Managing your finances successfully is similar to walking through a minefield. You can be sailing along just fine – paying your bills and saving money – when all of a sudden, you find yourself in a cash emergency. The engine blows on your car, or your son breaks his arm on the football field. It’s clear your savings won’t cover the impending expenses.
Even if you don’t have an immediate financial crisis, there are still a million and one money traps you can fall into that threaten to send you spiraling down a rabbit hole of debt and despair. Don’t be duped – read on to learn about the common money traps designed to separate you from your money:
1. The Payday Loan Scam
It’s tempting to head straight to the nearest payday loan provider to get the cash you need for an emergency, but don’t do it! These places play on your desperation and charge as much as 400 percent interest!
If you need cash fast, opt instead for small fast loans from reputable lenders who only want to help in your time of need.
2. Buying Just Because It’s on Sale
While not necessarily a trap, buying things simply because they’re on sale can lead to excessive spending despite the sale prices. For instance, you visit the local hardware store and find they have cans of bug spray on sale for $1.00 off. You buy 20 cans.
Sure, you’ve saved $20.00, but you’ve spent more than twice that much to do so, and really, who needs that much bug spray anyway?
3. Leasing a Car
Your neighbor just pulled into his driveway behind the wheel of a brand new car. Oh, how you’d love to have a new car, too.
Your mind turns to thoughts of leasing a vehicle. After all, it’s only a couple of years’ worth of payments, right?
Leasing a car is the most expensive way to get a new car. You essentially make a bunch of payments for nothing because, in the end, you turn the car in. In fact, you’ll probably owe the dealership money because a lease usually has such strict terms that no one can realistically abide by them.
4. Adjustable Rate Mortgages
Not long ago, adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) were in vogue. This was, however, until the housing market tanked and the banks that made these silly loans went bankrupt or had to be bailed out by the government.
These days, having an ARM is like playing with fire. Whether it’s a three or five-year ARM, you can be sure it’ll adjust eventually, and you’ll end up paying who knows how much each month. You’re better off getting a fixed-rate mortgage right from the start.
5. No Money Down Loans
The no money down loan is a ploy to get you to commit to long-term payments for something you should be buying outright. These types of loans are common in furniture stores and the like.
For example, you want to buy a mattress, and the store offers you a no money down loan that’ll let you pay the item off over the term of two years. Now, you’ve got a loan you have to pay monthly for two years but absolutely no equity in said mattress.
The better approach would be to save up some money and pay for the mattress fully at the time of purchase, so you won’t have to pay hundreds of dollars in interest on top of the initial price.
There are so many money traps to watch out for these days. It’s very easy to fall prey if you aren’t paying attention. Don’t be duped into spending unnecessary money by remembering the list of common money traps to avoid above.