Jul31

Straight Up Family Business and Staying Connected.

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July 31, 2015 |  by  |  Branded Content, Product Reviews

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post as part of a campaign for the Straight Talk Wireless Tester program. The thoughts and opinions remain my own.

As I mentioned in a different blog post last week, I’m rapidly approaching my sixth year as a stay-at-home dad. While the sixth year doesn’t feel much different than the five that preceded it, there is the resonating idea that this may continue to be the reality for the immediate future.

Dad and Charlie Buddy Band

Our buddy band lasted all of about five minutes at Legoland. So much for staying connected.

For most of us, raising a family involves a lot of moving parts. For us, aside from me creating a blog that would eventually find ways to benefit us, both financially and through product partnerships – our immediate concern as we transitioned into a single-income family was childcare.

As many of you are aware, the cost can be astronomical. Admittedly, Jen and I have been extremely fortunate in our chosen careers. Enough so to be able to survive on one income, primarily because, with me at home – I take those day care costs off the table. I can’t even imagine the checks we would have to write for someone to take care of three kids under the age of six for 8 10 11 hours a day.

Despite those long hours with the kids, I’ve remained vigilant in my pursuit to explore my ‘Dad 2.0’, as an author and writer. And despite putting out a book, producing a TV show and creating branded content, only recently did my wife and I need to have a legitimate conversation about how I’m treating my own life – how I’m managing ‘my day’, with the kids, paying bills and making purchasing decisions.

I think that sometimes as a stay-at-home parent (especially one who didn’t see it coming), I looked at what I was doing as a hobby, the parenting and writing – like it wouldn’t be that long before I either went back into the workforce or I just woke up and they were going off to college.

The reality is that it’s going to be a lot longer than I thought (and I’m truly happy and at peace with that) and I should start treating our family more like a business and less like a hobby.

It’s been about four years now since she and I decided to take the initiative to eliminate all of our credit card and student loan debt – to get to a point in which we weren’t burdened by high APR’s and a bucketful of monthly payments. We haven’t used credit cards a day since, and though it’s difficult at times all the time, we’re in such a better place. Since then, we’ve tried to adhere to a budget, using only the money that we had coming in while living a cash-only life.

It’s no huge secret that Jen and I have always wanted to a large family… but as your family continues to grow, living within cash-only means becomes more and more difficult. As the primary bill-payer (I wear this badge with extreme honor), I’m constantly getting slapped in the face with all those moving parts.

Utilities continue to fluctuate, depending on what season it is and the weather or what we’re doing in regards to family trips, vacations or the occasional wedding and now I’m looking at a big, long list of ‘supplies’ that I need to get so that my daughter is properly prepared for her first day of kindergarten. Not to mention back-to-school clothes and all the fun things that come with that.

Disneyworld 2014

Obligatory family mouse ear photo.

However, there are ways to cut some corners. Aside from meticulously planning our meals for the week, using my club savings and the occasional coupons – I took a look at some of our other high cost standing monthly bill: our phones. We ditched the home phone a long time ago, we just never used it. But another mega-monster: our cell phone bills.

As for our mobile devices, we use them a ton, from personal to professional use, with my wife working in media and me working in Social media, you can probably imagine. With my current carrier, which will remained unnamed, as a consumer, I have to call them every few months, to make sure that ‘a new plan’ didn’t come out, as they often do. They’re not proactively concerned with whether or not that $250 that you might save over the next year is the money that pays for those kindergarten supplies or not.

So I was a bit intrigued when I was approached by the ‘Straight Talk Wireless’ program a few weeks ago and agreed to become one of their ‘testers’.

Here are a few of the bullets that initially caught my eye:

  • Nationwide coverage on America’s best and most dependable networks, half the cost.
  • Cut your cell phone bill in half.
  • No contracts, no credit checks, no surprises.

You can either buy a device directly from StraightTalk.com OR you have the option of keeping your current phone/tablet and bringing it into the plan.

So far, I haven’t noticed one bit of difference in my service coverage or data speeds. I’m going to continue to monitor this over the next few months and check in with your periodically, to let you know how this is working for us AND try and talk about some of the ways mobile can help make our lives a little easier.

Click on the links to find out more about the Straight Talk program or their available plans. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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