into that money, these are the same thing just different worlds.  The real question is ok that's true you don't have great genetics, your family didn't hand you a trust fund on your 18th birthday, so WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

There are so many cases of people getting in better shape and increasing there net worth, so I believe these go hand in hand, here's a couple that Finance and Fitness terms that do that:

Money/Job=Healthy Food You Eat
Credit Cards=Junk Food or Carbs
Good Debt=100 Calorie Snack Packs
Retiring Early=Crossfit or Explosive Movement Exercise
Side Income=Going for that Extra Gym Session Saturday Morning
Investing in Index Funds=Walking

I'm sure there is 100's more, this was my brainstorm of Finance=Fitness, maybe you can come up with your own and we can get a huge list going or at least bigger list!

So many things have gone the other direction for Finance and Fitness in America and even all over the world, being in debt and overweight is the new "normal"  What are you doing to break out from this, I mean what am I doing?  I'm on a budget, I walk every day, I stay away from Credit Cards, I keep to a Paleo or Paleo Lite eating pattern, I practice what I preach.  Do I fail?  Every day, but if you move on from that daily failure, you can make the next day a success.  I ate chocolate covered pretzels yesterday(a lot of them), does that mean I'm ditching my Paleo Lite(90% Paleo, 10% Organic/Gluten Free), h-e-l-l no(said with attitude, neck cocked, possible finger wave), it means I'm going to do my best possible to eat right today and just as important as that is what went wrong yesterday so I can fix  this.  Because you know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results.  I know that yesterday my breakfast was very light, so I had a snack early, which left my lunch very small.  That means today a couple things are changing, I went with a heavier lunch, of more meats and vegetables, not just the small sandwich I ate yesterday.  I will not be going to CVS/Walgreen's to pick up some more junk snacks.  Is there other solutions, h-e-l-l YES(just shouting this time), I could have not waited till my 3rd alarm and then slept 20 extra minutes and ate a real breakfast, eggs and bacon.  Today was not that day, so we moved to another option, I was prepared in some way.

Be prepared. if it's one thing that's important about Finance and Fitness it's being prepared, if you are not prepared to make a major purchase you might resort to using a credit card or not have a good lunch and your eating chocolate pretzels and looking like this guy.

I mean if you really think about Jared could be the spokes model, yeah Jared's a model for Finance and Fitness.  What this guy do he got in shape, ate right to lose weight, does some exercise and boom has a net worth of 15mm(here's an article that says so  I of course prefer David Beckham and Warren Buffett(Mark Cuban rejected my offer, just kidding sorda).

I am also a big believer in "Laser Focus"  If you want to do anything to the best of your ability, you need to dedicate 100% of your energy if not you will not get the best possible results.  A simple way to think about this is try eating a healthy snack while doing a bench press, pretty tough to lift those 200lbs when you have an apple in your mouth.  I know that sounds a little ridiculous, but so is expecting the best results without dedicating yourself.  In previous posts I have mentioned that I Sprint and Relax, because otherwise I end up cheating a little on both.  For me I have 2 focuses currently and that's why I believe I ate a bag of chocolate pretzels yesterday, I wasn't laser focus on my fitness goals.  I have went from my Paleo challenge all the way down to Paleo Lite, I still have the ultimate goal of losing 14.8 lbs(down 2.2 lbs), but I'm not going to get there unless I change my habits Now.  I listen to a Dave Ramsey podcast every morning, as a friend from work says, he reminds you to save every day and I let him know yep I need that reminder.  It's the same for Paleo and Fitness, apparently I need an every day reminder.

Yes Finance does equal Fitness, neither one is easy, neither one is difficult on a numbers level spend less than you earn and eat less than you burn, seems simple enough.  It's not otherwise everyone would be wearing one of these shirts(abs in cutoff shirt and sweater tied over your shirt equals rich in my crazy mind).  So I guess what I'm saying is when I've made it to where I want to be I'll be wearing a cutoff belly shirt with a sweater tied over my shoulders............I can dream, Finance and Fitness Dreams.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

How We Are Cutting Costs on Our Cell Phone and You Can To......Republic Wireless Review

So it finally happened, I got fed up with paying over $200 to have a cell phone.  Sounds crazy but so many people out there are doing the same thing whether it's with Verizon, At&t, T-mobile, or US Cellular. 

One sunny day I was looking at my bills and realized there wasn't a huge amount I could change, my mortgage payment's staying the same, my student loan payment is fixed, what really can I cut?  Then it hit me, I am personally paying $80 every month to be able call a few people, send a boatload of texts, and search the Internet on my train ride home.  $80, that's $960 year, that's almost a $1000, that's crazy.  Doing some calculations on  if you would invest $80 monthly into the stock market and received a 8% return, you would have 119K!!!  You can't buy a Rolls Royce Phantom with this money but at least a huge down payment!  Who am I kidding we wouldn't buy this car, but you see what i'm talking about now.  I didn't want to give up my cellphone, so I needed a solution.

I decided to check out some personal finance blogs(tons of great info out there) and came across a really interesting concept with phones which made a lot of sense to me.  The idea is to use Wi-Fi as much as possible when making phone calls, sending text messages, and checking the Internet.  If for any reason you are unable to connect to those it goes through the Sprint network.  I liked the concept and I liked the price even better.  Here's a Republic Wireless Price Plans below:
                                 Republic Wireless

For me there was a ton of Pros and a few Cons.


  • New Moto X Phone for $300, less than retail price
  • Monthly Plan similar to mine, except $50 less month
  • No 2 year Contract
  • Quality of Service
  • Initial Expense of phone and only 1 phone option

I did the math and came to the conclusion that after 6 months I would break even and save $300 in the first year alone and as much as $465 if I went to the $10 Cell and Talk plan. I'm not even taking into account that if I stayed with Verizon I would have bought a new Iphone 5S which starts at $199.99, if you take that into account I would be ahead after 3 months and saving money, like I'm sort of rich rapper guy throwing dollars everywhere. Here's the breakdown:

MonthVerizon WirelessRepublic Wireless $25 PlanSavingsRepublic Wireless $10 PlanSavings

I bought the phone and took the plunge. Here's my review over the past 2 months of owning the new Moto X and joining Republic Wireless.(P.S. this link saves you even more if you join)

I purchased the phone online and used a promo code, similar to the link above and received the phone less than a week later in a Republic Wireless box with a shiny new Moto X inside.  Starting service could not have been easier, a few clicks and an email address here and there(Moto X is a Google Phone so having a Gmail account makes everything go smoothly).  I wanted to test it out since you have 30 days to return the phone, so I kept my Iphone and Verizon during this time, also because RW assigns you a phone number(you can change to your old number with a couple clicks as well) based on your area.  I had a couple small issues and huge pros alike, check out what I went through shown below:

Small Issues

  • I couldn't receive text messages from Iphone users because my imessages was still turned and my phone number was still registered as an Iphone user so all messages were trying to go to my new Moto X phone and would reject.  I actually blame this on Apple more than RW but it was an issue for about a week until this was eventually fixed
  • Sending picture messages in the first week or two was either extremely delayed like a day or two or the user did not receive them at all.
  • Overall voice/service quality is lower than my original Verizon phone.  My wife probably notices it more than I do, I would say if Verizon is a 10 for service, RW has been an 8 for me.
Huge Pros

  • Moto X phone is amazing!  I have been so impressed with the apps being just as good and in some cases better than Apple.  The Google Voice recognition(similar to Siri) is great, I couldn't be happier. The screen size, resolution, and camera are better in every aspect.
  • My bill since I have started has amounted to a total of $22.05, with a $12.25 bill coming.  I started with the 3G plan and it worked well, I switched about 2 weeks ago to the $10 Cell and Text plan and haven't missed a beat along the way.
  • Everything being connected to Google has been great, from Google Hangouts, Play Store, Gmail, the previously mentioned Google Voice, just great, much more friendly than every Apple product and Cloud system I have ever used.

Overall I have really enjoyed owning my new Moto X and being apart of Republic Wireless, it is a great way to save money and not to sign a contract for 2 years and pay $100 month to own a phone.  I highly recommend Republic Wireless, I have gone through the first 2 months of RW releasing the Moto X and it has been great.

 If you want to cut your cell phone bill and make the switch make sure to use this link to save an additional $19 by using this referral link or clicking on this Republic Wireless hyperlink.  Any questions or concerns, let me know and I can tell you first hand!