These days, people focus on two things when buying goods and services: how fast can I get it and how much does it cost. What folks don’t often consider is that the first one has a big impact on the second. But it’s important to consider just how much they’ll have to pay for convenience, because it certainly isn’t free. We’ll talk about that today on MoneyWise. The word convenience has even worked its way into our lexicon for buying stuff. Think convenience foods and convenience stores. Convenience foods are easy to fix, usually you just have to heat them up or get them from a fast-food restaurant. Convenience stores sell all kinds of things that we usually want in a hurry without having to go into a bigger grocery store. But all of these have one thing in common, they cost a bit more for the convenience and often at the expense of taste and nutrition, as well. Obviously, we want to be good stewards of the resources God entrusts to us, but if you have the money in your budget for a convenience purchase, is it wrong to buy it? We have to budget our time as well as our money. There are only 24 hours in a day and sometimes getting fast food for the family makes sense as long as it fits within your spending plan. Here are some pitfalls where you can get caught paying for convenience you can’t afford: (1) You’re hungry while you’re out doing errands. So, you grab a burger on the way. But you know it’s not in the budget; you can’t afford the convenience of eating out, but you do it anyway. (2) Maybe you don’t have time to cook at home. So, you opt for pizza delivery. Again, not in the budget. (3) Instead of waiting for an item to go on sale at a local store, you simply go online and buy it. Now you’re paying for shipping, too! And if you really need it in a hurry, you may be tempted to pay extra for expedited shipping. But you ignore the fact that convenience costs money and your budget is blown again. (4) Maybe the worst example of all is the dreaded payday loan. They’re the crack cocaine of financial services. Payday loan outlets offer you some or all of the money in your next paycheck but at extremely high interest rates. (5) An unlimited data plan on your cell phone may be a convenience and sales people will always try to sell you one, but do you really need it? Maybe not, if you’re mainly on Wi-Fi at home and don’t use data that much. On the other hand, if your job keeps you on the road a lot, it may make sense to pay more for unlimited data. (6) Valet parking is a convenience offered at high-end restaurants and hotels and even at some malls. But does it make sense to pay for a gym membership and valet parking? Paying to walk on a treadmill and not to walk from the far end of a parking lot is something people do without thinking. So, here’s the bottom line. The less discretionary money you have, the fewer conveniences you can afford. God wants us to enjoy his abundance. There’s nothing wrong with that, within reason. Even if you have the money to pay for a convenience, it doesn’t mean you always should, especially if it results in your saving or giving less. On today’s program we also answer your questions: --Is it legitimate that my credit card company contacted me via mail asking me to confirm my annual income and housing information? --I bought a time-share years ago and upgraded four times. But I’d just like to sell this thing. What advice would you give? --I’m doing a fiancée visa as I’m marrying a woman from another country. What’s the best way to get credit for her? --Is there a way to minimize capital gains taxes on the property I’m wanting to sell? --I’m concerned about market volatility. We’re in our early 70's. What do you think about buying a house to rent out? We would not be the ones managing it. Remember, you can call in to ask your questions most days at (800) 525-7000 or email them to [email protected] Also, visit our website at MoneyWise.org where you can connect with a MoneyWise Coach, purchase books, and even download free, helpful resources like the free MoneyWise app. Like and Follow us on Facebook at MoneyWise Media for videos and the very latest discussion! Remember that it’s your prayerful and financial support that keeps MoneyWise on the air. Help us continue this outreach by clicking the Donate tab on our website or in our app.