As inhabitants of a routinely unfair class system, it’s only natural for us to want to live in luxury. We want the most expensive/overpriced food, drinks, services, and gizmos, attained at the expense of our hard-earned cash. Sometimes it’s nice to live a little above our income. However, sometimes we needlessly pay too much, and the less costly alternatives really wouldn’t be too much of a compromise. Here are the top 10 things we overpay for, assembled in no particular order.
If you’re on a business trip and your employer is taking care of all expenses, then, by all means, raid your hotel room’s mini-bar and leave nothing behind. But for the rest of us, the mini-bar is a nefarious money-drainer. By installing these pint-sized fridges into their rooms, crafty hotel owners are taking advantage of the lazy. With a minibar, you don’t have to walk all the way from your room to the liquor store standing at the end of the street to get a bottle of beer. You can just pull at the mini-bar door, reach in and there you have it, all icy cool and ready to be guzzled. Trouble is, in a liquor store you can get a six-pack of beer for a measly $10. While a single bottle may cost $5 from a minibar.
Oyster.com found some ridiculous mini-bar charges in New York City hotels. A bottle of water costs $10 and a toothpaste kit costs $12. Hotel guests, don’t be lazy, or you’ll just end up with an empty wallet. And drunk.
Apple Inc. was founded in April of 1976, the year they sold the Apple I computer. They have been inventing a whole assortment of handy gizmos ever since. Most notable are the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. And few will disagree that their products are mighty expensive. The original 8GB iPhone sold for $599, and the 16GB iPad for $499. Worst still, they continually update their products to tack on technological advancements and extra features, and we just can’t resist emptying our bank accounts for the sake of being able to converse with a robotic personal assistant named Siri. And it’s not just the big fancy products. Apple accessories are grossly overpriced, with earphones costing $29, USB cables $19 and adapters $29. You can get the same in stores for $7.95, $2.95 and $7.95, respectively.
A gym membership can sure be handy. It allows you unlimited, sometimes 24/7 access to top-of-the-range facilities, from dumb-bells to exercise bikes, and exercise balls to punching bags. You have access to professional trainers and can attend their classes. Additionally, you can train alongside like-minded individuals trying to keep fit and burn off a few unwanted calories.
But a gym membership can be awfully costly, can’t it? One can cost between $50 and $150 a month, with initiation fees priced up to $300. This seems a bit steep when much of what you can do in a gym, you can just as easily be done at home or outdoors, only without the aid of cutting-edge equipment. You can do press-ups, pull-ups and push-ups, run, jog, cycle and squat, all without the sacrifice of a single dime. Plus, you don’t have to deal with that guy with all the tattoos looking at you weird in the locker room.
Cell Phone Bills
There are approximately 5.6 million cell phone users around the globe. But how many of those are satisfied with the bills they have to pay to continue calling, texting and browsing the net with their phone? Looking at some of the prices customers are needlessly forking out, I wouldn’t be surprised if that number was on the lower end of complete satisfaction. Of course, there are many different companies offering many different packages. Individual packages can range from $50 a month to well over $100 a month. Companies like Virgin Mobile offer a fair unlimited data and messaging plan at $35 a month. But many others are not so fair, and customers consequently end up spending so much when it truly is not necessary.
Since their original creation in ancient Egypt, greeting cards have served as pleasantly simple little gifts. Generally, they range from $1 to $5, although more elaborate ones can cost significantly more. They can be amusing, sweet, charming and touching, and you can use them for almost any occasion. Birthdays, Christmas, weddings and anniversaries, for example. But one must remember that all a greeting card is is a folded piece of card with a drawing, pattern or photograph printed on top. How about being a little more creative in your gift-giving? Make your own handmade card, or perhaps print one out online. The recipient shall surely appreciate the work you’ve put in. Google for templates, and you’ll likely find loads to print off for the cost of a dollop of ink.
It’s become a common joke that no matter where you turn while walking down the street there’s a Starbucks store in close proximity. Indeed, it doesn’t matter where you look, your eyes will always be met by that iconic image of a twin-tailed siren. But what exactly do we need all those Starbucks stores for? Coffee, for starters. Starbucks is, after all, an international coffeehouse chain and is dedicated to bringing its customers the best darn coffee in all the land. They have all sorts of coffee in all different sizes.
But hey, wait a tick: can’t you just make coffee at home? Why yes, yes you can. All you need is a kettle, some water, some milk and a teaspoon of coffee granules, and voila, you’ve got yourself that all-important jolt of morning energy. There’s really no need for all that fancy schmancy, uber-expensive Starbucks stuff. A regular ol’ cup o’ joe straight from the kettle will do the trick just fine.
We all love going to the movies on a Friday night. We can laugh, we can weep, we can be moved and we can be wowed. But what we don’t love is having to fork out such an obscene amount of dough at the theatre’s concession stand, whether we’re buying nachos, hot dogs, ice cream or the old favourite, popcorn. As most of the proceeds from movie tickets go to the movie studios and not the theatres showing the films, the theatres try to compensate by selling more snacks, which makes up for 40% of an average theatres’ profits. A medium-sized bag of popcorn may cost as much as $6. You can get the same thing for $3 down at your local drug store. It’s enough to make for a tear-jerker, ain’t it?
Concerts are overrated, aren’t they? You shell out $150 or whatever to stand in a pile of mud, jump about in that pile of mud, surrounded by screaming, wailing hooligans, all to catch a far-off glimpse of a band blaring out a deafeningly loud, nigh incoherent clash of guitar strums and drum-bashing. That is, if you’re able to see over the waving, stretched-out arms of the squealing crowd you’re hopelessly crammed inside. Y’know what? I think I have a solution. Instead of traveling all the way to the Hollywood Bowl or Glastonbury or wherever for the “real experience,” just take out your laptop, open your browser, search for a band’s music on YouTube, and listen: it’s much clearer, much more satisfying, completely free and bereft of the annoyance of having to deal with crazy people throwing cups of urine all over the place. Seriously, that actually happens.
I think we all know the solution to this case of overpaying. In fact, take a stroll into your kitchen and glance over at your sink. You see that long, metallic thing sticking out from its head? It’s called a tap, and fresh water flows freely from its tip. People laughed at the prospect of bottled water upon its initial inception. After all, who on Earth would buy something they can virtually get for free from their kitchen sink? But people do, some buying a bottle or two a day simply because it comes from the angelic mountains of Heaven or wherever. Hey, here’s a bright idea. How about hanging onto a bottle and filling it with water from the kitchen sink whenever you’re thirsty? And if you’re concerned about taste or hygiene, just buy a filter.
Being the vain race that we unquestionably are, we all like to look our very best when out in public. And one way of achieving this is of course through our clothes. Naturally, we search for the most expensive-looking pieces of fashion when browsing through the stores. And it’s often the case that a designer piece of clothing catches our eye, if only for the well-known name brand sewn onto the back pocket. Perhaps if someone spots you wearing an item of clothing with such a name attached to it, they’ll think more highly of you. Honestly, one seriously doubts that. So, why not go for the cheaper option and buy less costly items of clothing that look exactly the same as their designer counterparts, or even buy second-hand designer clothes? There’s no shame in that – heck, no one will probably even notice.