Tuesday, October 10, 2017

early Oct updates: money edition

On a recent post on credit cards and the data breach, I advised readers to freeze their credit. Since millions of smarties went to do this responsible thing, the three big companies, Equifax, Experian and Transunion haven't made it easy. (Warning, that link has a video that autoplays, but it's relevant.)

Servers were definitely congested, resulting in dropped forms and lots of frustration. I finally paid for the services for 2 of the 3 to freeze my credit, also not neglecting to spend a good 10 minutes looking over purchases in 2017. The only advice is to keep trying, especially the further we get away from the incident. One warning is that if you don't answer your background questions accurately, they may tell you it can't be done online, and ask you to mail a request to them with your name, address, social sec...PAHAHAHAHA. Keep in mind these people are supposed to be experts in security. They want me to mail all that in a letter than anyone could intercept?

Easy money.
Poorly-planned protocols aside, making it so that you have to take an extra step to open a credit line is the prudent thing to do; just don't lose that unlock code!

Also suggested is https://www.optoutprescreen.com/ to stop receiving those pesky pre-approved credit card offers that are littered with your personal info. The stoppage is supposed to last 5 years if done online.

Another update is that my filing with Unclaimed Property of the WA State Treasury went well! I got a check in the mail 2 days after sending the form!

Also, with Fall weather encouraging more indoor activities, you all should consider a Movie Pass. This lets you see one movie per day, any movieThis company mails you a debit card, and you use an app on your phone that shows you local theaters and play times.

When the company first announced the price drop to $9.95 per month, it took a lot of patience to navigate barely-informative webpages and sign up forms to get one. I got lucky, and mine arrived a week later.

Also, my phone battery is on its way out after 5 years, so that caused me to go on a pricing spree. The last time I tried to swap hardware on an Apple device went poorly, so between that and wanting to give Android another try, I went ahead and did some research. I ended up paying about $50 for a brand new Moto e4, a decent phone, with its own phone number. While it's not an iPhone 8 or Galaxy S7, it has a bright 5 inch screen, fingerprint scanner and is very fast and responsive. It also costs 1/16th what an unlocked top-of-the-line phone does and has a headphone port.

How'd I get such a deal? I unlocked a brand new prepaid phone and swapped SIM cards.

So, Walmart.com will let you pick up a Verizon Prepaid Moto E4 for $39.99 and "activate it" before you leave the store. Except they don't actually turn it on. So, I added another FreedomPop line by ordering a $1 LTE Sim, which always seem to be on special. The code to unlock the Moto e4 was $2 on eBay. Before turning on the phone, I swapped out the Verizon sim and turned the phone on and entered the unlock code. There's one more step before everything works: Set a custom network, which is 3 clicks in the Setup menu. An added bonus was that the Verizon prepaid phone didn't come with too much bloatware - all those free silly apps that slow down your phone.

All in all, Frugal Fall is working out pretty well!

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I am one of those people that uses the word  perfect subjectively. I think something is perfect if it does what it's intended to do ...