Friday, May 14, 2010


April 23, 2010

As many of you already know I am a huge fan of Dave Ramsey. While I am, what Dave calls, a math nerd I can see the logic in his system and truly feel that we will be totally debt free in six years or less, even with our current state of income.

That being said it needs to also stated that sometimes that means giving a whole new meaning to Dave’s statement of living on“rice and beans, beans and rice.” When people make that much desired phone call to Dave’s radio talk show to shout ‘WE’RE DEBT FREE!” he often asks them what was the hardest thing for them about getting debt free.

For many it’s giving up vacations, or a favorite vehicle or something similar. Up until recently I would have said it was not being able to run into the grocery store and just shop to my heart’s content. This last three weeks have changed my feelings on the hard to give up however. Now I would have to say it is not using the internet any time I please.

We aren’t sure exactly what is going on that suddenly we went from having plenty room on our 5G broadband card with Sprint to constantly worrying about every time we turn the internet on , but we are finding ourselves going over the 5 g limit with amazing speed on our Sprint card. This month Gary realized we were down to one G just one week into the month. That was nearly 3 weeks ago and life without my immediate access to the internet has been very frustrating and eye opening.

Before the sudden spike in our usage we did our mystery shops, read email, played Farm Town, Farmville, Barn Buddy and Country Life (cj’s farm) on facebook and NEVER went over. Now things have changed. Again I’m not sure why. But the internet is MANDATORY for mystery shopping so everything other than mystery shops and even most of that needs to be done another way, other than the air card. Even Sean, our son, has found that while job hunting at home he went hugely over this month to the tune of $125 extra on his monthly bill—and the month isn’t over yet! How he used over 7 G by himself when he’s been out doing yard work we’ve not figured out yet. Luckily his card is separate from ours.

To figure out what was happening we started monitoring everything VERY closely and what we found was surprising. None of were the least bit surprised the facebook games and streaming videos were mb eaters. So we cut them out on the computer, but still our 1 g started going down quickly. More cuts needed made and fast!

We both trimmed the number of emails we were receiving daily by going “no mail” on most of our yahoogroups. These first three steps slowed the downward spiral, but with three weeks to go it wasn’t going to be enough. Especially not when the majority of the jobs we had required mega photo uploads.

Next went leaving webpages open in the background. All those flashing designs, music and such are mb eaters as well. Even the rolling total of my mypoints tool bar was now considered costly. Weatherbug bit the dust as well. We now checked it twice a day. Once with breakfast and once before retiring for the evening. The rest of the time it is disabled.

Our news side bars were trimmed, as well as the automatic opening to webpages when we first started internet explorer. Updates were taken off of automatic and placed on manual. MORE needed to go, the usage was still too high.

We then started watching how many mb were used when a webpage loads. Some companies we work for require a four webpage load to get logged in. Each webpage is numerous kbs that add up to mb quickly. MORE needed to go. We put direct links to the log in screen for our main employers websites on our icon screens. We now only check for new jobs twice a day instead of repeatedly throughout the day.

What emails we answered get trimmed of every excess thing in them. Friends and family were told to not sent cutesy photos and definitely not videos any more. Links were great(we’d view them at a later time when we had room on the card to use the space), but attachments were no longer welcome.

We started reading as many work related emails as possible on Gary’s phone.

The usage slowed down finally, but there was now less than half a gig and we had 40+ of those big photo shops to deal with.

HELLO MCDONALD’S, Panera, Burger King, Taco Bell and anywhere else we can get free wi-fi! We have worked out a system that while Gary is doing his shops, I am at a place that offers free wi-fi for our use and while I’m shopping he’s reporting. It’s really made for some VERY long days. We have gotten spoiled to me entering jobs as we fly down the highway, which means only Gary needs to use it at the camper.

We have found some very negative things out. While McDonald’s is now offering their wi-fi for free it is iffy at best and they seem to have either done completely away with all electrical outlets OR the outlets don’t work. That’s so TACKY McDonald’s. Yes, your corporate headquarters will be receiving a letter from me about it. Yes, you have lost numerous sales over it this last three weeks, and you will continue to lose them as I take my single item purchase to another establishment that does offer not only free wi-fi, but also the ability to plug in our laptops. Panera is the big winner in this game.

On the other hand KUDOS to Branson, MO where on their Country Music Blvd (or whatever that street is named) they have if4e which equals free wi-fi for everyone. We have found wonderful connections at numerous places all up and down that main street.

Another thing we have learned is you can google (or search engine of your choice) the words “free wi-fi” along with the city and state you are in and find various places to get the service for free.

For the last 2.5 weeks we have uploaded all we can at these free locations. We also download anything we need/want there whenever possible. It’s four more days until our next month rollover and our5 g starts again

After all the long hours I have spent in fast food joints or the front seat of the truck in their parking lots I can guarantee you we will be still very much the tightwad with our usage once we are back up to 5 g. Sean says he won’t be using his again for quite awhile with that whopping bill he now has to pay.

So if you email me, be aware that I download my emails while at a free wi-fi place, then read them when I don’t have wi-fi, type the replies and queue them to send the next time I’m at free wi-fi. So it might take a day or two for you to hear back from me.

As for my farms and critters on facebook. I’m getting pretty good at working my way around with those too. I plant 3 day or longer crops, put as much as I can on auto pilot and only play when I’m at a free wi-fi location and AFTER all my work is done. I can still use neighbors on all my games and I do gift well when I get to play. So those of you that aren’t already my neighbor feel free to put in a neighbor request. LOL!

Jan who admits she’s hooked on the facebook games in and away from OK

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