Sunday, October 4, 2020

FWOTW: lowering our internet bill

It’s that time of the year where our internet service provider (Spectrum) raises our monthly rates.  We’ve been paying $44.99 a month for our internet for the last year and our promotion is now over.  Unfortunately, Spectrum is the only high speed internet provider in our area so we cannot switch providers.  This month, Spectrum wanted to increase our bill to $59.99, a $15 monthly increase.     

After my wife receiving the new bill, she went to and saw that they had now increased the new customer promotion for high speed internet to $49.99 for 12 months, a $5 increase from prior years.  She called customer service right away.  In the past, we’ve had to cancel and re-sign up for new service to keep our monthly rate down and get the new customer promotion.

To my wife’s surprise, the customer service representative instantly lowered her bill down from $59.99 to $49.99 to match the current new customer promotion.  It’s a shame that big corporations like Spectrum would rather reward new customers than keep their existing customers happy.  This quick 5-minute phone call will save us $10 a month, or $120 a year!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Side hustles September 2020

The great thing about doing side hustles to generate extra income is that you can hustle on your own terms.  The more hard work, time, and creative effort you put in, the more extra money you can make.  You can hustle as little or as much as you want, whenever you want.  It’s your extra money, and you can choose how you want to spend it.  Instead of focusing on what ideas don’t apply to you, try focusing on different side hustle ideas that you can implement to work for your situation. 

Once a month (usually on the 1st), I like to post a short summary of our personal and financial situation for the previous month.  While I don’t often post articles, I am committed to documenting all of my side hustle income.  Here I’ll share some of what’s been going on with our lives and our side hustles.  

Welcome to October! Did you have a good September?  Here in Southern California it’s been a very hot summer with record-breaking temperatures and plenty of wildfires.  Due to the heat and the poor air quality from the smoke, we have been staying indoors.  Our kids are old enough to start enjoying short movies, so we have been watching a few fun Netflix movies at home on the weekends.  Their current favorite is Octonauts and the Caves of Sac Actun.  Our kids are keeping busy making Legos, drawing pictures, and playing hide and seek around the home.  Here is our son's latest creation, a T-Rex he decided to convert into a Mosasaurus:

Here’s our monthly summary of side income that we have generated in the previous month of September.

Cash Back 
On 9.5, I received a $450, $37.30, and $7.34 statement credit on my Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card.  I don’t normally redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for cash back, but we don’t see ourselves traveling anytime soon while the pandemic is still raging on.  I just got charged the annual fee on my Sapphire Reserve card, and didn’t feel like paying for the fee from our checking account.  For us, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is a keeper.

On 9.13, my wife received a
$5 statement credit on her AMEX Gold card from AMEX offers, which offered $5 off a purchase of $10 or more at a small business establishment – a restaurant in this case.
On 9.20, my wife received a $5 statement credit on her AMEX Gold card from AMEX offers, which offered $5 off a purchase of $10 or more at a small business establishment – a vet bill.

Rental Income
On 9.5, we received a net profit of $550 from our rental property.  

Survey Income
On 9.8, I received a check for $15 from E-Rewards Medical for completing a medical survey.  
On 9.9, I received a check for $50 from E-Rewards Medical for completing a medical survey. 
On 9.10, I received a $50 Amazon gift card from MNOW for completing a medical survey.
On 9.18, I received a $30 check from My Impact Network for completing a medical survey.
On 9.28, I received a $20 check fro E-Rewards Medical for completing a medical survey.
On 9.28, I received a $30 check from M3 Global Research for completing a medical survey.

Miscellaneous Income
On 9.8, I received a $3 Amazon gift card from MyPoints.
On 9.18, I received a $3 Amazon gift card from Pampers Rewards.  While we no longer need diapers for our kids, I forgot that I had some unused points that I redeemed for this Amazon gift card.
On 9.25, I received a $10 Amazon gift card from Blue Shield of California, for doing an insurance survey.  

Monthly Totals:
We earned $504.64 from cash back income
We earned $550 from rental income
I earned $195 for completing online surveys
We earned $16 of miscellaneous income 

All of this totals $1,265.64 from our side hustles for the month of September!   We are continuing to save and invest.  We are saving money on fuel since my wife is working from home, and we don’t drive much.  We are saving money on entertainment expenses, since most places are still closed.  We are saving money on food, since indoor dining at restaurants have been closed and we mostly cook our food at home.  Pretty much all of our usual expenses have gone down – except for our electricity bill, which has increased due to being home more and using air conditioning to cool our home.  Keep saving and investing my friends!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

FWOTW: free roadside treasure

I was walking my dog around the neighborhood earlier this week and stumbled upon a battery powered Lightning McQueen car that one of my neighbors had left on the street. Attached to the mini vehicle was a piece of paper with FREE written on it. I didn’t hesitate to pick it up and bring it home. 

The car had few dents and scratches on the paint, some missing stickers and a missing exhaust pipe but overall it was in good shape. We wiped the car down with sterilizing wipes and charged the battery. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the vehicle ran smoothly without any issues! Our kids have been so happy taking turns driving this car around the neighborhood and local elementary school! 

Picking up this car for free allows another family (ours) to put this toy to good use without it going straight to a landfill. Picking this item up also saved us $149 from buying it at a store. Picking up this roadside treasure allows us to be frugal and environmentally conscious. And when our kids are no longer entertained, we will be sure to pass it along. I think Frugalwoods would be proud of us.

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