Posted on

Hidden Costs

What is the real cost of careless money management or your lack of decision making?

Choosing to look the other way, sticking your head in the sand when “things” get overwhelming or not assessing your current financial situation can become your default method of reacting to life. Instead, select how you want your life to unfold.

Hidden costs show up on many levels. There are COSTS that cannot be seen or are not included in a purchase that can often affect you negatively in the future.

Smoking is a good example; a pack of cigarettes may cost you five bucks today. Be aware of the implications from hidden costs. Decreased health and a higher cost of insurance and medical bills due to lung cancer may be a much greater cost than you want to pay in the long run. Those high health bills could be a hidden cost that most people don’t ever expect to face, but studies have shown are a real risk.

Another example is the hidden cost of winning. My aunt used to win every contest she ever entered. Of course, as a child, I thought this talent for winning was the greatest! However, there were numerous costs associated with every FREE prize. One year my aunt won a boat. She and my uncle were so excited, they named the boat “Wee Won.” First they had to pay extra income taxes on the free boat. Second, they had to purchase boat insurance. And third, they needed to buy a trailer so they could get it to the ocean and back to the house. Next they took lessons because neither one of them knew anything about boating. Then, of course, each trip required a tankful of gasoline to zip out into the ocean! Honestly, they LOVED that boat and had years of enjoyment, but they also spent tons of money on that one free gift!

Let’s zoom in on one hidden cost many of us are affected by and may not always know about. That is the ever-increasing interest rates that credit card companies and banks charge for the privilege of using their services. This is an area where buyers really need to be smart.

Invest some time into exploring various vendors. Investigate what their rates are and what happens to that rate if you make one late payment. You may pay the full amount due on time and still get hit with interest charges if you pay after the billing cycle ends. That doesn’t seem fair, does it?

Also, check to see if the interest rate goes up after your first year. That 0 % card may be great for the first year and then it may balloon up to 17% or 23% moving forward. That is a huge chunk of your hard-earned money! If you work to keep your credit score high, you will be rewarded with better rates, some as low as 7% for select credit cards.

Be curious and shop for the best deal you can find. It will save you thousands of dollars in a five-year period! Knowing what all the hidden costs are will help you make the best decision. You now have a more complete picture of how you manage your dollars, your cost of doing business and staying focused on a few long-term goals.

If you slip up and overuse credit cards, put a freeze on them – literally! Fill up a container with water, dump your cards in there and stash them in the freezer. You may have a burning urge to use them, but by the time the ice melts, the urge may have cooled!

Use your knowledge and a little bit of humor to take back your power and choose the best direction for your financial freedom!

Bob