Category Archives: Money

10 Clever Tips to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse

Have you ever bought something only to feel the pangs of regret a few days later? Here are tips that will save you from that dreaded feeling. How many times have you bought something and then regretted it later? I've done it too many times to count!Have you ever bought something only to feel the pangs of regret a few days later? You were experiencing buyer’s remorse, a feeling of regret or guilt after making a purchase. People think that buyer’s remorse only happens with expensive items like a home or car purchase, but any purchase carries the potential for regret. Here are some ways you can prevent it from happening to you.

Don’t buy on impulse. Unplanned purchases have the biggest risk of buyer’s remorse, but you’re less likely to experience these feelings if you take a day or two to think before making a purchase, especially a big purchase.

Weigh the pros and cons of the decision. Thinking through the reasons you should and should not make a purchase can prevent you from regretting the decision later. By the time you finally decide to make the purchase, you’ve already rationalized the downsides and accepted that the benefits outweigh the cost.

Evaluate less expensive alternatives. If you can find a lower-cost option, not only can you avoid regret, you also feel a sense of accomplishment by saving money. You might ultimately decide against the alternatives, but you’ve at least weighed your options and made an informed decision to go with the higher-priced product.

Consider the opportunity cost. Sometimes buyer’s remorse isn’t about the purchase you made, but the purchases you could have made if you hadn’t already spent the money. Before you buy, consider whether there’s something else you’d rather spend your money on.

Put it on a credit card with the most benefits. If you use a credit card for your purchase, pick the one with the best perks. Rewards give you a little something extra for your purchase. Perks like refund guarantee, purchase and price protection, or extended warranty may come in handy if you later regret your purchase.

Don’t buy the first model of a new product. Unless you’re an early adopter who likes to try new products, it’s probably better to wait until the second or third version of the product. That way, the manufacturers have a chance to work out the product kinks and you get a more reliable version of the product.

Read the reviews. It’s easier than ever to read reviews on products. Type the product name + review in a search engine and read through the good and bad reviews to get an idea of what other consumers think about the product.

Check your budget, savings, or credit limit before buying. Make sure you can afford the purchase before you proceed. Don’t empty your savings or emergency fund for a purchase – you’ll regret it if an emergency does crop up.

Buy for the right reasons. Make your purchase only because you want to and can see how it will benefit you, not because there’s a great offer, everyone else is buying, a salesperson pressured you, or you’re afraid of missing out.

Know your return options. You may not be able to avoid buyer’s remorse, but you at least want the option to return the product if you don’t like it – assuming it’s not a consumable product. Give more consideration to the purchases that are more difficult to take back.

If you’re not sure you should make a purchase, walk away, at least for now. Give yourself time to think through the decision and compare products. Wait until you feel good about the purchase before you make the buying commitment.

4 Annoying – and Possibly Expensive – Downsides to Auto-Pay

4 Downsides to Auto-PayAuto-pay is one of the best things to happen to people who have a hard time remembering to pay their bills. The ability to have your biller automatically charge you on or before the due date saves you from worrying about late fees or having services disconnected.

Even with the peace of mind that comes along with knowing your bills will be paid on time, auto-pay has some downsides that you should consider.

Incorrect Billing Amounts Are Paid Automatically

One of the biggest drawbacks to auto-pay is the risk of having the company withdraw too much from your account. How many times have you had to contact customer service to adjust an error on your bill? In cases, where you haven’t already made payment, customer service can adjust the amount due and you can pay the lower, correct amount.

However, when you’re signed for auto-pay, payments might be made before you get a chance to have the error corrected. While the company will adjust your bill, they likely won’t refund the overpaid amount. Instead, your account will be credited and you’ll have to go without the funds in your checking account.

You Can Lose Track of Your Bills

Sometimes putting your bills on auto-pay makes them “out of sight, out of mind,” but completely forgetting about your bills is a lousy way to manage your finances. There’s more to managing your bills than simply making sure they’re paid on time. For this reason, I have set up most of my bills to auto-pay, with the exception of my cable and Internet bill, which seems to always be changing.

You can easily lose the pulse on your money because you’ve become complacent with your bills being automatically paid. Price increases may go unnoticed, for example. And if your biller increases the minimum payment, but your payment is set for a specific and lower amount, you can get hit with late fees for underpayment even though you technically paid on time.

You Give Up Control Over Your Payments

Say your employer accidentally underpaid you or a technical glitch caused a delay in your direct deposit. If you’re manually paying your bills, you can delay payments until your deposit issues are corrected. However, on auto-pay, the bills will be processed automatically and can cause overdrafts and expensive fees.

Cancellation Can Be a Pain

It only takes a few steps and a few minutes to sign up for auto-pay but depending on the company you’re dealing with, you may have to jump through hoops to cancel your scheduled payments.

For example, you may have to let the company know you want to cancel a few days before the scheduled payment. Some companies require you to cancel in writing – which means you have to type and send a letter and then wait for the company to receive the letter and process your request. Find out ahead of time what it takes to cancel your auto-pay so your cancellation can take effect before the next payment.

Making Auto-Pay Work

Setting your auto-payments to a dedicated credit card – one with a large enough credit limit – can help alleviate some of the issues that happen with auto-pay. At least if a company overcharges you, it comes out of your credit limit, not out of your checking account. If you choose to use your checking account for auto-pay, keeping a buffer in your account can prevent overdrafts.

Whichever method you choose, don’t forget to monitor your billing and checking account statements each month to confirm your transactions and billing amounts are as they should be.

Things Desperate People Do To Save Money That You Should Try

When times get tough, you need to do whatever it takes to get by. Whether you’re unemployed, or simply not earning enough at your job, here are some things that desperate people are doing to save money that you should consider.

  1. Ramen Dinners

We’ll admit: Ramen noodle soups aren’t the healthiest meal choices. But guess what? They’re also very cheap. For less than $5, you can stock up on a few days’ worth of food. Too bland for your palate? Try mixing your ramen with foods like eggs or tuna. And if you’re exceptionally hungry you can eat several packets at once.

  1. Park Super Far Away

When you’ve got money, paying $10 or $20 for parking might not seem like a big deal. However, when you’re broke, it’s a whole different story. Parking 20 minutes or more away from your final destination isn’t that bad. Heck, it’s free exercise! Just make sure that you leave your house a bit earlier so that you can still make it on time. And if the weather is really outstanding, you can turn this seemingly bad situation into a mini-adventure.

  1. Cash-In Your Gift Cards

Got gift cards to places like Starbucks, Red Robbins, or other restaurants? If so, get ready to cash them in. When you’re low on money, small things like this can help keep more money in your pocket. Lattes and banana bread might not be the ideal meal combination, but at least it’s free!

  1. Go Torrent-Style

Paying $0.99 for each song on iTunes can feel like a huge chunk of change when you’re strapped for cash, and movies are out of the questions. At the expense of your computer’s health, consider downloading torrent music and videos instead. Just make sure that you know what you’re doing because it’s not hard to catch a virus these days!

  1. Public Laundry

Almost everyone has had to do this at one point or another. Paying too much on electricity? Did your washing machine or dryer break? Both scenarios call for a trip to your local laundromat. It’s not that bad actually – just bring something to read and the time will go by pretty quick. Don’t have enough for the laundry mat? See if you can do your laundry at a friend’s or family member’s house.

  1. Prepare For Endless Netflix Viewing

Netflix costs about $8 per month. The average night out on the town will cost you at least $50, and cable for $75/month is not in the cards right now. We get it: sitting at home on a Friday or Saturday night might not be ideal, but you’ll definitely be saving a lot of money. To make the time go by faster, consider getting hooked on an awesome TV series (preferably one with several seasons). That way, you’ll always have something to do with your free time.