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Sweet Deals that Waste Your Money
We've all been afflicted by the 'Sweet Deal' syndrome at least one time or another. Slowly but surely companies are milking us for more money they don't deserve for stuff we don't need at all, and possibly will never use. I've compiled a short list of this stuff (more like junk really) that you should probably think twice about when purchasing next time.
Now don't feel bad if you read this list and see one or two items that you've spent you're hard earned money on. It happens. I myself have wasted money on foolish purchases in my day and I won't think any less of you if you've done the same. The strategy here is to not fall for their sneaky marketing tricks again.
Now I'm not saying that this product is a complete waste of money, for I'm sure it serves the purpose of keeping a person warm. However, in the process of keeping said person warm, it also makes said person look like a fool. A few years ago, if you saw a person waddling around with a robe on backwards, you would assume they had gone insane.
I absolutely despise this thing. The commercial makes it worse. I find it utterly hard to believe that the poor lady sitting on the couch will freeze to death if she uncovers her arms for the few moments of her life it will require to answer her ringing telephone. Now I realize we are in a recession, and everybody is on the "Go Green" bandwagon, but c'mon. If the temperature in the house is that dern cold, she needs to adjust her thermostat a bit.
Further more, I just spotted a Snuggie for animals. What the H@%$! I'm not exactly a fan of dressing up the family dog, but I can tolerate it in small portions. Putting a Snuggie on your dog is no longer small portions. People who parade their dog around in a flippin Snuggie should be fined for Animal Cruelty, and a Animal Embarrassment law should be passed to ensure it doesn't happen. Bones the Rottweiler doesn't want to wear a leopard printed snuggie, trust me.
The creators of this farce have made millions. I'm all for a people creating ideas and making themselves wealthy, and that's exactly what the Snuggie creators have done. However, it blows my mind that people thought this was a functional enough product to actually purchase it.
Not so Free Credit Reports
We've all heard the catching little tune on TV advising us to keep an eye on our credit report to insure that are credit is in tip-top shape. No one wants to marry some chick with dismal credit and move into their parents-in-law's basement. No one wants to go down to the cell phone store and buy a twenty year old pre-paid cell phone because of bad credit. Nor do they want to have to buy a beat up jalopy because some one stole their credit card numbers and ruined their credit. Point taken. But I also bet those people don't want to go to a website for their free credit report and not get a free credit report.
Before I go any further, I will admit that I fell right into this trap a few years back. I was a sophomore in college and just landed a decent paying part-time job. I thought I was doing the financially responsible thing by keeping up with my credit report and going to this website. Quite honestly, their jiggle had me hooked. So I went to this site and filled out all the required fields and submitted it. Within a few seconds a screen pops up showing all the times by credit had been pulled, who pulled it, what I owed, etc. What it didn't show me was my credit score. It gave me an estimated score-give or take 120 points. A lot of good that done me.
Come to find out, to actually receive the scores that the banks see, I had to sign up for some service at $12.95 a month. By this point, I really wanted to see my credit score, so I obliged and entered my debit card. And every month for nearly two years, just like clock work, they charged my account for $12.95. In all fairness, I did receive an email every month stating that my update report was ready to be viewed, but it was by no means free. Keep this in mind the next time the commercial comes on and you start singing along.
If you want a truly free credit report, go to AnnualCreditReport.com This website is the government mandated site that allows you to check your credit report for free once a year. It has reports from the three major agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. If you use the site strategically, you can check your credit every four months. The key is to only check with one agency at a time. When you run out of agencies, your 12 month period will be up and you can start back over with the first one.
Probably a Waste of Money:
Back in the day when you bought something all they asked was "Paper or Plastic?". Those days have come and gone. Now the million dollar question is "Do want an extended warranty with that?".
Sure it seems like a great deal. No one wants to buy a high def tv just so it'll stop working in three weeks. The problem is that the tv is probably not going to mess up in three weeks. Most warranties 'protect' you for about a three year period. Most quality devices are easily going to last that long. That's the point. That $40 warranty you just purchased was all profit, minus the cost of the little pamplet they printed off for you showcasing all the reasons you needed the warranty in the first place.
What that you say? You want piece of mind on that big ticket item? Hogwash! If you were that concerned about piece of mind you would spend more time researching the product you were interested in, and spend a little more money on a quality unit from a quality manufactuerer. Take the money you're saving from wasting on a warranty, and put that towards the purchase of that nice item.
I've got a friend that swears by the warranty. We've been friends since middle school and he's bought a warranty everytime it's offered. It didn't matter which item it was for, he bought it. I think in his mind he assumed that the product was automatically better just because he bought the warranty. I've seen him buy warranties on subwoofers, dvd players, tvs, radios, speakers, mp3 players, cds, and so much more. How many times have I seen him use the warranty? Once, on some subwoofers back when we were in high school. Was the woofer of insuperior quality. Absolutely not. He himself, the installer of the subwoofers, was insuperior. He fried five subs before getting it right (not exactly the reason for a warranty, but hey, it worked).
That's the only time he's needed it. Now if we calculated all the warranties he's spent his money on I would be willing to bet it's in the thousands range. He's spent thousands of dollars over the years and has only recouped a small fraction of that from those woofers way back in the day. There's no telling what he could've bought with the money he saved. He might not be in his mid 20's still living in his parent's house right now if he hadn't wasted that money, but I guess we'll never know.
Bottom line, think hard before saying yes to that warranty. Companies wouldn't offer it to you if it wasn't in their best interest. If their warranty program was to lose even a cent they wouldn't offer any longer. But these programs don't lose a cent, they hardly ever lose anything at all. It's all profit, and that's why they love it when you buy that warranty.