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Recently I got a raise. Not just a raise, but a RAISE. Without a doubt the biggest raise I ever got in my life; and that includes when you switch jobs for more money. I’m not going to say I don’t deserve it, I do. But it’s nice when the people or company you work for recognize your value. Oddly enough, the week before my review, my boss asked me what I thought I was worth. I told him the truth (and it was a substantial amount than what I was making). Sure enough, the next week, that’s what I got. I’m still reeling. (And I made him repeat it a few times to make sure I heard him right.)

This is pretty feel good since other things are going on where I work that I’m not particularly a fan of. I won’t go into details, naturally, but I have a feeling people I’m close to I won’t be seeing on a daily basis at some point in the future and that stings a little. I’m not the type of person to say “If he goes, I GO!” because no one is really like that, yet one of the things I truly love about my job is the people I work with. I’m thinking that circle is going to get smaller before the year is out. Shit.

That said, more about me. In addition to the raise, in the past two months I’ve made huge cuts into two bills, which will end up saving me about $120 a month. That’s nothing to sneeze at. The first was Verizon. I was paying $90 a month for my phone and I saw that they had unlimited data now for like $80, so I went to the store to get in on it. But when the sales guy pulled up my account, he said, “Unlimited data is a waste of money for you. As a matter of fact, you should lower your plan all around.”

“Oh yeah? How much would the new bill be?”

“$55 a month.”

“No shit?” I replied.

“Yeah, and that’s with the taxes.”

So, BOOM! $35 saved. Since there are wireless access points in so many places now and Verizon finally got into the 21st century with rollover data, it’s been working out extremely well.

The next big savings came from switching car insurance. I have been with Allstate for almost three decades. I was paying my bill online and my buddy Romka happened to look at my screen. “Dude!” he said. “You are paying way too much for car insurance.” I was paying $125 a month.

“Really? How much do you pay?” He told me. “But you have a nicer car than me.” He has a BMW. He said I should at least price it out. He’s with Geico. I went to Geico’s page to build an estimate. Holy shit.

I called my agent, who’s a GREAT guy, and asked him if Allstate could come close to that estimate. He said I should call Geico first to see if I could actually get that price and then call him back. I thought that was a good idea, so I called Geico, they told me yes, in fact, I did qualify for that price. I called back my agent and he said there was nothing he could do. It was too much of a difference and he wouldn’t blame me if I left. I felt bad because I’ve dealt with him for almost 10 years or so, and he’s always been on his game. But the difference was so big, I’d a been a fool if I didn’t.

Allstate – $125 a month.

Geico – $53 a month. (I got another discount on top for putting my home insurance in it.)

Right?!?!?

That’s insane. And the thing is, I would have stayed with Allstate if they had come reasonably close. Even at $75 a month because I’ve always received quality service from them. But, sadly, it was time to move on.

(And of course I did some research. Most comparison reviews I said stated the same thing; Geico is cheaper but you don’t get the same personal service. Allstate is more because of that added touch. But, all things being equal, they provide the same coverage.)

I know what I’m going to do first with the extra money; pay off bills, naturally, and get my house painted. But after that I’m gonna start plowing the money in the bank so I can have a nice(r) down payment on a new vehicle when I pay off mine next year. I’d like to keep the one I’m driving now just for work once it’s paid off, and maybe get a Kia or Hyundai SUV.

We’ll see.