3 Hidden Expenses to Ask About BEFORE Making a Purchase

hidden expenses

After nearly nine years, my beloved Jeep started breaking down on the side of the road. Well … it broke down on the road, while I was driving; but it left my girls and me stranded on the side of the road a few times as well.

Needless to say, we discovered we needed a new car. This led me to discover some little-known hidden expenses with larger purchases, like cars.

Though we had talked about this a few times, knowing it would come soon, our hope had been to get another year out of the car. Since that didn’t happen, we spent a few days in a huge rush of shopping for cars, until we settled for one that fell in our price range and was something I really loved.

When we went to sign the papers, we knew the expected cost but didn’t anticipate the higher car payment. After talking to the salesman for a few minutes, we realized a sneaky little expense had been shoved into that payment: an expense we wouldn’t have known about had my husband not already designed a spreadsheet showing us what we should be paying each month.

If you are in the market for a larger purchase – appliance, car, furniture – watch out for these three “hidden” expenses that might just drive up your payment.

“Free for Life” Oil Changes, or Other “Bonuses”

This deal, while sometimes true, can come with a price. In our case, this “free for life” came with a monthly fee – to be exact, for the life of the car loan – which would cover a few additional expenses that, frankly, weren’t a concern for us.

After we dropped that ‘”free for life” bonus,  our payment dropped significantly. So read the fine print and crunch those numbers!

Getting the Old Out

When we buy something new, we sometimes forget that our old item, which we are replacing, needs to be considered. For example, when my mom bought a new chair, the store offered free delivery. However, a lesson that was learned when they got there was they don’t offer free “takeaway.” Not even free “carry to the curb.” For some of us, this may not be a problem; for my mom, a senior who lives up a steep flight of stairs, it was. The delivery people kindly took her old chair down to the curb. Some delivery companies may not do that.

Remember, when purchasing a new appliance or furniture, to ask about delivery charges. Consider old mattresses and electronics, like new televisions. Will the delivery company remove the old mattress and TV if needed? Will there be a “recycling” charge for this move? All are important questions to ask when purchasing a new, large item for your home.

Hooking it Up

Another common hidden place for charges is in the area of hooking up electronics and various services, such as your phone, cable, and Internet. When you purchase a new television, be certain to ask if the company offers the option to hook it up for you, if you have to have the television delivered and you don’t know how to hook it up on your own; and ask for all of the ins and outs of those charges in advance, so you know what to expect.  When you are dealing with your internet provider and phone company, they often charge for things like reconfiguring your service or installing another port. Ask before they come out. Once the deliveryman is at your door, it’s too late to find out what he charges for creating a new cable outlet in the second bedroom.

Image via Flickr/Robert Couse-Baker