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What’s the biggest fear of a bargain shopper? Overpaying! Those of us who are budget-conscious, this will resonate. We are managing our day-to-day expenses to make sure that our expenses don’t overpower our income. So, before you spend your money on something, you’re most likely going to ensure that that item is really worth the price.
You might be a smart shopper and spend a lot of time searching for the best deals. However, a lot of so-called ‘best deals’ are usually not so, and you can often find similar items at a lesser cost elsewhere. In fact, no matter how good you are at bargaining, you must have been trapped by the notorious companies in purchasing at least a few of these expensive products.
Some of the items that you may be lured into purchasing out of convenience really cost an increment of what these companies are charging you. But if you’re savvy, there is always a way to find alternatives at a lesser cost (and saving you money!).
Who doesn’t love to kick-start their mornings with a hot cup of coffee? A shot of caffeine and you are ready to rock ’n’ roll. For those of us Starbucks addicts (including myself), our morning pick-me-up is costing multiples of what it’s really worth. In fact, most of the high-end coffee chains have a markup up to 300% on their beverages.
Does that mean you should quit coffee altogether? Not really. As a cheaper alternative, you can buy coffee from a local gas station, or make your own coffee at home. You’ll soon notice all that money slowly pouring back into your bank account.
As a cheaper alternative, you can buy coffee from a local gas station, or make your own coffee at home. You’ll soon notice all that money slowly pouring back into your bank account.
2. Movie Popcorn
Do you know what makes a movie more fun to watch? A huge bucket of popcorn! But as much as you love to gobble on those buttery popcorns, you waste a large chunk of money on them. According to Business Insider, you pay 9x the wholesale cost for a large tub of popcorn, and 19x for small. Your favorite movie theatre snacks such as soda cans are sold for 1000% more than their original price.
So how about a packet of candies that you bring along sound instead of overspending on popcorn? Or if you still want don’t want to compromise on your popcorn, then how does dinner and a movie night at home sound? Believe me, the cost of your spending on a great movie on Netflix, a juice bottle, and a tub of buttery popcorns will not hurt your wallet as bad as a movie at a movie theater.
3. Bottled Water
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Well, water is one of the most overpriced items anywhere, and airport retailers especially. They know that travelers have some time on their hands and don’t have too many alternatives to choose from, so they sell convenience items at super inflated prices. No, it’s not just airports. A (0.5L) bottle of still water even at a 7-11 can easily cost $1.50 a pop. That may not sound bad, but you can easily buy a 36-pack for under $4 at Costco (or Walmart).
Brands make tall claims about the quality of their water, but when it comes down to the facts: water is water. The legit solution to escape paying more is to buy a reusable bottle and carry your own free water with you. The environment will thank you too!
4. Printer Ink
You must have felt so smart and satisfied when you purchased a printer at a bargain price without realized that you were blindsided by a clever marketing strategy. Printer inks are overpriced up to 300%, even though it costs only a few dollars to make. In fact, printer companies sell printers at “seemingly” low cost, and therefore “good value.” Actually, these companies make considerably more profit from selling you ink cartridges at high costs. And guess what? You’ll continue buying them simply because you need ink for the printer to do its job.
The best solution is to get printouts from your nearby local print shop if you really need them printed. But consider cutting down on printing altogether, are there documents that you can read online and take notes instead of printing? This will save you money, and help save some trees!
5. Credit Cards
Credit card companies are great into attracting customers into signing up into their accounts by offering rewards, cash back, travel perks, you name it. These programs are also somewhat addicting, as people try to earn more points (or rewards) by spending more and to add more fuel to the fire, they’ll agree to pay annual fees for this service. Nonsense.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against a good credit card with low APR and awesome cash-back perks, but we live in the age when there are hundreds of alternative credit cards you could look into and not any fees, whatsoever.
Pay off the money you owe and say goodbye. Another added benefit about switching is the fact that new accounts often have a 0% APR during the first couple of months. Go ahead, shop around and switch (if you must do so at all) to a no-fee credit card.P.S. Same goes for your bank accounts. You might think that your account is of great value to you, but honestly – banks are so standardized these days, you can easily switch to a different bank and not notice much of a difference. So, stop paying banking fees, and open up a fee-free account (like Capital One or Wells Fargo).
6. Book Downloads
If you are a bookworm, then there are never enough books for you! You may like the feeling of holding a book in your hands buried under a warm blanket while sitting near a fireplace. And you may enjoy the process of flipping pages. What you may not realize is that you are overpaying hugely for buying the paper books.
With the rise of e-books, paper books are not as profitable to publish especially since publishers now print lesser batches of books which really brings up the cost of these books. So, you’re paying a hefty price for the enjoyment of holding a physical book.
Try e-books instead. It’s less bulky to carry around one reader (or simply your phone) loaded with 2 books, then physically carrying those 2 books around. Do you have an Amazon Prime Membership? Bingo! That means you already have access to hundreds of free e-books in a feature called Prime Reading. If not, you can check out other options with free e-books over here.
7. Branded Clothes and Accessories
For all luxury brand shopaholics out there, who like to put down extra money on fancy branded items: you are seriously overpaying! According to Investopedia, it’s a common practice among brands to pounce on 500% to a 1000% markup. The actual worth of the item is much less, and most of the money that you’re paying is actually for branding and the upkeep of their business.
A similar good quality bag look might cost you a few hundred dollars from Nordstroms or Bloomingdales, for example. But if you really have been eyeing that Louis Vuitton bag you’ve wanted for the longest time, see if you can find it for a lesser deal on a bargain site like eBay (just ensure authenticity before purchasing!).
The consumer is the king of the market. Since the cost of living has increased, it’s wise to avoid unnecessary expenses and falling prey to the profit-hungry brands. In the end, who wouldn’t like to have extra money on their hands because of all the savings? So, the next time you shop, make sure that item you’re looking at is worth your money.
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