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Spending Challenge #1

By on Jun 21, 2012 in Saving Money | 9 comments

Introducing the first spending challenge for Well Kept Wallet. I am going to list 5 areas that I spend money on to see if you spend less than me on any given item or service. If you do and I end up switching to your plan, then I will pay one months worth of savings.

“What? Did I just hear that right?” Yes, you did. For example, if you tell me that you spend $20 less per month than I do in a given category, I will check it out. If I end up switching, I will send you a payment via PayPal for $20. It is that easy. Here are my first 5 items of the challenge:

1. Car Wash – I pay $2.99 at a drive-thru car wash for an exterior car wash with a free vacuum to clean the interior.

2. Satellite TV – I pay $27.39/month for Dish Network with DVR. We have the Dish Family package which includes 55+ channels, which is still more than we ever watch.

3. Gym – I pay $10/month to work out at You Fit. They are a great facility that has everything I need to work out: cardio equipment, free-weights and a sea of exercise machines.

4. Internet – I pay $18.99/month for high-speed internet from Cox Communications. Now this is a “Starter” package, so there is a minimal amount of lag at times. For instance, we might be watching a Netflix movie and it will buffer once or twice. But this does not happen often. Note that our package isn’t even on their site. You have to call them at 623-594-8759 and ask for it.

5. Cell Phone – I pay $116.07/month for two cell phones with 1000 minutes, unlimited messaging (text/multimedia), one unlimited 4G data plan from T-Mobile.

Quick note: The item that you spend money on must be VERY similar to what I listed. If you tell me that you use a bucket of water and soap to wash your car, that does not count. A better response is to tell me about a car wash that charges $1.99 or that you pay $9.99 for high-speed internet.

Rules: You have to comment with a link to the item/service provider, amount you pay and the details of the item/service. Make sure to provide me with a valid email that is linked to your PayPal when you leave the comment. This challenge will end June 30th, 2012.

Do you spend less than me?


  1. Yes, free TV -Rabbit ears, Free car wash Rain water.. the dirt holds my car together , Free Cell – work, Free gym – run and pushups.. I love running by LA fitness and thinking who would be in there when you can be outside, Internet free WiFi almost every where now but I do live like a king we have pool boy, a porter, office manager, gardener, maintenance man, all for half of what a 100,000 Dollar mortgage costs

    Bill R

    June 23, 2012

    • Bill,

      Seems like you live a frugal life as well, or at least in the areas that count. I have considered doing Rabbit Ears, however, there is one channel that we can’t get without satellite so that is why we haven’t made the switch. It doesn’t rain much in AZ :). Work won’t pay for my cell but I have had that perk before and it is pretty awesome. I am considering cancelling my gym membership, so you may have $10 coming your way. Thanks for participating!

      Deacon Hayes

      June 26, 2012

  2. Deacon, I’ll give it a go:
    1. I pay $11.99 per month for a car wash plan for each of my cars. That entitles me to go whenever I want and, you can confirm that by my Yelp check-ins at Delta Sonic Car Wash in Palatine. So far this year, I have 72 check-ins there so far this year. At 6 months, that’s at least 12 times per month. And, I don’t even check-in every time. So I’d say I’m at less than $1 for a full service wash, towel dried (by them) and free vacuum.
    2. Satellite TV – Well, I can’t comment on the monthly charge, I pay $47.99 and have for 7 years with DirecTV, but I have successfully negotiated the annual subscription for the Sunday Ticket with HD and Superfan ($350) and the NHL Center Ice ($299) as n/c each of those years along with a $15/month credit to my bill for 6 months each year. So, $15×6= $90 /12 = $7.50 off my monthly bill plus the $650 in packages ($650/12=$54.17) so actually, DTV is paying me. and we have the premier package with 400+ channels
    3. you got me.
    4. $19 Clear Internet. No waiting.
    5. $11.99 per month, unlimited calling, includes USA and Canada.

    Here’s one for you to think about. Last summer, I purchased a Rainbow Play System on Craigslist for $300. Paid $200 to have it moved 30 miles from the original location to my house and then completely reassembled. The next week, I found a newer, bigger, better Rainbow System that was only 4 years old. Purchased that one for $800 and paid $200 to have it moved to my place and reassembled. One might say, what do you need two for? Well, let me finish. I relisted the first one on CL for $1850 delivered to whatever the location would be within 50 miles. Knowing I could have it done for $200, I sold it for $1750 all in. Let’s do the math:

    Buy 1st set: $300 + $200 = $500
    Buy 2nd set: $800 + $300 = $1100
    Total $1600
    Sell first set: $1750
    Profit: $150 + a Rainbow Play System that was $11,500 just 4 years ago.

    Rob A

    June 25, 2012

    • Rob, those are great deals. Here is my reply:
      1. I still pay less per month because we only wash the car 1-2 times per month, so $7.98 is my max cost per month with tip to the hand dryer.
      2. You do have more value with your DirecTV, but I wouldn’t watch it. So I would be paying for services I wouldn’t really use.
      3. I know, $10 is a steal.
      4. I wish Cox would pick up their game but it really is high speed the majority of the time.
      5. Onstar for cell phone coverage? You gotta tell me how that works.

      As far as your Craigslist arbitrage, that is amazing. I have much to learn from you my friend.

      Deacon Hayes

      June 25, 2012

  3. What a fun challenge! Now, the examples I give are not exact fits so I won’t sign up for the contest. First one: there are car wash bays in my city where you pull in, feed quarters into the machine, and the quarter gives you a certain amount of time for soap and water. Four or five quarters is enough time to wash a smaller car, you might want six for an SUV. The vacuum machine is 50 cents. Total $2. Also while it doesn’t fit your criteria because I’m not using it, Comcast offers an Internet Essentials program for low-income families. The eligibility is having children are on free or reduced price lunches. Cost $9.95 a month.


    June 28, 2012

    • Wow. Those are great deals as well. I have used the Do-it-yourself washes and in AZ it is almost the same price as going to the Drive-thru one. $2.00 for the wash and $0.75 for the vacuum. That program for Comcast is interesting, what a cool concept. Thanks for sharing those!

      Deacon Hayes

      June 28, 2012

  4. I know the challenge is over, but here’s how I save on my phone bill.

    I use google voice to get unlimited calls through friends and family on my cell phone, and get a school discount even thought I finished college a while ago.

    I didn’t want to go to in depth, but here’s my article on it.

    All in all I pay $80 a month, with verizon, and i have unlimited calling.

    not sure if it can duplicated in your situation, but it might….

    • Jake,

      I appreciate the info on Google Voice, I will have to check it out and see if my wife and I might be able to use it. Thanks!

      Deacon Hayes

      July 5, 2012

  5. I know the challenge is over but I had to mention Hulu Desktop provides most primetime shows one or two days after the shows air on TV for free. Also for $7.99 Hulu Plus can be purchased to see the shows on the same day and on your TV (through WII or XBOX).

    Forever looking

    February 12, 2013

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