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Finance Experts Say Some Gifts Costly to Receive

[Saturday, January 23rd, 2016]

The holiday season is over, but some gifts are continuing to cost their recipients, warns the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). They have issue a list of the most popular gifts, given at holiday time or any time at all, that are expensive to get.

Phones top the list. Although getting a new smartphone may be exciting, those phones come with expensive data plans, not to mention calling and texting plans. The average phone bill for a smartphone is $100 a month, said an NFCC spokesperson. And there are other expenses, as well: cases, chargers, ear buds, hands-free headsets, and even batteries are often needed. All of these are sold separately and may not have been included with the gift. A phone with a service contract may also be costly, and even more expensive to cancel or change.

Cars and boats are number two on the NFCC costly-gift list. “If there’s a gift waiting in the driveway, be sure there is room next to it for the truckload of bills that will come along soon,” said the NFCC statement. Property taxes, insurance coverage, gas, and maintenance all add up to a hefty chunk of change. The Automobile Association of American (AAA) reported that having a car can cost an average of over $8,000 a year. Boats are even more expensive.

Pets are another expensive gift to receive. Besides lots of love and attention, pets need vaccinations, veterinarian visits, food, leashes, microchips, and sometimes even clothes. The cost of having a dog or cat should not be underestimated; reports have put the first-year cost at more than $1,000.

• Even gift cards can end up costing their recipients, said the NFCC. If the gift card is a reloadable prepaid card that costs money to activate, reload, or use, it might not be such a great gift after all. Some prepaid cards charge high fees for checking balances, calling customer service, and even just having the card. A monthly service fee of $5-$10 is not unheard of when it comes to prepaid cards.

If you’ve received one of these pricey gifts and can’t afford the associated costs, consider reselling it, exchanging it, or even giving it away. If you are struggling with debt, the NFCC can help. It’s a nonprofit that offers credit counseling. They have 600 member offices across the United States and Puerto Rico. Certified financial counselors are on hand to help consumers take charge of their finances and tackle debt.

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