Switch from Verizon to Sprint?

Greetings everyone, 
Stylish Daddy here bringing you a fantastic money blog story today. Growing up, my family always had Verizon. If it was the best, we had it and we didn’t care how much it cost because there is such a thing as convenience vs. price. It’s the same logic that goes into business. If your business is growing, you might hire a knowledgable accountant instead of doing the work yourself. We always figured it was worth paying more for the best phone service because we could and we liked the convenience of it. 
Kellie and I started to think about switching carriers a few weeks ago after comparing our phone payments with a few of my family members who also use Verizon. We were sharing 2GB per month between my phone, my iPad (which I never use because of the update APPLE released that slows down your device so you have to buy a new one), and Kellie’s phone. We always ran out of data after about two weeks. 
To do a little research, we went into Verizon and began asking questions about different phone plans. We could have our three devices and unlimited data for only $160 per month. I told him about my iPad that we wanted to replace so we could use it for Wolfie’s games and movies on long car or airplane trips. That would be an extra $300 because I missed when you used to be able to “upgrade” your device for a fraction of the price. Now you buy a brand new device and have to pay installments every month. As of now, we are only paying $87 per month for 2GB. So should we buy the iPad and stay at Verizon? If you know math, no. Not only would the iPad double our expense per month, which adds up to over a $1,000 per year, we would have also had to buy a $300 iPad that we didn’t absolutely need (but really wanted because my old one doesn’t work). We thanked the guy helping us and headed over to Sprint to see what they had to offer. We are glad we did.
Next we discussed plans with Sprint and it turns out that we can have unlimited data for two devices for $80 per month plus taxes, so roughly $85. Already, we won by asking questions and looking for a better option. What about my iPad upgrade? <QUE CHURCH BELLS> The Sprint employee told me about the deal they are having with the latest model of an iPad for only $100 paying $4 per month for two years. Here’s how it works when the price is broken down: each line you add on to Sprint gets cheaper. For example, my line was $50, Kellie’s was $35, and the line for my new iPad was $25. We also got a discount because of where I work. When all was said and done, the total monthly bill is about $105. Not bad since we were getting a lot more for our money than we had been at Verizon! 
We immediately said, “please sign us up!” and that’s when things got annoying. Since we were bringing our own phones over to Sprint, we got a discount. This also meant that we needed new SIM cards and they didn’t have them. The employee told us to call back later to see if he would get some in. Four hours later we called and he told us no, but that he ordered them and they would be in on Saturday morning when they opened. We signed up for a time to come in Saturday morning and everything seemed all set. 
Saturday came and the salesman acted like we had never talked. At first he didn’t remember me and then he asked me if I remembered that I should have called first to make sure the SIM cards were in. He had clearly told me the cards would be in on Saturday. It gets better. Another employee seemed to want to pick up the slack and called other Sprint stores in the area immediately and found two SIM cards in the town over. I knew that it would take him roughly 40 minutes to grab them and come back. We were supposed to be heading out of town right then and there, which was frustrating but I always keep my cool. 
I decided to take the family to Burger King and eat since we hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. An hour passed and we came back to the Sprint store to only realize that we beat the employee who was supposed to be already back. The employee walked back into the store almost immediately after I walked in to tell us that the store in the other town didn’t have them. Where are all of these problems coming from? Lazy people who look at a computer and see that the inventory says they have them when the lazy person should get up and walk ten feet and check the backroom or shelf to make sure they have what somebody called for. Annoying, right? I told them briefly we were heading out of town again, even though the original employee should have known (which is why we signed up for the first time slot to come in on Saturday). I said thanks and walked away. 
After twenty minutes on the road, I got a phone call from Sprint telling me that the district manager talked to the store in a city we were about to pass and that if we came in, we would be taken care of. Would you trust that? I would and did. 
We walked into the new Sprint store and we were more than taken care of. Our phones were activated with our new SIM cards, my new iPad was up and running, and our awesome monthly rate was locked in. We didn’t even have to call Verizon at all! Our signing up nightmare was over. The thing that made it even better was that we had a wonderful lady helping us who knew what she was doing and took enough pride in her work and the store’s reputation to listen to our needs.
Are you wondering about the wisdom of our iPad purchase? I looked on Best Buy’s website for the exact same iPad and it was $300, BUT, it was wifi only, which meant you could never hook it up to a network. If you buy an iPad with wifi and it is unlocked, the price goes up to $450. We got the same iPad for $100. Did we really save $350 difference? In a way, yes. Over the course of two years, we will be paying for the iPad to have Sprint service and that is $25 per month, which adds up to $300 per year times two and you get $600 for two years plus the $100 it cost to buy the iPad, so the total would be $700 for two years. If I bought the iPad outright, it would be $450 plus $600 for a total of $1,050 over the course of two years. Total savings: $350. 
The question remains: who wouldn’t switch carriers? I think lazy people would be one category (and I was one of them), but I also know that coverage can vary a little bit so you should do research into your area and see if it will work for your needs. By the way, we also have 15 GB of hotspot for each of our devices and now we also have FREE HULU thanks to signing up with Sprint.:) Enough said.
-the Stylish Daddy
Ps. my wife wanted to also add that we’ve been happy with our cell coverage while traveling in another state so far. When we didn’t get great service out in the boondocks, our Verizon family members didn’t either so we didn’t feel like we were missing out on cell coverage.
Also, we looked into Walmart’s plans too and decided that everything they offer is pretty comparable to Sprint price wise and we still didn’t get all of the perks as we would have with signing up with Sprint.

Getting Your Summertime Water Wish May Make You Broke

Belly partly made by pizza, sitting on a pizza 😅

It’s a hot day, but with our above ground pool we can cool off. Our wallets cannot. Awhile back, temps got up into the 90s and we desperately wanted a pool. Kellie and I did some research online and, in the end, decided on the Coleman above ground pool from Walmart. We saw it was in stock at our local store! It was chaos when we got there.
Walmart was busier than a kid in a toy store (and it didn’t help that Walmart has toys). It seemed that everyone else had the same idea and when we got to the water section, almost all of the pools and water toys were gone. I asked for help trying to find our Coleman, but it was hard to find help. I eventually got help from a guy who didn’t seem like he wanted to help. Finally, he noticed something odd about the space between the other Coleman pools and went back into the stockroom. He said he found it and then informed us he hates pools. 🙂
The easy set up was easy -NOT! Since it was so hot, the metal burned in our hand. The tarp that goes under it wouldn’t stay in one place and after finally putting the hose in it to fill up, the wind took the whole pool two feet away from where we wanted it. It was a fun time looking back at it now.
We read the reviews online and all of them stated that it needs a better pump to circulate the water. Ours worked fine and it kept our pool blue. I am no expert at taking care of pools and after a few weeks, I noticed that the bottom was becoming slippery and so were the sides. I wasn’t sure, it could have been, in part, the lack of chemicals I put in, but something needed to improve.
The pool was running efficiently and it only cost us $383. Great right? Well, you also need chemicals like chlorine and PH balance. You’ll need a ladder and a water cleaner scooper if it’s not included (ours came with these two things)! The scooper was nice to get the bugs and leaves that had ventured into the pool, but I still wanted it to be cleaner so I ended up buying a new pump for $153.99. I also noticed there were a lot of dead bugs and leaves on the surface so I had to buy a skimmer ($21.99). The water was also unbearably cold making any base singer a soprano, so I bought a solar heater ($139.99). I also noticed, after buying a pool water test kit that our alkalinity level was through the roof, so I had to buy acid ($40). This acid is so powerful that 2.5 bags of it equal actual liquid acid. Ouch!
The new pump and the new solar heater came yesterday, so I spent the whole day figuring out how to disconnect the hoses and not making water gush out of the pool. I did not succeed and had to put the garden hose back in to fill it more! Oh, also I said goodbye to Kellie and told her not to remarry when I’m gone because the pump had a giant warning label on it saying that if I ran it and the valves were not open, it would blow up. No pressure, right? This was not just any filter pump, but a sand filter pump, which is a lot better to clean the pool. At least that’s good. Except sand did not come with it, so I had to drive to the pool store immediately and buy #20 silica sand, whatever that means.
I connected the heater to the new pump and I could not believe the difference in the flow rate of the water. It was fantastic! A few bubbles emerged from the output hose, so I checked the heater manual and that is not supposed to happen after two minutes. Apparently, the pressure is so good that I now have to buy a bypass kit to make the water go through a separate hose in order to slow the water down in the solar heater. I bought the bypass kit today as well as different hoses and different attachment converters because I have no idea what I’m doing and I don’t want to be safe and order one part only to realize that I also need that other part that I could have ordered at the same time.
Wolfie and I made a trip to Target to buy some diaper wipes for him, but ended up with a shopping cart full of pool toys. We got a giant pizza floaty and a duck floaty and two water guns and a wakeboard with The Incredibles characters on it. I even picked up a new life jacket floaty for Wolfie. We were super excited, but boy is this becoming expensive!
In the end, my $383 pool is now about $1,000 thanks to the pump, solar heater, chemicals, sand, and pool toys. What started out as a good idea turned into more of a headache and it hurt our budget.
We had family over today and everyone swam in the pool, so it was well worth it and I felt proud that I was able to figure out how to make it all happen. With it being able to warm up now (as long as the parts I ordered do the trick), Wolfie will also have a better time in it since it won’t be so cold.
I don’t want to discourage you from making your watery summer dreams come true, but make sure you plan ahead and count for all things that COULD go wrong. And double your budget, just in case. Thinking of finally taking that road trip? It could make you empty your bank account because the car needed a new axel or you got robbed (happened to our family when I was a kid), or you decided that you were on vacation and could splurge a bit. Wherever your summer brings you, be careful, plan ahead, and think of our pool fiasco next time it’s 98 degrees outside and you have a brilliant idea.
Yours truly,
Daddy Witzke (AKA The Classy Artist’s instagram husband)

A Father’s Day Gift Idea: Tiny Closet Revamp

Hey Mamas or daughters, this one’s for you!!!! If you still are looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift ideas and you’re a little handy, this could be your gift: a cool, manly, and budget-friendly closet makeover for that special Father in your life!
It did take some $$ to get the wallpaper, dresser, and shelves, and light fixture, but otherwise it was a lot of elbow grease on my part. At first, I was thinking I would buy Beckett a closet system he LOVED from Ikea, but it was going to cost like $1,000 so I nixed that idea and decided I could probably achieve a similar look for a fraction of that price! I guess that’s part of why I’m posting this on a Friday.

How to makeover a small closet in a stylish way:

  1. Draw out an exact plan with dimensions and make a list of the tools and materials you’ll need.
  2. mptying the closet and taking out the shelves.
  3. Then patch the walls, paint if needed, and prep for wallpaper.

Helpful tips: If you have popcorn ceilings, scrape them first. If you’re doing this project, you may as well go all the way and make it nice! Also, to save money, design your closet so that only one wall shows and wallpaper just that. We got our wallpaper from Target, as it is part of the Hearth & Hand collection by Joana Gaines.
The Classy Artist- Father's Day Idea a small closet makeover All cleaned out wallpaper going in
4. Put in a dresser that is roughly 18″ skinnier than the wall length (so that the clothes on the clothes rack/shelf  have enough room to hang). I got this one from Ikea because Beckett has been obsessed with some of their closet storage options for a year and he likes the look of a glass front panel.
The Classy Artist- Father's Day Idea a small closet makeover Dresser in
5. Figure out where the shelves should go by finding studs, measuring, and using a level to draw horizontal lines where the shelves should go. I decided to give Beckett the most storage possible by having a full wall of shelves/clothing rods across the back wall and a few shelves on the wall above the dresser.
The Classy Artist- Father's Day Idea a small closet makeover Shelves going up for lots of storage in this small closet
6. Turn off power and remove old lighting, install the new, and turn power back on. I found this light pictured (at the end of the post) at Lowes last spring and I was saving it for when I finally could redo this closet. They still carry it and I’ll link it here again. They have other pretty options for about half the price too like this one with the chrome brim. Be sure to find a light that will create a nice ambiance in the space– that will make the biggest impact of all.
Helpful hint: This particular light was an online return that wasn’t carried in the Lowes I was at so they were selling it for 75% off! So if you’re in the market for a light and you have the time, check Lowes every once in awhile to see if they have any good deals like that!
6. Before putting everything back in the closet, now is the perfect time to do a closet purge. The best way for us to do that seemed for me to go through the clothes for Beckett and then letting him look through my donate pile I made.
The Classy Artist- Father's Day Idea a small closet revamp finished!The Classy Artist- Father's Day Idea a small closet revamp modern closet with a classic twist black plaid wallpaper

I hope you got a little inspiration from this maybe for you or your hubby’s closet! Let me know if you’d be up for trying a project like this on your own below!
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Oh Hey Vacay (still available) / Life Update / Blog Update

the classy artist - casual summer look of the day outfit of the dayThe Classy Artist - pregnancy poseThe Classy Artist on the fence- closed eyes oh hey vacay tee

Life Lately:

Today was Beckett and my last day of school at Morris Bye in Coon Rapids. I have to say, we will miss some of our coworkers and maybe a few students, but we always love changes in scenery. To celebrate, we went to Best Buy to get Beckett the latest DLC for his Elder Scrolls video game and to look at pricing on a new computer for me.
If you missed it on Instagram, two nights ago I went to update a few things on my blog and realized my computer wouldn’t start up normally. The screen was stuck on this strange error messgae:
apple question mark file
I spent hours trying to troubleshoot it by googling everything about it and nothing I tried worked. It was a sad, sad day because I’ve had that apple desktop for a full 10 years. It was with me all through college and was what I still used to edit all my photos, videos, etc. Thankfully I had most things backed up on an external hard drive!
RIP, trusty computer with no name.
Today, being the sweetest husband, Beckett insisted on getting me a new computer to help me continue my dream of blogging and painting as my job (I use my computer to look up images as I make art too). I love how supportive he is of my dreams– even though they are distant hopes still.
In other news, my sis- and bro- in law are having a baby and we are over the moon happy for them! They have gone through so much on this journey to parenthood and to see them finally on their way is a blessing for sure! They had to do numerous rounds of IVF to get their miracle baby. Below is a watercolor painting of their cute little one as an embryo.
Embryo transfer ivf painting

About the Outfit:

Since work today consisted of a meeting and finishing packing up Beckett’s classroom, I opted for a comfy, sporty #ootd. The ‘OH HEY VACAY’ top is still $8 at Old Navy, it’s not maternity, and it’s PERFECT if you are planning a trip this summer! I really like that it’s lightweight and soft too because otherwise I get too hot lately.
My shorts are old, but sooo comfy that I can’t help but pull them out every summer. I found a pair that is super similar online today for those of you who like comfy cute shorts. Here’s a picture of them: ikat shorts.jpg
Also, full disclosure, my hair isn’t this thick or long normally. I’ve been pretty open in past posts about wearing hair extensions sometimes and I am loving my new ones from Barefoot Blonde Hair in the color Brownstone. They have a free try-on service that helped me know which color to choose and I think Amber Clark is genius for coming up with that idea! Read my previous review here.screen-shot-2018-06-08-at-9-19-34-pm.png

Blog Updates Pending:

Beckett helps me a lot with this website and this week we’ve been brainstorming lots of fun ideas to help us be able to serve you better by bringing you better, more regular and relevant content. Here’s a peek at what to expect:

  • Mondays: Budget-Friendly recipes and artful meal ideas for the week. I’m not a great cook so this will be my personal challenge as a way to better myself and you. I think that if I can find and make good recipes, and bring them to you through this medium, any of you who also struggle with meal prep will benefit from what I “bring to the table.”
  • Tuesdays: Outfit & mid-week inspiration to help ease you through the work week.
  • Wednesdays: A painting tutorial for a fun painting you can do on your own or with your family. As a teacher I see every day the need for families to bond together and spend more quality time together so I want to be able to show you some techniques and ideas to help you create beautiful artwork alone or with your friends and family.
  • Thursdays: Hair and makeup tutorials or beauty finds to help inspire your tresses or enhance your natural beauty! We all know that true beauty comes from within, but a fresh look sure feels great too! I will show you how I style my (thin) God-given hair to look thicker and also how to style long hair with extensions in easy work-week friendly ways.
  • Fridays: Financial ideas to help you save more and invest smarter. Friday is actually going to be Beckett’s blogging day where I’ll give him **almost** free rein over the content that day. Beckett took over our finances almost completely this year and I am so proud of him for how much he has learned since the beginning of the year, and what he will continue to learn in the future.
  • Saturdays: We want to hear from you because I want us to be friends. Some sort of a survey or comment section will be posted each Saturday with the goal of being able to get to know you readers better and hear more of what you want to see in the weeks to come.

What do you think of our schedule? Anything more or different you would like to see?