Save Money By Being Predictable

A lot of people I know either revel in their spontaneity, or wish they could be more spontaneous.  But, people only value spontaneity in tiny amounts.  If you’re spontaneous 24 hours a day, you’re completely unpredictable.  Best case scenario, you have no real relationships: worst case scenario, you’re in a mental ward.

At the most basic level, humans need security.  It’s why we form groups and build houses and communities.  It’s why we buy alarm systems and life-jackets and insurance.  Stemming from that basic need for security is peoples’ desire for predictability.  Nobody wants to go to the store, or the bank, or the hospital hoping someone decided to go to work today.  They want to know that their train will be there when it’s supposed to be, that their kung pao chicken really is chicken, and that their spouse loves them even when they’re a mess.

When people can’t predict what’s going to happen, they freak out.  If your boss can’t predict which days you’ll show up and which days you’ll blow off work, you’re probably getting fired.  If your wife can’t predict which nights you won’t be having sex with other women, you’re probably getting divorced.  Even if you’re from Utah.

Predictability is good.  Everyone wants it.

Because everyone wants it, and because a lot of the world either doesn’t realize this or simply can’t provide it, predictability is also a bargaining chip.  It’s why you can get discounts for signing up for direct deposit or recurrent billing.

Renting Predictability

The best tenant is the one who sends a check each month and never calls.

~ Chinese Landlord Principle

So, offer predictability.  Take away risk.  This applies to any sort of relationship where payments are to be spread out over time, and its particularly applicable to rent.  Tell your landlord that you’ll set up an automatic transfer to his account every month.  Tell him you’ll do it three days before the rent is due each month.  Tell him you’ll never call unless something really bad happens.

Tell your boss that the project you want to take on can be broken up into chunks.  A chunk will be completed each week.  Each chunk will be valuable in itself.  Even if it fails, you’ve still got a lot of good, valuable stuff.  Increase predictability and take away risk.

And then make good on your promises.

I guarantee your rent will be cheaper than your neighbors.  I guarantee you can apply this principle to a million other situations.

Because everybody wants predictability.

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