4 Things You’re Spending Too Much Money On
4 Things You’re Spending Too Much Money On
All of us have had the experience of turning over a price tag and wondering how on Earth something so simple could cost that much.
It turns out that some everyday items are grossly overpriced… with markups of up to 1,000%!
Why do we pay so much?
Crafty marketing and convenience are among the reasons we end up overpaying for many of these items, which cost little to produce but at the cash register will set you back far more than they are worth.
What are the top offenders? Here are four products you’re probably paying way too much for, and how to get around it:
- Printer Ink. What’s in those tiny plastic cartridges, pure gold? Name-brand printer ink is marked up by 300%, which makes it frustratingly costly to replace when it runs out. You’ll be even more frustrated when you learn why it’s so expensive…It’s a marketing strategy that allows manufacturers to sell cheap printers but make up the difference in ink sales.
Along those lines, you might have noticed that your printer wants you to believe that it won’t print unless all of the cartridges are full… encouraging you to replace the cyan cartridge before you print out that black-and-white report.
The Get-Around: Buy off-brand ink cartridges on Amazon. A quick search reveals that off-brand ink can be purchased for 50% less than name-brand. Read the reviews before purchasing, but most off-brand ink is just as good as its more expensive counterpart. Bonus? Many of the less expensive brands are sold in recycled plastic cartridges, which means you’re saving money and helping the environment.
- Coffee. You probably saw this one coming… coffee at your favorite shop comes with a 300% markup, and that’s not including whatever you tip your barista. Now, there are times when you just want someone else to make it for you, put it in a to-go cup and deliver it to you with a smile. But if you’re hitting the corner Starbucks every day, you’re looking at well over $1,000 a year in coffee.
By contrast, when you make your coffee at home you’re spending 25–50 cents a cup, depending on what you add to it. No, a barista won’t hand it to you with a smile and tell you to have a great day, but it’s not that hard to make it yourself.
The Get-Around: Save the coffee-shop lattes for special occasions and make your own coffee at home. Get yourself a reusable to-go mug that makes you happy, and if you feel like it, you can even tip yourself every time you fire up the coffee maker!
- Jewelry (Especially Diamonds). Everyone knows that diamonds are a girl’s best friend… and everyone also knows that they are painfully expensive! In fact, you can expect at least a 300–400% markup on jewelry, often even higher. And you might not even be getting the quality you think you’re paying for.Jewelry stores will often run 50–75% off “sales” on their goods… and still, rest assured, they’re making a nice profit. Not only that, but many big-name jewelry stores are selling inferior diamonds that were purchased from socially and environmentally unsafe sources.
The Get-Around: Avoid buying jewelry in big-name stores or at the mall. Instead, consider buying diamonds from a good online source (where they are certified by a gemologist). Gemstones other than diamonds are becoming more popular in wedding rings, so that’s also an option. Purchasing the gems and gold yourself and having someone make the ring is not only romantic, but it’s also good for the local economy (support an artist!) and can save you thousands.
- Movie popcorn. Again, no surprise… the cost of movie popcorn is inflated by a ridiculous 1,000%. That’s a huge markup! Everyone knows that theater popcorn is a rip-off. The movie theaters know that everyone knows it’s a rip-off. And still, they keep charging astronomical prices and we keep paying them. Why?
Well, for one, there’s that pesky rule that bans you from bringing in “outside food and drinks.” This leaves you with few options if you don’t want to be a rule-breaker.
In addition, the stuff is addictive — even if you could smuggle a huge bowl of home-popped corn into the theater, it just wouldn’t taste the same. That’s because it’s not the same. In fact, theater popcorn is chock-full of chemicals and additives that are bad for you (but taste oh-so-good).
The Get-Around: Without getting yourself on the bad side of the powers that be at the movie theater, you can’t do much about the price of their popcorn. Use a coupon, take full advantage of the free refill if it’s offered, opt out altogether or just buy it anyway and accept the fact that you’re being ripped off as you enjoy the artificial, salty, buttery goodness.
There’s a big difference between being cheap and making sure that you’re not being taken advantage of. While you’re bound to wind up paying more than you ought to from time to time, it never hurts to be on the lookout for consistent overcharge offenders and avoid lining their pockets with your hard-earned cash.