Debundled Parental Services

De-bundled Parental Services

Recently I was attempting to make airlines reservations for my son to return to college. The web site indicated it was a “meal” flight. I was impressed, as I have not received a meal on a plane in a number of years. After paying $35 for the privilege of him taking a first bag of luggage, and $50 for a second bag ($85 total), it then turned out the meal designation merely indicated that meals “were available,” de-bundled as I suspected, for a extra fee. A humus plate, $10, snack box $12, etc. And no free peanuts. I’m certain you’ve experienced the same thing. So $15 bucks for food, $85 for baggage, and we were at $100 extra more for the flight. So the flight to New York was not such a good deal after all at $262, but was actually $362. Pretty soon I suspect airlines will have pay toilets, and a “seat belt fee.”

Anyway, this got me to thinking about how I might address our budget short fall at home. Why not take a lesson from the airlines and de-bundle Parental Services? So I decided to try it out. My son wanted me to sign a paper for school. I told him that parental signatures were no longer included in the basic parent package. They could be purchased for $5, or he could upgrade to either the Premium Parent Package, or the Platinum Parent Package. Under the Premium plan you can get a semesters worth of signatures for school forms for $10, and under the Platinum Plan they are “free.” He chose to wash dishes in exchange for the signature, a proposal to which I readily agreed.

I also realized that food and water would be an excellent revenue source. To be generous I decided that tap water and soap would be included in the Basic Plan, but that hot water would only be available in the Premium or Platinum Plans. Regarding food, fruit and vegetables would be included in the Basic Plan, but nothing else. (I don’t think I am in any danger of losing a potential source of funding, and the free fruit and veggies makes me look good from a marketing standpoint).   Breakfasts would be available for $5, lunches for $7 and dinners for $10. I decided that he could apply for a low-income reduction (he only makes minimum wage) and he could upgrade and get a meal plan under either the Premium or Platinum packages. He suggested that he could vacuum, empty the trash and recycling to work off the fees. Again, I readily agreed.

Then it hit me: the real service to de-bundle is wifi/internet and phone. I determined that the Basic Parental Plan would include landline use. Wifi can be purchased by the hour, day or month (I admit, I took that directly from the airline website). Regarding the phone, I put talking and texting in the Premium Plan with data usage included in the Platinum Plan. With those options in place my kids suggested that they be able to do some things that might save us time such as mowing, cleaning the bathrooms, and their own laundry. Agreed.

I’m pretty sure I’ve hit gold with these new ideas. I plan to expand the de-bundled services to include such things as gas, insurance, and vehicle usage. If you get some ideas of your own, pass them on to me!

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