We’re at Week 3 of a new blog series called Girl On A Budget, which chronicles the weekly challenges and victories of my friend Pamela Penny-Pincher who is on a budget. Every week she can’t spend more than $250 for food, clothing, transportation, emergency expenses or entertainment. Does it seem too easy or too tough? You try it!
This week, Pam-Pen-Pin had to deal with an emergency expense–a busted Iphone!!! Here’s how she handled it…
It was a successful within-budget Labor Day weekend at Kinderhook Lake. Great company (my friends rock!), amazing food, lots of fun. Too bad I dropped my iPhone in water during a midnight booze cruise when I got there. No, I didn’t drop it in the lake. I dropped my phone in a glass of water on the boat…while in the middle of the lake! Not only did it put a damper on my weekend sexting (a speciality of mine), but replacing it was probably going to put me over budget.
My original iPhone cost me $50 so you can imagine my surprise when AT&T told me the same phone was now $350! Apparently, in order to get a deal, you have to be a new AT&T customer or a long-time customer. Before putting myself on a budget, I easily would have paid for the phone with a credit card since it’s a necessity–but not anymore. Now, I have $250 a week in cash to work with and not a penny more. My plan was to let the cash keep me honest and work a little harder for a price tag I could be happy with.
Although I looked at cheaper phones, in the end I decided an iPhone was still for me. So I took the phone to Tekserve to see if it could be repaired. They said there were no guarantees they could fix it because it fell in water.
I’d already checked with a large corporate AT&T store that wasn’t helpful, so the next stop was a small franchise. The guy there wasn’t able to lower the price but did give me a good tip. He recommended a Verizon in the neighborhood that “might be able to do something” for me. Hmmmm…
So I walked one block to Verizon and it was a whole new world! They wanted my business so badly they offered a $220 credit to my AT&T account to cover my AT&T cancellation fee of $185 and to cover Verizon’s initiation fee. That means I only had to pay for the phone. Now this I was liking! It got even better when I realized they had a better selection of iPhones at Verizon. I took the deal and paid for a new iPhone 4 for a total of $100.00. I saved $8.00 in sales tax because I paid cash (that’s a Happy Hour cocktail!) so that totals $258 in savings just for taking the time to shop around – and I got a better phone!
I was proud of myself for not succumbing to the lure of using credit to deal with my problems, and that my super-sleuthing lead me to a great deal- that I used cash to pay for too! And despite the minor setback, the rest of the week looked pretty good. My fridge was full, and I even had a bottle of wine so the only thing I needed to fund was a social life. Was I going to have to live like a hermit to accomplish my goal? The answer is no. I used a pre-budget purchased Groupon with a friend for salsa class (4 classes for $19.00), I had a second date with a cute guy, and one of my girlfriends (oh my uber fabulous friends!) had people over for a smashing paella dinner. A wonderful week and new phone all for $250–good for me!