How I’m Saving $70/Month On Cell Phone Bills

The above numbers are my cell phone bills till last month

Cutting on recurring expenses will save you more money over time. Even if you save $10 a month, you’ll end up saving $120 in a year. That’s why it’s important to tackle recurring expenses first when trying to reduce the spending.

Phone bill is one such expense that’s hard to reduce considering the limited options available in the market. However, there is a good news for you. Google is offering Project Fi that’s such an inexpensive option to expensive carrier options available in the market. The best part of Project Fi is, you don’t need to compromise on your smartphone usage to save money.

I was using a major cell phone carrier before and I had been paying around $100 a month cell phone bill and the frustrating part is, I have to pay for the data I was not using. Almost a year ago, Hubby insisted I try Project Fi even though I was very hesitant to try it.

I was using iPhone at that time and never used Android phones before. I was unsure whether I’ll like it. Since Hubby insisted and I wanted to reduce our monthly cellphone bill, I went ahead with Project Fi. Oh Boy, now I’m so glad I did. I’m currently paying less tan $27 per month.

I also LOVE my Nexus 6P phone. In my opinion, it’s so much better than the iPhone I was using. I love the photo clarity and almost all the pictures you see in this blog are taken by my Nexus phone.

Project Fi is running a $20 off promotion on your first bill. Use my code OCW15F for $20 discount of your first bill.

Now let me tell you, even without this promotion I was planning to write this post. It’s just that this promotion came at the right time.

Pros and Cons of Project Fi:

Pros:

  • $20 basic plan with unlimited domestic talk and text
  • $10/GB data
  • You pay only for the data you use. For example, If I used only 100MB that monthm I’ll pay only $1 for my data that month.
  • You can add additional members in the group plan for just $15 a month
  • No contract necessary
  • You can use it with your existing iPhone
  • Can be used even when you travel internationally. International date cost is same as $10/GB
  • Partnered with 3 4G LTE carriers for the network. So, you wouldn’t see any disruption in network (I didn’t have any issues with network in the last 1 year)
  • Unlimited international texting
  • International calls at cheaper rate. I’d still recommend you try these cheap international calling options
  • Wonderful customer support. I hardly waited more than 1 minute to connect with them and I always used their Chat option.
  • Cons:

  • You need to  buy a separate phone that supports Project Fi (trust me, it’s soo worth it when you can save $70 a month easily) – I bought Nexus 6P and I soooo LOVE the phone. 
    • To use Project Fi, you need a Pixel XL, Pixel, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, or Nexus 6 (North America versions). – EDIT TO ADD on 4/18/2017: You can use your existing iPhone if you have one. I’m currently using my iPhone 6s without any problem. Even the Project Fi support team confirmed that you can use Project Fi with iPhone.
  • Not available in all Zip codes. Check to see if you live in a zip code they offer service
Note: If you decide to use my referral code above, you get $20 off of your first month bill and I get $20 off on my bill as well.

At-Home DIY Teeth Whitening Options

As someone who loves DIY and at-home beauty care, I never bought teeth whitening before even though I tried the Crest samples once in a while. I have been trying the baking soda one for a while and turmeric whitening option is something I started trying after I got pregnant. The ingredients are from your kitchen and it doesn’t take more than a minute to whip up these teeth whitening solutions.

Baking Soda and Lemon Teeth Whitening:

Mix 1 tea spoon of baking soda and ½ tea spoon of lemon juice. Brush your teeth with this paste and keep it in your mouth for 2 minutes before washing. Once done, you can continue your regular brushing.
I used to try this option until I got pregnant.

Turmeric-Lemon Teeth Whitening:

The baking soda whitening is not completely safe when pregnant. So, I started researching more on alternative and settled with this option. Turmeric being a stain maker in clothes, I found it really hard to believe that turmeric will whiten your teeth. After trying for a few times – let me tell you – it works.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, this a great alternative option to baking soda teeth whitening.

Mix 1 table spoon of turmeric with lemon. Brush your teeth with this paste and hold on your mouth for 2 minutes before washing. Once done, brush with your toothpaste.

52 Weeks Savings Challenge For 2017


Have you ever come across 52 Weeks Savings Challenge before? I have been thinking about this challenge for weeks now and I thought it’s a great idea to start from the New Year (from January 1st, 2017 Sunday) considering it’s quite simple and easy to follow.

What Is 52 Weeks Savings Challenge?

This challenge was creates few years ago in an attempt to promote savings. You save a certain amount every week and after 52 weeks, you get to enjoy the money you saved diligently.

The main benefit of this challenge is creating the habit to save money. By starting with such a small amount, we are encouraged to continue this savings habit weeks after weeks without giving up.

How It Works?

Dollars: You start off Week One by saving $1; then Week Two you save $2; Week Three you save $3, etc., until you reach the last week of the year, Week 52, when you’d save $52. Your savings would add up to $1,378.

Rupees: You start off Week One by saving ₹100; then Week Two you save ₹110; Week Three you save ₹120, etc., until you reach the last week of the year, Week 52, when you’d save ₹610. Your savings would add up to ₹18,460.

Where to Save The Money?

PIGGY BANK. Put your deposits in a piggy bank every week. Even though you miss the benefit of compound interest, this is the most effective method for this challenge.

How to Track This Challenge?

Print out this chart (Chart in Dollars / Chart in Rupees) and start checking the box next to the Weeks once you complete the challenge every week.

Also, I created a Facebook Group where you can share your weekly victories as well as ideas to save money. Community help is powerful and encouraging when needed.

When Does This Challenge Start and End?

The challenge starts on January 1st, 2017. Jan 1st is a Sunday and that’s why you deposit your first week money into the piggy bank. From there, every Sunday is the Deposit Day until December 24th (Sunday).

Since 2017 has 53 Sundays, to make this challenge easier we are going to skip the 53rd Sunday on December 31st and use that day to open our Piggy Bank and enjoy the money 🙂

If you don’t have piggy bank, now is the time to buy one. Are you ready?

If you find this challenge interesting, do share it with your friends. More the merrier 🙂

Healthy Brown Rice Vegetable Risotto

Cold weather calls for warn supper meals over here. Now that the move is a bit settled, I’ve been trying different dinner recipes lately and it was the first time I’m trying Risotto at home. To make it a bit healthier, I made the risotto with brown rice and even then it came out pretty tasty.

The below measurements serve 4 adults.

Ingredients:

  • Brown Rice – 1.5 cups
  • Corn – 1 cup
  • Green peas – 1 cup
  • Carrots – 2 cups
  • Celery – 1 cup
  • Broccoli – 1 cup (you can add 2 cups of broccoli as well. I only had a small broccoli left in the fridge)
  • Cheddar cheese – 1.5 cups
  • Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt – to taste
  • Ground pepper – 1 table spoon
  • Water – 5 cups

Direction:

  • In a pan, saute all the vegetables in olive oil for 2-3 minutes until they’re tender
  • Once the vegetables are a little tender, add the rest of the ingredients
  • Close the pan with lit and cook for 30 minutes until the brown rice is well cooked
  • Switch off the flame, add cheese and mix until the cheese is well combined
  • Serve

Instantpot Version:

  • Turn on “Saute” mode, add olive oil, and Saute all the vegetables for 2-3 minutes until they’re tender
  • Once the vegetables are a little tender, add the rest of the ingredients
  • Switch off “Saute” mode and turn on “manual” for 18 minutes NR
  • Once it’s ready and the whistle is down, add cheese and combine well until the cheese is mixed well
  • Serve

Financial Goals Planning For The New Year

December is about to be over and we are going to enter into a whole new year. How exciting is that? Year end is a great time to plan the upcoming year’s financial goals even if you don’t believe in new year resolutions. It’s a good time to sit with your family and talk about your current income, savings, and debt and how you want to proceed in the next year.

If you are not sure how to approach the financial planning, here are some pointers for you:

Categorize Your Current Finances:

Open an excel file, create categories such as income, debt, and savings and sub categories under each category. Let’s take savings as an example. List down where your money is saved including how much money is in each bank account, investment accounts etc. This excel file becomes an one page portfolio of information once you enter all the details. Once you are done inputting all the information, this excel file can show you your savings % vs Income. This is an essential starting point.

Now that you know your savings %, you should be able to see the areas where you need to tighten up your finances vs where you continue to maintain.

Plan Your Upcoming Year:

Now is the time to discuss upcoming year and life events you are expecting in the coming year. It can be buying a house, planning for kid, moving to a new job, or even putting your kid to daycare/school.

Each of these events will have an impact on your finances both positively and negatively. Also talk about the expected income in the coming year vs expenses. Again, calculate potential savings % based on the numbers.

List Your Priorities & Set Specific Goals:

It’s a no brainer that savings is more important than investment. But without investing, your savings will not grow. So, discussion on how you are going to invest the money is important as well.

For example,

Once you identify the areas you want to focus next year, create a list of things you want to do under each area.

Below are some of the examples:

Action Items and Responsibilities:

Once you identified the areas you want to focus as well as the list of action items you want to complete next year, decide on who is going to do what. Have a timeline within which each of you need to come up with a “plan of action” to achieve your goals. For example, if you want to reduce the grocery spending by 15%, create a plan on how you’re going to do it and share it with your family.

The beauty of this financial planning is, you, as a family, decided on the list of action items and when one of you come up with a “plan of action”, others need to contribute and support you.

Good luck and Happy New Year!!

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