T-mobile, one of the cell phone carriers officially launched a new banking service known as T-Mobile Money. The best part is T-mobile money offers 4% interest to customers with qualifying service. T-Mobile Money is an attractive saving option when major banks pay between 0.01% to 0.03% interest (as of 4/19/2019).
What is the qualifying service?
Another thing that I love about T-Mobile Money is their transparency on this service. As you can see on the front page of their website (https://www.t-mobilemoney.com), they clearly write to qualify for the 4% interest, you need to meet the following criteria:
You can only earn 4% up to $3,000 if you are a T-mobile customer.
Deposit at least $200 per calendar month.
Earn 1% if you’re not a T-mobile customer, and for any money that is over $3,000 limit.
Where can I find the ATMs?
You can easily withdraw your money from any Allpoints® ATMs worldwide. They have over 55,000 no-fee ATMs worldwide.
In the US, you can usually find those ATMs at Walgreens and CVS stores. For more ATMs locations, you can use their mobile app which is available on Android and iPhone, or from their website.
Who is this good for?
This service is certainly best if you are already using T-mobile as your phone carrier or thinking about switching to T-mobile service.
Even though, your bank account is insured by FDIC, just like any other major banks. You need to be comfortable using a T-mobile Money phone app and ATMs to interacts with your money. You can surely speak to their representative over the phone, but don’t expect a face-to-face interaction with the support team or bank tellers.
If you’re not a T-mobile customer already, there are other banks that offer high yields interest. I will post my review on that bank very soon.
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That’s my first reaction when I heard about ACC annexation. For those of you who don’t live around Austin, TX area, ACC is a local community college in Austin, TX.
ACC serves 19 different school districts around Austin, TX. Unfortunately, only 8 school districts get the privilege to pay “in-district” tuition. According to ACC’s website, part of Pflugerville (read: flu-ger-ville) is already part of ACC district and qualify for “in-district” tuition. However, the majority part of Pflugerville is not part of ACC district.
WHAT !!! (yup… I like to say “what”)
That’s crazy! Pflugerville and Austin are next to each other. Pflugerville residents must pay out-of-district tuition to attend ACC; even though I can reach 2 different campuses within 20 minutes from Pflugerville, TX.
How does ACC get funding?
After further investigation, I found out ACC (Austin Community College) receive their funding from property taxes and student tuitions. Unlike other four year colleges or universities, a community college does not receive state funding assistance.
Alright, I start to feel sorry for ACC for not receiving any state funding. It’s like the only child in the family who don’t get a present at Christmas. Right?!
The cost of ACC tax
But, I still don’t like the idea that it cost me money. How much is it exactly?
Based on my current residential tax breakdown (it varies depending on where you live), I’m currently paying taxes on 6 different categories with a total tax rate of 2.656285 per $100 value.
ACC annexation adds $0.1008 per $100.
According to Zillow, the median home value in Pflugerville is $244,000. So, I will use this number to show how much ACC tax is going to impact your overall residential tax.
Tax Rate per $100
Tax for a $244,000 value house
Travis Central Health
City of Pflugerville
Travis County ESD #2
Travis County MUD #15
Total before ACC
Total w/ ACC
In the end, a $244,000 house will pay an additional $245.95 per year or $20.5 per month.
I believe most of us have spent at least $20 for something to treat ourselves in a month, or buying some that we don’t even need or use.
ACC student saves $16,680 in 2 years
The obvious benefit for being part of ACC district is to pay the in-district tuition of $85/credit instead of $363/hour. That is a $278 saving per credit hour.
If I’m not mistaken, I took approximately 60 credit hours (2 years) in a community college in San Diego, CA before I transferred to UT-Austin. That is a $16,680 savings for taking 60 credit hours in ACC per student.
The Unfavorable Scenarios
Let’s create a hypothetical scenario with some unfavorable situations.
I want to see if $16,680 is really a worthy scenario for someone who might attend ACC 20 years later.
A newlywed couple with one child
A newlywed couple, the Joneses, purchased a house for $244,000 in Pflugerville, TX. Let’s assume the house appreciates at 4% per year. Please note with 4% appreciation per year; it will double the value of your property in 19 years, and increase your property tax tremendously.
Since we are creating unfavorable situations, let’s assume ACC tax has been approved. Therefore, the Joneses have to pay ACC fees of 0.1008 per $100 of house value.
The Joneses don’t have any child at this moment. They will send their only child to ACC in 20 years, but unfortunately, they are paying the ACC tax starting from the day they purchased their house.
After twenty years of paying ACC Tax
Based on the table below (ACC tax breakdown), after 19 years, this couple has paid a total of $6,805.79 to ACC.
On the 20th year, their child finishes high school and attends ACC for the first time in the Fall semester. By this time, in our unfavorable situations, their house worth $514,071.20. Their regular tax at 3.06 per $100 of property value is $15,730 per year, and an addition $518.18 toward ACC tax.
If the child takes 15 credits at ACC, then the family is saving $4,170 ($278 savings x 15 credit = $4,170) from paying in-district tuition instead of the out-of-district tuition. However, the Joneses still lost $3,153.98 from paying taxes for the last 20 years.
The following year, their son completed 30 additional credit hours at ACC (see year 21 in the table below). Now, the Joneses saves $4,647.11 from the overall tuition saving vs tax.
The chart and table below details the money that the Joneses spent for paying taxes and saving from the in-district tuition.
ACC tax breakdown over 25 years
Home value with 4% increase / year
Cummulative ACC Tax
Saving from In-District tuition
I start to believe paying an additional $20 dollars per month for a $16,680 savings in 20 years is not a bad deal.
Assuming that you don’t have a child, you might be able to take advantage of higher education at a later age. Some companies, such as DELL, have a tuition reimbursement program to help you pursue higher education.
Let’s think about the future
Education cost is getting higher
ased on history, we’ve seen the cost of education is getting higher every year. Bestvalueschools.com reported the price of higher education has been rising between 4% to 11% every year.
However, no one can predict the future. It is certainly not easy to predict the future of education or job market 10 or 20 years from now.
The current education system might be obsolete in the next 10 years. Colleges and universities might replace all teachers with an interactive recording of the best teacher in the last decade.
This will certainly cut down the cost of education, right?
Well…. Who knows? It will certainly cut the cost for a university to host a class, but the university might not pass those savings to the students.
Do you remember a price hike from airlines companies because of the higher gas price? What happened when the gas price went down?
The price of the airline tickets did NOT go down.
Automation age is coming
If not education, what can the future generation rely on? minimum wage, maybe?!
I’m afraid by 2030s; we won’t have the opportunity to protest for a high minimum wage anymore.
During one summer break, a father told his son to get a summer job, with the intention that his son learned about hard-work. The boy didn’t know what kind of job he should apply to, and the father quickly suggested a fast-food restaurant. The boy made $100 after one week of hard-work a the burger joint. The father was proud of his son, but the son didn’t enjoy working at a burger joint.
One week later, the boy quitted his job. He started printing out flyers to teach tennis lessons for younger kids. He rode his bike and posted those flyers around the neighborhood. Little that he knew, he got 5 clients that paid him $20/hour for a group tennis lesson. At that moment, the boy realized that he collected $100 in one hour instead of one week. And, his income did not depend on one source, his employer.
Unfortunately, I am not that boy. I learned about the importance of multiple of sources and thinking on a bigger level at later age. But, that’s the story that changes my whole perspective on money and hard work.
What is my money story?
When I was young but old enough to remember (maybe around seven years or older), I was the thrift one among all the kids in my family. I am not sure what impacted my perspective on money, but I was a hoarder. I like to save money and spend none if possible. I remembered my brothers and sister withdrew some money out from their savings to buy brand name clothes, toys, or to support their hobbies. Unfortunately, I didn’t spend any money on those things. My parents felt sorry and bought me some stuff because I just never asked for toys or clothes.
Once I graduated from college, just like most people, I believe in getting a good job, save in 401K, buy a few stocks on my own and hoping I will be able to accumulate enough for retirement. I know I can do this because I’ve been living a thrift life since I was seven years old. 🙂
I’m aware that I always have the itch to be an entrepreneur. Maybe that’s because my dad has always been a business owner, but I’ve never invested any money or time to learn to be one.
Unfortunately, my great job, which I relied on, went through new management. Our 1-year-old son is going through chemo treatment (he will finish his chemo by March 2018). Things changed. Luckily, I remembered the story that I told you earlier about the boy who teaches tennis. I realized it is time to take more control over my financial situation, not relying on just one employer.
That’s why I put my time and energy to help you, especially if you are a parent, to realize the importance of multiple sources of income.
Take Action Immediately
Don’t wait until you have no choice.
Take action now because everything that you do will have to start from zero.
Please share this article with your friend or someone who can benefit from it.
Back in March 2017, one of my TVs just stopped working. The TV was only four years old, but unfortunately, many of the “smart TV” channels/features have been discontinued and it stopped working. So, it might be time to replace the TV anyway. However, instead of buying a TV immediately, I set a challenge to myself. I want to sacrifice something that can save me money to by a new TV. After reviewing my expenses, the only place that I can trim is eating out for lunch during the workday.
The Prize The TV that I like cost less than $400 with tax and shipping fee, but I set my target to $500 just in case I change my mind and want to upgrade my TV to 4K resolution, or a slightly bigger size.
The Plan When I go out for lunch, it cost between $8 to $12 per day. But for simplicity of the math, I assumed all lunches are $8. I estimated the cost of the meal I packed at home is $3 per day. With $5 saving per meal, I need to pack 100 meals (or 20 weeks of home cook food) for lunches before I can purchase a new TV.
1. Ask for support from others
The first thing I do is talked to my wife. My wife is the one who prepares food at home. So, I told my wife about my plan, and I asked her to cook extra food so I can pack it for my lunch.
2. Create a supportive environment
I also make sure that I have a lunchbox or two. Remember, the environment is stronger than your will. For example, how many of you are motivated to run in a freezing 40 degrees F (well, I live in Texas… 40 degrees is freezing) at 5 o’clock in the morning if you don’t have the right running shirt, pants, and jacket?
3. Plan ahead
Every morning, I need to help my daughters to get ready for school; from telling them to eat breakfast, brushing teeth, helping them dress up and get all their stuff ready. To ensure I won’t forget my lunch, I prepared it at night before I go to bed and put it in the middle of the fridge where I can see it easily. When I wake up in the morning, I just grab it and ready to go.
4. Get the reward
I’ve made a deal with myself to get the TV once I packed 100 meals…. and I DID. So, I’m going to get the TV that I’ve been longing for since March. Yeah!! Some of you might be thinking why don’t I use the money to pay a debt or donate it to some charity instead of buying a TV.
While it is good to use the $500 for charity or pay-off some debt, it is also important to keep a promise to yourself. When you reward yourself for all your hard work, you have much more appreciation for the reward. And, it will motivate you to do another good job the next time you challenge yourself.
That’s the picture of the TV that I’m getting from Amazon. I did my research, and it seems like this TCL brand is not bad. Do you have a good or bad experience with this TV?
What’s the real prize? The TV is unquestionably a nice reward for all my hard work to pack lunch for 100 working days that span over six months.
However, when I reflect on the whole experience, I realized the real prize is my new habit.
I’ve been able to pack lunch from home more often now, but not for the sake of saving money. I’m doing it to save time, so I can go home a tad early to avoid the rush hours traffic and spend more time with my family.
Share Your Thoughts
If you want to build a new habit, you can follow my execution plan above. And, feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. It was not easy to create any new habit but I did it, and certainly learned a lot from the experience.
What’s your biggest challenge when starting a new habit or project? Do you have more tips to make it easy to start a new habit?
Don’t forget to share this article with your family and friends who need a little motivation to start a new habit or project.