We live in a buy-now-pay-later society, with credit cards and payday loans making it easy to quickly get the money we need to buy anything we need. But when we finance an item, we often end up paying interest on it well into the future. Whether you’re charging an item on your credit card or securing a personal loan to pay for it, chances are you’ll be paying far too much interest for the luxury of immediate gratification.
Before you make another illogical purchase you can’t afford, you should figure out exactly what that item will cost you. Here are 10 crazy buy-now-pay-later purchases that make little financial sense.
1. Brazilian Wax
A trip to the spa can cost you more than $100, whether you’re getting a Brazilian wax or a one-hour massage. Even getting highlights and touch-ups can result in an expensive credit card charge. Unfortunately, these services are short-lived — hair grows back, the stress relief of a massage fades, and treatments such as facials must be repeated regularly to get lasting benefits.
Car repairs can be costly, and consumers often put the charges on a credit card to pay back the expenses later. If the work is necessary to keep a car running, financing can be justified. But always look to see if you can find a more affordable deal elsewhere, especially when it comes to repairing the car’s accessories. For example, some businesses have begun offering lease and rent-to-own options on rims, which can save you money.
3. Gambling Addiction
A bad gambling habit makes little financial sense on its own, but when that habit is financed, it can be disastrous. If you choose to indulge in the occasional lottery ticket or casino trip, payments should be made in cash — with a spending limit enforced.
4. Plastic Surgery
There are people out there who go into debt after undergoing cosmetic procedures such as face lifts and breast augmentations. Some of them even make news headlines, like this Kim Kardashian lookalike who dropped $30,000 on plastic surgery to look like the reality star. One procedure could lead to another, and the cost of vanity medicine can mount. You could be stuck trying to pay off the debt for years. If you must get corrective or plastic surgery, consider the cost of interest first.
If you’ve ever said, “a round of drinks for everyone,” you probably realized afterwards what an expensive mistake that was. Before going out for the evening, take a reasonable amount of cash out to pay for your own drinks, and leave the credit cards at home. This will prevent you from spending freely once alcohol wipes your inhibitions away.
Like plastic surgery, a tattoo is a vanity item that should be skipped if you can’t afford it. Before going into debt for a tattoo, calculate the amount of interest you’ll pay on that purchase over the next few years. Also add in the amount you’ll pay to have it removed in a few years in case you change your mind about it.
This might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the things people have tried to finance, including prostitutes. Business Insider reports it was revealed a high-level CEO, a vice president at NBC Universal and the owner of a major league baseball team were using their company credit cards to pay for prostitutes at an escort service in 2009. Before you take out a loan or pull out your credit card to pay for anything illegal, keep in mind your purchases could be traced.
No one should try to buy illegal drugs, especially not with a credit card. But that’s what one Michigan man tried to do in 2010. According to Business Insider, the man called the police and told them he was robbed at gun point while trying to pay for drugs with a credit card.
When you invest in the stock market, you’re taking a risk. Ideally, you’ll earn money on your investments, but there’s no guarantee. If you take out a $3,000 loan to invest in the stock market and lose that money, you’ll be on the hook for the $3,000 plus interest. If you don’t have the cash in the bank, don’t invest.
10. College Living Expenses
Students can spend years paying back the loans they took out to pay for college. For some, this is partly because they spent their financial aid on daily living expenses. Instead, get a part-time job to pay for food and necessities, and spend your loan funds only on textbooks and tuition.