Saving Money: Why Ting Mobile Makes Perfect Sense


How Ting Mobile is a great way to save on your cell phone bill | The Champagne Supernova

This blog post is proudly sponsored by Ting Mobile. However, all opinions are the real deal. 

I like saving money.

As a working parent, I work hard for my earnings and see them dwindle away so quickly each month.

Dance recitals. Tennis lessons. Gymnastics. Birthday parties. School uniforms. Doctor co-pays.

Sometimes I feel like The Bank of Mom.

As my monthly cell phone bill with my current provider is $150.00, I was excited about the opportunity to work with Ting Mobile and learn about their (extremely) low cost cellular services.

Low. Very low.

In fact, the base cost for Ting is $6 per month (you read that correctly!) for a phone line. Usage is shared across all devices. The more phones on a Ting account, the less you pay per phone.

Ting is pay-per-use, so you don’t have to sign up for any type of plan. Your usage during the month (phone minutes, text messages, and data) is what you pay for at the end of the month. What’s great is that minutes, messages, and data are all billed separately.

There are no contracts, overage fees, or other hidden B.S. (Pardon-a my French). You can try Ting for one month and leave the next month if you aren’t happy.

The vast majority (80%) of all phones manufactured in the last few years will work with Ting, so it’s likely the phone you already own is one of them. All you need is a Ting SIM card to get started. You can buy the phone from the Ting shop here (they are a verified seller of Apple iPhones!) or bring your own phone, based on your preference.

Ting has an easy-to-use phone compatibility checker you can use here so you can check RIGHT THIS MOMENT whether your phone will work with Ting.

Another great quality of Ting is that you don’t have to worry about having bad service. This is because Ting uses both Sprint and T-Mobile towers- you can choose the network that has better coverage in your area. In other words, Ting clients have identical network experience as people who are signed up directly with these carriers.

I can vouch firsthand this is completely accurate, as I used my Ting phone in a rural area of Georgia (along the Appalachian trial) earlier this month with zero coverage issues and complete service. High five, Ting!

How to save money using Ting Mobile | The Champagne Supernova

My littlest homey loves Ting!

Ting has also created an eBook on how to lower your data usage, which helps Ting customers save money on their monthly bills. Read it here.

One of my favorite things about Ting is their customer support involves calls that are actually answered by real, live people. No more having to press a series of numbers to get to the right department. Gone are the days of waiting on hold for twenty minutes to have your questions answered. Say adios to fruitlessly having to communicate with a computer.

I witnessed this personally when I called Ting last week after I was having (minor) issues setting up the Wifi on the iPhone 6 they sent to me. I was greeted by a friendly woman named Melissa on the second ring (!!) Melissa walked me through a couple steps to help troubleshoot the issue. She even called me back five minutes later to ensure there were still no issues.

You read that correctly. She called me back.

How is that amazing customer support for you? 

(Check out Ting Mobile’s Youtube channel highlighting their bar-none customer service here.)

Another thing I love about trying Ting? When switching over from your carrier, you can keep your existing phone number.

You don’t need permission from your provider to keep the number. You just keep it.

That means you don’t have to waste precious time sending mass texts to all of your contacts notifying them that you have a new number.

(And nobody wants to be held hostage on a mass text, anyway.)

Setting up my Ting took five minutes. I got the new iPhone directly from Ting, activated the SIM card online, and set up the iPhone. Boom. Done.

Give it a try and find out why Ting is the mobile that makes sense.

Use the promotion code of jennifer.ting.com and receive $25 off your bill. So you’re getting a month for free as the average bill is just $23 a month per phone.

Cheers to saving money! Cheers to Ting!

    Life and Focusing on What Matters: The Give a Damn List


    Create a Give a Damn List to help you balance the things and people that really matter | The Champagne Supernova

    We have a limited number of damns in our lives.

    Yet, we somehow end up giving them away on the dumbest, most insignificant things.

    Confession.

    I can be a compulsive damn giver-outer.

    Doling out the damns like Oprah gives away cars.

    You get a damn!

    That other person gets a damn!

    Everyone’s getting a damn!

    People who don’t really matter.

    Things that are stupid.

    Stuff that happened in the past that I can’t control.

    I’ve had it.

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      Educators Weigh In: How to Raise Successful Children


      Teachers give advice on how to raise successful children | The Champagne Supernova

      Is there a magic formula for how to raise successful children?

      What are the common denominators for children who flourish versus those who fail?

      In my life, I’ve witnessed some children grow into successful, contributing adults and others  fall into the trenches and never seem to recover.

      In this post here, I wrote about an adolescent friend who came from a background of abuse, neglect, and poverty. While unfortunate, it was no surprise she grew into an adult who couldn’t overcome her rough upbringing and has already taken steps to repeat the sad cycle with her own children.

      On the other hand, we also know children who seemingly came from loving and supportive homes (while not knowing what goes on behind closed doors) who also managed to fall off track.

      We’ve also heard of the kids who, despite terrible upbringings, beat the odds and manage to become adults who are financially secure leaders.

      As the working mother of two very young girls, I often wonder “what gives?”

      And while my children will ultimately make their own decisions, I want to arm them with the best resources and emotional support possible to ensure those decisions are good ones.

      Isn’t that what we’re all trying to do?

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        Life: The Playing Field is Not Equal


        Life is not always fair and we are not always on equal playing fields | The Champagne Supernova

        We are not all on equal playing fields.

        Life isn’t always fair and, for some, it will never be fair.

        I observed this pretty early.

        The summer between 7th and 8th grade, my parents moved me and my younger sister from private to public school in my hometown of DeLand, Florida.

        Speaking from experience, the middle school years can be especially tough for adolescent girls. Probably tougher than high school. Already trying to figure out who I was and navigate my way through the world, I was now faced with starting from scratch at a new school where I didn’t know a soul.

        I was terrified and didn’t want to be “The New Girl.”

        The week before school started, I had my parents take me to the local mall so I could find a trendy Yaga t-shirt (which was actually too big) and Vans shoes (that looked ridiculous on my skinny legs) so I had something to wear on the first day that screamed, “I’M COOL. BE MY FRIEND.”

        The first day of eighth grade was a success, mainly because I met a girl named Michelle in homeroom.

        Introduced herself, acquainted me to other classmates, and made me feel at home. By lunchtime, we were already exchanging notes in class (we had three together!) and talking about which boys we thought were cute and how we hope we didn’t have to “dress out” in P.E. since it was just the first day.

        Michelle and I instantly became best friends. We would even sign our notes “BFFLAENMW” which is middle school shorthand for “Best Friends For Life and Eternity No Matter What.”

        It was the beginning of a serious friendship.

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          Crying Uncle: Showing Up and Asking for Help


          How to Have the Courage to Ask for Help and Seek Therapy | The Champagne Supernova

          Have you ever had a secret you were ashamed of and didn’t want anyone to ever know?

          I have.

          But I don’t care about the secret anymore. It needs to be out in the open. I want it to be okay and for others to do the same thing I did and feel good about it.

          No more shame.

          As background, I went through a rough bout with the baby blues following the birth of my oldest daughter in 2012.

          Crying all the time. Hot flashes. Feeling lonely. Wondering if I was crazy. Becoming a person I didn’t recognize.

          I called my baby blues The Gremlins and wrote about them here.

          Once they became a distant memory, I never wanted to see The Gremlins again. Not ever.

          My second pregnancy started out rough. While I didn’t have the morning sickness that I experienced with my first daughter, I became an insomniac as soon as I  discovered a positive pregnancy test.

          I never had trouble sleeping before, but I saw a pink “plus” sign and suddenly had to learn to survive on 4-5 hours of sleep.

          This was on top of caring for a toddler, managing a household, and having a stressful career as an attorney.

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            There are No Parenting Experts


            There's no such thing as a parenting expert | The Champagne Supernova

            Last year, I met an older man while I was on a layover at the Fort Lauderdale airport.

            Shook my hand.

            Asked me what I did for a living and what I was returning to in Tampa.

            I explained I was an attorney who blogged and did freelance writing on the side.

            He handed me his business card.

            Below his name was the title Parenting Expert.

            At the time, my then four-year-old daughter was in the throes of having inconsolable tantrums and I wanted his advice.

            Running into this guy was like hitting the lottery.

            Wide eyed, I asked, How old are your kids?

            I don’t have children.

            Bear hunting, I thought, He must have said bear hunting expert. Or patenting. He’s a patenting expert.

            Oh, I must have misunderstood. I thought you told me you were a parenting expert. What did you say you did for work?

            You heard right, I’m a parenting expert.

            But you don’t have children?

            He looked at his watch, said he needed to use the restroom, and walked away.

            Excuse me for assuming that one had to be a parent to be considered an expert in the arena!

            I know a secret.

            You know the people who consider themselves parenting “experts”?

            They don’t exist.

            The internet articles that profess the “Do’s and Don’ts” of child rearing?

            While offering useful advice, they’re mostly garbage.

            The people who sit on panels giving other people advice about how they should raise their kids because they are well-studied “experts” and, therefore, know much better than you do?

            They’re full of it.

            So are the people who don’t have children who hold themselves out to the public as parenting experts.

            There is no such thing as a parenting expert. Everyone is trying to determine how to nurture mother nature. Everyone is just trying to figure it out.

            I’ll tell you a personal story.

            My oldest daughter, now five, has a lot of grit. She says what’s on her mind and likes to do what she wants to do, when she wants to do it. It can be difficult for her to control her emotions (She get it from her Mama…) and raising her has been challenging.

            (Another personal sub-story: when I was pregnant with her, I prayed that God would give me a spitfire instead of a wallflower. I absolutely got what I wished for.)

            When my daughter was two, she started having inconsolable tantrums.

            Some of them lasted for hours.

            She would frequently wake up in the morning and hysterically sob without any known reasons. Her teachers often complained the tantrums disrupted the entire class and would be triggered for silly reasons, one of them being that a classmate simply made eye contact with her. Sometimes during the tantrums, my daughter would become so enraged that she would bang her head on the ground. The tantrums were making her sick and sometimes she would get so worked up that she would vomit.

            There was once a time where my daughter was having such a bad tantrum at daycare during drop off that I had to toss her over my shoulder and carry her all the way back to my car kicking and screaming. In the two-minute trek between the classroom and the parking lot, I received text messages from three different friends who witnessed the ordeal and were offering their compassion.

            Stay strong! Been there and it’s the pits. 

            I sat in my car and sobbed to myself.

            Why is she doing this? Where have I failed along the way?

            My husband and I fruitlessly tried everything we could imagine to stop the tantrums.

            Google searches. Appointments with her pediatrician. Meetings with teachers and guidance counselors. Asking other parents. Calling my mom and grandmother. Reaching out to nannies and caregivers with extensive childcare experience. Reading parenting books.

            We heard and read the same piece of advice from the “experts” over and over again.

            She’s a smart girl who is trying to control the family with the tantrums. You must completely ignore them and they will go away. If you coddle her and give attention to the tantrums, they will indefinitely continue. It is critical that you pay them no mind and be patient. She’ll eventually grow out of it. 

            So that’s what we did.

            We ignored the tantrums.

            But they got worse.

            One day, during an hour-long tantrum that was triggered by something ridiculous, I defeatedly got down on my daughter’s level, looked her in the face, told her I loved her, and gave her a hug.

            The tantrum stopped almost immediately.

            We did a few more modifications, such as an earlier bedtime and implementing a strict “time-out” policy but, in sum, the major catalyst for the tantrums ending involved simply getting down on her physical level (e.g., my hands and knees) and hugging her.

            This was exactly what all the “experts” told us not to do.

            Here’s the deal.

            Nobody really knows what they are doing.

            All children are different. Just because something works for 99.9% of the population doesn’t mean it is a perfect fit for your child.

            Unless you have a rule-following “kid in a box,” you have to do everything you can do until you solve the problem.

            Even if it means doing what the “experts” tell you not to do.

            One of my friends compared parenting to a scratch-off ticket. You just have to keep trying different options until you hit the jackpot.

            And here’s another thing.

            Don’t feel like you are a bad parent just because your kid’s behavior stinks.

            Keep doing your best and it will probably stop.

            Speaking from experience, I felt like a failure that my husband and I couldn’t quickly get a handle on my daughter’s emotions.

            My negative thoughts began snowballing into irrational catastrophes.

            What if she’s nuts? What if this continues and she gets kicked out of school? What if this behavior rubs off on her little sister? What if, what if, what if?

            WhatifwhatifwhatifWHATIF?

            I was going crazy.

            For nothing.

            The tantrums eventually subsided. Don’t get me wrong, she still occasionally has them, but they are age appropriate we are usually able to stop it and notice a correlation to lack of sleep the night before.

            Girl needs her beauty rest.

            Thank God we didn’t rely on the “experts.”

            You know your child better than anyone else. Go with what feels right in your gut.

            Cheers!

             

              The Last Bad Act: Choosing to Remember Love in a Time of Loss


              Mario Simoes: Choosing to Remember Love in a Time of Loss | The Champagne Supernova

              This picture of Mario Simoes personifies his spirit. Antisana, Ecuador, February 20, 2016.

              How often have we judged someone by the last bad act they committed?

              Remembered their life ending in an act of rage?

              Rolled our eyes as we read newspaper articles or watched TV shows about someone who “snapped” and dismissed them as being crazy?

              Labeled that person for the one last despicable thing they did in their otherwise extremely rich life?

              My law school classmate and friend, Mario Simoes, recently died following a shootout with police.

              These events happened in my hometown of DeLand, Florida.

              According to news reports, Mario drove to his wife’s law firm in his Mercedes-Benz and, intoxicated, began shooting at the building. When police arrived in response to a 911 call, Mario embarked on a high-speed chase with the police on DeLand’s back roads, reaching speeds of 100 m.p.h. His vehicle became disabled after he struck a couple who was leaving a Lowe’s home improvement store (luckily, neither of these individuals were injured).

              Police purportedly advised Mario to “drop the gun, drop the gun, drop the gun” for two minutes until they opened fire, as they believed he was reloading his gun in the vehicle. He was killed.

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                I Am Retarded: The Extraordinary Life of Mary Janak


                Aunt Mary riding her rocking horse at the age of 2.

                Mary Judith Janak was born on April 19, 1962, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of Martha Rybar Rees Janak, an elementary school teacher, and Stephen Benton Elkins Janak, a mill worker. She had two older half-sisters, Ann and Judy Rees, who were fraternal twins.

                She was my Aunt.

                Aunt Mary and my grandmother shortly after her birth in 1962.

                On October 25, 1987, Aunt Mary was found dead in the bedroom of a group home where she lived in Portage, Pennsylvania. She died from complications associated with Type I diabetes, a disease she struggled with since she was diagnosed at the age of two.

                Her life was not easy.

                She was always “different.”

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                  Five Best Things About Growing Up in a Small Town


                   

                  DeLand’s main street, Woodland Boulevard, in the 1960s

                  Well I was born in a small town / And I live in a small town / Probably die in a small town / Oh, those small communities. 

                  Educated in a small town / Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town / Used to daydream in that small town / Another boring romantic that’s me. 

                  No I cannot forget where it is that I come from / I cannot forget the people who love me / Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town / And people let me be just what I want to be. 

                  – John Mellencamp, Small Town (1985) 

                  I can relate.

                  I was born in the small Florida town of Eustis before my family moved to the even smaller town of Palm Coast before finally relocating us to the small town of DeLand, which I consider home.

                  Wedged between Daytona Beach and Orlando, DeLand is the county seat of Volusia County. As of the 2010 census, DeLand had a population of 27,031. It was the filming location of the 1999 Adam Sandler movie The Waterboy. Notable DeLand natives include baseball player, Chipper Jones, and singer-songwriter, Terence Trent D’Arby (Wish me, love, a wishing well…).

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                    Happiness: problems vs. PROBLEMS


                    How to cope with your problems | The Champagne Supernova

                    We all have difficult days and need to be reminded that what we consider problems are not problems.

                    At all.

                    Or even close.

                    My husband was out of town traveling for work (and leisure) for the last week and I’ve been on my own with my two young daughters, ages 2 and 4. Sure they are (overall) good and sure I’ve transitioned from full-time to part-time employment, but dealing with getting lunch made, everyone dressed and out of the house in the morning, driving the kids to school and myself to work, doing pickup and attending extracurricular activities, then returning home and making dinner and getting everyone bathed and in the sack are exhausting.

                    Not to mention that on the mornings I have to wash and blow-dry my hair, it’s like the world has been turned upside down.

                    (Curly haired people, you know what I’m talking about!)

                    Pepper all of this with occasional tantrums, backtalk, and refusal to put on their socks and allow you to brush their hair in the mornings. Now add dealing with demanding clients at work, getting stuck at lengthy stop lights when you’re in a hurry, and a rude toll booth lady (this happened to me two weeks ago at the Tampa Airport, but that’s a blog post for another day.)

                    It can be worse. Way worse.

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