by Dr. Charles Alonzo Peters
I saw a sign – gas was $3.59 a gallon. I quickly swung the car around and turned into the gas station. Cheapest gas I’d seen in 20 miles. Yet as I pulled up to the pump I realized I’d been had.
Underneath the large $3.59 signage, the barely perceptible letters “w/car wash.” The normal price was 10 cents higher.
Yes, the world is designed to take your money, often one nickel or dime at time.
We no longer live in an age where businesses provide good service for a fair price. Now everyone is looking for the latest gimmick to con you out of your money.
Take the health club I was planning on joining. The “first month free” offer sounded good – until I learned about the sky high initiation fee.
How about my self-storage unit. They advertise super low prices but once you sign the contract you learn about the $15 monthly fee for after hours access, the $8 a month insurance fee, and the $10 charge to get an electronic key to enter the building.
Don’t get me started about the $36 late fee I was charged after a severe Eastern snowstorm delayed the US mail and my payment to my credit card company. Or the $10 bank fee when my account fell below a certain level for a single day.
In just the last month I’ve caught scanner errors at my local supermarket where the register failed to ring up the correct sales price.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Beware of little expense; a small leak will sink a great ship.” It’s easy to overlook a dollar here, a dollar there – but fees, hidden charges, and deceptive pricing are the small leaks sinking our financial ships.
Imagine losing just $2 a day to deceptive practices, fees, or dubious charges. Doesn’t sound like much but that’s $730 a year or $7,300 over a decade. That same amount invested conservatively at a 7% return would yield you $12,288 over the same time period. No chump change.
And companies are dreaming of even more ways of siphoning off our money. HSBC is charging non-customers $3 for using its ATMs, while Chase is testing out a $5 fee for non-customers who use its ATMs.
That’s why now more than ever, it’s time to watch your money like a hawk, read the fine print, shop wisely and always check for hidden fees.
BMWK, What are some of the ludicrous fees, deceptive practices, or hidden charges that drive you crazy? What sneaky business tricks make you just wanna holler?
Every Monday you can find great insight and tips on managing your greenbacks by Dr. Charles Alonzo Peters of MochaMoney.com here on BlackandMarriedWithKids.com.