Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ladies & Gentlemen, You've been ripped off!

That's right! You've been ripped off! Absolutely!

Today I have been reflecting at the stupid things we pay extra for regularly. In light of budgeting and paying bills (because its payday, and that's what i do on payday), I've been realizing what all is being charged and paid because... well, because we're stupid people and we don't realize there are options! I've made a list of top offenders!

#1) Chase (or your morgatge company)
Well, we all know that they get away with thousands if you take the whole 30 years to pay off your home. You agreed to that when you bought the place. But, they also will charge countless other "fees" if you aren't careful. $26 a month goes down the drain if you pay your morgatge late. Another $20 down the drain if you call in a telephone payment. I just found out today that if you pay your bill online, it's FREE!!! I'd been spending an extra $20 a month to pay my bill on time (better than the late fee) and have realized that -- what do you know, I've been ripped off.

#2) Victoria's Secret Credit Card
Besides the crazy high interest rates on their credit cards, these lovely folks don't notify you if you still owe them money. I went for 6 months without paying a bill because I thought I'd paid it off in full. Apparenly there was an $100 remaining balace. I was recently contacted by a collection agency when they finally decided to do something about it and they state that I owe over $400!!! And, if that's not bad enough, the reps I spoke with wanted me to arrange calling in payments every month to make sure it was getting taken care of. It's a $10 fee (on a $30 payment) to call it in. I had to tell them they were out of their minds and I wasn't doing that and they could take me to court if that was the only way to pay before they mentioned I could mail in a payment at any time with no fee charged. I wonder how many folks are paying that extra $10 a month.

#3) Foodlion
My mother in law always shops at the Foodlion near our house. She complains that Walmart is too much of a headache. I always did the same - until we got our discount at Walmart (its only 10% and doesn't work on food except produce so it's not much.) I've come to realize in retrospect how much money I wasted by shopping at Food Lion. I realize the same kind of thing the times I've gone to Piggly Wiggly in Charleston. At FoodLion, a can of Hunts Spagetti sauce is $1.29. Walmart? 89 cents. (I just found out there is no cents sign button on my keyboard!) Velveeta Mac & Cheese at Foodlion is usually on sale - the best price being 3/$5 ($1.67 per box). Walmart? $1.50 - always. Diapers (a box of 80), the offbrand kind at Foodlion cost $18.99. At Walmart, you can buy Luvs for $16.99 or Parents Choice for $14.99 and get closer to 115 diapers. Total savings at Walmart? Unimaginable! I know Walmart's a headache but if we're talking about saving $4.47 on just 3 items, how much more will it be when you do your weekly shopping?

#4) Movies

When I was a young teenager, I remember paying $4.75 for a movie ticket, $4.25 for a matinee. My parents talk about paying like a quarter or something, and that's times of old :-) In just the course of a few years (about 6 or 7) the normal ticket price has risen to $8.00 and a matinee is $7.25 if offered. I paid a whopping $12 per ticket to take my daughter to see Ice Age 3 in 3-D. We've been ripped off.

#5) Allstate

I used to pay $115 a month for car insurance on one car. I switched to Direct Car Insurance and have a very similar policy for 2 cars and pay $75 a month. I have the same driving record as I used to have, and I drive the newer vehicles! What a difference! $40 and a whole extra car a month! I don't know why some people carry things like Allstate -- they're just overpriced.

#6) Daycares
When I had to go back to work after having Raziel, and we starting looking for a sitter (because Becca had Kidney Failure and couldn't watch them anymore) I called a few daycares because I couldn't find any friends to do it. Daycare prices ranged, but the average prices was $100 for Alina, $150 for Raziel, and they offered a "sibling discount" which took $25 off Raziel's price. Total? $225/ week for child care and late fees if I had to work late (usually like $1/minute/child). I looked on Craigslist and found Beverly Salhany who runs a home day-care and watches our little ones for $85 a week - regardless of the # of days, be it 3 or 6, and regardless of how late. It sucks once in a while if I only have them over there for 2 days because I still pay $85 - but daycares are the same way. I was looking at paying an extra $140 a week (a week!!!) to have someone watch my kids. If I hadn't found Beverly, my husband or myself would have quit our job to stay at home and we wouldn't be getting out of debt right now!!

#7) taco bell
This one is remarkable. A small drink at Taco Bell costs $1.19. A chicken quesadilla is $2.29. A Soft Taco is 99 cents. A chicken quesadilla combo with a drink and a soft taco? $4.49. What? You're paying an extra 3 cents to get the combo? And, most people get a large drink -- that's $1.79. Did you know you can go over to Dollar General and buy a 6 pack of canned soda for $1.50? Want to save eating out? Don't get the drink there!

#8) Sprint Bill Pay

This astonishes me regularly. People want to pay cash in our store. We aren't corporate and we charge a $3 fee -- or if you pay at Radio Shak its $5 -- JUST TO PAY YOUR BILL!!! That's an extra $3-$5 per month -- or more if you make multiple payments on your bill! Did you know -- its free to call it in! it's free to mail it in! it's free to pay it online! Why? ITS A BILL! It shouldn't cost to pay!

#9) Banks
Ahh. good old Suntrust. My lovely bank. They charge you $4 every time (after the 2nd time) you take money out of your savings account at a branch. They charge you $36 if you overdraft (normal, and crazy.) They charge you $10 to move money from your savings to your checking to prevent overdraft. And, of course, throw in the $4 "too many times" fee and you're paying $14 because your checking account was in the hole but you had money to back it up. How does that even make sense? FACT: Move your money around online and it's fee FREE.

#10) Email
I've spoken to several people lately that PAY for their email service! Yahoo is $20 a year if you want to forward it to many kinds of PDA phones. AOL and others still charge their monthly rates if you're dumb enough to pay. GMAIL, HOTMAIL, etc? STILL FREE. Why would you pay for this? even $20 a year? yeah. they're just ripping you off.

Leave a comment! Who has ripped you off for silly things?


  1. Loved this post. I am such a bargain hunter but for some reason I always get ripped off when I'm under pressure to get a gift. I suck at it and I always end up spending way too much money on something I could have found for less had I planned ahead.
    Thanks for your sweet encouragement to keep blogging...I was in a slump.

  2. Luckily, I haven’t had any experience getting ripped off. But there came a time when problems with paying bills and other expenditures were thrown at me all at once. I almost had a breakdown. Good thing a friend suggested applying for a payday loan. I was able to pay for everything and I managed to stretch the cash I have left till the next payday.

    Eustolia Nitta