Most frugal people try and avoid lifestyle inflation for as long as possible.  They bank their raises, live on a single income, and try and save money wherever they can.  Keeping up with the Joneses doesn’t even enter their vocabulary.

But what happens when they receive a gift that forces them to upgrade their lifestyle, whether it’s through recurring monthly charges, purchasing accessories, or taking up a new habit?  Let’s look at a few examples:

7 Gifts That Keep On Taking

  1. HD Receiver – Congratulations and welcome to the wonderful world of high-definition television.  Oh by the way, to access any of these new HD channels you’re going to need to cough up at least an extra $10 per month on your cable bill.  You’re welcome.
  2. Blu-Ray Player – Technology is great isn’t it?  You just finished replacing your massive VHS movie collection with the latest DVD’s, and now here comes the Blu-Ray.  And at $34.99 per movie those frugal date nights at home aren’t looking so cheap after all.
  3. Home Brewing System – Really?  That’s what a coffee pot is called now?  There’s the Tassimo or the Keurig system, which brew delicious single cups of your favorite hot beverage.  At $12.99 for 18 cups, I hope you enjoy your new latte factor.
  4. iPad – Apple comes out with the products that you didn’t know you could live without until you see them.  If you’re lucky enough to receive this neat little time waster for a gift, make sure to say thanks for the extra $15 – $35 per month data plan that comes with it.
  5. E-Reader – Ok I get it, newspapers get your fingers dirty, staring at your computer screen hurts your eyes, and it’s tough to lug around 10 hard cover books with you on your beach vacation.  So someone buys you a Kindle.  Great, now get started on that e-book collection at $10 a pop.
  6. Satellite Radio – Your local morning radio isn’t as funny as it used to be.  And who wants to listen to all of those ads anyways?  Satellite radio lets you pick the stations you like and listen to commercial free radio all the time.  Win-win right?  But at $7 – $20 per month you might be better off giving the gift of music through a thoughtful mix tape.
  7. $20 Gift Card to Chez La-De-Da Bistro – Your heart was in the right place, my wife and I needed a nice evening out at a fancy restaurant.  But come on, $20 won’t even pay for the tip let alone the escargot, steak & lobster, and bottle of wine.  By the way, I hope you’re babysitting too because your $20 won’t even cover that for us.

Before you decide to get one of these fine gifts for someone you care about, think of the extra costs that the recipient will have to incur because of your generosity.

If your adult children are struggling to make ends meet, springing for a Blu-Ray player isn’t going to help them.

And if your friends are staying home and eating Kraft Dinner every night, maybe they can’t afford to be going out to a fancy restaurant.

These gadgets are fun and all, but for the most part they are luxury items that should stay on your wish list.

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