Monday, 4 September 2017
With our cell phones beginning to stutter due to old age and abuse, we decided to take a chance with unlocked phones from Costco, ones where we just move our existing sim cards to the new phone. We have T-Mobile, with 5 lines and unlimited data. The old phones had little sim cards – the new ones, Moto 5G Plus, have micro SD cards: a hidden cost! Our bargain phones are still bargains, but we spent another $50.00 for the cards after buying the phones. We also bought $8.00 cases for the new phones. What started out as $219 per phone has since become about $275 per phone. Is it worth it?
Unlocked phones are nice in that they are transferable from one carrier to another, even if you do have to get a company-specific card. There is not a lot of fluff on the phones, such as “My Sprint” or “My T-Mobile” or other “features” which take up space and data overhead. The Moto 5G Plus sports a pretty clean set-up, with Android Nougat. As we set the phones up, updates came up along as well. Once we got the details down in the phones, such as downloading apps we use or like, adapting to the new phones was pretty easy.
We have a 90-day return window with Costco, so we will see over the next several days how we like the new phones. Meanwhile, Mr. 182 will strip down the ones being replaced to see if we can “redo” the older ones. Then we will decide if we want to keep the old ones and return the new, or not. We use our older cell phones for things like audio books and picture taking, as well as other weird electronic things Mr. 182 finds on the internet. The nice thing about Costco is their return policy on electronics.
Our monthly expenses for August were a bit higher than usual because of vacation, but they were paid for in advance. The mess-up on my paycheck threw us into a financial tizzy, and to be safe, we used our lowest-rate credit card for some of our hotel expenses. We did this step knowing that we have upcoming medical co-pays which will be about $1500 in September. In another way, our budget in August dropped simply because I paid bills due in the first half of August during the last week of July.
Credit Card Payments: $840.00
Student Loan: $786.00
Insurance: $616.00 (home, car, life)
Dog / House Sitter: $420.00 (worth every penny!)
Dog Food: $30.00
Auto Maintenance: $20.00
Household Supplies: $355.00
Dining Out: $32.00 (a friend was in from Japan.)
Total monthly costs: $7590.00, and less mortgage $3793.00. The interesting part – at least to me – was how much we needed to replenish food staples and freezer foods (meats primarily) and household items. We live in a high-cost housing area, which is why our mortgage is so big, but it is in line with much of our neck of the woods.
Looking ahead to September, these new phones may remain or leave and co-pays for medical will be necessary.
When I started down our financial clean-up path and planning for retirement, we often found ourselves short of cash every month, unable to comfortably meet emergencies. Now we can with greater ease. While not quite where I want us to be, there is improvement overall. It is easier for us to adapt to financial upheavals today than 18 months ago.