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In today’s fast-paced world, it can be hard to make ends meet.
With the rising cost of living and ever shrinking paycheck, many everyday items are simply too expensive for most people to afford.
Although some needs such as shelter or food cannot be neglected no matter how costly they may have become, other less essential purchases like luxury items or home decor have progressively been pushed aside as individuals try to stick with a tighter budget.
But what kind of things have actually gotten so pricey that we’ve just stopped buying them all together?
Join us on an exploration through 33 extreme price hikes over recent years that make people change their shopping habits.
The price of lumber has easily doubled, forcing many people interested in building things thinking twice.
One person complained that building three simple raised bed gardens was going to cost close to $1,000! For that money, it was cheaper to buy the vegetables they were planning to grow.
#2. Potato Chips
Potato chips are a staple junk food in most homes throughout the U.S. But inflation has not spared this food, and people are angry.
A regular bag of chips is now nearly $5, and the family-size bag is almost $7. But what really annoys people is something else.
As one person commented, “Not to mention how the family-sized bag is now the size of what used to be a regular bag.” And, of course, half the bag is air!
The saving grace to these high prices is a great sale occasionally, but even these are becoming rare.
#3. Fast Food
You used to be able to find cheap places to eat out everywhere. Not anymore. A simple meal out will run you between $10 and $20. Even the $1 Menu at McDonald’s is now the $1 $2 $3 Menu.
Instead of giving in, people are coming up with unique alternatives. As one person said, “I started buying an 8 pack of English muffins and making 8 egg and cheese sandwiches on my day off then freezing them for the rest of the week.”
#4. Christmas Trees
For many people, buying a real tree for the holidays is a rite of passage.
And even considering buying a fake tree is a sin.
But with the skyrocketing price of real trees, more and more people are making the switch.
The good news is artificial trees look more real than ever before, and the clean up and storage will make you wonder why you didn’t switch years ago.
The price of gas has always moved up and down, but recently, the moves have been higher than ever.
This has led to many people to look into electric vehicles and even getting by without a car completely.
While going car-free isn’t for everyone, it is an option more people are considering.
If you haven’t bought a magazine in some time, be ready for a sticker shock.
The cheapest ones tend to now be $5.99 and others as high as $11.99 for a single issue.
You would think that with people moving away from traditional print magazines they would lower the price to encourage people to buy, not increase the price.
#7. Home Improvement Plans
Along with the higher price of lumber, so too is every other building material.
This has resulted in sticker shock for many would-be renovators.
One person mentioned how to replace eight hollow doors in their home was going to cost close to $7,000!
#8. Computer Graphics Cards
Computer graphics cards used to be affordable, but now they are in high demand, and higher prices result.
Many tech-savvy people would build their own PCs to have their desired specs. But many are giving up.
The common theme is summed up with this response, “last year for the first time I bought a pre-built because I did the math and it was actually cheaper than building it myself. It used to be the opposite and I could save hundreds of dollars building it myself. Then those savings got smaller and smaller until eventually it reversed.”
For 2022, the average price of a new car reached an all-time high of $49,507; for a used car, the average price is $27,564. While some increase results from supply chain issues, it’s not the only reason.
For some people, the higher prices are pricing them out of the market and making buying a car more of a luxury. The good news is you can adopt a different strategy and seek out beater cars.
While the name has a negative connotation, this plan focuses on high-quality, reliable cars.
#10. Butter and Margarine
Have you seen the price of butter lately? Some people are reporting prices for a pack of four sticks of butter between $4 and $9!
As with most things dairy, inflation has impacted this staple as well.
For margarine, many cite the conflict in Ukraine as causing higher prices, which is where most oils that make it come from. So as long as that continues, don’t expect the price of margarine to come down.
#11. Live Concerts
Thanks to the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster, affordable concerts have become a thing of the past. This concert giant now owns close to 70% of the market.
But this isn’t the only reason why concert tickets are so expensive. It’s also due to dynamic pricing. This is an algorithm these companies use to adjust the prices at the moment based on demand.
If there is high demand, prices skyrocket, as was seen in the recent Taylor Swift debacle. These high prices then impact the reseller market, as people who bought a ticket for $2,000 aren’t likely to sell it for $49.
As a result, fewer people are interested in going to concerts because they cannot afford them. And those that do also complain about the high food prices. “I went to my first concert since before Covid over the summer. Outside venue lawn seating, tickets were $75. A beer was $20. Plate of 3 street tacos $
#12. Frozen Pizza
A frozen pizza from the grocery store was a cheap alternative to ordering takeout. Granted, the quality could have been better, but the frozen pizza didn’t taste like cardboard in some cases, so you put up with it.
But now that prices have increased, many frozen pizzas are getting close to $10, which is considered a ripoff for most people.
#13. Car Washes
Going to the car wash used to be a quick and cheap alternative to washing it yourself.
But not any longer.
An automated deep clean will run you close to $20, and this is only for the exterior!
The price isn’t much better is you choose to manually wash it at the car wash either.
Years ago, you needed eight quarters to get started, and every other quarter added close to 2 minutes to your time.
Now you need at least 12 quarters to start and an additional quarter only gets you around a minute extra.
#14. Plane Tickets
Maybe we were spoiled with low priced airfare for years, but the prices for flights now is close to outrageous.
A round trip flight that used to cost $300 now is more than double.
If you want to find a reasonable price, you have to work hard.
And if you want a great deal, good luck finding it.
Remember the days of 4 packs of soda for $10? Those days are gone. Soda is another casualty of rising prices, and it seems no store is immune.
I like to drink the smaller, 8-ounce versions of Coca-Cola. The best price I found was at BJs, where a pack of 30 was $9.99.
The last time I went, however, the price is now over $17! And it’s not just Coke. The price for all soda is through the roof.
#16. Cable Television
The fact that cable is on this list should not come as a surprise. The price continues to rise thanks to more expensive rights, fees, and taxes. The average monthly cost in the U.S. is over $215 a month.
That is over $2,500 a year! While new subscribers can often get a deal, it is more difficult for existing cable customers. Many people are fed up and cutting the cord. Since 2019, roughly 5 million people per year have quit cable. While there is plenty of content, it just isn’t worth the price.
Whatever happened to the idea of a la carte packages?
Cereal is another staple food that has seen a rise in price. It doesn’t matter if you are shopping for a non-nutritious sugary cereal or a healthier alternative, prices are up across the board.
The good news is there are some strategies you can use. One person noted that the store brands are less expensive and taste just as good. However, the prices here have also been increasing, so they aren’t as good a deal as before.
Another person had the great idea of not eating breakfast at all. “If I skip breakfast, I can go until noon or later before I am really hungry.” This is a form of intermittent fasting that many people use to help them lose weight.
Disney used to be a place where you could take your family for a week of fun.
But not anymore.
The prices for admission into the parks along with the food prices have put the theme park out of reach for many.
And this doesn’t include the airfare and lodging you will need.
Because of the high prices, many families are making this trip a “once in a lifetime” event and bringing their entire extended family.
#19. Pre-Ordering Anything
Years ago, pre-ordering things was a great way to ensure you could own a popular item when it was released. It also saved you time by not having to drive from store to store trying to find it in stock.
But with supply chain issues and scammy companies, pre-ordering is more of a risk than a reward.
As one person said, “I refuse to pre-order games now. Make the entire game, deliver on your promise of an actual real product, and I’ll buy it. I’m not giving you money on the PROMISE you’ll deliver a product worth that money.”
Others agreed. It seems that companies release a limited version for pre-order, the company profits, and then never follow through with the complete version. It’s like paying full price to see the first 20 minutes of a movie and then never seeing the rest.
#20. Ice Cream
Ice cream is on this list, not solely because the price has dramatically risen. It’s because ice cream companies are raising prices, shrinking product sizes, and using air.
If you go to the grocery store now, look at the container sizes; you will see they are slightly smaller than before. We’ve seen this with orange juice in the past. A 64-ounce container is now 52-ounces.
However, you don’t see the amount of air added to the ice cream by looking at the packaging. This is noticeable when you open it and scoop some out. The less air, the harder the ice cream is to scoop.
Many companies add more air to make the ice cream softer and require fewer ingredients. People recommend sticking with high-quality brand names or buying small, single-serve containers.
#21. Door Dash/Uber Eats
Getting food delivery from local restaurants is a game changer. Unfortunately, for many, the increase in costs and fees makes it less exciting.
A basic fast food meal costing $10 will run you close to $30 after you add the Door Dash fees. And this doesn’t even include the tip!
Many people commented about the extraordinary price of makeup. Some have started using store brands to save money, but the results are not as ideal.
Because of this, some people have stopped using makeup. And one person says it’s for the best. “I stopped wearing make up to try to improve the look of my skin and it worked. Get a good vitamin c serum if you can, makes you glow and evens out discoloration.”
If you still decide to wear it, check out some videos on YouTube for how to apply it correctly. This might help you save some money in the long run.
The price of eggs jumped when a case of the bird flu ran rampant, causing an egg shortage. But that was last year, and egg prices are still as high. This has left many wondering if price collusion occurs between egg manufacturers.
While this might be happening on a small scale, you must remember it takes time for new chicks to hatch and then begin laying eggs. So, we have a few more months of higher egg prices.
#24. Streaming Services
While people are leaving cable in droves, you would think they would be happy with streaming services. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
These services were a great way to watch your favorite shows and save money, but this is not always true today. Every network has its own package, meaning you must sign up for multiple streaming services.
Then there are the constant price increases. Raising the price a couple of bucks a month doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up with multiple services and all hiking prices.
Of course, shows and movies come and go on many of these services, too, infuriating customers. Luckily one person has a great solution. “It’s incredible how cheap DVDs and TV box sets are. By having the discs, you never have to worry about your favorite movie or TV show disappearing because of corporate decisions.”
Every time Apple or Samsung release a new version of their flagship cell phone, it comes with a price that is hundreds more than the last one.
With new phones now starting at around $1,000, it’s no wonder why sales are down and people are keeping their current phones.
Unless there is a revolutionary advancement, like time travel, paying a grand for a few more megapixels is a complete waste of money because your eyes will never notice the difference at this point.
Soup used to be a staple that you could rely on when money was tight, just like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
But no more. Soup companies are trying to get as much profit out of every can now.
One person mentioned how they used to wait for sales and stock up. Now, the sale price is more than the old regular price. But that’s only part of the problem. The cans are smaller in size, so the price is even more when comparing to the past.
#27. Medical Care
They say death and taxes are the only two certainties in life. Adding rising health care costs should be included.
The sad part about health care is that the higher prices force people not to get the medicine they need or try to make it last longer. Either case is not ideal.
Luckily there are some things you can do to save money on healthcare costs. And more companies are coming online, hoping to offer prescription drugs at a more affordable price.
#28. Organic Milk
Have you noticed how the price of organic milk has skyrocketed?
Every time I went to the grocery, the price increased by $0.50. In the end, it went up almost $2!
Others have noticed the same thing, forcing many to skip milk or learn to make their own almond milk to try to save money.
#29. Sporting Events
Some people commented about how it is close to impossible to afford going to a live sporting event.
When you take into account parking, the tickets, and food, a family of four will pay $500 or more.
And this is just for a few hours out! Some people said that they needed to make six figures or more to even consider going to a game.
#30. Lift Tickets
Skiing has always been an expensive sport to enjoy.
But many people said how the prices for lift tickets has gotten completely out of hand.
They don’t know if is because of inflation, warmer weather making the ski season shorter, or a combination of both.
No matter what, most people have cut back on the number of ski trips they take, or they look for specials to lower the cost.
#31. Buffalo Wings
As most other food in the grocery store, buffalo wings are sadly also a casualty of inflation.
But the price increase there is nothing like what you see at restaurants.
Long gone are the days of $0.10 wing night. Now if you can find $0.50 wing night, it’s as if you hit the jackpot.
Playing with LEGO’s as a kid was a rite of passage for many.
Sadly though, many kids today aren’t getting that same enjoyment.
It’s not because they aren’t interested, it’s because the price of a LEGO set is astronomical.
Many new sets now start at $79 and go up from there.
If you are looking for a set in the $30 range, good luck. You’ll be stuck with a basic one that used to cost $5.
#33. Greeting Cards
If there ever was a money making machine, it is the greeting card industry.
They have conditioned us to buy cards for every occasion. And if you don’t bring a card, you are insensitive.
Buying a card used to be simple, but now that prices are $7.99 for cards, it’s a major problem. Especially considering the person is going to toss it in the trash in a few days.
You might was well hand them the $8 so they can light it on fire for you.
The saving grace: dollar stores. While the selection isn’t as great, a card only costs you $0.50. Of course, you could pull a cheapskate move with greeting cards to save even more money.
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With inflation rising, your monthly bills are likely getting out of control.
Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take. Use this guide to help you save up to $7,000 a year on your monthly bills.
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Nowadays, people are looking for every means possible to make extra cash. One unique idea is to get free gift cards. Gift cards are a great way to help pay for the things you need without spending any money.
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Here is a complete guide on how to get free gift cards so you can spend less money on the things you buy.
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It’s no secret that grocery shopping is a significant expense every month. While most of us know a few ways to reduce this bill, there are many other simple things we can do.
Learn the easy tricks to spend less on groceries and pocket some savings.
This thread inspired this article.
I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.