Recently my 8 year old car has been having a little issue. The things that hold the back tailgate thingy (technical term here) were shot. It started a while ago, but only when it was cold. I tried to ignore the fact that every time I lifted the back it tried to decapitate me by shutting on my head. Until it started happening every time I opened the back. Quite annoying and embarrassing when trying to load groceries in a busy parking lot! I decided to do something about it so I sent Mr. PennyWise to Advance Auto Parts to see what the replacement parts would cost. He called and said they were $31 each and we would need to replace both. I told him to come on home because I knew I could do better. I started by googling the part number to see if what the auto parts store was charging was a fair price. It was a pretty fair price so then I googled “Advance Auto Parts coupons”. This brought up my favorite place to find coupon codes online, RetailMeNot.com.
I’ve found that Retail Me Not is usually the most accurate and up to date source for finding online coupon codes and printable coupons. Shoppers can rate whether the coupon worked for them and also add comments so you don’t waste your time trying a coupon that has had little success. I found a coupon for Advance Auto Parts that was $20 off a $50 purchase. I added the part I needed to my cart, making sure to go through ebates.com first to earn 7% cash back, and checked out with the option to pick up at the store. By doing these extra steps, I saved $20 plus got $4.34 in cash back on something that I was going to buy anyway.
Taking the time to research your purchases is an awesome way to save money on all kinds of things!
When my oldest child was born and I left my job to be a stay at home mom, I looked in to every possible way to cut expenses. Since I lost my employee discount on my Verizon cell phone service when I left my job, switching to prepaid phone service was one of my first changes.
The first prepaid cell phone service I tried was Straight Talk Wireless through Walmart. The process of switching over was very easy as I just bought a new phone and was able to port the Verizon number I’d had for the last 7 years. I started out with their $30 plan because I did not have a smart phone at that time and was very satisfied with their service. I signed up for the Auto-Pay feature so I would never have to worry about my number being disconnected for forgetting to pay. I got the same coverage and service as I had previously gotten on Verizon and since I was on Auto Pay I never had to deal with customer service.
A few years later I decided to join the new millennium and get a smart phone. I upgraded to the $45 plan and activated my first smart phone, a Samsung T528g (I’m sure this is obsolete by now…). I hated the phone because it was slow and there were several times my text messages would get lost in translation. I upgraded to a Huawei Ascend Y a few months later and had the same problems. Straight Talk often offers free phones, usually reconditioned, in their online store so I wasn’t out much to get these phones but they were a hassle to use. The coverage and service remained the same but the phones were terrible. Walmart also offers bundles sometimes that include the phone and the service for nearly the same price as just a refill.
I had Straight Talk service for nearly 4 years and was mostly overall pleased with it. There was one time I activated one of my new phones and they lost my number, my number that I’ve had since 1999. I lost my mind and would not let it go with customer service and they finally, after many hours, fixed it. It pays to be persistent and document when you are dealing with customer service of any kind. In 2014 I was able to get a hand me down iPhone from my husband and at that time you could not bring your own iPhone to Straight Talk. I see you can now buy an activation kit to bring your own iPhone or other smart phone, so it may be worth checking out.
After doing some research I found that Verizon prepaid is the same price as Straight Talk and has mostly the same plan. I was able to port my number back to Verizon on the prepaid plan and I pay $45 a month for unlimited talk and text and 1 GB of data. When you enroll in Auto Pay it doubles to 2 GB and I have never gone over my data. There is no credit check or contract so it’s a good option if those are deal breakers for you. I’ve loved my Verizon prepaid service and have never had any issues with it. The only difference I can see from my days of contract cell phone plans to the prepaid is that I pay a lot less. With Verizon you can bring your own phone as long as it’s a Verizon CDMA phone (don’t buy a GSM, trust me).
I have broken two iPhones in the past year and have been able to find good deals on used ones on amazon. I have paid less than $100 each time I’ve had to replace one, which is a significant savings over buying a new iPhone for $600 dollars. I see that Verizon is offering a new payment type plan for many of its phones. When you do the math, if you pay $27.08 a month for 24 months you are still paying over $600 for the new phone. Personally I could not sleep at night nor leave the house knowing I had a $600 phone in my possession. I know it’s a priority for some people, but if you are having trouble paying your bills please know there is a smarter way to have cell phone service.