I Just Spent $12.38 On Convenience Fees

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It’s the holiday season…full of festive decorations, fun times with family and friends, making memories and enjoying traditions…and the never ending to do list. At this time of year we take our ordinarily busy lives and cram in a bunch of shopping, cooking, volunteering, parties, wrapping, decorating…and then we try to also fit in a few days off to enjoy it all. Stressed out yet?

My intention in bringing this up isn’t to raise your blood pressure, but to talk about those dreaded “convenience” fees. I tend to get annoyed when I get to the final step in purchasing something online, say movie tickets for example, and the final price jumps by several dollars. In the past few days however, I found myself opting to spend a little extra on these fees…and honestly, they were actually very convenient.

The first convenience splurge came when buying gift cards as Christmas gifts for a few family members. When I asked for gift ideas they mentioned a few specific places that aren’t on my normal route. In less than five minutes I ordered them online and happily paid anywhere from $1 – $2.50 each for them to be shipped to my home. The time, gas, and effort saved not having to drive all over town buying these cards was well worth it – even to a total cheapskate like me.

My second splurge made me think for a moment before going for it. I was ordering tickets online for the local production of The Nutcracker for my daughter and me. At checkout for the “convenience” of printing my tickets right then and there and being done with it was $3.44 each. Almost $7. This is where some classic “Mommy Guilt” clicked on…I didn’t want to risk the show being sold out if I waited to buy tickets at the door, and disappointing my daughter. I also could have bought tickets at a local specialty toy store (clever co-marketing, huh?) but I figured there was no way I’d get out of there for less than $7 in impulse buys.

Sooo…I’m good with the gift card fees, would probably plan ahead a little better next time and avoid the ticket upcharges, but in the grand scheme of things I’m ok with the $12.38 tacked on to my holiday budget.

How do you feel about the convenience of these fees? Is the time or effort savings worth it, or do you find them completely frustrating and avoid them at all costs?

Anna Platz is an Editor at ForTheBestRate.com, a leading mortgage rate research website, as well as the Lead Contributor to GoodCentsSavings.com, a blog about budgeting and personal finance. Anna is immersed in the world of real estate, mortgage, and home financing and is here to provide valuable resources for homeowners and soon-to-be-homeowners on buying and selling real estate, researching a mortgage broker or lender, and securing a home loan. Check back often for news, updates, and remember that you can find today's current mortgage rates at ForTheBestRate.com. My Google Profile+

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