I recently spoke to a caller who lamented that at some point she was going to have to stop being an at-home mom and go back to work to make ends meet. I said that move was not an option, because abandoning children into institutionalized day care is the last desperate move – not the first or an intermediate one.
I told her to “budget, budget, budget,” and mentioned that my husband and I were budgeting just like most Americans, and I hadn’t bought any new clothes in so many months, I can’t even remember, and I had no idea what the current fashions even were. She mentioned that she shopped for clothes at second-hand stores. I stopped her right there and challenged why she was even bothering to do that. What is the female necessity for a constant flow of new clothes? Unless there is a specific need, doing that is a continuous waste of money, although “going shopping” together is a way for females to bond and have entertainment.
Then I found an article in the Economizer section of www.walletpop.com, entitled “10 Most Overpriced Products You Should Avoid.” It was eye-opening, and should become wallet-closing!
1. Text Messages
According to a story in the Chicago Tribune, outgoing 160-character text messages on a cell phone typically cost users 20 cents, while they only cost the carrier three-tenths of a cent to process. That’s a 6000% profit! 600 text messages contain less data than one minute of a phone call. If text data rates are applied, a brief cell phone conversation would cost $120! So CALL….don’t text.
2. Bottled Water
Water that is pre-packaged is more expensive than a gallon of gas. Since about 40% of bottled water comes from municipal taps, you’re better off refilling that plastic bottle at home and toting it around.
3. Movie Theatre Popcorn
When you pay $6 for a medium-sized bag of popcorn in theatres, you’re paying a markup of $1,275%, compared to the cost of buying three 3.5 oz bags of microwaveable popcorn sold in a box for about $3. Besides, you don’t need the calories.
4. Brand name drugs
Over-the-counter medications were at the top of a recent WalletPop.com list of products to always buy generic. In the past year, the cost of brand name prescriptions has increased nearly 10% while generics have dropped. The recommendation was to check out Costco for lower generic medication prices.
5. Hotel mini-bars
$10 for a bottle of water? $12 for a tube of toothpaste? A 1300% markup on Gummy Bears? Keep that fridge door closed!!
A $3 cup of coffee can be made at home for a quarter. Check out Topdogcoffeebar.com – they roast ‘em, and you brew ‘em.
Restaurants pay $5 wholesale for a bottle of wine and charge customers $25. A glass of wine can have a higher markup because the bottle can be thrown away if all of it isn’t used.
8. Greeting cards
The greeting cards anyone ever keeps are those made by hand. Enough said.
9. Hotel In-Room Movies
You pay 200% more for “convenience.” How about bringing your computer and DVDs, or bring your Netflix movie from home? If the hotel has wi-fi, use Netflix streaming.
10. Pre-cut vegetables
Sometimes, you pay as much as 40% more if the grocery pre-cuts them. Go to your local farmer’s market and get fresher products at greater deals.
There are a zillion ways to save dollars at almost every turn. We have come to see “conveniences” as necessities, when they’re actually very expensive.