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Things We Pay Too Much For

By Cary Anderson

People routinely spend way too much money on certain goods and services. Paying more than is necessary for something has become ingrained in our culture to an extent that we donít even realize when weíre parting with way more money than is necessary in order to acquire the thing we want.

The savings that can result from putting a tourniquet on the bleeding wound of our unnecessary overspending can make life quite a bit less stressful. When you begin to stop spending on these things we pay too much for, itís almost like joining a secret society where you realize youíre doing it the smart way while everyone else lives in a state of insanity.

So what makes the list of things we pay too much for? Some of these will be rather obvious but others might catch you off guard. In which of the following ways could you change your spending?

  • Bottled water. $1.50 here. $2.00 there. The amount of money we part with to buy something we could have just brought from home is scary.
  • Name brand OTC drugs. The generic version of most over-the-counter drugs is literally the exact same in terms of active ingredients. The extra money for the name brand is to cover the marketing costs.
  • Alcohol. Whether itís in a restaurant, hotel mini-bar or at a ballgame, alcohol is marked up obscenely.
  • Computer software. Most expensive computer software products have a cheap or free online alternative these days. Example: Microsoft Office ($60+) or Google Docs (free).
  • Printer ink. And you think gas prices are bad? Printer ink costs $65,000 per gallon.
  • Jewelry. That shiny diamond is likely marked up anywhere from 50% to 200% depending on who you are buying it from. Yikes!
  • Coffee and Tea. Whatís $2 or $3 for a cup of coffee each morning from Starbucks, right? Well when you add it up, itís over $1,000 a year! Brew your own coffee at home and pay about $0.20 a cup.
  • Movie theater snacks. $6.50 for a small bucket of popcorn? Yea... thatís reasonable.
  • Taxis. You can almost rent a car for a day for the average cost of a taxi ride across town. Try public transportation to save a bundle.
  • Mobile phone services. CNN Money reports that mobile phone providers mark-up the cost to send a text message as much as 6,500%! It costs them basically next-to-nothing to send that tiny amount of data. Pure profit.
  • Airport and hotel food and drinks. In-cabin, in-room, itís all a rip-off.
  • Cable TV. Easily $3 a day or more for a service that is becoming increasingly replaced by the Internet. How to Save Money on Entertainment.
  • Perfume. Hugely marked up over the actual cost to produce.
  • Mattresses. Marked-up to an insane degree to cover costs of salesmen and to provide wiggle room for those too-good-to-be-true discounts. Buy from a wholesaler or warehouse.
  • Healthcare. If you live in the U.S., healthcare is unfortunately a massive rip-off in most cases. Try calling a hospital to ask for the price of a particular health service. Theyíll laugh you right off the phone. This highlights the importance of staying healthy to save money!
  • College textbooks. The textbook racket is big business. Look for discounted used books or e-Books. Additionally, confirm with your professor that buying a textbook is an absolute necessity for the course.
  • Baby and Toddler items. High-end strollers, cribs and baby apparel are a huge ripoff. Your child will outgrow these items before you can finish making the payments on them.
  • Cigarettes. Play with this cost to smoke cigarretes calculator to see just what a staggeringly expensive habit it is.

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