Why To Check Your Bills (Or: Why Not To Check Your Bills)
A woman in Connecticut checked her old electricty bills in preparation for the sale of her house and found that she had been overcharged $35 each month for the past 25 years! After only a little bit of a fight, the power company reimbursed her $10,500. Amazing! Wonderful! We should all check our bills? EXCEPT: We should all not check our bills.
If this woman had checked her bills and discovered the error ten years ago, she would have had an extra $35 per month, yes. But because she didn’t check her bill, however, she ACCIDENTALLY, THROUGH NO FORESIGHT OF HER OWN has an extra $10,500 now! Which is better?!!? If you’d asked her 25 years ago, she would have said: $35 now (duh). BUT OBVIOUSLY if you ask her now, she would say: $10,500 now (duhhhhhhhhh).
“But if she’d just checked her bill, she could have put still saved $35 each month and put it in a high-yield savings account and earned interest on her—” No. That would not have happened. She would not do that. No one would do that (Mike Dang might do that). She would have given herself permission to go a little crazier at the grocery store and buy the name brand cereal. Maybe she would have signed up for premium cable. Most likely she wouldn’t have noticed that extra $35 at all.
So: Don’t check your bills. Or, mostly don’t check your bills. Of course, in order for this to work as a savings plan you have to check your bill at some point to see if you’ve accidentally saved ten grand. Let’s trust our guts on when that should be. Deal.