by Tammy Taylor~
RancherMan & I have been talking about the true costs of staying with a company or product – not because it’s the best fit or best financial decision, but solely because they’re in our comfort zone. Thankfully we are both in agreement. Part of the reason we can both live & work right here in our NE Texas paradise is because we both make sure our money is always spent wisely.
We know just going the cheapest route is seldom a good idea. Sure, you may initially save a few bucks. But if the product isn’t of high enough quality to give you satisfactory performance, it’s really not that good of a deal is it? It’s true you oftentimes get what you pay for.
BUT, (and this is important) it’s also oftentimes true that by being complacent you could very well be paying much more for a brand name or just to stay in your comfort zone, but NOT for a product or service that is the virtually the same elsewhere for significantly less.
Vehicles – It’s Not Always About The Name On The Hood
For instance, there is a very well-known tractor company that produces a fine product. But (in my humble opinion) they’re also very overpriced. I feel by buying that tractor you’re paying more for the name on the hood than what’s under it. Our tractors, lawn mowers & vehicles were purchased based on research, past experience & customer satisfaction ratings. Only at the very end of our vetting process do we consider price.
The same can be said for electric providers. That big name electric provider doesn’t deliver different electricity than some of the smaller and less-known providers. The light switch is flipped and the light comes on. Literally – NO difference.
Over half of the states in the US now allow energy choice. So if your state allows competition, just a little research for the best option to suit YOUR family can save tons. Competitive Energy has a state-by-state map to help you choose.
Here in Texas, RancherMan checks the website Power-To-Choose (a Texas electric provider comparison site) any time our electric contract is about to be up. And the little bit of time he spends researching saves us money
Our home is very well insulated and it’s laid out in a passive-solar design. These are features we purposely added to our home to keep our future monthly electric bills low. So energy usage for us is already minuscule.
But with a little research RancherMan found a company called Infuse Energy. I’d never heard of them before but they offered a plan that was a great fit for us with how we use energy. With our plan, when our usage stays below 1000 kwh per month, it’s a flat rate of $25 plus taxes.
WHAT?? REALLY?? $25?? Oh yeah, really.
Do some research for your own energy usage. The dough you save could be huge and you can save it over & over again each month!
Cell Phone Provider
And what about cellphone providers? Yeah if you’re paying for that brand new cellphone via monthly payments during a 2-yr contract than that certainly may make sense to do so. But what about when your contract is up? If you make no changes you’re STILL paying for that phone, month in – month out. Oh how the cell providers love you!
RancherMan & I are utilizing a cell service using the very same AT&T towers we were using before, but significantly (and I mean SIGNIFICANTLY) cheaper.
We bought our iphones outright several years ago so we were never pigeonholed into a contract in the first place. Now we’re paying month-to-month, and never being pressured to upgrade our perfectly functional phones ‘just because’.
My cell plan includes unlimited talk & text plus 500 mb data each month. My cost? $18. Yep, you read that right! If I find I need more data one month for whatever reason, I can buy another block of data easy peasy. But I’ve never had to do that.
Now part of the reason this works so well for us is because we have wifi available during our typical workday since we work right here on the Homestead. Plus I don’t go online often from my phone. But this company also offers different plans with more data at a slightly higher cost.
You’d need to figure out the circumstances that work best for you and your family. But don’t pay that big-name cell company year after year because that’s just the way it’s always been… Research to find the best deal for YOU.
A Closer Look
The same can be said for any number of companies with whom you spend money regularly – Insurance companies you’ve been with since you were a teenager so you feel obligated to continue doing business with them, car dealerships because your dad bought from there when you were a kid, grocery stores because hey, it’s the location where I’ve always shopped – and many others.
If a company or product offers you something that’s valuable to you, by all means go with your gut. My biggie is customer service. Heck I’ll spend more money (within reason of course) with a company that offers exemplary customer service. So I get that. I really do. But don’t get stuck paying more than you should just because it never crosses your mind to compare!