Watch Out for These High Maintenance Gifts
By Andrew Johnson
As the Christmas clock ticks down, and your list is still long, you might jump at the first easy gift you see. And while it may seem easy to you, the gift could prove costly to the receiver.
It's true, it's the thought that counts, but if you think ahead a bit, you could make sure your loved ones season is merry and bright...and low maintenance!
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling recently shared some gift ideas that could prove expensive after they are opened on Christmas morning. Three include:
• Smart Phones – The latest and most advanced model of a cellphone may be on everyone’s wish list, but the purchase price is only the beginning when it comes to the full cost of owning one of these. The average monthly cellphone bill is over $100, including phone calls, texting and data.
Accessorizing a new phone is also an expensive proposition. Items like cases, chargers, hands-free headsets and batteries are often sold separately. Some phones come with service contracts that are very expensive to modify or cancel, and can also come with many hidden costs for roaming and data overages.
• Pets – There’s nothing quite like the joy of giving or receiving a new pet for the holidays. Pets can be valued members of the family that will soak up attention and show affection to their owners. Pets do require a consistently high level of care and commitment from their owners, and much of that comes at a cost.
Some reports list the total first-year cost of owning a dog or cat above $1000. Unless prepared emotionally and financially, it is better not to bring a new pet into the household.
• Gift Cards – One size fits all in this instance, right? It is very easy to reach for a gift card in the kiosk and quickly check off the people on the Christmas gift list, but the gift of green that they will be receiving could help lead them into the red. This is especially true for cards that charge high fees when activating, reloading, checking balances and calling customer service.
If receiving a card bogged down with high fees, the best strategy is to use it until the balance is gone and discard it afterward.
Have a great holiday season and Happy 2016! Still looking for some inspiration when it comes to your resolutions in the New Year? Click here and consider this our gift to you!