Today, I paid $3.99 a gallon for 10 gallons of gas. I shook my head in disbelief as my total reached $40 and my tank still wasn’t full. Just 4 years ago in 2008 (the last election year!), I remember feeling the same way when gas reached $3.00 a gallon.
I have long supported any conspiracy theories that link our gas price regulations to this country’s government. I’m not sure why they seem to rise so much each election year, but I do know I’m tired of hearing about gas prices everyday on the news almost as much as I’m tired from hearing about the presidential election.
We can moan and groan about it all we want, but we are still so dependent on fuel that it’s not going to change. So, this got me to thinking about other things that cost more than gas that we take advantage of but you never hear anyone really complaining about it. So here’s a list of items we all use and consume just as much as we do gas, if not more, just in case you were tired of complaining about gas prices and wanted something else to fuss about.
- Fast Food and Eating Out. Though lots of fast food places are competing with each other for their selection of $1 menu items, a combo meal can still cost as much as $6 or more depending on what size you get. Two medium meals at Arby’s last weekend costs us $13. I don’t eat out that much in restaurants, but I do know my average bill for 2 at our favorite restaurant is $35, and that doesn’t include alcohol.
- A Hair Cut. Years ago I paid $40 for a hair cut. These days I’m still paying at least $20 with coupon and tip. Even barbers these days are charging $5 to $10. I can’t say I’m too worried about the day I go bald. Think of all the money I’ll save!
- Alcoholic Beverages. I’m usually a wine drinker and always look for my fav on sale which averages $5.99 a bottle. But we did buy a six pack of beer this past weekend which was $7.00. It doesn’t even have to be alcoholic these days. A bottle of water and a cup of Coke at a concert last week costs $7.00, the same as the six pack of beer!
- A Box of Cereal. Why is breakfast cereal so freaking expensive? All the varieties I like average about $4.50 to $4.75 a box. And most coupons are only $1 off if you buy two to three boxes! And we barely get 4 servings from one box!
- Fruits and Vegetables. The honey crisp apples I like to eat are large and juicy. They are also $2.00 a pound, and I usually buy enough for two weeks – 1 apple a day – which costs around $6 to $8. We also like bananas, mixed salad greens, grapes, peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms, and tomatoes for snacks and salads each week. It all adds up!
- Cosmetics and Hygiene Products. My razor blade refills average $15 to $20 without a coupon! My deodorant is about $4.50. And even the best shampoo/shower gel is about $3.50 to $4.50. Add this to all the other little things you use in the bathroom on a daily basis…make-up, hair products, toothpaste…!
- Toilet Paper and Paper Towels. We prefer Cottonelle and the cheapest I’ve found is $5 for a 12 pack at Walgreens. A year ago we invested in cloth reusable napkins just to cut down on using paper towels. A six to eight roll pack of paper towels is anywhere from $6 to $10 for large name brands.
- Movie Tickets. Back in 1994 when I worked at a movie theater, tickets were $5.00 for Adults and $3.00 for children, and matinees were all $3.00. We all know they have at least doubled these days and tripled for the price of 3D movies. Back then, I know I saw at least one or two movies a month. I average that now per year because I’ll just wait for the DVD or Pay Per View to come out.
- Laundry Detergent. I used to only use Tide, but its price is anywhere from $9 to $11 for one bottle and coupons are rarely more than $1.00 off. I switched to Arm and Hammer recently which is still $5 to $7, but with a coupon it still seems better than paying $11.
- The Grid. Think about all the gadgets you use just so you can be tapped into the World Wide Web. Home computers, lap tops, game consoles, cell phones, tablets, Ereaders…you pay for the device, you pay for the service, and you pay the electricity bill.