Don’t Get Roped Into “Pay As You Go” Plans

It’s just not the right choice most of the time. There I led with my bold claim and now I will spend the rest of the piece defending it

First, let’s walk it back to what I’m even talking about. The “pay as you go” plan has been around forever and used to actually be a very popular cell phone option. You pay per minute, you pay per text message, you pay per everything. You don’t use it, you don’t pay! It sounds like the perfect idea, doesn’t it? So flexible, so understanding, so perfectly tailored to your usage? Right? Wrong!

Just like anything else, buying in bulk is always cheaper. The rule of economics is that when you buy a lot of anything, you almost ALWAYS get a price break at a certain level. Now, that price break may not be worth it when you are buying toilet paper, for example, because those packages get so big you can’t even fit them into your car. Then you have to find a place for them in your home… anyway. When it comes to “pay as you go” plans, for things like cell phones, car rentals, or even WiFi Hotspots like Skyroam offers, it’s not worth it.

First of all, you will always end up using it more than you think. It was that way with cell phones and it’s that way now. You may think, oh I won’t need that much data from my hotspot, I’m just going to be checking email… so you think, I’ll just do “pay as you go” and keep track. I promise you’ll double that prediction, or at least inch closer and closer to it every single month until you break it and then start convincing yourself that you need more.

Not only will you go over what you expect, but you are creating a completely variable expense every month that is almost impossible to budget for, if this is something you need for work. Why leave it so open? Just pay the fee and use the device, rather than leaving it completely up to chance and then accidentally download a 10-minute long video your mom texted you about your dog. That’s a GIG right there.

The last reason is, in my opinion, the most important. You’ll never enjoy the technology if you’re always thinking about how much you’ve used. On a rental car, you’ll sit and think about every mile you rack up, and now you’re just doing math the entire time you’re supposed to be enjoying this convertible you rented to drive up the coast. You’ll sit and think about which YouTube video you should or shouldn’t watch. You’ll start moderating your music listening while you’re working so as to not have to stream too much. For what? To not save any money in the end?

Technology is built to be used, not carefully rationed. The power-user is the user that truly gets the most out of their machine. Dive in, you can always cancel, but don’t get roped into “pay as you go”, it’ll never be the right choice.

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