(Thanks to everyone for updating their bookmarks to the new site. I realize that the name change is a bit confusing, but in the past couple of months, someone snatched up all domains that would make sense for a site named A Dollar a Day, so I decided the best option was to do a rename. Moving from Blogger gives me a lot more freedom. I may write up a post in the next few days detailing how I made the move, for anyone who happens to be thinking of doing something similar.)
I was updating YNAB the other day, and I realized that my bill from Comcast was lower than it should have been. $20 lower, to be exact. At first, I was confused. Then I realized that my complaining had paid off.
We've had some pretty bad storms in the area over the past few weeks, so my cable was in and out for a while. Most of the time it didn't matter because the power was out as well. But about a week or so ago, my phone and internet went out during the evening. I called Comcast, mainly because I wanted to be sure this was a full outage and not something limited only to my building. They confirmed that there was an outage and said that it should be fixed in the next few hours. The following morning, the services were still down. Not a huge deal, since I was going to work and all, but I called again, just because I didn't want to find out it was really my apartment only that was out. They said that it was still out, but that since I had called earlier, they would credit my account for the difference.
I find myself standing up for my financial self more than I used to, for lack of a better phrase. A year ago, if I saw a random $1 charge on an account, I would probably just shrug and pay the charge. Now I find myself scrutinizing things more closely and calling with questions if things don't make sense. A few weeks back, I opted not to do the "automatic" $1 donation to a charity along with a bill after researching the charity and deciding that there were much better places I could donate my money. My old self simply thought "Well, it's only a dollar" or "Well, it's only a few dollars." My new self says "Hey, that's my money, I earned it, and those dollars add up!" If I pay a monthly fee for a service and that service is unavailable for 12 hours, I deserve some sort of credit for that.
(Part of me wonders if this is a bit miserly, to be honest. But think of all the money that is "lost" due to people not paying attention to bills.)
I've also noticed that I'm more likely to return things. I would always return clothing that didn't fit or that didn't match what I thought it would match. But other things wouldn't get returned. For instance, if I bought something because I thought it was on sale and then it wasn't - if it was something I'd use anyway, I'd just keep it. And then likely never use it.
Two recent examples of this:
CVS was recently holding a deal on a certain brand of razor blades. I'm not super picky about brands when it comes to razor blades. My only requirement is that they be of good quality and not destroy my skin. I picked up two packages. Turns out the deal could only be used on one package. I could have kept the second package, as I probably would have eventually used up the blades. But they cost more than I wanted to spend. So I returned them.
Last week, while trying to find anything to relieve my sinus infection symptoms, I picked up a different brand of decongestant than I normally buy, in hopes that the different product would provide the relief I needed. Before I could open the package, my doctor called me back, prescribed an antibiotic, and recommended a different brand of decongestant, one I hadn't even thought about trying. I picked up the items the doctor recommended, and considered just tossing the other decongestant into the cabinet, as I might use it at some other time. Then I realized that the better plan was just to return the medicine, get the $11 dollars back, and then, if I decided I wanted to buy it again later, actually buy it again later. Definitely the better decision, considering that I am in love with the new decongestant and will likely want to buy that over any other products anyway.
Did these things take time? Yes. Was the return amount huge? Not really. But again, these things add up.
I wonder how much money we could all save if we just paid attention to what we were being charged and returned things that we didn't want.
Abundant Life Spending Spree - $204,800
I hit a wall on this one. I'm not sure what I would buy with $204,800. It might buy me a condo in the D.C. area, but well, I'd like to use one of the upcoming amounts to buy a house, and do I need a condo and a house in the same area? Probably not.
So we'll say that I would use this to buy a small house in my hometown in the midwest. Just a little place that I could rent out if I wanted or that I could stay in when visiting friends and family, to prevent them from having to host me.
Since this was a pretty weak answer, I'd love to hear what you would buy for $204,800. Any great ideas?