Your Clients' Biggest Holiday Expense Could Be Hidden

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Consider your holiday shopping list. What was the most expensive item on it? That special gift for your partner? The latest electronic gizmo for your teenager? Your family’s holiday travel? Certainly, with inflation hitting a 40-year high, all these items cost significantly more than last year. However, even considering inflation, for some holiday shoppers the most expensive holiday purchase this year was interest.

At this time of year, it’s easy to hit the stores or online retailers, plastic in hand, and end up spending more than you had planned. The crowded stores, the barrage of enticing online offers stacked up in your inbox, the sense of urgency to find the right thing for everyone on the list, and the tempting arrays of “bargain gifts” can seduce us into impulsively buying stuff we had no intention of getting.

A tushy travel bidet? Just the thing for the traveler that has everything. How about the inexpensive men’s Christmas tree print suit? Got one for Uncle Ed. The gift-boxed tiny bottle of expensive advanced anti-aging stem-cell facial serum? It was perfect for Grandma. Check off the names until everyone is accounted for and the presents delivered and, at last, you can now breathe a sigh of relief.

That sense of relief can come to an abrupt and painful end in January when the credit card bills show up. All those purchases that were “just a bit more than I planned to spend” can add up to a bill that can take months to pay off. Which means you’ll pay hefty interest charges on top of the purchase price of the gifts. That facial serum you got on Black Friday could end up costing 25% more than its sale price of $236 – not such a bargain after all, especially if Grandma never uses it and regifts it to your niece.