Monday, February 4, 2008

The Radio Will Pay Your Bills

Driving around the other day, I heard an ad on the radio for a contest. It went something like this:

Christmas is over, all the decorations have been put away, but there's still one "present" left to open.... your BILLS.

(psycho stabbing music)


Just send in your bill and we'll pay it for you! (Up to $500.)

The premise is simple enough - send in your bill, they call your name and if you call back within 30 minutes, they will pay your bill for you. Sounds great, right? Like a dream come true? Not really.

I think it's an awful idea. Sure, I'd love to have an extra $500 payment to the credit cards. Heck, I'd like to have an extra $100 to the credit cards. I just can't believe that we're live in such a world where this is what is going on.

I can picture it now: "Oh, I can buy shiny new things because the radio station will pay off my credit card!" I can picture it because I can see myself saying something similar a few short years back. And I know exactly what would happen if, at that time, I had won a $500 payment to my credit card. I would then go out and charge another $500 worth of stuff. Nothing important, nothing even significant. I would probably wonder why I was back up at my limit again.

Perhaps this is judgmental, but in my experience, the quick payoff doesn't solve the root problem. Just like after a fad diet, people tend to regain weight, after a quick payoff, people tend to regain debt. I don't think this would really help most people to achieve a better financial position. I am not even entirely convinced that if I were to win it now, I wouldn't "celebrate" by putting less to our debt, and instead would use the won money to treat myself. Maybe not all $500 of it, but at least a little bit.

Debt payoff is not only about throwing your dollars into the money pit that you have created. It is about the change in attitude that ultimately comes with the territory. I have been in debt, and back out of debt before. Until I can use credit wisely, I shouldn't be using it at all. Of course it is easier to buy things now and worry about paying for them later. But that's what got us into the mess in the first place.

I'm not impressed by this radio station's sad attempt to garner high ratings. I hope that some of the winners out there are really helped by the money.


Sharon said...

You are correct to realize that this is not the way to pay down debt. It is actually very similar to playing the lottery. Your chances of getting your bill paid off are probably slim. And then they have all of your information to use for advertising/marketing purposes. Good for you to see right through it!

Canadian Saver said...

I don't think I'd participate either, I wouldn't want them to see my CC statement for one, and second, my chances of winning would be very slim. I almost never win anything!

JvW said...

sharon - at least this is cheaper than the lottery! I never even thought they would use the info for ads - DUH!

cs - I am still embarrassed enough to not want people to see the cc statement, even if I post the figures here.

SF said...

You wouldn't be talking about Kiss108, would you? I totally agree with you - I roll my eyes whenever I hear that ad!

JvW said...

That would be the one, SF! I hate hearing all their ads for the contest.

wealthy_1 said...

You are so right. I think debt reduction is a behavior. First, we decide that we want to reduce our debt and then we make a plan and work our plan. I am always amused at the ads that promise to remove my debt shackles.

Anonymous said...

you my friend are an idiot... the fact that u show no care for the ppl around you is a disgrace, you should be ashamed of yourself. this radio station is only trying to help people out, so what if they gained higher ratings, it seems to me like you are one of those shallow people that if u dont win it yourself, than you think no-one should... pathetic

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