Earlier today, I received this email from BillShrink. This is a Web site that helps you figure out how to get the best prices on everyday bills. It also includes a solid credit card comparison tool that allows you to figure out what is the best possible card for your situation.
At any rate, in this time of recession, it only makes sense to cut back. And there are several items that many people over-pay for. So, take a look at this handy list and suggestions from BillShrink. It might be worth your while to cut back — or at least to shop around and plan ahead to get a better deal:
- Pseudo Health Products – Like the
“protein bars” that are presented
as “low fat” or “all natural” even though can end
up just as unhealthy as candy bars (the sugar!), while costing up to five
times as much.
- Brand New Technology –
It is well documented that technology prices come down considerably once
new products have been on the market for several months to a year.
Additionally, waiting allows time for other companies to release
competitive technology, presumably leading to better overall products
becoming available in the marketplace.
- Bottled Water –
This is probably the most overpriced of all regularly consumed products.
Over 2/3 of the world is covered in water, and filters to covert
‘tap water’ into filtered water are readily available for
under twenty dollars. However, millions of people choose to $1-2 on this
convenience item each day.
- Individual Coffee Cups –
Individual cups of coffee purchased anywhere, whether from restaurants,
gas stations, or coffee shops, are invariably priced high. Especially when
compared to what one could buy and prepare coffee for in bulk at home.
- Prepackaged Food –
Buying prepackaged food items such as sandwiches, sliced apples, or desert
cups is one way of overspending on products that are relatively easy to
make, and less expensive then when you buy the ingredients which can also
give you more servings.
- Apple Brand Accessories
-Apple has built a cult-following over the past decade, and they are able
to demand premium prices for many of their aftermarket accessories. There
are, however, a number of manufacturers that make products that are
compatible with their mp3 players and other products, available for a
fraction of the cost.
- Sending a Fax from a Business Center – There are a number of free web-based fax services, for which
you only need an email address and a scanner. Sending faxes from places
such as Kinkos can cost $1 per page for local, and $2 per page for
- Car Maintenance
from the Dealership – Unless a car is
under warranty, going to a dealership for a repair is one sure way to
overspend. Car dealerships often promise that certain work can only be
done by authorized dealerships, and are less-inclined to negotiate prices,
something that should be done with any type of auto maintenance.
- Music – There is no
longer the need to purchase an entire album, now music fans can compartmentalize
music purchases to the individual song level with sites like iTunes or Pandora.com.
- Additional Warrantees on Electronics – The typical lifespan of electronics products are 3-5 years. So
if you think you will upgrade the item within 5 years, or before you will
repair it, is the cost (can be up to 50% of the purchase price) worth it?
- Late Fees/Overdraft Fees –
Paying late fees on credit cards and bills, and overdraft fees on bank
accounts can be a disheartening use of one’s hard-earned money.
Especially when a minimum payment on a credit card of $15 is missed,
resulting in a late fee that can be as high as $39 (and perhaps result in
an APR% increase). Overdraft fees add up, especially when they are made in
quick succession, resulting in fees for each transaction made while an
account is overdrawn.
- Non Bank ATM Fees –
ATM Fees can add up. They can also be slightly misleading; it’s not
unusual for ATM convenience fees to cost $2.00, and for the card-issuing
bank to charge up to an additional $2.50 as a non-bank ATM Fee. As a
result, it may cost up $4.50 to withdraw $20.00.
- Subscriptions to Print Publications – Most print publications’ online counterparts offer the
same articles and features, and it’s usually entirely free –
often with archives too.
- DVDs – Now there
are many alternatives for individuals to watch movies without having to
purchase them – Netflix offers unlimited monthly rentals, and
websites such as Hulu.com, enable users to watch thousands of its titles
- Flowers from a Florist –
Flowers are often overpriced, especially at florists, and always around
the holidays, so your best bet is go to your grocery store, they are often
a fraction of the price.
I mostly overspend on ATM fees and pre-packaged foods. We’ll start hitting the deli counter more, I think. My husband over-spends on flowers from the florist once or twice a year. But I’m not sure I’m ready to fault him on that!