You work hard for your money. Here’s how to keep more of it.

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You work hard for your money. Here’s how to keep more of it.

As I write this, the economy is in really bad shape and there isn’t a regular person around who’s not buying less because of it. But I’m also thinking that, even when the economy is fine, and American cheese singles are not almost $7 a package, so many of us – myself included – still struggle buying groceries, paying down debt, and having any money at all left over for some fun.

My point is that especially now, but also always, having a household budget in place is crucial.

“Budget” sounds like “diet” to me

The word “budget” always sounds like “diet” to me. And who likes diets? Diets are restrictive. Difficult to adhere to. Punishing even.

But diets have their benefits. And budgets do too. When adhered to even just a bit, both pay dividends. Your clothes are a little more comfortable or your blood pressure drops a few points. You’re able to take the kids to the movies or to spring for a manicure.

If you want something, you have to work for it. Well, I want to help you keep more of your hard earned money in your pocket and I’d like to do the same for myself so let’s get into this budget business now. Because honestly, I need to do something about my nails.

How to set up a budget

First, determine how much money you bring in after taxes. This is easy enough to do if you receive a regular paycheck. For the sake of this exercise, let’s pretend you bring home $2,000 a month. Let’s also pretend you bring home another $500 from a side hustle or two. That’s $2,500 a month.

Next, pick a budgeting method. From what I’ve read about the 50/30/20 method, it sounds like the method for me. My mother, on the other hand, has always used the envelope system.

With the 50/30/20 method, you allocate up to 50% of your post-tax income for needs, 30% of your income for things you and your family want, and 20% gets put into savings and is also used to pay down debts.

With the envelope system, you get paid, cash your check, and place cash in envelopes you’ve marked “Mortgage,” “Utilities,” “Cell Phone,” etc. and then, when enough cash has accrued to pay a particular bill, you deposit the cash, write a check, and pay the bill. As I said, my mom swore by this system and I know people who still use it. But it means carrying a lot of cash and having a lot of cash in the house. Those things worry me.

Having said that, for the sake of this post, we’re going to work with the 50/30/20 method.

So, what are your needs?

As I mentioned, with the 50/30/20 method, you allocate up to 50% of your post-tax income for needs. Needs are essentials, the things you absolutely must have for living and typically include:

  • Groceries.
  • Rent or mortgage.
  • Utilities.
  • Car payment.
  • Car insurance.
  • Health insurance.
  • Child care and/or any other expenses incurred so you can work.

Since we’re pretending you clear $2,500 a month, that’s $1,250 you can spend on needs. Start by writing down each of those categories and assigning a dollar amount to how much you spend on each every month. And when it comes to car and mortgage payments, budget for making just the minimum payment allowed. Any more than that should go in the 20%/paying down debts category and for the purposes of getting started, it’s best to work with the minimum payment you can make.

What are the things you want?

As I mentioned, with the 50/30/20 method, you allocate up to 30% of your income for things you and your family want. Again, since we’re pretending you clear $2,500 a month, that’s $750 to put toward wants.

Remember, needs are those things that are essential. Wants are things like:

  • Take a vacation
  • Go to the movies
  • Eat dinner out
  • Get a monthly manicure

Deciding what’s a “want” and what’s a “need” can be tough. Is a manicure a want? Or maybe it’s a need because you know you have to look a certain way at work. Give this part of your budget serious thought as you develop it. If something looks like a “want” but you know in your stomach it’s a “need,” put it in that category.

Now, let’s save some of your income and use some to pay down debt

With the 50/30/20 method, you allocate up to 20% of your post-tax income and put it toward savings – for retirement, out-of-the-blue expenses, etc. – and paying down debts. With $2,500 in post-tax income, that means you have $500 for this category. I find it easiest to split the 20%, and put 10% ($250) in a savings account, and the other 10% ($250) in a checking account specifically for paying down credit card, student loan, and other debts.

Budgets… and reality

In the scenario we’ve just gone over, you have $1,250 for monthly needs, $750 for monthly wants, and $500 for monthly savings and to put toward paying down debt. The reality may be though that you need more than $1,250 for your monthly needs and in that case, you need to “borrow” from or, more accurately, not put as much into the other categories. This is normal. Let me say it again: this is normal. This is most likely your first time putting a budget together which means it’s the first reality check about where your money is going that you’ve had. We’ve all been there. Breathe. Now that you see it in black and white, you can do something about it. And you will. And things will improve.

Tools for tracking and managing your budget

Now that you understand how, by using the 50/30/20 method, your post-tax income should be allocated, you need some way of managing that information and charting your progress. You can keep it all in a notebook or create a spreadsheet in Excel or Google Sheets. There are also, as you can imagine, lots of apps dedicated to helping you organize and manage your budget. Personal Capital, Mint, and Goodbudget are three with very good reviews plus they’re FREE. I can’t see the sense in working hard to keep more of my money and paying for an app, but that’s just me. Explore them all and read the reviews then pick the one that works for your needs.

Final thoughts about budgets

Your budget is a tool, and a flexible tool at that, to help you. As your circumstances and priorities change, revisit your budget and make the necessary adjustments. It’s a good idea to review your budget at least once a quarter to see how you’re doing and to pat yourself on the back for making progress. To go back to the diet reference I made earlier, it’s like feeling your clothes getting loose, or having your doctor say your blood pressure is down. It makes you feel good, like the effort is worth it, and gives you the motivation to stay the path.

The next section provides tips on more ways to keep more of your money. Try one. Try five. And put the money you save toward your needs, wants, and savings. It all adds up to improving your financial position.

 

More ways to keep more of your money

Set up automatic transfers

Spend a few minutes on your computer setting up a monthly automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account and wala! You’re free from thinking about it and worrying if you did or didn’t take it care of it this month (or any month). In addition to alleviating that money worry, you’ll have the pleasure of watching your savings grow as if by magic until one day you discover that vacation you’ve been saving for is ready to be taken.

Keep the change

And I mean keep it. Every day. Empty your pockets and pocketbook of your change at the end of the day and put it in a jar. Do this for 30 days then count it up and deposit it into your savings account. This is by no means a get rich quick scheme, but you’d be amazed at the chunks of cash you can save this way. In fact, one time a long while ago, we needed a new sofa. With a mortgage and two kids, a new sofa wasn’t happening any time soon, I assure you. So I convinced my husband that we should save our change. Every day we put all our coins in a huge planter we named Bertha. (Why Bertha? I honestly can’t recall.) After six months we counted it up and can you believe it – we’d saved almost $2,400. Guess who got a new sofa?

 

Do a home energy audit

Did you know that your coffee maker, toaster, phone charger and other devices suck up energy even when you’re not using them? They do – and they can account for as much as 20% of your monthly electric bill. Take a walk around the house and unplug these items and others you’re bound to discover. You can also make your home more energy efficient by replacing air filters every 3-6 months, and making sure your windows, vents, and even the space around electrical outlets are properly insulated. This prevents your A/C in the summer and heat in the winter from being wasted.

According to the Alliance to Save Energy, the average U.S. household spends $5,550 a year on energy. Purchasing energy-efficient appliances, making certain home improvements and taking actions – like those mentioned above – every day can save hundreds of dollars.

To see how you’re doing, ask your utility company to provide you a year over year expenditures statement so you can see if any of your bills are trending upward and taking steps to stop it.

Cancel those subscriptions

Cable television. Magazines. Gym memberships. Weight loss apps. These and others like them are subscriptions so many of us forget about, but still get charged for. Set aside time to review your credit card statements and checking account statements and you might be amazed at the number of items you thought you cancelled but are still paying for. Don’t have time to do it yourself? Try Truebill. The site searches forgotten subscriptions on your behalf which is great, but just be aware that for every dollar you save by using the service, Truebill takes 40% as what it calls a “savings fee.” So if they save you $500 annually on a particular bill, they’ll charge you $200. And while you save annually, Truebill takes that $200 fee immediately.

Lower your auto insurance payment

You compare the prices of electronics and clothes before you buy them, so why not compare auto insurance quotes? There are websites like credit report company Experian, that make comparing quotes a snap. Experian provides multiple auto insurance quotes in minutes. You can see all the best rates side-by-side and quite possibly save yourself more than $900 this year. Of course you can also do it the old fashioned way – by calling around. One of my best friends made a few phone calls and replaced her $300 a month plan with one for $55. In less than 20-minutes, she saved $2,940 a year.

Bring a list to the supermarket

Sure – you should join your supermarket’s loyalty program to save more on your purchases and if you hit Target or Walmart for groceries, absolutely get their app for additional deals. But the most important thing you can do to save money on groceries is to bring a shopping list of exactly what you need to buy. It takes just a few minutes to look in the refrigerator and freezer, pantry, and laundry room to determine what you absolutely need to purchase and write it down. It’s worth the effort to prevent buying things you don’t need or giving in to impulse purchases.

 

Cut out dining out

Or at least cut down the number of times in a month you dine out. I know how tough this is. Everyone is busy and exhausted. Cooking is the last thing you want to do after working all day. It’s just so much easier to say “let’s eat out tonight!” But I’ll tell you, you can save some real money by cutting restaurant meals out – or at least down. And when you do dine out, consider ordering appetizers only or sharing an entrée with your dinner companion. To save even more, skip the drinks and the dessert. (You can always have those at home!)

Embrace your local library

Libraries today offer so much more than books. They are a treasure trove of digital options including movies, foreign language classes, audiobooks, e-books, music, and more – for adults and children. And you can access all these items – including books! – free, simply by presenting your library card. Many libraries now allow members to “check out” passes for local attractions. Libraries in Atlanta provide members with passes to the local zoo, the aquarium, and the science center. Call your library and ask if they offer free passes to specific events and activities.

 

Switch – or ditch – your cell phone carrier

If you’ve never considered looking into free cellular service, this is the perfect time. Life Wireless offers government subsidized cellular services through the Affordable Connectivity Program to qualifying individuals and families. And, if you’re unemployed or participate in a government benefit program such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, or WIC, you already qualify for this Federally funded free cellular service. As a participant, you receive the following, free, each month: Unlimited talk, text and data*, and a free smartphone or you can bring your own.

Even if you’re paying just $20 a month for cell service, wouldn’t you rather have that $240 to spend on the needs highlighted in your budget or to put toward paying down debts? It takes just a few minutes to complete the application. Do so now, and you could be cutting your monthly cell phone bill to nothing in no time.

Plus, if you’re approved for Life Wireless/Lifeline Assistance Program and sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), you get two sources of free talk, text, and unlimited data that you can split between two phones. That means free cell service for you and free cell service for someone you love. If your child has been asking for a cell phone, this is a terrific opportunity to provide him or her with talk, text, unlimited data and the ability to stay in touch with you!

Of course you don’t have to split the service between two phones, you can keep it all on one. But it’s a wonderful option if your spouse, child or relative needs a phone – and who doesn’t? – but has been unable to get one due to the expense.


Whichever option you choose – to keep the data on one phone or split it between two – Life Wireless will make sure you receive the free talk, text, and unlimited data to help you stay connected.

Option 1: Combine Your Data

Activate Lifeline and ACP on the same device and receive unlimited talk, text, and data, plus 5GB of mobile hotspot.

Option 2: Split Your Data
Split your data between two phones or supported devices and you’ll have one device with ACP’s free talk, text, and 6GB of data and a second device with Lifeline’s talk, text, and 4.5GB of data (6GB of data in California).

Limit your online shopping

There’s only one sure fire way to limit online shopping and buying things you probably don’t need. And that’s to stop saving your billing information on your favorite sites. (If you’ve already done it, delete it.)  That fact that you have to input your shipping address and credit card information every. single. time. you want to buy something from Amazon or Target or wherever, is enough to make you say, “the heck with it!” Really. The extra work is an amazing deterrent.

 

Keep more of your hard-earned money with Life Wireless. Start now!

Why have cell phones become today’s back-to-school essential?

There are dozens of reasons parents and kids need to be able to connect during the school day.

For starters there’s the matter of “forgotten items.” You know, they call and beg you to drop what you’re doing to deliver … the homework they need now, the sports gear they’ll need later, the musical instruments the band instructor inspects daily, the library book they needed to return a week ago…

For forgotten items, they need a cell phone.

Then there’s the “I don’t feel well,” “My braces broke,” “They made us run in gym and now I think I have heat stroke” stuff.

And of course there’s the “I forgot to tell you I’m going to a friend’s house after school,”  “I need to stay late so I won’t be on the bus, can you come get me later?” and the inevitable “Can we have pizza for dinner?” communications.

For all of these announcements and requests – and many others – kids need to have a cell phone.

But that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank to get them one.  

Get your student – and yourself – a free smart phone

I know – it sounds too good to be true, but it is 100% for real.

Life Wireless offers government subsidized cellular services through LifeLine and the Affordable Connectivity Program to individuals and families who qualify. These programs are backed by the Federal government and provide you and your student with the following each month:

  • FREE Unlimited Talk & Text
  • FREE 15GB Data (+ more data for California residents)
  • FREE Smartphone (or bring your own)

If you’re unemployed or if you participate in a government benefit program such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, or WIC, you already qualify for this federally funded free cellular service. Just think, for an investment of a few short minutes to apply and be approved, you can give your student the ability to stay in touch with you (and you with him or her!) at school, after school, and wherever their schedule takes them.

Once you’re approved for Life Wireless/Lifeline Assistance Program and then sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), you get two sources of free talk, text, and unlimited data. This means that you can split that service between two phones. And the result is that you get free cell service and a free smartphone, and your student gets free cell service and a free smartphone. You just have to remember sign up for ACP.

Things to know once your student has a cell phone.

Once your child has a cell phone it’s practically guaranteed that he or she will be glued to it, or at least attempt to be glued to it. It’s kind of understandable, particularly if they’ve waited a long time to get one. But being glued to anything – a smartphone, tablet, television, gaming system, etc. – is never a good thing. So it’s up to you to set boundaries and direct your child’s digital consumption. Of course it goes without saying that they’ll roll their eyes and give you an attitude but remember: your house, your rules. And besides it’s for their own good.

Following are a few ideas for managing your student’s screen time.

Limit the amount of time your student can be on his or her cell phone. Kids – young ones, tweens, and teens – need boundaries and it’s up to parents to set them. Maybe allow them 15 minutes before they leave for school in the morning, half an hour before homework time after school, and an hour after their homework is completed in the evening to be on their phone. Limiting screen time is of increasing importance as studies have shown that mental health issues like depression, self-harm and suicide among US adolescents and young adults began to rise in the 2010s, not long after social-media platforms and smartphones were introduced. 

Get into their business. Know who your kids’ friends are, both online and off. Know their parents, if possible. And definitely know what social media platforms they’re on, what sites they go to online, and exactly what they’re doing on those sites. It’s also an excellent idea to be friends with your child on whatever social media platforms they are on: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. This way you can keep an eye on the user names of people who follow your child and also see if any of your child’s videos are being saved far too many times. Disturbing user names and videos that have been saved thousands of times are enormous red flags that require immediate parental involvement. Your child might not like being “friends” with you online, and you might hear, “You don’t trust me!” but stay strong and vigilant. There are, sadly, lots of parents out there who wished they had known who their kids were interacting with and what sites they were on.

Look into those apps. There are literally thousands of apps that tout how educational and beneficial they are for kids, but are they really? There’s little research to back those claims. Make sure you know what apps your kids are using and even try them yourself. For additional guidance, check out associations like Common Sense Media. They offer reviews that can help you decide if an app is or isn’t appropriate for your child and find others that are. Another great resource? Other parents and your child’s teachers.

Set the example. Consider ditching social media or limiting your own use to no more than 30 minutes a day. Your kids may not follow your lead immediately, but give them time and spend the time you would have been on your phone doing things with them and others in your community. Real life friendships offer deeper levels of well-being than any friendship struck up online and spending more time with your kids is always the best investment.

If you have little children or grandchildren… Remember that little ones learn best by communicating face to face. Talking back and forth in a face to face conversation is critical for language development and learning to read social cues. They can’t get those skills from gaming or watching a show or movie. Two way communication is the key to strong language skills. And while in person is best, chatting with parents, grandparents, older siblings or far flung family members via FaceTime or Zoom works too and goes a long way toward helping kids become good communicators and students.

The importance of play. On the weekends, during school breaks, and over summer vacation, set limits as to how much time your child can be on the phone. Otherwise, frankly, they’ll be hunched over scrolling away for hours at a clip.  We know a woman who gives her kids an hour of screen time in the morning, another hour after lunch, and two hours in the evening to be on their phones or gaming systems whenever there’s no school. Other than those times, they need to be involved in unstructured playtime. That can be running around outside, reading, writing, pursuing a hobby, practicing a musical instrument, daydreaming, etc. All of these activities – including daydreaming – stimulate creativity. If you have very young children or grandchildren, daily playtime needs to be a priority.

Make certain areas and activities tech-free. No cell phones or tablets at the family dinner (breakfast and lunch, too) table and in restaurants. Same goes for family gatherings and social gatherings including things like church services. Keep televisions out of your child’s bedroom and resist the urge to have the television on as “background noise.” Create a cell phone station in the kitchen or other easily accessible common area where phones and other electronic devices can be charged overnight. The last thing you want is the light from a smart phone or tablet interrupting your child’s sleep or tempting your child to use them into the wee morning hours. If you don’t already have these “regulations” in place, it will take your kids time to get used to them but – hang in there. Studies show that the results of making these changes are more frequent and better family time, better sleep, and better eating habits.

Get in on their act. Play video games with your kids. Watch a show or movie with them. Doing these things promotes social interaction and bonding. It also gives you a chance to share your own life experiences and encourage good sportsmanship. So get down on the floor, grab a controller, and let the games begin. Your kids will think you’re the coolest. And that kind of connection improves trust and honest communication. Something you’ll value greatly when your child enters high school.

Talk to your child about the realities of online privacy. Unfortunately, most teens – and even many adults – think that using a social media platform’s privacy settings means their words, photos, and videos are private. Far from it. Anything and everything your child posts instantly becomes part of his or her digital footprint – and anyone can access it. Colleges, future employers, clubs or associations they might one day like to join can and do find it all. And that includes photos sent while sexting. Your child might not post those images to a website or platform, but the mere act of sending them to someone means that photo is forever “out there,” unable to be deleted or removed and thus able to be found. Encourage your kids to think before they post or sext and to come to you if they make a mistake. Let them know that, while you don’t condone that kind of behavior, you will be there to help if necessary.

Talk to your child about online predators and sex offenders. These bottom feeders are everywhere. Social media platforms. Chat rooms. Gaming sites. Websites designed to look like gaming sites or online stores, etc. They prey on kids who appear, by virtue of their posts, to be vulnerable. Depressed, lonely, feeling alienated, bullied, abused in some way – kids opening themselves up about these and other emotions are the siren call to sex offenders and sex traffickers. The best thing your child can do is not post these feelings anywhere online. Instead, encourage them to come to you to talk or, if they’re too embarrassed, to seek the counsel of a trusted adult. A teacher, coach, grandparent, the mom or dad of their best friend. Kids this vulnerable need real help and posting on social media can only get them hurt or lead them to hurt themselves.

Budget Busters

Today's Topic: Gas prices

Every time you think you’ve got your household budget set, gas prices go up again sending all your calculations down the drain. You need gas – to get to work, school, the doctor, so where can you cut your spending in order to be able to fill your tank and still purchase the other essentials you can’t live without? Following are a few suggestions.

Do a home energy audit

Did you know that your coffee maker, toaster, phone charger and other devices suck up energy even when you’re not using them? They do – and they can account for as much as 20% of your monthly electric bill. Take a walk around the house and unplug these items and others you’re bound to discover. You can also make your home more energy efficient by replacing air filters every 3-6 months, and making sure your windows, vents, and even the space around electrical outlets are properly insulated. This prevents your A/C in the summer and heat in the winter from being wasted. To see how you’re doing, ask your utility company to provide you a year over year expenditures statement so you can see if any of your bills are trending upward and taking steps to stop it.

Did You Know?

According to the Alliance to Save Energy, the average U.S. household spends $5,550 a year on energy. Purchasing energy-efficient appliances, making certain home improvements and taking actions – like those mentioned above – every day can save hundreds of dollars.

Lower your auto insurance payment

You compare the prices of electronics and clothes before you buy them, so why not compare auto insurance quotes? There are websites that make comparing quotes a snap, or you can do it the old fashioned way by calling around. One of my best friends made a few phone calls and replaced her $300 a month plan with one for $55. In less than 20-minutes, she saved $2,940 a year.

Did You Know?

Credit report company Experian provides multiple auto insurance quotes in minutes. You can see all the best rates side-by-side and quite possibly save yourself more than $900 this year.

Pack your lunch

It’s easy to give in to the convenience of fast food. But going out to get lunch every day, at $10 or so a pop, is $50 you could’ve saved. And you could’ve eaten healthier, too. Get into the habit of shopping for lunch foods and preparing a sandwich or salad before you go to bed. And until this habit gets really ingrained, leave yourself a note for the morning or you might just leave your lunch at home!

Did You Know?

A woman in the U.K. has come up with a time-saving way to make lunch sandwiches for her kids and herself. She pre-makes all the sandwiches in one sitting and freezes them, pulling them out on the morning she needs them. Her trick to preventing sogginess: she doesn’t use butter and she squeezes all the air out of the sandwich bag.

Embrace your local library

Libraries today offer so much more than books. They are a treasure trove of digital options including movies, foreign language classes, audiobooks, e-books, music, and more – for adults and children. And you can access all these items – including books! – free, simply by presenting your library card.

Did You Know?

Many libraries now allow members to “check out” passes for local attractions. Libraries in Atlanta provide members with passes to the local zoo, the aquarium, and the science center. Call your library and ask if they offer free passes to specific events and activities.

Switch – or ditch – your cell phone carrier

If you’ve never considered looking into free cellular service, this is the perfect time. Life Wireless offers government subsidized cellular services through the Affordable Connectivity Program to qualifying individuals and families. And, if you’re unemployed or participate in a government benefit program such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, or WIC, you already qualify for this Federally funded free cellular service. As a participant, you receive the following, free, each month: Unlimited talk, text and data*, and a free smartphone or you can bring your own.

Even if you’re paying just $20 a month for cell service, wouldn’t you rather have that $240 to spend on groceries or gas or other household essentials? It takes just a few minutes to complete the application. Do so now, and you could be cutting your monthly cell phone bill to nothing in no time.

Did You Know?

If you’re approved for Life Wireless/Lifeline Assistance Program and sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), you get two sources of free talk, text, and unlimited data that you can split between two phones. That means free cell service for you and free cell service for someone you love. If your child has been asking for a cell phone, this is a terrific opportunity to provide him or her with talk, text, unlimited data and the ability to stay in touch with you!

Of course you don’t have to split the service between two phones, you can keep it all on one. But it’s a wonderful option if your spouse, child or relative needs a phone – and who doesn’t? – but has been unable to get one due to the expense.

Whichever option you choose – to keep the data on one phone or split it between two – Life Wireless will make sure you receive the free talk, text, and unlimited data to help you stay connected.

Option 1: Combine Your Data

Activate Lifeline and ACP on the same device and receive unlimited talk, text, and data, plus 5GB of mobile hotspot.

Option 2: Split Your Data
Split your data between two phones or supported devices and you’ll have one device with ACP’s free talk, text, and 6GB of data and a second device with Lifeline’s talk, text, and 4.5GB of data (6GB of data in California).

More ways to save

Hit delete

Delete apps like UberEats, DoorDash, and GrubHub so you’re not tempted to spend money on pricey delivery services. You can still treat yourself to occasional takeout meals that you pick up yourself, or an evening out at a restaurant, but those apps are notorious for charging exorbitant fees on orders. On top of that, you also have to pay the delivery fee and tip the driver.

Barter

Are you handy around the house? If you have a private landlord contact them and see if you can do any work for them in exchange for a decrease in rent. Can you design a website or do bookkeeping? Are you an excellent seamstress? Do you speak a second language? Offer your talent and skills in exchange for things or care that you or your family need. True story: The son of a good friend of mine needed to have his wisdom teeth removed. She couldn’t afford the fee, so she offered to redesign and rewrite the dentist’s website. It was a win-win for everyone.

Ask

Are you paying a high interest rate on your credit card or cards? Contact your credit card company and ask them to lower it. They won’t offer to do it, but if you have a history of making your payments on time and for the minimum payment required, and you call and ask, it’s quite possible they’ll agree. Remember: if you don’t ask, the answer is always no. So ask.

Save on school stuff

Make sure you sign your children up for the free or reduced price lunch program most school systems offer and keep a lookout for school supplies and backpack giveaways conducted by churches, local civic groups, nonprofits, and even local insurance agencies like State Farm. These events typically take place a month to a few weeks before the start of the school year and your child will benefit from a new or like-new backpack filled with brand new pencils, pens, notebooks, paper, erasers, and more. Stocking up on school supplies can easily cost $100 or more. Take advantage of these events and save.

Cancel those subscriptions

Cable television. Magazines. Gym memberships. Weight loss apps. These and others like them are subscriptions so many of us forget about, but still get charged for. Set aside time to review your credit card statements and checking account statements and you might be amazed at the number of items you thought you cancelled but are still paying for. Don’t have time to do it yourself? Try Truebill. The site searches forgotten subscriptions on your behalf which is great, but just be aware that for every dollar you save by using the service, Truebill takes 40% as what it calls a “savings fee.” So if they save you $500 annually on a particular bill, they’ll charge you $200.

*After you have used your plan’s high-speed data 15GB allowance, we will not turn off your data. Your speed will be throttled to 256 kbps.

 

How to reduce your expenses by $240 (or more!) a year

With gas and food prices surging, Americans everywhere are feeling the pinch. Paychecks are stretched to the max, and expenses that can go, are gone. Things like magazine and cable television subscriptions, along with other nonessential purchases, are a thing of the past.

Wouldn’t it be nice to add your cellphone bill to that list? It’s quite possible that you can.

Life Wireless offers government subsidized cellular services to individuals and families who qualify and it takes just a few moments to find out if you do.

Complete the application here, and once you’re approved you’ll receive the following each month:

  • FREE Unlimited Talk & Text
  • FREE 15GB Data (+ more data for California residents)
  • FREE Smartphone (or bring your own)

I know – it sounds too good to be true, but this program is backed by the Federal government and it’s 100% for real.

If you’re unemployed or participate in a government benefit program such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, or WIC, you already qualify for this Federally funded cell phone service.

With inflation soaring, the ability to reduce expenses has never been more important. Even if you’re paying just $20 a month for your current cell phone plan, wouldn’t you rather have that money in your pocket? That’s $240 a year you could spend at the supermarket or gas station at a time when every little bit helps.

It takes just a few minutes to find out if you qualify. Complete the application now, and you could be cutting your monthly cell phone bill to nothing in no time.

Connect to a Better Life

Access to a phone is vital. That’s why Life Wireless offers government subsidized cellular phone service to individuals and families who qualify for economic or other types of benefit assistance described below.

Qualify and Service is Free

Qualified customers receive free cell phone service and certain residents may be eligible for a free cell phone. We also offer discounts to those who meet certain eligibility requirements, such as government assistance or a household income that is at or below the Federal Poverty Guidelines as dictated by each state.*

In addition, this free Life Wireless service is limited to one per household.

Examples of one household:

  • A married couple that lives together
  • A parent/guardian and child who live together
  • An adult who lives with friends or family who financially support him/her

Each of these are one household and must share one Lifeline benefit.

Examples of more than one household:

  • Four roommates who live together but do not share money are four households. They can have one Lifeline benefit each, for a total of four benefits.
  • 30 seniors who live in an assisted-living home are 30 households. They can have one Lifeline benefit each, for a total of 30 total benefits.

Keeping You Connected

Customers who qualify for Life Wireless service receive the following free:

  • Unlimited Nationwide Calling
  • Unlimited Text Messaging
  • Call Waiting
  • Three-way calling
  • Voicemail
  • Caller ID Service
  • No roaming charges
  • No charge for domestic long distance calls
  • Affordable Recharge Plans

We Look Forward to Welcoming You to Life Wireless

If you have questions or would like additional information, visit lifewireless.com or call to speak with one of our representatives at 888-543-3620.

*Life Wireless plans vary by state. To review plan details and acceptable subsidies in your state, visit: Life Wireless Free Government Cell Phone Plans

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To obtain Life Wireless service potential subscribers must meet certain eligibility requirements such as receiving governmental assistance or a household income that is 135% or below Federal Poverty guidelines for a household of that size, or the percentage guideline for your state. The specifics of what determines a potential subscriber's eligibility are specific to each state. Life Wireless service is limited to one per household, and cannot be combined with any other Lifeline offering.