Tag Archives: budget

Wrangling With the Cable Company

I check my bank account daily to see which bills have been deducted so that I can update my budget spreadsheet. I enter the amount paid and highlight it when it has actually been deducted since some payments take a few days to post. This is how I keep track of how much money I have for the rest of the month.

This morning, I checked my bank account as usual and noted that my payment to the cable company was about $17 LOWER than the normal amount. Subsequently, I logged into my Time Warner Cable account, which confusingly showed the amount due as the regular amount ($77), the amount paid as the lower charge ($60), and the balance as $0. Still confused, I opened the pdf of my monthly statement, which was of no help. Finally, I clicked the chat button to find out from the customer service person that I was given a promotional discount for internet for some magical reason. It occurred to me to ask what my bill would be next month because the promo I had wrangled for the past year should be up soon. Lo and behold, she tells me that next month it’s going to be $97!!

I have kept the cable only so I don’t have to pay a fee to cancel it. We don’t watch it. We watch our Roku or the streaming channels on our smart tv. Now was my big chance to finally cancel cable tv!

Long story short, I agreed to keep the most basic tv package that comes out of the jack in the wall, and I have to keep our internet because we use that every day. The kind gentleman I spoke with in the department that is apparently called “Customer Solutions” was very helpful and got my bill down to $57 for the next six months, after which it will go up to $64. But he said at the end of the six months I can call again to have “services re-aligned with your budget and needs.” Meaning that I can call back and make a stink and they’ll probably work with me. (Not that I made a stink, I was very pleasant, but straightforward. This gentleman was very nice and helpful and did his job well.)

I was actually quite pleased with how easy it was. The voice response system actually gives an option for cancelling services. I feel like I remember in years past they would never mention cancellation openly and it was like pulling teeth to get rid of the damn service you didn’t want or need.

I feel so accomplished! I’ve been waiting to downgrade my cable services and I’m so pleased with myself.

Hump Day Wins and Fails

I only have a four day work week this week thanks to Monday being a holiday. WIN! Lol, I admit that was not a personal accomplishment.

Tonight I came home and I really, really, just wanted to go out and eat. Red Lobster is running a special for two where you each get a salad and an entree and an appetizer or dessert to share. I know RL is not the highest quality (though when I was a kid it was high class!), but thanks to the power of marketing and my own weakness, it has been in my head. Plus there’s one about a mile away. Nevermind that the $30 plus tax plus drinks the deal would cost would buy groceries for a week (we buy most if not all of our meat in bulk at the beginning of the month at Costco, so we only buy produce once or twice a week throughout the rest of the month). Nevermind that I just found out that my filling that I need to have replaced next month is going to cost twice what I had thought. Nevermind that it was not in the budget, nevermind that January was supposed to be the month of not eating out and we’ve done so good so far and only have a week and a half to go!!!

Fortunately, when I got home and asked fiance what was for dinner (which is kind of mean-spirited of me since I almost always do the meal planning and he wouldn’t have expected to have to had come up with an idea – something else for me to work on), he said he was planning to have leftovers from last night’s dinner. Which was very magnanimous of him since he already ate those leftovers for breakfast and lunch today. I did too, for that matter, but I had another option (other leftovers) which I did not choose to pursue. ┬áSo, we did not end up eating out, keeping the streak of no eating out in January! WIN!

We did have alcohol both on Friday and Monday night this past weekend. I think the holiday made me feel like I was supposed to be on stay-cation and I am not familiar with vacations that do not involve alcohol. Some may take issue with this. So that makes a total of three violations of the no alcohol January for the month. Which is a significant improvement over a “normal” month, so that is good – but we still did not achieve the goal we had set. Now, we’re not going to just say eff it, why bother trying anymore? We are going to continue our efforts because the point was to save money and be healthier, and even without being perfect we can still save money and be healthier. So WIN in some unexpected ways, but FAIL on achieving the exact goal.

Budget-wise, I’d estimate that we are about $50 over our food budget for the month at this point, and then probably about $50 spending on alcohol that was not in the budget. There was a small buffer built into our budget as well as an extra $79 in random checks I magically received this month, so it did not hurt too much. Admittedly, it would have been better to be on budget and let the buffer and the surprise checks go towards debt or savings. So while I’m not totally disappointed in us, I will rate FAIL on this because I feel like such a child when I can’t be disciplined on the budget for a month. So maybe we’ll readjust next month’s budget to try to be a bit more realistic.

Exercise: FAIL. Just fail. I have done a couple of sessions, but really not even close to the 15 minutes a day I had set as my goal. Which is not even a lot! I could revisit this goal to see if it’s realistic, but I feel like I’m just lazy and I need to make myself do it, one way or another. Tomorrow’s another day!

A big WIN for me was that I finally talked to my mom about what fiance and I truly want for our wedding ceremony. When we first got engaged she made me promise we wouldn’t elope, and I agreed without really thinking about it because I wanted to please her. But after months of thinking about it, we realized that eloping was exactly what we wanted to do. We don’t want to go deeper into debt for a party, but we don’t want to wait to get married until all of our debt is paid off because that’s two years away. Also, it’s impossible to satisfy everyone’s expectations (for example, my sister was telling me I had to plan days’ worth of activities since I was having a “destination wedding” which we’re not, we live here, but neither of our families do). Most importantly we want the day we make this commitment to be about us, and the seriousness of it, and the joy of it – not babysitting or impressing other people. I guess I really don’t want to be the center of attention either. It makes me feel uncomfortable and I don’t think I can entertain people for four hours with just my wit and beauty. I totally respect anyone who wants the big wedding and reception, but it just isn’t right for me and my fiance. So I explained all these things to my mom and she took it really well. She insists on paying for a dress for me, which I have accepted. Also, she wants to pay for our airfare to my hometown in the weeks after the ceremony when we’ll have a party there so the locals (friends and family) can come celebrate with us. At first I tried to refuse but she argued, and it was true, that she and her husband are comfortable financially and would like to do these things for us. So I said ok. I feel good about it, and I’m totally ready to get married now. Well, we have to save for a wedding rings but I’m hopeful that my tax refund will take care of that. (They will be modest in fitting with our financial goals.)

In summation, some wins, some fails, and tomorrow’s another day! I’m not giving up anytime soon.