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The Cost of Convenience: Are You Paying the Price?

Due to the hustle and bustle of our fast paced lives, it’s no surprise that many Americans look for ways to save time and energy. Convenience is an appealing option to save ourselves a minute here and there. But how much is convenience really costing you? Even if you’re not one of the millions of Americans facing consumer debt, it’s important to know how to avoid any unnecessary costs. If you are someone who’s paying debt, avoiding these costs is something our debt counselors recommend.

Convenience might stall debt progress if you're not careful.

Convenience might stall debt progress if you’re not careful.

The Cost of Convenience

Convenience costs are classified as the extra price consumers are willing to pay to make their lives easier. Consumers pay for convenience in many ways without even realizing it. And while it may be okay to pay for convenience every once in a while, it can be counter productive to debt management.

Examples of Convenience Costs

  1. Coffee. Going to the drive-thru for a cup of coffee in the morning seems harmless. It’s on the way to work, there’s no need to get out of the car, and it’s faster than brewing coffee at home. However, try to limit the amount you purchase non-essential items for convenience’s sake.
  2. Ordering Delivery & Fast Food. Everyone is guilty of ordering prepared food in one form or another. Whether you go and pick it up at the window or the food is delivered to your door, you are still paying for convenience.
  3. Online Shopping. It’s just so easy. A few clicks and consumers can have anything from clothing to their groceries delivered to their home. While it can be tempting to use this strategy to stock your pantry and your closet, if you stopped shopping online, you could save a considerable amount on shipping and handling fees alone. Not to mention this plan could help you reduce credit card debt.
  4. ATM’s. Depending on your bank, there may or may not be an affiliated ATM near you. Paying anywhere from $1-$4 in fees at a more conveniently located ATM every time you need cash adds up.

Is There a Middle Ground?

In short, yes. Nothing is black and white. Sometimes, it may be worth it for you to choose convenience and make your life a bit easier.

Have you ever driven out of your way to find gas station that may be farther, but offers lower prices? This is a situation where you really have to sit down and decide what works best for you. For example, you have to choose between a full-service gas station down the road, and a station a few miles away that is less expensive. You may want to consider the time spent, mileage on your car, traffic, and how much you would actually be saving by driving to the seemingly less expensive station. If after consideration, that still makes the most sense, then that’s great.

Personal finance is just that: personal. A decision that works for you financially may not always work for others, and that’s okay. Routinely examining your finances is a key element to getting out of debt. Remember to consider the price of convenience the next time you evaluate your spending plan.

If you’re struggling with debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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