7 Money Sucking High Margin Markups to Dodge

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Everyone knows movie theatre popcorn is no bargain, but would you have thought it was served with a 900% markup? With a cost of 60 cents and a bucket price near $6, you're losing a quick fiver – before you splurge on the giant soft drink and a big box of Dots. But it's not the only high profit item you're likely buying on a regular basis. In data compiled by the Student Money Management Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, these other high margin markups were posted to pass up.

All-you can eat buffets

Those bountiful food troughs may seem like a tasty bargain, especially for those with ample appetites, but the odds always favor the house. The average buffet totes a ticket of $12, but the servers know that most stomachs can't hold more than $8 worth of food. It's a 50% markup in their favor.

High performance oil changes

Does your vehicle really require a premium oil? Check the owner's manual for exact specifications. The markup on "high performance" oils can be 80%, costing you $20 more than a regular oil change.

Café coffee

You know this one: the "latte factor" so often cited by frugalistas, but it's still worth noting. A home brew cup of joe costs about 50 cents. Spend $2.45 on a grande coffee, and you've paid a 390% markup.

Designer makeup

"Mascara will expire in three months, whether you buy it from CVS or Chanel," the UNL report says. "When deciding how much to spend, think about the lifetime of each item. Case in point: drug store mascara will cost you about six cents per use, whereas Chanel will cost you about 33 cents -- and you probably won't finish using either before the expiration date."

Bottom line: You're paying an extra $25 -- a 450% markup for – for the brand on the bottle.

Brand name clothing

Buying apparel with a designer label may be fashionable but it's a financial faux pas. With a cost of $7 and a retail price of $60, that brand name shirt has a 750% markup.

Restaurant soda

It's the ultimate upcharge: "You want a drink with that?" A cup of soda costs 15 cents; you pay $2.95 – a bubbly margin of 1,875%.

Fast food French fries

And perhaps the tastiest margin of all: with a cost per pound of potatoes near 15 cents and a retail price near $6 per pound, you're paying a 3,900% markup for those crispy fries. And we're not even counting the cost of trans fats to your health.

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

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