Author Topic: 50 and just getting started  (Read 5512 times)

readytoquit

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50 and just getting started
« on: September 08, 2012, 08:18:21 PM »
I realized recently that I can retire from my job in 2 1/2 years and draw a pension of about $3000/month.  I never thought I would want to do that, but now I really do.  My son is 10 and we home school, my mom has alzheimer's, just lots of personal reasons I'd like to stop working.  I found this site recently and started to wonder if maybe it really is possible. 
One thing I've realized immediately is that my living expenses are too high.  My house payment is $1764, my internet service is $149, my cell phone is $180, my electric bill is $600 . . .I could go on and on.  Reading here, I can see I could do lots better so here's my first question.
I tried to read everyone's posts about internet service, but I still can't seem to get started.  I'm way out in the country, and my only option seems to be satellite internet.  For my $149, I get 25G/month and we always almost go over our limit.
I checked ATT, they will only do DSL, and they won't guarantee the quality since I'm 1/2 mile off the road.
Any ideas?

bogart

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Re: 50 and just getting started
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2012, 08:28:57 PM »
I'm no help on the internet, and don't mean to throw a monkey wrench in your plans, but don't forget to factor in the cost of health insurance and health care, if those won't be included in your pension system.

I'm sure others will have more suggestions on the other stuff!  I can tell you that I have cell phone service through Consumer Cellular, it runs me $23/month (for 300 minutes), no long-term contract, very happy with them.  And at 50, you can (as I do) qualify for a discount on your bill with Consumer Cellular by becoming an AARP member ... not sure it saves much (relative to the cost of membership, but it surely breaks even (actually I think it saves me $9/year, net), and the AARP membership is also good for assorted other discounts.

James

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Re: 50 and just getting started
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2012, 08:31:21 PM »
I would start by trying the DSL.  Unless they are charging some ungodly startup fee, it can't hurt to try it.  Mostly likely they will get it to work to some extent, just need to know what extent that is.  And you need to know what service you need.  Do you use Netflix?  What is using up all those gigabytes?


Sounds like you are serious about making changes, welcome to the forum and good luck!

HeidiO

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Re: 50 and just getting started
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2012, 09:04:49 PM »
Congratulations on being so close!  I think as time goes by you'll start seeing more options.  One thing to start considering - how much do you love your house?  That's a hefty mortgage payment.  Is it worth working longer to keep it?  Or is that a great price for your area?  How many cars do you have?  Why is your electric bill $600?  Those are all questions I'm sure you'll be asking yourself over the next few years.
Heidi

tkaraszewski

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Re: 50 and just getting started
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2012, 09:42:13 PM »
I've had DSL service at the edge of the service area with no guarantee of service quality several times in different places, and it's always worked just fine. It's probably faster than satellite with no 25gb limit, and it probably costs 1/3 as much. I would try that right away.

Also the cell phone, you can get an iPhone plan with data and everything for half that price so I'm not sure what you could be spending that much on. Do you spend hours on the phone everyday? If not, you should be able to cut this cost in half easily.

I can only imagine the bulk of that electric bill is from air conditioning? Can you set the thermostat a couple degrees higher and see how much that helps?

The nice thing about these expenses is they're really easy to cut, unlike a mortgage payment that might require selling your house or health insurance that you might have a very small set of options to choose from.

Daley

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Re: 50 and just getting started
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2012, 09:54:31 PM »
I echo the suggestion on trying to see what sort of DSL service you can get going out there, never hurts to try... and Bakari is proof that 1.5Mbps service is usable. Stay away from satellite internet like the plague. If you've got good Sprint CDMA coverage, look into Virgin Broadband2Go, or if you have good T-Mobile coverage, look into their Mobile Broadband plans. Either way, if the DSL connection doesn't pan out, you're just going to need to go on a bandwidth diet to reduce that cost.

As for the cell phone, read the superguide and scale back on your usage.

I can tell you that I have cell phone service through Consumer Cellular, it runs me $23/month (for 300 minutes), no long-term contract, very happy with them.

I'm glad you're very happy with them, Bogart, but please tell me there's more to the love than just still claiming to be on a postpaid plan and their AARP discount. There's got to be some greater redeeming value to supporting Ron Maestri's career and paying an extra $13 a month and 25 a minute for overages over Airvoice Wireless for nearly the exact same service than just those reasons, right?

bogart

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Re: 50 and just getting started
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2012, 07:00:42 AM »

I'm glad you're very happy with them, Bogart, but please tell me there's more to the love than just still claiming to be on a postpaid plan and their AARP discount. There's got to be some greater redeeming value to supporting Ron Maestri's career and paying an extra $13 a month and 25 a minute for overages over Airvoice Wireless for nearly the exact same service than just those reasons, right?

I don't know Airvoice, but a quick glance at their webpage tells me I'd be about the same?  $10 per months + $.04 per minute for 300 minutes (which is pretty much what I use).  Or am I misunderstanding what I'm seeing on their webpage?

(Because CC lets you change plans month to month, including in the month you're in, I've had zero problems with overage, though, sure, if one weren't paying attention, the $.25 could be absurd.  I'll admit my point wasn't that I have the best plan ever, it was that there exist perfectly useful plans that are much, much cheaper.)

I do like their phones-for-old-fogeys, but perhaps I could continue to use the one I've got with Airvoice?

readytoquit

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Re: 50 and just getting started
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2012, 08:15:28 AM »
Thanks for your suggestions!  Luckily, I do have health insurance included with my pension.    I think my first goal will be to cut my cell phone bill.  I am, unfortunately, under a contract with Verizon but I've done some checking and I can keep one non-data type phone, get rid of the smart phone, and save myself at least $100 a month.  Once I get out of the contract with them, I can look at even cheaper options.
We live in Georgia, so I'm sure a great deal of the electric bill is AC.  We just started turning it up (warmer) and we're putting insulated curtains on the windows that get afternoon sun.  We're also putting up a clothes line.  We run our dryer WAY too much!  I figure at the very least we can dry towels on the line.
I'm pretty attached to the house because we have 22 acres and one of my dreams for retirement is raising our own food.  We already have chickens, pigs, and ducks and plan to raise and sell pork to an even greater extent once I retire. 

Daley

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Re: 50 and just getting started
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2012, 01:19:45 PM »
Frequently, depending on exactly how much you can scale back your cell phone usage and how much time is left on your contract, you can save far more buying out of it now instead of waiting it out to the end. Look at alternatives like Page Plus (where you can keep your handsets and your numbers both coming over from Verizon), and run the numbers.

Daley

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Re: 50 and just getting started
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2012, 01:31:18 PM »
I don't know Airvoice, but a quick glance at their webpage tells me I'd be about the same?  $10 per months + $.04 per minute for 300 minutes (which is pretty much what I use).  Or am I misunderstanding what I'm seeing on their webpage?

(Because CC lets you change plans month to month, including in the month you're in, I've had zero problems with overage, though, sure, if one weren't paying attention, the $.25 could be absurd.  I'll admit my point wasn't that I have the best plan ever, it was that there exist perfectly useful plans that are much, much cheaper.)

I do like their phones-for-old-fogeys, but perhaps I could continue to use the one I've got with Airvoice?

The Doro phones may be a different story given they're likely locked and I can't find any evidence that they will unlock those phones given they own Doro, but Consumer Cellular is using the AT&T network just like Airvoice. It never hurts to grab an H2O or Airvoice SIM card and see if it'll work with the Doros without unlocking as most AT&T MVNO phones will work with most other AT&T MVNO SIMs without doing so. Mostly. Never know until you try with the oddballs.

Barring that, the Just5 J509 phones are easy to find relatively cheap and network unlocked.

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bogart

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Re: 50 and just getting started
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2012, 07:53:42 PM »

The Doro phones may be a different story given they're likely locked and I can't find any evidence that they will unlock those phones given they own Doro, but Consumer Cellular is using the AT&T network just like Airvoice. It never hurts to grab an H2O or Airvoice SIM card and see if it'll work with the Doros without unlocking as most AT&T MVNO phones will work with most other AT&T MVNO SIMs without doing so. Mostly. Never know until you try with the oddballs.

Barring that, the Just5 J509 phones are easy to find relatively cheap and network unlocked.

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OK -- thanks.  I do know there's a thread (referenced earlier) with tons of good info. on phones, probably something I should look at more closely.