Pay As You Go Lifestyle
7 days is up and this draws to a close a different and maybe even exciting week for us as we decided to go back to our school days and Pay As You Go.
Going contract free for a week has had its ups and its downs, but most of all its opened my eyes to a world that’s always been there but I simply forgot existed. Conducting the week in a spirit that was in line with our team mate giffgaff, which is about freedom, community spirit, value for money and, quite obviously pay as you go. So, tossing aside those contracts we outlined in the preview, we set out to do an awful lot of things differently, without spending shed loads of cash in a stark contrast to what we normally would!
Things have certainly progressed since my youth when I had a one-to-one PAYG phone, when topping up required walking to the store to buy a card, which you had to scrape the metallic back off, to call up and input the code in order to get any money on your phone. It felt like buying a scratch card and winning the lottery, but hardly a convenient process and certainly not quite the same payoff. Whereas in my youth, getting that £10 top up was a right pain, it couldn’t be simpler now with online payments or vouchers. In fact, it can even top itself up automatically.
It wasn’t just about my phone though, this was a whole PAYG lifestyle week, and I even moved home, avoided my office (most thankfully), I also managed a number of work outs through Pay As U Gym, which saves you from paying your monthly fee and never going. A good workout demands good food, something I also endeavoured to find on a PAYG basis. PAYG meals I hear you ask? Tibits in London is a vegetarian/vegan buffet style restaurant that charges you based on the weight of your plate. Eat a lot, pay a lot… shamelessly, I ate a lot, but it was too good not to.
The biggest challenge faced throughout my week was surprisingly travel, something we touched on previously in our midweek update. I will say that if you are travelling in London for a week or more, or have a lot of complicated journeys, avoiding the PAYG system might be advisable. I lost count of awkward and embarrassing u-turns from tube turnstiles as I had run out of money. However, other methods of getting around included utilising Zipcar to hop to the supermarket for a large shop. Taxis are an option of course, but since I am not an attractive woman (or a woman at all), I have found hailing taxis is almost impossible. Fortunately, the Halo app made it painless and efficient, without hanging out in the middle of the road!
For my accommodation I went through Airbnb, I have to admit I was worried about staying somewhere in central London that wasn’t a hotel or a friend’s place! The range of potential places is quite staggering and the one settled on was situated right behind the BritishMuseum, perfectly central. Although it was Spartan and not well heated, the location and price more than made up for it. And the tiny bathroom with a toilet/shower (though different directions) was quite genius. Could I live like that permanently? Office wise we opted for a Regus, which although was a good base, I’m still waiting on my lunch, tea and biscuits as all failed to materialise on the day, so don’t rely on it for sustenance if you’re considering it too!
Living, working and travelling through the city of London on a PAYG basis doesn’t illustrate all this magnificent city has to offer either. Having interpreted PAYG as simple paying for single use or instant products that you buy as and when you need them, I applied this to entertainment. I hit the cinema a few times over the week, seeing some awful films like Oblivion and Dark Skies. I also went and enjoyed some live music in Camden after hearing word that some of my favourite bands as a teenager would be playing. Plus, since I was staying round the corner, I sauntered around the BritishMuseum, slowly wandering and educating myself.
Throughout all my endeavours I was supported through social media, and the quite brilliant support and community forums over at giffgaff. And I am pleased to say that my knowledge of them is no longer limited to ‘those guys who sponsor the Big Bang Theory’. The total package they offer is excellent and I have to admit that PAYG over contract for phones certainly will retain a place in my life.
There is no doubt that I managed to do an awful lot in the week on a purely PAYG basis, and that it really did represent a whole lifestyle change. Is it a lifestyle I’d recommend? In the most part, absolutely. I now associate it with being free to make instant choices for live entertainment and about getting great things for great prices. Is there anything I intend to bring into my regular way of living? Most definitely. I fully intend to see out the remainder of my phone contracts and live on giffgaff PAYG – after all, with auto top-up it’s easy and since I always buy my phones outright, it just makes perfect sense. The range of add-ons and goodybags which comprises a bundle of minutes, texts and data to be used make it a sweet deal too.
On the other hand, the Regus offices? In spite of my bad experience, they’ll probably suit your needs if you want to look professional for a day. Airbnb is best suited for travelling, not for living. Free music through Deezer? I think I’ll stick to purchases or Spotify subscription, the free service just doesn’t suit my heavy demands.
No wonder PAYG is making a comeback. In the past, an agonising time spent waiting on hold for customer support was the norm, but now it’s all about living for the fun and free. Ultimately, it was a challenging and interesting week that has made quite an impact. Think you might give something here a go or want to know more? Get in touch.