Tuesday, June 25, 2013

5 Financial Misconceptions to Look Out For

Money makes the world go around. Whether it’s a euro, a yen, a buck, or a pound there’s no denying the fact that money plays a crucial role in business and commerce. That being said, it’s important to guard your money against the lies and deception ever-present in today’s marketplace. Here are five common misconceptions to keep in mind next time you’re confronted with a financial decision

“Free” Usually Comes with a Price Tag

How many times have you signed up for a membership, enrolled in a rewards program or applied for a credit card because you thought you were getting something free by doing so? Credit card companies are notorious for bundling application forms with loads of advertising for “free stuff”. Time and time again consumers will sign up, with the belief that they are getting a good deal but inreality the cost associated with the program far exceeds the value of the free gift. Online retailers frequently advertise “free shipping” on orders larger than $50 or $75. Customers might not have the intention of spending nearly that much when they visit the website but with the possibility of free shipping looming overhead, the shopper will often times add unnecessary items to the cart just to reach the free shipping minimum order. 

5 Financial Misconceptions to Look Out For

Pay More than the Minimum 

Paying the monthly minimum payment on a credit card with put you on a one-way train to debt city. Although the minimum payment can be a tempting offer, do your best to pay off the balance in its entiretyat the end of each month. This will prevent you from accumulating an exorbitant balance and it will alleviate some of the pressure if your income falls short from one month to the next. Don’t fight your money, make it work for you.   

Limited Time Offers 

“Limited-time offer”: These three words are some of the most powerful marketing tools out there. That’s because companies know that consumers, on average, are procrastinators. When stores give you the “act now or miss out” spiel your best bet is to step away and consider your alternatives. Don’t be fooled into swiping your credit card out of fear that you will miss out on a hot deal. These offers will come around again and more often than not, competitors will sponsor a similar sale. 

Ask and You Shall Receive—Discover Discounts 

The age old saying “ask and you shall receive” reigns true in the financial sphere. Asking for discounts early on will help you save precious time and money. Sometimes you can get approval from a store associate but most often you’ll have to contact a manager. The best cases to inquire about a discount are if the products are damaged, if you’re buying a large quantity, or if you have proof of a lower advertised price. 
  • During transportation, items can become damaged. The defects might not be immediately recognized by the store personnel so kindly bring it to their attention and ask if you can purchase it for a discounted price. Stores are generally receptive to customers who will purchase damage products because otherwise it shows up as a loss on their records. 
  • Buying in bulk is a good way to negotiate discounts. If you’re purchasing large quantities of an item it might be worthwhile to ask the vendor for a discount.  
  • Ever receive grocery store flyers with unbelievable prices only to find out that there’s no location near you? Don’t worry, you can still score those prices. Price matching has become a popular trend among the many grocery store chains. Just bring in a flyer advertising a product for a lower price and the cashier will match it. Call the store ahead of time to make sure their policies haven’t changed and that they will honor the price match guarantee. 
Negotiate 

Banks sometimes get a bad rap for being no nonsense, hardball institutions but if you come in with a reasonable request you might be surprised what you can walk away with. Formulate a proper argument to get your bank fees waived, credit line increased, or APR rate lowered. Check out Russell Huebsch’s advice for dealing with banks.

Remember these five useful tips and you’ll be save money and avoid the deceptions. It just takes some careful planning and a healthy dose of skepticism!

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