We’ve Moved!

Dear Readers,

It’s official! The 20-Something Budget now has its own web domain outside of WordPress, so please take a moment to head on over to www.20somethingbudget.com and subscribe to e-mail updates!

Thank you for your patience during this exciting transition. 🙂


Budget-Friendly Storm Prep

Source: National Hurricane Center

By now, you’ve probably heard quite a bit about Hurricane Sandy. In addition to the usual threat to the southeastern states and Bermuda, it appears that the remnants of the storm will collide with another storm system in upstate New York to create something called “Frankenstorm.”

Over the past couple of days, stores across the eastern U.S. have sold out of bottled water, flashlights, batteries, and non-perishable foods; generators are flying off the shelves; schools and subways are closing; lakefront towns are setting up sandbags; and several states have already been declared a “state of emergency.”

I still have some doubts as to the effect this weather combination will have on our area since we’re pretty far from the coast… Still, one can’t help but be a little concerned with all of the media coverage and “storm preparation” messages from various sources. (FEMA says you might need to poop in a bag!)

Thus, here is a list of 8 simple, budget-friendly ways to prepare yourself for a major storm – specifically one that includes heavy rain and high winds:

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New Wegmans Club Packs

I may be the only person on the planet who is excited about this, but I went grocery shopping this morning and discovered that Wegmans has recently repackaged their chicken breast Club Packs such that each chicken breast is separately wrapped. Up until now, they’ve all been crammed together in one shrink-wrapped package like the ground beef. Before freezing, I’ve been separating them into Ziploc bags since we only use two or three at a time – but never again!

(And yes, the price is still the same $1.99/lb.)

Third-Party Debate (Shameless Plug)

Are you dissatisfied with the two major presidential candidates this election season? Were you frustrated by the lack of substance in both the presidential and vice presidential debates?

If you’re interested in hearing alternative viewpoints on a number of issues, check out tonight’s debate at 9:00 EDT. The debate will be hosted by the Free & Equal Elections Foundation and moderated by Larry King. Participants will include Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party), Jill Stein (Green Party), Virgil Goode (Constitution Party), and Rocky Anderson (Justice Party).

Note: The major candidates were also invited to participate in this unique debate, but declined primarily due to restrictions from the Commission on Presidential Debates.

The third-party debate will air on C-SPAN and be streamed online at www.freeandequal.org

“The only wasted vote is voting for someone you don’t believe in.”

EDIT: In case you missed it, the full debate video can be found here. There will also be a second debate between two of the candidates (chosen by online viewers) in Washington, D.C. next Tuesday night, October 30th. Tell your friends!

The Student Loan Shuffle

Ah, debt. How I loathe thee.

In the past month: half of my husband’s private student loans were sold to Discover, his federal student loan servicing was sold to EdFinancial, and my credit card was sold to Bank of America. I’m not sure why everyone decided to do this at the same time, but it’s kind of annoying.

So far, we haven’t noticed any changes other than having to send loan payments to a different bank/lender. (In the case of the private loans, the monthly payments are split.)

In theory, the rates and terms of your loan are not supposed to change when it is sold. However, mistakes do happen, and there has been no shortage of horror stories. I’ve personally heard a few stories of botched transitions where the borrower suddenly had different monthly minimums and/or lengths of repayment, sent payments to the wrong place, lost communication with their lender, etc.

Have any of your student loans been sold? Did anything change for you?

Grocery Store Wars: Target vs. Wegmans

I received a coupon in the mail the other day for a free dozen of eggs at the Target down the street, which recently underwent major remodeling to include a Starbucks and full grocery section. While Target has always carried a fair number of grocery items, they have significantly expanded the section to include dairy, produce, and several other new items.

While Target’s biggest competitor in terms of “one-stop shopping” is probably Walmart, this location happened to be in the same plaza as a large Wegmans store. Thus, I decided to check it out and see how their prices compare.

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Freedom! (No More Verizon)

Well, it’s official… I switched from Verizon Wireless to Page Plus Cellular last night. I’m definitely not looking forward to my final Verizon bill (including an ETF of about $100), but it’s completely worth it considering how much I’m saving by switching to a prepaid plan.

Originally, I had been looking at either “The 55” (which gives you unlimited talk/text and 2 GB of data for $55 per month) or Unlimited Talk & Text with 100 MB of data for $39.95 per month. After tracking my data usage over the past few weeks, I determined that I can easily stay within 100 MB since almost all of my internet usage is on wireless. Thus, it made the most sense to go with the cheaper plan.

But wait! After porting my phone number and looking at the other options, I noticed another plan called “Talk n Text 1200.” This plan would give me 1,200 minutes (roughly 40 per day) and 3,000 texts (100 per day), plus the same 100 MB of data as the unlimited plan for $29.95 per month. Jackpot!

Monthly Verizon Bill: $70*
Monthly Page Plus Bill: $30
Total Monthly Savings: $40

*Note that this includes the 19% teacher discount that I had been desperately clinging to for years.

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