It’s Electric!

18 Apr

First: an important announcement. For those of you who have been reading for awhile, you know that I am a BIG fan of Republic Wireless. I have the Moto X and their $10/mo cell phone plan and abso-freakin-lutely LOVE IT.

 

Republic-Wireless-moto-x

(you can check out my first review here, and second review here)

 

Yesterday, RW launched a lower priced phone option, the Moto G, for $149. (the Moto X is $299) If you’ve been contemplating switching phone providers, this is the sign that you need to do it. DO IT NOW! Even Mike is finally switching to a smart phone! (crazy huh? he’s never had a smart phone!)

 

Seriously– $10/mo and a smartphone for $149 (without contract)!? You cannot possibly beat that. Check them out! And if you do decide to go with RW, please consider using my referral link! You’ll get a $20 credit and so will I :)

 

 

Okay. Moving on! I’m here today to pass along some advice:

When you move into a new apartment and set up electricity, do me a huge favor… check your billing info, write down your meter number, and go into the basement or side of the house or wherever the meters are kept and MAKE SURE THAT’S YOUR CORRECT METER.

 

electric-meter.jpg

 

It sounds silly, I know. “well duh Ashley, why would we be paying for a meter that doesn’t connect to our house?” I agree with you. It does sound silly. But I am here to tell you that IT HAPPENS.

Two months ago, I received our normal emailed electricity bill. It’s set on autopay but I always check the bill just to make sure it sounds normal. As my eyes scanned over the text, they were caught by “Total due — $213” ….WHAT THE…?!?!  We normally pay somewhere around $30!
After 45 minutes on the phone and a journey into our creepy basement, I figured out the issue: we’ve been paying electric for the apartment above us ever since we moved in in November!!! HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?!

(and the fact that the apartment above us uses $213 worth of electricity in a month? that’s a whole ‘nother very weird issue that I don’t care to figure out)

It’s been a loooooong ordeal to chat with our landlord and figure out how much we should have paid and how much we actually did pay, and then get the money reimbursed.

Don’t go through what we did. Check your electric meter and make sure it’s really yours.

Don’t say I didn’t warn ya! ;)

Any utility horror stories to make me feel better?

 

20 Quick Ways to Save More Money

16 Apr

Did you catch the big change last week?

 

I created a brand new freebie for new email subscribers!

 

I switched out the old freebie (11 Reasons to Start Tracking Your Money NOW!) for a new one:

 

20-tips-save-more-money

 

I am so excited for you to check out this guide. Every single one of those 20 items is something I have actually done (or still do!) to save money in my everyday life.

 

They aren’t anything HUGE and life changing- I didn’t include “move to Rochester, NY” even though that is something that has saved me a bunch of money ;) It’s all completely do-able action steps!

 

To check it out, sign up for my email list!

 

Sign up NOW to get your free copy!

 

 

And if you are on my email list and already got the guide- have you tried any of the tips yet? Or do you have any of your own to add? :)

 

 

24 hours of roadtrippin’

15 Apr

Mike and I made an epic roadtrip down south this weekend to go to the wedding of one of his friends from college.

 

The wedding was in NC, so about 10 hours from Rochester. To split the driving up, we decided to drive to VA, hang out with my family, and then drive to NC. By splitting it up, we ended up driving over 24 hours in a 4 day span. And by we, I of course mean Mike, because he ACTUALLY LIKES DRIVING? I hate it. So that works out nicely. [Thanks for driving me all over the east coast, Mike! :) ]

 

I did a really bad job at taking pictures (it was actually really nice to NOT be glued to my phone… anyone else feel like that sometimes?) but I’ll try to recap our adventures anyway :)

 

road trip view

Quite frankly, most of our time looked like this, so not taking pictures didn’t miss out on much…

 

Thursday:  left Rochester at 4pm and got to my parent’s house in VA around 11pm. We got to hang out with them for a bit (why are my parents better at staying up late than I am?!!! this is not okay) then crashed.

 

Friday: drove the 20 mins to our old apartment complex (the one we were living in before moving to Rochester) and walked our old 1.5 mi loop around the neighborhood, just like old times.

 

kingstowne-trees

It was B-E-A-UTIFUL outside (like, 75-80 degrees… YES) and we were loving every second of it. We got lunch at Baja Fresh (another one of our fav places while we were living there) and then drove to Burke Lake to hang out and stare at the water.

 

burke-lake

so pretty, huh?

 

burke-lake-selfie

Not the most flattering camera angle… whoops

 

tanning-in-yard

Then we went back to my parents house and “tanned” in the front lawn :) By “tanned” I mean I just laid on a beach towel and took a nap ;)

 

That night we met up with one of Mike’s old roomies (HI STEVE! you better be reading this!!!) for dinner and then watched Anchorman 2!

 

Saturday: woke up reeeeeally early (7am, haha) to leave for Winston-Salem, NC! The drive went by pretty fast– it was only a little over 5 hours and we even got to stop for bbq on the way :) We checked into the hotel and got ready then it was wedding time!

 

pre-wedding-selfie

The wedding was SO cute and super fun. No pics because a) I was too distracted to take my phone out and b) they specifically asked people to not take pictures during the ceremony/cake cutting/etc. I thought that was pretty cool- it’s nice to not have everyone “watching” those big moments through their phone’s camera!

 

Sunday: regretted my beer-drinking life decisions at the wedding. Struggled to pack and get out of the hotel by 11am, dragged our stuff to the car, and discovered a flat tire. WOMP WOMP. (we had driven over a big piece of wood in the road on the way down- Mike was convinced it was going to give him a flat tire and I said “no no no, it will be fine!” turns out he was right). So then we (and by we, I mean Mike, obviously) changed to the spare tire and drove to a thankfully-open Merchants Tire. (not many places were open on Sundays down there)

 

It took a looooong time but they found the hole and fixed the tire- FOR FREE! How cool is that? We think they felt bad because it took over an hour for the tire to be repaired. The manager gave us his card and told us to come back. That was awkward, since we live 10 hours from his shop… but we took it and said “sure!”

 

We finally hit the road to head back to VA at noon. 6 hours later (we took some detours on the way home to see downtown Lynchburg, VA and Charlottesville, VA) we were back at my parents house and had a cookout with my brother and his family!

 

It was such a perfect way to end our time in VA- cookouts probably won’t be possible in Rochester for another month or two, so it was nice to enjoy while we could!

 

Monday: we left my parents house at 9am and got back to Rochester around 4pm. LUCKILY it was still pretty warm so the transition back to the Arctic wasn’t too painful ;)  I convinced Mike that we needed a treat to welcome us back so we walked to the ice cream place that is WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE of our house. (that will NOT be good for my budget)

 

Black cherry frozen yogurt- buy one get one free? YUP. p.s. are we instagram friends yet?! 

 

 

And that is the story of our weekend. Today I’m trying to be productive since I haven’t checked email or responded to blog comments since Thursday. I think I am going to declare Bloglovin‘ bankruptcy because I have over 100 new posts to read… ahhhh!

 

 

Where is the last place you road tripped? OR where is the next place you WILL take a road trip? (bonus points: answer both questions ;) )

 

“Will I want this in a year?”

14 Apr

In high school, the closest we ever got to a “home ec” class (are those even still a thing?) was our 8th grade Civics class.

 

bill-schoolhouse-rock

{via CNN.com}

 

I don’t remember much besides that “I’m just a bill, and I’m sittin’ here on Capitol Hill” Schoolhouse Rock video (anyone else got that song stuck in their head now? muahaha).

 

Also, I remember getting fake married to a classmate. Our teacher assigned us a partner and we to married them. Is that normal? Anyone else do that? We even had a “wedding day” outside where the teacher took pictures of us in a fake bride and groom costume.

 

[side note: I wish I still had that picture... my "husband" went on to become an almost-olympic rower. I could probably sell that picture to some paparazzi! (is there such thing as paparazzi for rowers? probably not...)]

 

After the wedding, we were each assigned a job and a yearly salary, and then had to “play grownups” for awhile by pretending to go grocery shopping, furtniture shopping, and apartment/house hunting while sticking to our yearly salaries. It was actually pretty cool- hats off to my school for coming up with a “real life” activity like that!

 

But anyway, my first marriage isn’t the point of this post.

 

The other big thing I remember from that class is something the teacher taught us about shopping.

 

He said that when we go shopping and are contemplating a big purchase, we should ask ourselves 3 simple questions:

 

“Will I want this in a day?

Will I want this in a month?

Will I want this in a year?”

 

If the answer to any of those questions is NO- then maybe you should reconsider your purchase!

 

Telling this to a group of 14 year olds was a pretty crazy move. I’d venture a guess that it went right over the heads of many of my classmates. But I guess I’ve always had the frugal gene, so I clung to that phrase. I loved it.

 

Try it in your life! Are you considering making a big-ish purchase? Ask yourself those 3 questions and really think about the answers. Don’t buy something that you know you won’t want in a month or a year! It’s not worth the money.

 

As 20-somethings, it’s easy to get caught up in doing things that we want right now. But we need to start looking to our future (even a year in the future!) and think about what will be worth it so us then. 

 

 

Do you have any shopping mantras that you use? Did you have a home ec class in high school?

 

 

Toastmasters Update

11 Apr

I haven’t updated you guys on my Toastmasters experience in awhile, have I?

 

That’s probably because I haven’t been to a meeting in a while, oops ;)  We meet twice a month, and I happened to miss a week when I was down in VA… plus one month had 5 weeks in it so we went 3 weeks before a meeting- so it’s been 5 weeks since I went to a meeting.

 

BUT… I am back. And this past Monday I had my first speech!

 

toastmasters manuals

Let’s rewind back to a few weeks ago first… I got my speaking manuals! The “Competent Communication” outlines the speeches I will have to give. I think the “Competent Leadership” outlines the ‘jobs’ that you can have in a meeting- like time keeper, vote counter, etc- but I haven’t really looked at it yet sooo yeah…

 

Anyway, back to the speech. I was so, so, SO nervous all day leading up to the speech. Like, embarrassingly nervous ALL DAY. It was ridiculous.

 

I had to give my “Ice Breaker” speech, which is a 4-6 minute speech about yourself to introduce yourself to the group. What an easy topic, right? You can’t go wrong- you can even make up stuff; who’s gonna know if you’re telling the truth or not?

 

My biggest mistake was that I ignored the speech until the day of. I didn’t plan ahead, I didn’t start thinking about the speech- I literally put it off until the very last second. That didn’t help my nerves…

 

So Monday morning I brainstormed my speech (I know it’s just about my life, but I wanted it to be cohesive and kind of like a story, rather than just spewing random facts) and jotted down the main points I wanted to include. Then I started practicing.

 

A few rounds of practice later, I had it pretty much down. But I was still so nervous! What if I forgot everything I wanted to say?! What if I stumbled over my words? I HATE PUBLIC SPEAKING!

 

I recorded one of my practice sessions ;)

 

I managed to survive the meeting and I think my speech went well. I got good feedback and they were impressed that I didn’t use notes (to which I said: why on earth would I use notes for the story of my life? [now you have the one direction song stuck in your head, don't ya? muaha])

 

toastmasters best speaker award

And I got a ribbon! Whoop whoop! I think they just vote for whoever is new… but I’ll still take it as a compliment ;)

 

Hopefully the next speech I give won’t be quite as nerve wracking. I think the biggest thing Toastmasters will help with is self-confidence– if I just keep doing it, eventually I’ll get my confidence up so that I’m not this nervous before every speech. If I want to stick with this entrepreneurship thing (or, quite frankly, ANYTHING in life) I need to know how to speak in front of an audience!

 

 

When’s the last time you had to do public speaking? How did it go?