Although advertising has led you to believe that businesses offering products and services exist to make your life better, they really exist to make money! The main reason for a business venture is to make a profit.
Keep this thought at the top of your mind when you consider “amazing” offers. Even though they seem to be offering you the best deal ever, it’s your responsibility to ensure you’re not being lured into hidden financial obligations.
Hidden expenses can mean the difference between your financial wellness and growing debt.
Take a look at some of the top guilty pleasures below. If you think back, you’ll probably remember being caught once or twice in similar situations!
Avoid these “deals” so you aren’t faced with hidden expenses down the road:
1. Financing a brand new car. Just flipping through channels on cable will open your eyes to the awesome offers being extended by automobile manufacturers. “Zero down payments,” “No interest for two years,” and “Your job is your credit” are some of the offers to convince consumers like you to own the new car of your dreams.
* In many cases, there will be a destination charge applied to your final price. This represents the cost for delivering a car to a dealer. It is paid for by the dealer and then passed along to you as a portion of the sales price.
* Auto detailing and adding fluids are some of the activities in what is known as dealer preparation, but don’t think these services are free! It’s always a good idea to ask your retailer what their preparation fees are before you sign.
* What can really catch you off guard is sales tax. Depending on the state you live in, you could end up paying as much as eight percent in sales tax, which would add a huge chunk to your final total!
2. Using your credit card for family vacations. It’s a great feeling to be able to take your family on vacation and treat them to a special trip, isn’t it? But what are you really signing up for when you pay for the trip with your credit card?
* Do you have enough income to pay for the vacation in full the next month when the statement is generated? Or will you end up being in arrears for months because you couldn’t resist that 14-day Mediterranean cruise?
* Paying off your vacation over time costs a huge chunk of money in interest charges. Plus, you’ll be stuck with higher credit card payments for months, causing an extra drain on your income.
* A rule of thumb is to only use your credit card for purchases that you can comfortably make with cash.
3. Applying for “free” member rewards cards. Everywhere you turn, there’s a business offering you a “free” member rewards card. However, promises of no obligations when you sign up often lead to obligations later down the road.
* Whether it’s a department store or your family’s favorite amusement park, it’s likely that you’ll have to spend a minimum amount in order to benefit from their rewards program.
* Oftentimes, the rewards pale in comparison to the amount of money you actually spend to get them!
So, the next time you see a tempting offer, ask yourself, “What’s in it for them?” The answer to that question will surely clue you in to what hidden expenses you might expect down the road.