Here’s a nice little service Jen just found out her phone company offers: it turns out they’ve been running this program for years now where all you have to do to enroll is logon to their website, click on a few things, and they will actually buy you a flight to Hawaii, free of charge, every single year for as long as you have a phone with them! (well in fact, you can fly anywhere you want in the world, as long as it costs around $500). Absolutely no strings attached!!
Shockingly, unlike most other social programs, this one actually caters more to the rich than the poor: if you are used to spending even more money than Jen on your bills, you can actually go to that same page, click a few buttons, and they will buy you trips to Europe and other such destinations beyond Hawaii, every single year, for as long as you have a phone with them, no strings attached.
Well, not so surprisingly the phone company doesn’t go advertising this program, so it seems that not very many people actually do know about it. But trust me, the program is alive and well.
The only tricky part about the whole thing is, they actually don’t send her any money, they simply reduce her bill by $40 per month, and it’s up to her to manage the billing difference herself, as opposed to them holding on to the money for her and giving her the flight every year. Not to mention the reasonably pleasant necessity of her logging on to a travel website every winter, finding the best deal and destination (case in point: our flights to Turkey last April for $700), and making the actual purchase herself with the money she amassed over the year. With every social program comes a bit of administrative work I suppose!
Where’s the catch Noble Anarchist, there has to be one somewhere!
Well in Jen’s case, literally there wasn’t a single one. Jen’s annual phone-company-holiday-purchase program simply consisted of her needing to ditch her old plan that’s no longer available anyway (I wonder why?), and switching to a newer one. Bam. $40/month less. The cost of a flight to Hawaii every single year. And like i said, the more you are used to spending, the easier it is to trim the fat.
Do you pay for long distance? Do you pay for voicemail? Do you have unlimited data?
Ever heard of Skype? How often is voicemail actually necessary, really. And with a very small amount of discipline, it is easy to limit yourself to 500MBs or less of data a month. Wifi is your friend. For god’s sake please don’t tell me you still have a landline as well as a cell phone!
But I actually don’t think all these phone features are the reason for the regularly high phone bills everyone seems to have. It seems to me it’s a combination of people being too lazy to go to their phone company’s website and doing a proper evaluation of their phone bill, and I guess not being able to do simple math, like 40 x 12.
A fun fact this post will leave you with: if instead of buying flights to Hawaii every year, Jen decided she wanted to invest it every month somewhere where she earns an average of 7%/year? She would have herself $15,000 sitting in an account on her 55th birthday. Not enough to retire on, sure, but not too bad either considering she didn’t have to cut a single thing out of her life to get it, other than about 30 minutes spent on the internet back in the year 2013.