Ting: How Our Family Pays Just $45 A Month For Service To 3 Smartphones

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Our family has been using Ting for smartphone service on three smartphones for over a year now and we are very happy with the service.

One major plus for Ting is their low low price. The largest monthly bill we received to date is $42.81–that means we paid just $14.27 per smartphone. However, most months our bill has been $33.81 a month. That means we often pay just $11.27 per phone per month.

Looking for inexpensive smartphone service? Check out how this family pays less than $15 a month for each smartphone.

Now we are pretty frugal with our smartphone usage (more on that in a moment), but I do think that most families could save money by switching to Ting.

How Ting Can Save You Money On Smartphone Bills

1. You pay only for what you use

Each and every month you start out in the lowest package available for talk, text and data. You move into bigger packages only if needed.

2. You can decide just how large a bill you want

Ting has a Device Settings tab where you can set caps on everyone’s phone for talk, text and data. This means that it is possible to make sure that your bill does not exceed the budget you set for it. For instance, I set data limits on all 3 of our phones so that we can’t exceed the second package level for data each month.

A Few More Benefits of Ting

1. Real people to help you whenever you need it

I had trouble getting the first iPhone I bought to work right. I had to call the Ting service department twice about it and both times they were very prompt, friendly and helpful.

2. You can bring any phone you want

At Ting you buy the phone you want to use and if they don’t have the one you want for sale in their Shop area, you are welcome to buy one else where and use it–provided it meets their specifications (see the BYOD section for more details).

3. You don’t have to sign a contract

If you try out Ting and find it just isn’t for you, you are not tied to any contract.

Looking for inexpensive smartphone service? Check out how this family pays less than $15 a month for each smartphone.

4 Ways We Keep Our Smartphone Bill So Low With Ting

I helped a friend see what her bill at Ting compared to what she is currently paying by using the handy rates chart Ting provides. You can do the same– simply click on how many smartphones (devices) you want to bring to Ting, then add in how many talk minutes you use in an average month, how many texts, how much data and the chart will tell you what your bill will be at Ting.

Chances are your bill might be higher than mine and you might wonder just how our family keeps our Ting bill so small–here is how.

1. We use free WiFi whenever possible

Where we live there is free WiFi almost everywhere and we take full advantage of it. We can get free WiFi at many of the grocery stores we shop at, the hardware store, several restaurants etc.

2. We use the “Usage Alerts” area to put limits on text and data

As I stated above, we love the Usage Alert area of Ting. I have it set to “suspend” if we go over text or data limits. If my teenagers or I go over those limits our phones–in non WiFi areas–become good for calls only, meaning we actually have to talk (Gasp! So 90s, I know). Now, I can set this for each individual device (smartphone). Meaning if one of my teenagers uses up their portion of the text package, they can’t text anymore–but I can.

3. We often use the message areas of Facebook and Instagram instead of text

Emoticon texts can really add up! One of my teens learned this the hard way when they went through almost all their allotted texts in 2 days when they first got their smartphone. That teen soon learned about the message area in Instagram and now uses it to chat with friends instead of texting.

I use Facebook messaging to chat with most of my friends and my husband.

Another huge text saver is that iPhone to iPhone texts when done in WiFi areas don’t count towards your text package. This is not so for Android users so it is something to consider when you are picking out a phone for pay-as-you-go service.

4. We keep our data off when we are not using it

My data is never on unless I actually intend on using it right that second. I have taught my teens to do the same. It takes all of 2 seconds to go into settings and turn it on should I want to look up an address, or post an Instagram picture.

What do I miss by not having my data on in areas where I can’t get free WiFi–generally N.O.T.H.I.N.G.  I see more benefit to this habit than drawbacks. It forces me to think twice before  plugging into my phone: “do I need to check Facebook yet again or would I gain more by staying in the present moment?”

The Ting rates chart. A great way to figure out how much you could save by switching to Ting!

This is a screenshot from the Ting website. I picked the size packages my family uses for our 3 phones. You can play around with it to see what your bill would cost. These are before taxes and fee rates but I pay less than $5 a month for those.

Check Out The Ting Rates Chart And See How Much Your Family Could Save By Switching To Ting

At the top of the Ting homepage you will find the Rates tab. Click it and scroll down until you see the chart that that looks like the one in the screenshot above.

Click on the boxes for how many devices (smartphones) you want to switch. After that, grab your current monthly cell bill and click on how many talk minutes, texts and data your family uses.

At the bottom of the chart you will see what your total bill will be at Ting (there are a few taxes and fees added on to the total. For my bill they equal $4.81 and are included in my per phone numbers rate at the start of this article).

Use this link to check out Ting | Snail Pace Transformations

If you found this post to be useful, make sure you don’t miss my latest posts! Have them delivered to your inbox by signing up for my weekly newsletter. Get to know the blogger behind the blog by following me on Facebook or Instagram.

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8 Places To Earn Starbucks Gift Cards Plus How To Make Them Go Further

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(post contains affiliate links: see disclosure)

As a blogger I spend a lot of time in Starbucks working, especially during my son’s soccer season when it is the closest place to his practice field with WiFi and plug-ins should my laptop need charging.

Of course, there are days that I don’t go to Starbucks to work, but to meet friends or simply because it has been a hard day and at that moment it feels like a caramel macchiato would be the perfect thing to help me trudge through to a better one.

Fund your Starbucks habit without wrecking your budget by using these 8 places to earn Starbucks gift cards. Your budget will love you for this!

Perhaps you can relate. If you can, I want to let you in on a little secret. I rarely pay for a single Starbucks drink from money out of our paychecks. Instead I use point programs, rebate apps and survey sites to earn Starbucks gift cards to support my habit.

I don’t spend a lot of time earning those gift cards either. My secret is to join several different programs, apps and survey companies and then figure out the quickest way to earn points on each platform. This means my earnings at each company are low, but my earnings when you combine all the different companies–it is enough Starbucks gift cards to keep my habit fully funded and sometimes even enough to share with others.

8 Places To Earn Starbucks Gift Cards

Point Programs

For each of these programs listed below I suggest you take 15 to 20 minutes browsing their ways to earn so that you know which earning methods best suit your personality.

Swagbucks

There are over 20 ways to earn SB points at Swagbucks that you can then trade in for gift cards.

The simplest way to earn is to download the Swagbucks toolbar and enter all your web searches through it. I have run the numbers a few times and discovered I earn on average 100 SB points a week this way. That means every 5 weeks I would have enough points to earn a $5 Starbucks gift card.

However, there are so many more ways to earn at Swagbucks that I used to average $10 or more in Starbucks gift cards each month in my pre-blogging days when I had very few referrals simply by doing things I already do online like shopping or buying daily deals.

This is my Swagbucks referral link | Snail Pace Transformations

Bing Rewards

You can easily earn a $5 Starbucks gift card each month from Bing Rewards (psst, the name is soon changing to Microsoft Rewards) by heading to your dashboard each day and clicking through the PC search area and hitting related searches until you earn 15 points. Then use the app to do 20 rapid searches and earn another 10 points. That gives you 25 points. Repeat that for 30 days and you have 750 points, which is more than enough for a $5 Starbucks card–even if you forget to do them several times during the month.

This is my Bing Rewards (soon to be Microsoft Rewards) referral link | Snail Pace Transformations

InstaGC

InstaGC can be a bit tricky when it comes to earning points, but what I love about their program is that you get your Starbucks card instantly. So if your friend invites you for a last minute coffee and your gold rewards card is empty (more on that card in a moment) you can hop over to InstGC and if you have 500 points or more you can cash out and grab a $5 Starbucks card in seconds.

I find the video section to be the fastest place to earn points. Do it with the volume down low while you are watching TV or reading at night and you should be able to earn points at a fairly decent speed.

This is my InstaGC referral link | Snail Pace Transformations

PrizeRebel

To earn points at Prize Rebel make sure you follow them on Instagram and Facebook where they often share codes that will earn you points when you enter the codes into the promo code area on the site (it is that little ticket symbol at the top corner of the screen). Here is another tip: press “get notifications” on their Facebook page and you won’t miss a promo code.

Another fairly easy way to earn points is to watch the videos in the “Engage Videos” tab. There are usually a few easy point actions in the offer wall area too. If you have more time, Prize Rebel’s survey area is fairly generous with points compared to many other point programs I have tried out–but their surveys can be lengthy.

This is my PrizeRebel referral link | Snail Pace Transformations

MyPoints

MyPoints is the first point rewards program I ever joined. My favorite easy point actions are the emails they send you where you can click through and earn 5 points–I earn a $10 gift card each year just doing this. That isn’t much, but it doesn’t take me any time at all to click through their emails while I am stuck in line at the grocery store or fast food restaurant.

MyPoints also offers pretty high points for shopping through their site at your favorite stores. One Black Friday I made $50 in gift cards from MyPoints this way!

This is my MyPoints referral link | Snail Pace Transformations

Survey Sites

MintVine

MintVine offers cash out for a Starbucks gift card valued at $10. You earn 5 points each day by taking a second to answer their daily poll. You can also earn points by buying your daily deals through their “local deals” tab.  If you search around their “offers” area you can usually find a few ways to earn quick points.

What I really like about MintVine is that if you go into their “survey street” section they offer an estimate of how long a survey might take you and it is usually very accurate. Plus, if you get screened out it is usually pretty fast and you sometimes earn a few points for your time.

If you like filling out surveys, this site is a great one to join and earn Starbucks gift cards from.

The only thing I don’t like about the site is that it can take what seems like a long time for points to clear and it takes a few days for e-gift cards to be delivered.

This is my MintVine referral link | Snail Pace Transformations

Coupon Apps

Ibotta

Ibotta is so much more than a grocery rebate app. You can get money back on your movies, clothing, eating out, pet supplies and more.

They currently only offer a $20 Starbucks card, which would take some time to earn but slowly your rebates will add up and in the meantime you can keep your my Starbucks rewards card filled with gift cards earned from faster sources.

This is my iBotta referral link | Snail Pace Transformations

Shopkick

One think I love about Shopkick is that you don’t have to buy a thing to earn points. You simply have to have the app open as you walk into stores that are offering walk in points.

They often have special promotions where they offer crazy high walk-in values. If you live in a town with stores that participate you can earn a fair amount of points each time you shop.

This is my ShopKick referral link | Snail Pace Transformations

One way to make your Starbucks gift cards go further

Sign up for the My Starbucks Rewards Program

So a few times above I have mentioned my Gold card and my My Starbucks Rewards gift card. Both are the same card.

Several years ago now Starbucks started the My Starbucks Rewards program. They just recently changed it all, but now that I am a few months into the new program I am really liking it.

To join, go here and register a Starbucks Gift Card (you need a physical, hold-in-your-hand gift card to do this). Make sure to opt in for their emails because their emails are full of great reminders such as double point days, BOGO sales, special My Starbucks Reward members offers and more.

Once you have registered a card you can refill it with the gift cards you earn from the 8 places above by going to the My Starbucks Rewards website and signing into your account, clicking on the “cards” tab, and then pressing on “Transfer Funds”. Click “transfer to” and then enter the new gift cards card number and card security code. You physical gift card is now all ready to go.

You can also download the app and the balance of your gold card will be saved in the “pay” tab, but from what I can tell you still need to go to the website to fill your card even if you do use the app and not the gift card.

You will get your own pretty gold colored Starbucks card once you reach 300 stars. Until then, once you are signed up and in the program you will be a green status member and at that level you will get a free drink on your birthday, plus free refills on certain drinks while in store.

You collect 2 stars for every dollar spent so that means you need to spend $150 to get a Gold card, but you are given a full year to earn it.

Once you reach gold level you get so much more than a gold colored gift card with your name on it.  You get a free drink or food item with every 125 stars you collect and you can take advantage of double star days so you can start collecting those points faster.

3 More Ways To Lower The Price Of Your Starbucks Habit

I know that not everyone enjoys participating in point programs, filling out surveys or uploading receipts into rebate apps so these next three options are for those people–because everyone deserves to keep their Starbucks habit for less.

1. Discounted Gift Cards

There are websites where you can buy gift cards at a discount. Here is how it works: you purchase a $25 gift card, but you only pay $22.50 because you purchased it for 5% off. You just saved $2.50 before you even walked in the door to purchase anything.

Cardpool

My family has used Cardpool for years to save money on home renovations, movies, clothing and more. When I wrote this I saw that they had Starbucks gift cards for 9% off, meaning a $10 gift card cost you $9.10 and shipping is free–or you can get an electronic gift card if you prefer.

Raise

My family has not yet used the Raise App, but I have seen other bloggers that I trust mention it. Raise is an app and offers only  e-gift card codes at a discount.

Daily Deal Sites

About once a year or so Groupon and/or Living Social offers a half price Starbucks e-gift card deal.

Ask For Starbucks Gift Cards As Gifts

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need one more thing for my home, so I love it when I get gift cards to my favorite coffee shops and restaurants as gifts. I love it so much that when people ask me what to get as a gift I generally always say, “Give me a gift card and I will think of you while spending it.”

If you found this post to be useful, make sure you don’t miss my latest posts! Have them delivered to your inbox by signing up for my weekly newsletter. Get to know the blogger behind the blog by following me on Facebook or Instagram.

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If You Want To Improve Your Finances You Need To Look At How You Manage Your Time

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If you want to improve your finances, you need to improve your time management skills. It truly is that simple.

Well, almost. You of course still need to take the time you find with your better time management skills and use it to do things that will improve your finances.

If you want to improve your finances you need to look at how you are managing your time. Saving time and saving money are more connected than you might think.

Now, I know what you are thinking, “But I don’t have time to waste–my days are packed.”

Trust me, mine are too. But I have learned that I waste more time than I think I do–especially if I don’t keep a close eye on exactly what I am spending my time on.

Every year I like to read a book or two on time management or take a course on it. It never fails that when I do, I find I have slipped into some time wasting traps once again and when I eliminate them life gets a little less frazzled and oddly enough we end up spending less money.

Why Wise Time Management and Saving Money Go Hand in Hand

When we run short on time we are often guilty of  doing the easy instead of the simple.

We grab take out because it is easy instead of keeping simple, quick dinner ingredients on hand. We spend our money and try to track it later because it is easy instead of taking just a minute or so to log our expenses into a simple budgeting app or in a notebook. We use our debit (or worse yet, credit) cards because it is easy instead of making the quick run to the ATM machine or bank for cash to fill our cash envelopes for the week.

When there is breathing space in our day we are more able to see that money saving tasks really are not that hard or time consuming.

If you want to improve your finances you need to look at how you are managing your time. Saving time and saving money are more connected than you might think.

Good time management can also help those who are currently struggling financially to finally take the time to:

Research, create and implement a budget

Here are 3 great books to read for learning how to manage and budget money effectively

Here are articles on both paper budgets and budget apps

Research and implement ways to save money on groceries

Research and implement coupons and rebate apps

Research and begin a side job that can provide the income needed to pay down debt or reach another financial goal

Two reasonably priced courses that can help you manage your time well

I have personally taken both Make Over Your Mornings and Make Over Your Evenings. They have helped me tweak my morning and evening routines in simple, yet effective steps.

If you want to improve your finances you need to look at how you are managing your time. Saving time and saving money are more connected than you might think.

 

The Make Over Your Evenings course helped me free up 25 minutes every morning simply by moving some no-brainer tasks into a time of day when I really wasn’t doing much. Okay–I was being a couch potato during that time and now instead complete a few no-brainer tasks that open up my mornings to do more complicated things while my brain is fresh.

 

If you want to improve your finances you need to look at how you are managing your time. Saving time and saving money are more connected than you might think.

 

The Make Over Your Mornings course helped me come up with a morning plan that included fun things that make me want to get up early.

Both courses have helped me find more time in my day to do the tasks that need to be done to keep us on track financially as well as the time I need to work on my blog, which has become a good, steady source of income for our family.

Both Make Over Your Evenings and Make Over Your Mornings are 14 day video driven courses. They are designed to be done in 15 minutes a day with a 5 minute video, a 5 minute reading and 5 minutes of filling out worksheets related to the course. Of course, you can do them at a faster rate or a slower rate once you have access to the course and you can even go in again and again to retake the course as many times as you want.

moym and moye

Go here to learn more/purchase Make Over Your Mornings
Make Over Your Evenings course sale!
Go here to learn more/purchase Make Over Your Evenings

 

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