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I'm Amanda! So happy you are here. Grab a glass of wine, read along, and let's be friends.

Bills, Bills, Bills

Saturday, March 12, 2011
I worked so hard to avoid student loans during my undergraduate degree.  I filled out a ton of scholarship applications, saved my a lot of my measly $7.00 an hour high school salary, and went to an in-state college.  I was even on an $40 a week budget most of the way through college.  Yes, $40 per week for all my food, entertainment, clothes, gas, etc, etc...  needless to say it was a thrifty few years but I finally made it through scott free.

Then came my Master's degree.  I filled out my FAFSA and to my surprise the United States government gifted me $8,000 worth of subsidized student loans, no interest loans..... yes please :)  Soon enough the checks started coming.  Best of all the money didn't have to be spent exclusively on school.  Sure, most of it went towards paying for the pricey classes at Creighton ($2,000 per class), but I had a few other expenses come up in 2010...wedding, honeymoon, and a condo for Kevin and I.  Before I knew it my balance had grown to a hefty $13,000!  yikes.

But, after a nice tax refund and bonus, the balance is finally paid in full.  Victory. 

We're working hard to try to accomplish number six on our pre-baby bucket list (paying off student loans, our car, and saving up money).  I took a look at our budget the other day and Kevin and I have saved enough money to pay for the rest of our MBA programs, and if all goes well hopefully we'll make double payments on his car and get it paid off this year. 

Speaking of budgeting.  When I was putting our new budget together I took a close look at all of our bills for the first time in almost a year.  I have a habit of setting everything on auto-bill pay and not paying attention...  bad habit, I know.  Apparently Sprint had been charging us for $10 a month for some type of service that we accidentally signed up for (and that we don't need).  Then I took a look at our cable bill.  Almost $200 a month.  So we started going through all the charges.  Do you know how much Cox Cable charges per month for a DVR box?  $17.99 per month!  And best of all you never pay off the DVR box... you keep paying rent on it forever.  I have two DVR boxes at Kevin and I's rental house and one at our condo, so that means over the last four years we've paid over $2,600 for DVR boxes.  $2,600 dollars! 

I did a little research online and you can buy a really nice DVR box with no monthly subscriptions for $349.  Or there are a bunch of different Tivo options ($299 for the box and then $12 a month, or you can get a lifetime subscription to their service for $399) - in two years you'll have broken even on your investment.  AND Tivo has some features that your standard box doesn't have - it interacts with Netflix and Amazon's Unbox, and there's even an iPad app that allows you to use your iPad as an interactive remote. 

Pretty cool huh?  I'm still looking into all the options, but I tired of getting price gouged by Cox so I'm going to try to find out something this weekend.  If it were totally up to me I'd probably get rid of cable entirely and just keep our Netflix account to watch movies.  My husband promptly vetoed that idea since he wouldn't have live access to his sports channels.  Does anyone have any recommendations on a DVR box?  Or any ways you've saved money recently?


Anonymous said...

Excellent work Amanda...we are going to look into this also....Ann & Tom

Andrew said...

Haha, I can't stand cable prices. We took the extreme route, and axed cable all together. It's really not so bad. We get a ton of free channels, and hulu fills in the cracks.

Amanda said...

Hey Andrew-
Yeah, we're going to try to do the same! How do you like Hulu? Looks like Hulu and TiVo have signed some kind of deal so they can interact. I've never used it before but am going to start exploring the options. We're also going to try to go the free channel route too. Just bought a wireless antenna so hopefully that'll work. Seems almost too good to be true... Take care! Amanda

Steph said...

Just wanted to say that I wish I were as good of a planner as you are! Most of us will still be paying our loans into our 30's! I have finally started to take budgeting seriously becuase I never have before. What actually got me excited about it was a blog too! I know you don't need any help in that department but check out 'Budgets are Sexy' it's hilarious and the guy has some really good advice. Love ya!

Amanda said...

I'll definitely have to check it out. You never can know too much about all that stuff. Love ya! Amanda

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