Everyone loves getting free stuff. But not everyone is a fan of getting free stuff that requires them to then spend money just to use it.
SmartMoney took a look at a handful of gifts that are going to end up eating away at the recipient’s bank account. So be sure that the gift is something the giftee truly wants — and for which the giftee is fully aware of the associated costs. Or just buy these gifts for someone you don’t really like.
Spending money on apps is optional, but if the person on your holiday shopping list really wants a 3G or 4G-enabled tablet, they may be required to sign up for a two-year contract that can cost them several times the purchase price of the device. And even the iPad 2, which allows for month-to-month, non-contract options, requires you to pick either AT&T or Verizon as a carrier. According to SmartMoney, the 2GB/month plan will cost you $120 more over two years if you choose Verizon. But if you go for the 5GB plan, it’s $120 more expensive to choose AT&T.
According to the ASPCA, a cat costs $1,035 over the first year of ownership and $670 thereafter, while a large dog generates $1,843 in bills the first year and another $875 each subsequent year. The association also warns against the idea of surprising someone with a pet, as these often end up in shelters because the recipients either weren’t prepared for pet ownership or are not pleased with your choice of pet.
We’ve been writing about the perils of gift cards for years, but folks continue to purchase them, so this merits repeating. In addition to hidden fees that can erode the value of the card if its not used immediately, research shows that people tend to spend 140% of the value of the gift card, so while you did give someone $100 worth of free stuff, they ended up still spending another $40 of their own cash.
4 Gifts That Keep On Taking [SmartMoney.com]