Few months ago I finally got a new cell phone. Up untill that point, I had this:
But after many years of usage, the battery on that thing wouldn’t last for more than a few hours. It was time. The rep at AT& T store said he hadn’t seen a razor flip phone since he started working there. Everyone and their brother has an iPhone these days. But I’m a freak, a cheap freak.
So, what did I buy? I got a $15 model, a basic phone that handles calls and not much else. OK, you can take terrible pictures with it if you want to. I have a prepaid plan that costs me $8 per month, and I’m quite happy with it. I don’t want to check emails, browse internet or text, aka be a slave to my device. I just want a phone so people can reach me.
I view lodging and flying very much the same way. They are mostly a means to an end, so I can get to places I want to explore. That’s not to say I’m opposed to splurging. Far from it! We’ve stayed in castles and in a few months, we’ll be flying in first-class. I definitely don’t think people are shallow if they insist on luxury when it comes to travel.
But some of our best memories involve dirt cheap lodging. Like this apartment in Kauai, which cost us $65 per night:
As you can see, it’s attached to the main house. For some it would be a deal breaker, but it afforded us an excellent opportunity to get to know the family. The husband was Hawaiian, and had lots of stories to share. In fact, they insisted on taking us out to dinner and even paid for it! In case you are wondering, I only spent $150 for the whole week (all-in) to rent this convertible. Not too bad, right? Cheap and fancy, the best combination.
This countertop cost you how much?
Few years ago, the friends of my in-laws invited our whole family for dinner. This couple has done very well financially, and have a beautiful house, cars etc. In the course of conversation, they mentioned that their countertop cost them $40K. Yes, you read that right, not $4K, but $40K. No, it wasn’t made of gold. I told them my formica countertop cost us $300 back in the day, and I thought that was too much. I wasn’t being passive-aggressive or anything. That said, all I could think of was how many trips we could do for $40K.
But here is the thing. It was clear that they absolutely loved that countertop. This couple likes to stay home and entertain guests, so they put a lot of money into their house. And there is nothing wrong with that. Just like there is nothing wrong with spending a ton of money or points on luxurious travel.
Some people like to fly to a resort and stay put, never leaving the premises. If that’s your thing, go for it! Others love fancy airplane seats and live for the thrill of trying out new products. And that’s OK too.
But my travel style definitely resembles formica countertop and razor phone. They both serve a purpose, but looks and features are secondary. Sure, you can say that quality is secondary too, and that’s true. But I could replace my countertop many times over, and the price would never reach $40K. The same principle also applies to my cell phone.
P.S. Speaking of cell phones, make sure to read this DoC post All you need to know about Citi AT & T card $650 sign-up bonus. It’s a niche offer and does require some work, but could be crazy lucrative. I’m especially interested in reselling angle of it.
P.P.S. It’s good to be back! Will try to get back to regular posting schedule soon.
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