Sometimes shelling out the extra cash for better quality is totally worth it. When it means those boots will last three years instead of three months, I'll happily spend the extra if I have it. It costs money to keep replacing cheaper items repeatedly. Hobby items tend to be higher priced as they tend to be more luxury items.
That being said sometimes the prices are jacked up high not because of quality…at the root it's just capitalism. Things like skyrocketed rent when investors own a significant portion of properties, the high rates of insurance costs that still leave people paying heavy out of pocket expenses for medication, or even the increasing cost of food are all things people today are concerned about.
“What is expensive for no reason at all?"
The pain of art supplies…
“Art supplies at art stores. I bought an exacto knife with no extra blades for 14 dollars at my local art store just to stop in a discount auto parts store a week later and find a three knife kit with 10 extra replacement blades for 4 dollars.”
“For an added kick in the pants the cheaper blades are sharper and last twice as long." canal_banal
Those $5 bottles of water add up fast…
”Anything in an airport.” Librarywoman
“One of the reasons the Portland airport keeps winning "Best Airport" awards is that PDX requires street pricing, so food, books, gifts or whatever must cost the same as anywhere else in the city.” Mackin-N-Cheese
A conspiracy going unseen?Frustrated Cat GIFGiphy
“Glasses.This industry's a joke." unlikelytom
“Luxoticca is a conglomerate that owns the vast majority of the brands we all know. So they just jack up the prices. It's pretty ridiculous.” appleparkfive
U.S. Pharma killing people through price gouging…
“I'm a Type 1 and I am so thankful I get an exemption here for prescriptions! I couldn't imagine the stress of if or not you can afford insulin to survive. Sickening.” Ninety-Five19
These Conspiracy Theories Are Easy to Debunk | George Takei’s Oh Myyy
The rental market…
“Housing. My apartment complex is charging over $2,000 for a 2 bedroom because of ‘high demand’. Meanwhile 3 apartments near me sat vacant for months until they found people willing to rent them for that much.” OrdinaryRage
What exactly does it cover?
“Health insurance.” alexjfxwilliams
“When I moved to the states it was explained to me how the system works, with co-pays, deductibles etc. I had previously thought "insurance" was the thing where you pay some money every month and then if your insured thing breaks or is stolen or whatever then the company takes money from the pool and buys you a new one. Apparently I was extremely naive.” mrs_peep
Such a horrible history in these gems…
“Diamonds. A few companies own nearly all the world's diamonds and they purposely make the price high so they make more profits and the consumers cant go anywhere else.” olileoli
Dental care is healthcare…
“Dentists. (Not free in my country)” Unicornblaster00
“I am a dentist. I can't believe the price of care. My office is average in price compared to the region and whole US. I choke asking patients to spend 5 k to replace a tooth.” Itrout59
“Anything wedding related.” kurt_go_bang
“When my wife & I were looking for a wedding venue, there was a place we called and they quoted us $200 a day. When I made the mistake of saying it was for a wedding they said ‘oh for a wedding it's $800 a day.’ No reason. If I hadn't told them, we could have rented it for $200 and done everything the same.” Prossdog
These made us vice grip our wallets. It’s sad when basic necessities become so expensive contrasted with wages. Buying local is a great way to get quality items you need without buying into the corporate manufactured price increases.
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For those people lucky enough to have disposable income, it can be stunning how easily we let it slip away.
Simply put, the line between needs and desires becomes blurry without us even realizing it.
That is, until we look at our bank statement at the end of the month, suppressing the tears and horrified shrieks that want to leap out of us.
But with the help of a recent Reddit thread, perhaps there is hope. Maybe taking stock of exactly which unnecessary places that money is going can help us dial it in.
Redditor Rice_Liar asked:
"What is the biggest waste of money?"
Of course, many people mentioned the common vices that have long been dubbed the easiest way to throw your earnings right down the tubes.
The Next One Will Hit, I Know It
"Scratch off lottery tickets. I visited my uncle, and he asked me to help him sort the scratch tickets he had bought that year (I guess if you collected enough non-winning ones you could turn them in for a small prize?). He had stacks and stacks of tickets. Took us forever to sort them."
"He was proudly telling me about the times he'd won 50 or 100 bucks, but it clearly didn't even begin to break even with the total amount he paid for them."
"I still buy one every once in a while for fun, and know that a lot of people enjoy the thrill of them and don't mind spending a few dollars for it, but seeing how many he had with no worthwhile return except a rare win has definitely stuck with me."
"I just quit smoking and I have to say tobacco, in the Netherlands the pack of tobacco I used to smoke (John player special) costs 14,40 euros or $16.95 dollars according to google u pay that much multiple times a week for something that kills you."
"Any smokers here wanting to quit but can't, just buy a vape pen it makes it so much easier."
Designed to Fail
"Gambling. Most of the time it goes tits up and has ramifications for other people in your life." -- Mgreengo
"Worked at a casino. I saw behind the curtain. You will lose. The only way to win is to accidentally win a jackpot (that you somehow didn't spend over the jackpot amount to win) and walk away never to return." -- Femmefatele
Others discussed those unneeded luxuries that we get lulled into thinking we absolutely need.
For Olympians Only
"buying a house with a swimming pool. Unless you're an avid swimmer, you'll only use it irregularly 2-3 months a year. Requires constant maintenance that cost up to 5k a year."
"If you build the swimming pool after you've bought the house, that's around 30k for a 600 sq2 ft pool. And it most likely will not increase your house' price at all."
"Stupidly expensive weddings" -- FairySpice12
"Napkins - $1"
"Baby Napkins -$5"
"Wedding Napkins- $20" -- OntarioIsPain
More Car Rackets
"i'd argue buying a new car"
"moment you drive it off the lot, you just lot 5 grand in value minimum"
"so much more value in buying used"
How Did They Do That?
"Starbucks. $6 for an iced coffee that usually isn't that great." -- kdub1523
"The $6 'coffees' are usually a drink with a million things added so it doesn't taste like a coffee" -- Main-Argument-5898
"Most common vitamins. They are either in ridiculous excess of amounts needed and the body just passes them out through urine, or they are extremely badly sourced and are next to useless."
"Leasing a car."
"I'm paying you upfront for the 'privilege' of paying monthly to borrow your car that I can't drive more than a certain amount and then have to give back."
"I can understand if you absolutely have to have a car that's otherwise out of your budget, but the entire thing just seems like a sham to me. No idea why anybody does it."
Go For Plain
"Brand name clothes. I'll never understand fashion. Ever. Paying so much for a brand name when you can get it 50% cheaper made from the exact same material."
"You can still dress nice without paying a premium. Heck some of my most expensive jeans wore out faster than cheapos I got from Walmart."
And many people took notice of all the money they spend on transactions surrounding our online lives and our relationships to all the new gadgets that make our heads spin.
People Who Made A Lot Of Money From Something Totally Random | George Takei’s Oh Myyy
Monthly Black Holes
"Subscriptions to stuff you don't use anymore." -- StructureMoist
"I feel like you don't need all the streaming services. For me, I have netflix, prime, Disney and Spotify. I pay for prime and Spotify and my boyfriend has Disney and netflix. We share the accounts. I use all of them about about same amount, Spotify the least but I miss it a ton when I don't have it." -- Zanki
Money From An Unseen Source
"Donating to popular streamers they have so much money and they are most likely to not read your donation" -- fiskars12345
"I much prefer to give my money to smaller streamers because they're always so sweet and I like supporting them" -- mintmoonstone
Give It a Few Years
"Latest mobile phones every year with allegedly 'revolutionary' must have new features!" -- MarcDarcy
"I generally skip 3 or 4 generations. Then buy a new phone after I've wrung every last ounce of life out of the old one." -- Majik_Sheff
But It Seemed So Fun For Those Few Seconds...
"buying video games that you'll never play" -- Zack4044
"But it was 75% off, how could I pass up those savings" -- 98raider
"There goes my angry upvote of the day." -- Nidrew
So maybe it's time to face the harsh realities of the monthly statement and see where the big omissions can be.
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When we make buying decisions, we're conditioned toward one common ideal: get the most, give the least.
Usually, that means scanning the shelves and internet to find the cheapest version of whatever it is we want. And usually, that's a solid way of doing it.
It feels good to suddenly have the item we sought and know we didn't blast into our wallet to do so.
But sometimes, it would do us good to shift our paradigm. The lowest price isn't the only quality worth looking at when we make purchases.
There are some things so intricate, so part of our daily lives, or so luxurious that we'd be better off paying a little more to ensure we have the best for the longest.
Plenty of Redditors who agreed gathered to share the things they insist on dropping a little more cash to get.
frobie2323 asked, "What is something you REFUSE to buy the cheap version of?"
A good amount of people advocated spending a bit more on the foods and drinks we love. We are putting these things into our bodies, after all.
Good ingredients made from excellent recipes are well worth the higher price tag.
Paying for the Labor
"MAPLE SYRUP" -- pickwickswift
"What, too good for vaguely maple-flavored plasticized corn syrup?"
"Yes, yes you are. Everyone is. Even me, and I'm garbage."
"The difference is so night and day that I'd much rather have store-brand toaster waffles with real maple syrup over fancy restaurant belgian waffles with the cheap 'syrup.' " -- ______FRANCIS______
First Thing of the Day Has to Be Great
"My coffee, gotta have the good stuff." -- horselovermidwest
"Cheap coffe taste like crap, needs sugar to taste better, gives you stomach ache, overloaded with caffeine."
"Good quality, organic coffee, taste like comfort in a cup, best taste ever, smooth energy euphoria, doesn't need sugar or milk. People who drink cheap coffee daily, just because it's 3$ cheaper, are not living their best lives.' " -- Snowfreak2507
Taste the Difference
"Tea. Life is too short anything but the best" -- aegirthorst
"Absolutely ...even if one is twice the price it's still only 5 cents a cup and soooo much better" -- sznfpv
"Oh my gosh. I tried a new brand recently because it was on sale... never again. I feel like I'm drinking toilet water, but I'm too stubborn to just throw it out until I finish the box." -- hblond3
The Best of the Poisons
"Booze, I don't go for the really expensive stuff, but if you are going to harm yourself at least do it with something you like" -- Mr_Agu
"I used to not like whiskey or gin until I tried good whiskey and gin and now I like them both. There is a big difference between an $8 bottle of crap and $70 bottle of booze, if you aren't drinking for quantity buy quality." -- tossme68
Other people discussed shelling out for their most common everyday needs.
They talked about the tools, equipment, or comforts so constantly involved in their life that they'd hate to wrestle with a bad version all day long.
"Foot wear and bedding. You spend so much time in both that it should be comfy!" -- Fordinneridlikea69
"My mom used to tell me, 'never skimp on things that go between you and the ground.' "
"Footwear: sock and shoes Bedding: home and camping equipment Tires." -- brokenbadlab
Hours of Comfort
"Anything i'll be using for an extended period of time (hours in succession) So a bed, PC, Clothes, Chair etc." -- AussieCollector
"Monitor! Good god, when i took out the old x230 and turned it on, i almost cried. I played over a hundred hours of dark souls with keyboard and mouse on that tiny, horrible screen."
"My neck, my back, and my eyes are more important than some money i have to pay once" -- goldenwsd
An Intimate Product
"Toilet paper. I literally cannot afford to pay my bills rn but the last time I bought cheap toilet paper it legit made my a** bleed lol." -- MissCheyenne14
"Toilet paper. My sensitive butt can't handle 2 ply sand paper." -- GenXer73
"Glasses. I get all the fixings on my classes because they never leave my face. They are the single thing I wear/use more than anything. Love to read too."
"I will shop and shop for whatever frames I want and won't even look at the price. Glasses and my kids are why I max my fsa."
And a few people talked about the spending a little more on the luxuries of life. Though for some people, these activities don't feel like luxuries at all, but necessary parts of life.
Either way, it's worth getting the good stuff.
"art supplies. no way in hell am i using those crusty af markers that are already dry and those colored pencils that break after 2 uses and barely make a mark on the paper" -- Dazedlogicanimates
"Almost all art / writing supplies."
"I use 'expensive' pens and mechanical pencils on a daily basis. The difference is uncanny. When I have other work to do, I use natural brushes and the best paper I can get my hands on."
"When I started out I tried to save some money by buying cheap things (paint, pens, pencils, lead, paper) and had to go to the store once or twice a month because something I had broke or didn't work properly. My last mechanical pencil lasted 5 years because I lost it when renovating my studio."
"I am also a firm believer that the better the materials and tools, the better the results. Even if it's all in your mind, you will perform better at the end of it...." -- OddPattern2
"Headphones. The difference between a quality pair over 250 and the 5 buck ones is incredible. Only really important if you are obsessed with music and it plays a big part in your life."
"If music is your medicine you need good headphones."
So next time you're out at the store or cruising the internet online shopping, don't be afraid to stop a second and think about whether you're looking at something important enough to turn it into a longer term investment.
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We humans are not the best at applying reason-driven cost-benefit analysis in real time. Instead, an event suddenly takes place and we're pulled deeper and deeper into an emotional response.
The consequences of that tendency can be large, and various.
Rather than assess, say, the entire context of an argument with some stranger at the DMV, sizing up whether the exchange is worth it at all, we burrow in with a voice that gets louder and fists tha clench tighter.
That can feel satisfying, even necessary in the moment. But when the dust settles and logical thinking returns--far too late to be of use--we realize what a wasted of stress and energy it was.
A recent Reddit thread asked people to share their most memorable examples of these ill-advised moments. Hopefully, reading this will help you avoid sliding into one in the future.
"Ever fight over a parking spot and win, and then realize as you're walking away from the car that it will be left unattended for who knows how long?" -- DougFordSucksFightMe
"I've never understood people getting so worked up over a parking spot unless it's in the city or something like that where parking spots are rare and you may have to walk an hour to get where you need to go" -- ParkityParkPark
The Bottomless Supply of Trolls
"Winning arguments on Reddit. Nine times out of ten I just let it go, because otherwise I will literally spend all day on a pointless argument with someone who doesn't even have a face." -- Alex_Duos
"For me, it's all about the stubbornness to entertainment ratio. If I'm going to be arguing online with some other a**hole, I damn sure better be enjoying myself, or else it's just not worth it." -- Smegma_On_Demand
Sometimes Ya Just Want Something Nice
"I had a 20 year old Saturn that I intended to drive until the wheels fell off. Well even though COVID has meant I basically never leave the house, I bought a new car in 2020."
"I've put about 1500 miles on it so far, and that's it. But the thing is, even though I rarely drive it, when I DO drive it I'm no longer asking myself the question "Is today the day the wheels fall off?" every time I leave town."
"Some may argue buying a new car I've hardly driven is a stupid move. I say I'd rather be stupid and happy than smart and miserable."
Not Worth Zombification
"Work-life balance in my job. Nothing is ever on fire, nothing has to be dealt with at 11 at night or on the weekends regardless of who's sending a Slack at those times."
"I protect my evenings and weekends with a ferocity."
"My husband's family has money. When we were first starting out, we were encouraged to ask his grandparents for help, but we didn't want to. When we bought our first home, they were 'offended' that we got a mortgage from a bank instead of using 'family money.'"
"Twenty years later, we are happy in our own little bubble. We have no stake in any family drama, and we only visit when we feel like it. We don't owe anybody a damn thing, and even though it sometimes sucks to be the poor relations, the peace of mind is priceless."
LET. IT. GO.
"I used to carry around a lot of hate."
"I had a few people that I relished the idea of provoking into a fight so I could do serious harm."
"It took a while, but eventually I learned what it was doing to me, and realized that they probably didn't give me a second thought. They were getting free real estate in my head."
Two Solutions: Generosity, or Buying More Fries
"When my girlfriend swore up and down the drive thru that she wasn't hungry and didn't want anything, then snacks on my animal fries the whole way home."
"Being hangry enough to brake check the whole thing on to the floor wasn't worth the fallout. One of my ugliest moments as an adult and should have just taken the fry tax."
Like the Trolls, They'll Keep Coming
"Bad customers. I've learned over the years to turn away difficult clients/jobs. Some people won't be happy, regardless what you give them. I don't need that anxiety no more." -- 12vElectronics
"I'll have to learn to do this better. I cut a some clients a few years ago and things dramatically improved. They were talking up too much time for the reward. Others have now crept into the system though. I'll have to start a cull again. The 80/20 rule springs to mind." -- StingerMcGee
Enough Is Enough
"My relationship with my brother. I grew up with the 'blood is thicker than water' mentality, but he treated me in ways that made me feel worthless. I haven't spoken to him in about five years."
"He can think whatever he wants about me, but I don't need to hear it."
It's a Third of Your Life
"This past year I resigned from a job (one in my field) that was literally causing me to have full-blown panic attacks from stress for a job that pays less. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest. No job is worth being unhappy."
"Playing a high level sport. Played baseball since I was a kid, very good at it, started to get scouted by universities and even some Pro teams."
"Eventually I got a scholarship for it to go to a school in the states (from Canada) as I got older though I realized I didn't love it, just enjoyed being good at it and seeing my parents happy."
"When I got to university it was a total struggle, I'm not one to need motivation to practice or workout but I hated my team, hated my coaching staff, didn't like the school either but kept going because I didn't want to disappoint anyone."
"Fast forward to Covid with no baseball and all this free time on my hands to pursue other passions and fun things I couldn't while always playing baseball. Now because of the pandemic I've realized there's so much more than just trying to make others happy."
Carrying More Than Your Share
"Taking care of other people/ friends mental health constantly. I didn't mind venting but I definitely let people vent to me too much and the worry kept me up at night."
"Thankfully my friends don't do it as much anymore and it's much calmer"
The Weight of Ethics
"Working jobs where the company's activities were detrimental to society, the environment, or both."
"Yeah, evil jobs may pay better, but I sleep better knowing what I do improves the world in some tiny way."
"Deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. I've been downsizing quite a bit over the last few months in favour of minimalist living and I honestly feel so much better after getting rid of so much stuff."
"I've already gotten rid of close to 50% of my things and it is like a huge weight has been lifted. Why the hell did I have so much useless crap?"
Cost-Benefit Analysis, Explained
"I wanted to wear a top hat at my wedding. I like hats, and when else am I gonna wear a top hat?"
"But my wife was adamantly against it. She is about a head shorter than me, and all of my family is taller than her, and a top hat would make it even more apparent."
"So I didn't wear a top hat. Any benefit I'd get from it would have been outweighed by annoying her, and I decided it wasn't worth it."
"But there were compromises. It was my idea to get a bouncy castle in, which was a very popular addition on the day!"
"Past failed relationships. When the ex tried to reconnect after three years and a break up text that said 'We're done.' I spent so long wondering what I did wrong and it took a while to realize it wasn't my fault at all but theirs for trying to control things."
"They sent an email but the only thing I saw was the title and it just sits unread in my inbox. I don't need to reopen that past when my present and future are going great."
So What's It For?
"Home insurance and home warranty."
"I pay for a service. When I call to make a claim and use the service it is denied, 100% of the time. So then I have to spend a week arguing about why it shouldn't be denied, or why I should get my money back. Not worth it."
It's actually really ridiculously expensive to be poor - an unfortunate truth that a lot of people are learning firsthand this year. There are even some among us who are too poor to be able to afford to work.
We know, it sounds like a complete contradiction; but it's a reality for a shockingly large number of people.
One Reddit user asked:
and yeah ... poverty is complicated.
Fees On Fees On Fees
Overdraft fees. Oh, you ran out of money? We'll just charge you more then!
My bank just switched our free checking to an account with a monthly fee. $7.00 a month if your account goes under $10. So if it goes under $10 they basically just help themselves to your remaining balance? It really chaps my behind.
While charging overdraft fees they also want to charge you fees for your debit payments failing - each one. But they failed cause the bank processed them started with the biggest payment instead of the order you spent and each fee lowers your balance till the last one also fails.
NSF fees too. Juggling bills becomes hazardous. If you guess wrong, or lose track, or have a sudden emergency, or someone cashes a check you thought they'd already done, or an automatic withdrawal (which got me the most frequently). The payment gets refused, which, sure, if the money's not there of course the bill isn't paid. But then the company charges you an NSF fee, and so does the bank, and the bill you already weren't able to pay just got 50-100$ more expensive.
In the past 10 years, I've gone from borderline poverty to being upper middle class. Here are some of the differences:
- An overdraft/late fee could be as much as 10% of my savings account. Now it's a drop in a bucket, and having white collar job, means I know how to effectively negotiate to have fees waived.
- When you're broke you can only afford cheap products that break easily, Now I buy quality products that are built to last for years.
- Expensive dinners are completely out of the question when you're broke. Now I frequently eat great (And healthy!) meals because my job pays for lunches and dinners.
- When I was broke I had to purchase expensive equipment to learn my craft so that I could get a job. Now I my job pays me to use my equipment.
- Broke people have to pay for an expensive education to get a good job. Many people with good jobs are encouraged to take classes at the expense of the employer.
- People with good paying jobs can be 10 minutes late for work without fear that they will lose their job. If I have a good excuse, like my car breaks down, I can literally not show up for work for the day, get paid, and receive a heartfelt message from colleges offering support.
- Things like expensive booze and other luxury items are something you want when you are poor. When you work a high paying job, these sort of things are frequently gifted to you from bosses/co-workers and sometimes it becomes a hassle of trying to get rid of nice things you don't need (I end up giving away, re-gifting or donating a lot of stuff).
- When you are broke, it's hard to find a good paying job. When you have a good paying job, you are seen as a valuable and you will receive multiple job offers.
A few things that are new to me that I find weird about having money:
- Expensive clothes fall apart so fast, like the fabric will start to dull after a 3rd wash. I had an Old Navy shirt that easily lasted 20 years and never faded.
- Expensive things take up so much time and can be such a hassle to care for. Like fountain pens, nice wooden kitchen utensils, Linen place settings, etc.
Better shoes last longer before they need to be replaced. But they cost to much for me to afford them, leaving me with sub-par shoes that need to be replaced more often.
It's not easy staying healthy on a tiny budget. I stay fat. Shoes wear out. It's expensive for my body.
Definitely true irl. I wear duty boots every shift I work. When I was new I couldn't afford anything other than a cheap pair of $80 boots. My feet froze in the winter, sweated in the summer, and they weren't really waterproof. That first pair lasted me about 10 months, and that was a stretch.
I managed to scrimp and save for a $300 pair of Danners and that pair lasted me nearly a decade, kept my feet warm in the winter, didn't make them sweat much in the summer, and kept my feet dry in standing water up to about 6" deep. When they wore out, I sent them back to Danner to be refurbished about about $120 and have gotten another 7 years and counting out of them.
Housing. The longer you commit to stay, the lower your monthly price. But poor people don't always know where they'll be in a few months time, especially these days.
Oh man, got a really good look at that recently. Me and my fiancee wanted to move to a new house, and we didn't know how long it would take to sell the old one and find one we liked, so we rented an apartment in the meantime.
They had really flexible leases, with durations from 6-15 months, different prices for the same apartment.
We calculated the cost of breaking the lease at different times together with the cost of each lease, and found that even if we moved at exactly 6 months, it would be cheaper to sign a 15 month lease and pay the penalty than to sign a 6 month lease.
Moving at pretty much any point would be cheapest to sign the 15 month lease and break it (I think at 10 months, it would be very slightly cheaper to have signed a 10 month lease). Funnily enough, we ended up moving after 6 months, but we still made the cheaper choice with the 15 month lease.
The Breakdowncar trouble vintage GIFGiphy
Not being able to afford routine car maintenance and then having to shell out thousands when it breaks down
Nothing like having to push your car off an intersection because it suddenly died and won't restart, never mind if you were on your way to school, work or similar. It's a great way to lose your job.
This. THIS! THIS THIS THIS. And having a flat tire every other week because you can't afford new ones. Spending ten bucks a pop to have your old tires patched when a new one (for your cheap little clunker car) costs $85 but you can't afford that because you've spent ten bucks a week for the last six months getting patches.
Coin laundry :(
I'm feeling this one.
My washing machine went kerplooey two weeks ago. I finally broke down and went to the only laundromat in my rural county.
$4.25 to wash each load, $1.75 to dry each load. I spent twenty bucks doing three loads of laundry.
That's $480 a year to load up my stuff and take it to a communal laundromat, during a pandemic. Holy f*ck I miss my washing machine.
And that's not counting the time spent there. At home you can multitask while the laundry's going.
Can't Afford Health
So I'm in the US and it's "Open Enrollment" I've been looking at health insurance plans for a few weeks now. Here's my best option, as a 36-year-old single white woman with no health problems.
$235 per month (discount because I'm low-income) premium. $85 co-pay for normal doctor's visit. $145 if the doctor treats something in-office. I pay any in-office supplies that were used out of pocket. $13,000 deductible. Insurance pays 40% of hospital visits and overnight stays. Separate $7000 deductible for prescriptions. Zero dental or vision care.
Guys, I make between $800 and $900 per month. That's a quarter of my income as a premium alone. Which would be great, except if I pay the premium, I don't have any money left over for the co-pay, so I literally can't afford to both buy the policy and use it.
When I absolutely have to see a doctor I drive a couple hours to a clinic that offers huge discounts for people who self-pay. They are actually a god-send for things like sinus infections and strep throat. I had pneumonia a couple of years ago and not only did they give me the "self pay discount," making my office visit just $35, but they also found "office samples" of an albuterol inhaler and steroids, meaning all I had to buy was an antibiotic from the walmart $4 list.
I also drive an hour and a half to a Planned Parenthood clinic for my annual exam and things like that. They charge on a "pay what you can" scale. I figure out how to get by, mostly. But if anything big ever goes wrong or I develop a chronic health problem in the future, I'm gonna be so screwed it's not even funny.
I really need an eye exam as my glasses are giving me headaches, which means my prescription has changed again. And forget getting my teeth fixed, which is actually my biggest problem right now. There's no help for things like that. The healthcare situation just sucks.
Freebies For The Rich?
An inverse example is all the things rich/well-paid people get for free:
paid vacation days, gym/pool in your building, company cell phone allowance, commute reimbursement, retirement match and investing advice, paid lunches and travel, education opportunities, ability to participate in investment opportunities, references to even more highly paid jobs, etc etc.
It is definitely frustrating when I hear about rich celebrities getting giftbags with tens of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise in them. That is just silly.
Everyone always argues "it's cheaper to eat healthy! Buy X, Y, Z in bulk, check A, B, and C specialty grocery stores, meal prep and freeze for the week, grow your own produce!" But these sorts of solutions really require a base level of wealth to begin with. Not a ton of wealth. If you're lower-middle class but still ending up in the red because you eat out too much, you can probably (probably) use these tips to cut your food budget enough to make a difference. But to do these things you need:
to live in a place with easy access to many different places to buy food (conventional groceries, discount groceries, big box stores, farmers markets, ethnic groceries, and bulk retailers)
When you live in a food desert, like many inner cities and rural areas, pick-and-choose grocery shopping is not an option. When you don't have a car or live a very short distance from the store, buying more than an armful of groceries is not an option. When you work multiple jobs to pay rent, spending many hours per week on shipping or food prep isn't an option. When you live in an efficiency apartment, complex cooking and infinite food storage isn't an option. When you don't have a surplus of money this very minute, buying in bulk isn't an option. When you live in an apartment, or a desert, or an urban house with a concrete backyard, or a place that is a snowy tundra 6 months out of the year, growing a garden isn't an option.
Plus, everyone gives this advice assuming a single adult or a two-adult, no kids household. But not everyone eating dollar menu and ramen noodles is a broke single college kid in a dorm blowing their allowance on beer then crying poverty. Children complicate all of this even further. So people end up buying dollar menu because it's Tuesday, payday is Friday, and they quite literally have $10 to their names to feed themselves and their kids. They could buy apples, but apples won't keep the the hunger pains away.
I used to think that Costco was good for bulk sales
My son founded a food charity and we started applying for business licenses. Guy mentioned a wholesaler to me.
My son and I went to the wholesaler and he had 200lb pallets of pork shoulder for pulled pork- which my son needs- for $140! 200 lbs of food, which my son uses to feed like 500 homeless people- for $140.
Or like 1000 chicken legs in cases for $0.29 per lb. something like $80 for 1000 chicken legs.
Can you imagine if you were dead broke and spent $80 on 1000 chicken legs- you could eat for 6 months. Working with real food wholesalers is so much crazier than anything I expected.
It's the set up for all of that - the ability to move pallets, have a huge deep freezer that all has to be there first. You're not going to have that if you're poor.
I remember there were these cabbages, like $20 for 40 cabbages. A guy was buying like 80 cabbages to make cole slaw for his restaurant. He could spin that into profit and make money.
I just felt like buying them and giving them to poor families. People have no idea how much more they're really paying than what food actually costs.