Both businesses and their customers have been financially struggling these days. Businesses have either closed or remained open with reduced staff, causing 6.2 million people to be out of a job in June 2021. Since then, in an effort to recover some of their losses, businesses have raised their prices dramatically and decreased quantity in some cases, leaving you holding the bag.
Remember the days when water was free? Today tap water costs more per glass than ever before, while water fountains at gymnasiums and offices have been replaced with vending machines.
It is recommended that you drink 64 ounces of water daily, which costs you $3.75 a day or $1,369 a year.
Filling up at the gas pumps costs astronomically more today than it ever has. Drivers are limiting their gas purchases to the fuel they need just to get by, families are sacrificing their typical road trips, and sales of electric vehicles are on the rise, all in an effort to fight rising gas prices.
Since June 2021, gas prices have increased 48.7%! That's more than any other category, with the second-highest increase being used cars and trucks, at a much lower 16.1%.
Nobody expects to pay $0.99 for a hamburger anymore, but now high-priced fast food is a gut punch to customers.
Fast food restaurants are gouging their hungry clients with the equivalent cost of what patio bars and more upscale establishments are charging. In addition to charging more for their menu items, some businesses are now prompting for tips, too.
Grocery stores are seeing customers' carts less and less full today. That's because the costs are rising on the items that sit on store shelves. Luxury items are left behind for bare essentials and necessities.
Customers are noticing that the sales they're seeing are not sales at all, with grocery stores offering discounts on items after first raising the prices. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the food price index has increased by 10.1% since May 2021.
Massively increased prices at the gas pumps have also caused a decrease in auto sales. Customers are leaning towards electric vehicles rather than fueling up gas guzzlers.
The depreciating value of cars has translated to customers shopping for vehicles that are a year or more older instead of brand new.
Homeowners are paying more on their electric bills today than ever before. It has never been more important to unplug unused appliances and turn off lights in unoccupied rooms.
Remote employment, home-schooling, and popular social media apps use devices that require recharging, which increases electricity bills even more.
If you are not already brewing your coffee at home, now would be a good time to start.
Paying $4.50 per day, five times a week, for your favorite cup of joe equates to $1,170 per year. Coffee brewed at home is $0.60 per serving, and $156 per year.
Research has shown for several years that, for the most part, generic medications are comparable to name-brand medications.
A Harvard Medical School Study estimates that name-brand medications cost 80%-85% more than their generic counterparts. What your prescription calls for is likely available in a more cost-effective, generic version.
Every year millions are spent by customers on lottery tickets and gambling with those companies usually reaping the financial rewards.
Lottery corporations and gambling sites are banking on your dollars, fully knowing the odds are literally stacked against you. Lotteries are games of chance rigged for you to fail.
Gym membership sales tend to be highest in January due largely to the annual New Year's resolutions. In 2019, Americans spent an average of $270 a month on gym dues, which increased to $286 in 2020, according to Finances Online. But the most startling statistic is probably the $1.3 billion Americans spend on gym memberships they never use!
Look for companies like Planet Fitness that offer memberships as low as $10 a month, with a $40 annual fee, and quit it if you're not using it.
The answer to "Who you gonna call?" might be your doctor instead of Ghostbusters when you see your next cellphone bill. According to Black Enterprise, Americans pay $36,445 on their cell phone bill during their lifetime.
Apps everywhere now can be divided among various devices. Bundling packages together will lower costs as streaming, video chats, and texting have replaced voice calls and large plans.
Subscriptions and Apps
Cable boxes, multiple remotes, sports, news, and entertainment packages amount to you paying too much unnecessarily. Fans of Marvel, Disney, and professional sports leagues, turn to their devices now instead of their televisions.
Competition has produced a plethora of affordable packages where consumers only pay for what they use, so stop overpaying for apps!
Concert venue box offices have taken a serious hit recently, especially without audiences. Now that live performances and audiences have returned, concertgoers are noticing a significant jump in ticket prices.
While promoters waited for audiences to return, concerts streamed online have become a new and cheaper option.
Consumers have seen that increased demand and limited supply have inflated the cost of home appliances in recent years. People shopping for a washing machine or dishwasher have not only noticed that the price has increased as much as 20%, but many items are on a long backorder.
Cofounder and Vice President of Designer Appliances said, "Just about every brand we sell, from house name brands...to luxury name brands...have increased their prices across the board."
One of the biggest fallacies is that you are saving more money by buying your furniture at big box stores like Ikea and assembling it yourself at home.
The furniture giant has increased its prices by an average of 9% in 2022 due to supply chain disruptions. Retail Operations Manager Tolga Öncü said, "Unfortunately now...we have to pass parts of those increased costs onto our customers."
Average quality makeup and cosmetics are being endorsed by celebrities, which in turn they get free, while the cost is as unbelievable as a Hollywood script for regular customers. Mascaras can cost customers anywhere from $14-$60 at Sephora.
These high-end cosmetics retailers charge customers as much as three times the cost for the same product available in lower-end stores and pharmacies for less.
Plants and Gardening
Name brands and high prices are not just reserved for prescriptions and clothing. Every year customers flock to garden centers for items that are higher priced simply because of the brand name.
Regardless of the brand name, items like mulch and fertilizers have generic brands that cost dollars less.
Leaving the house or office to eat is not always an option, and the cost for the convenience of delivery shows up on your bill.
Instead, order take-out and pick up your food yourself. The amount of fuel you use still costs less than delivery services' fees.
Life is highly stressful enough without the high cost of stress relief. Paying out of pocket for services like massage therapy can get expensive, especially when multiple sessions are needed.
Massage devices, chairs, and portable electric shock devices are in stores and work as well for much less.
Unfortunately, cars do not care about a struggling economy. Vehicles depreciate in value and need upgrades in parts and maintenance, which can get quite costly.
No need to run out and get your mechanic's license, but you can install light bulbs and windshield wipers yourself by consulting your owner's manual.