Yes, I'm Happy With My Controversial Decision to Get a "Free TV"

Sometimes spending more money can still be a good deal.

Two days ago I posted something here that I knew might be controversial. I wrote about how I got a 49 inch TV for free, as part a deal where I paid 34 dollars a month for 3 phone lines, and the catch was that I am paying that price for 3 years.
OK, so here's the thing.
I knew I'd get flack.
I knew people would disagree with me.
The biggest comment I got was that the TV wasn't free if it meant I was stuck with one phone company.

But you know what?
I wasn't born yesterday.
I am not naive.
I knew full well what I was doing, and I will stand behind it, because that is what works for me.

So let me start out by saying, as I said in my previous post, that I had been paying 34 dollars a month for my unlimited line plus 25 dollars a month for a limited line.
Even though it was possible to combine those two lines to one company for cheaper than the 59 dollars a month I was paying, I didn't. My life was busy and I didn't have the head space to deal with different companies and trying to get the best deal ever. I had been paying that price for over a year, because finding a better deal wasn't my priority.

And then, because of circumstances that I explained in my post, I got this better deal thrown into my lap. 3 lines for the same price I had been paying for for one. And I would have taken that deal just as is, which is why I consider the TV thrown into that a free TV. Because that was just an extra perk for me about this deal.

So lots of people have been saying "34 dollars a month for three lines isn't a good deal! You can still get cheaper and pay 25 dollars a month for three lines! You're a sucker!" That's three dollars extra per line per month. Or 9 dollars extra a month. Or $108 extra a year.

You know what?

I am totally ok with that.


9 dollars more a month doesn't make one a sucker.

One thing I talk about a lot on my blog is how frugality looks different for every person. Frugal living isn't about spending the least amount of money on everything ever. It means spending it in a way that is worth it for you. For everyone that looks different.

For example, I really don't mind buying past prime veggies and things from the reduced rack and scratch and dent stores. I save so much money by buying my groceries there instead of from the regular grocery store. For other people, they would never do that. Their time is precious to them and they'd rather do all their grocery shopping online, delivered to their home, and not need to waste time going from supermarket to supermarket. Or there are people who do go from store to store but would never dream of using produce that is a little wilted or bruised, and that's totally ok!

Everyone has different priorities.

And just because someone's priorities are different than yours doesn't make their choices a bad financial decision if it works for them.

So for me, my priorities are different than yours.

I have ADHD. I have a bad memory. I am a single mom juggling a million things on my plate at once. I don't remember to do things that I need to do. I hate making phone calls, waiting on hold, negotiating deals by phone, calling different companies to find the best deal. If there was a deal that gives me a good price for a phone line for a year, but after a year you have to call them up and negotiate for a better deal otherwise the prices will go up, I will forget to do that. What will happen is I'll pay the better price for a year but after a year the price will be jacked up and I'll pay ridiculous amounts because I didn't remember to/get around to doing all the phone calls and price negotiations to stay with a decent price.

I mean, you can clearly see that I was paying a clear bad price beforehand but I didn't get around to doing anything about it until my son's phone got stolen and I needed a new sim card. That's just how my brain works.

So for me, to be "stuck" with a good price, even if not the absolute lowest price ever, for three years, that they can't raise my rates, is definitely worth it, even if its 9 dollars more a month.

On top of that, I've had really bad experiences with cell phone companies in my country. In fact, I've been with every single cell phone company locally other than one. And every single one of them other than the one I currently am in, screwed us over financially for one reason or another. Every single company, we had a contract for a certain price per month, and every single month that wasn't the amount of money that actually got billed. This company I'm with is the only company I've used other than company G, that Lee's phone was with and more expensive, that actually charged what they were supposed to every month.

So if I am paying an extra 9 dollars a month for having a reputable service that doesn't tack on extras all the time, that I don't have to remember to call back and finagle with them so I'm not overcharged once the contract is up, it's worth it for me.

And the TV thrown in there? If its 9 dollars a month for 3 years, if you're considering that extra fee as the price of the TV, even though for me I explained why its worth it for me even without the TV, that's still $324 for the TV over the course of three years, and that is STILL a good price in my books.

So one last thing, why would the company do this if it wasn't worth it for them, if they weren't scamming me? One thing is a guaranteed customer for three years, which is worth it for them. Additionally, company H in addition to providing cell phone service also provides TV service and internet service, and this TV that they gave us is a smart TV. They might be banking on the idea that once I have this nice TV, I'll want cable TV service to go with it, so they'll get another customer there. And maybe also internet service for the smart TV aspects. I know myself and know that I have no plans on getting cable even with this TV, and I won't be getting internet from them, but the same way stores have loss leaders because they assume most people will be spending money in a way that makes this worth it for them, I am assuming that the TV is a loss leader for them which they hope will mean I'll end up spending more money with them. But just as I save money with the loss leaders and don't fall for that trap, same here.

You can disagree with me on my logic, but I still firmly believe that I got a good deal.

Because everyone's situation is different, and this is what works for me.

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. I enjoyed this post! You are 100% right saving is different for everyone depending on their own situation! Sounds to me like you got a deal that works for you so congrats and enjoy that FREE tv! Keep savin , keep being you, I will keep reading!

  2. I thought your free TV deal was awesome! I'm with you, shopping around for the best deal is something I find stressful, and have the luxury of leaving that kind of thing to my husband. You keep doing you, enjoy the TV.

  3. You go girl! Seriously! When I read your other post I thought what a great thing but didn't read entirely. I think you got a great deal for YOU! And truly that is all that matters!

  4. Penny...

    You never need to justify your choices to others (except maybe your children). You are brutally honest with yourself, including the options for divorce, home schooling, frugal living. I'm hoping that your next book is less about foraging and more about how you manage fun on a tight budget!

  5. That was a sweet deal, even with a 3 year contract. I'm paying $30 a month for 1 line here in the US, and no freebies at all. BTW, your new tv cost about $249 here in the states. Kudos to you! Keep up the great posts. Love reading them.

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