Wednesday, December 16, 2009
A $199 Nintendo Wii for only $347!
The holiday shopping season is in full swing, so it's appropriate to offer yet another lesson in why shopping with credit is an awful idea and in why you have to be careful when considering what seem like "easy" payment plans.
Today I was in my gmail account and up pops an ad for a web site called AffordIt.com. "Buy a Wii for only $16/wk", it said. I gave it the instant #sideeye and out of cynicism clicked over to see what the rest of the terms were. Here's what I got: AffordIt will give you "low weekly payments" and "Instant Approval" to buy your Wii (and ostensibly whatever else they offer.
The devil, of course, is in the details. In this case, you start by making a $59 downpayment after which you make $16 payments each week for $18 weeks. I'll spare you the time doing the math: it all adds up to $347, nearly double the cost of the same Wii in stores. You'd actually come out better buying the thing all at once, even if you used a credit card, so long as you paid it off before you got hit with too many interest payments.
Oh, and speaking of that: since you'd be buying online from AffordIt, you'd still be putting that $347 Wii on a credit card anyway (unless you used a debit or check card), which means your actual cost could still skyrocket with the added interest you'd be paying your bank.
Folks, if ever there was a lesson in the value of delayed gratification, spending within your means and not trying to take shortcuts, this is it. If you can't buy it outright, you cannot AffordIt.