What's Gotten So Expensive Is No Longer Worth It, According to Reddit
In recent years, the cost of many everyday items and services has surged to the point where they're no longer the bargains they once were. From housing to higher education and even fast food, these price tags have climbed to such heights that many are left wondering if they're getting their money's worth.
Costs have skyrocketed, leaving consumers to rethink their spending habits and search for alternative solutions. Redditors weigh in on what has become so expensive and why some things are no longer a priority. Their answers might surprise you.
Chicken wings were seen as less desirable cuts of chicken and only used in soups or discarded until 1964, when the owners of Buffalo, New York's Anchor Bar fried them and coated them in hot sauce and butter. This delicious dish has been a staple of every NFL viewing party since.
Until recently, wings were cheap — there were often specials for 10 cent or 25 cent wings, but those days are no more. As one Redditor said: "When I was in school, Froggers sold them for 25 cents each on wing nights. I went to order some for take-out last night and most places near me had them at $30 to $40 for 20 wings."
Another commenter agreed: "The prices spiked two years ago with production cuts and even though they came back down, restaurants are pretending like they didn’t. So we make them at home in the air fryer and they’re better than most restaurants."
Fast Food Combos
Fast food combos were a cheap and easy way of getting a full meal in for just a few bucks while on the go, but even places like McDonalds are getting too costly for many patrons, who have decided to eat at home instead.
One said: "The breaker for me was when I had $20 in my account and hadn't eaten all day, so I caved and ran through McDonald's on the way home.
"A large meal and a side of fries for a friend took the entire $20. If it costs that much for a burger, I'll just run to Walmart or something, grab a pound of ground beef for less than $8 and buns for a dollar or two and make way more food at half the price."
Hair Color (Especially for Women)
Everyone knows that hair cuts and color for women are significant more than they are for men. (This is known as the "pink tax.") Even so, women have just bitten the bullet for beauty. For some, however, recent price increases in professional hair color are a deal breaker:
"My stylist went up to $175 for a single color application on my medium length hair. I can't do it. I know the products have become more expensive, but with tip, that is madness. I bought a box of dye and did it at home.
"No shade to stylists, you guys have to live too, my teacher salary can't afford you."
We all need to have our cars maintained to keep them in good running condition for years to come. One thing you should be cautioned from doing, however, is taking your car to the dealership for simple services.
As one Redditor stated, "Six months ago I paid $82 at the Ford dealership for the works. LOF (lube, oil, and filter) check brakes, all fluids, etc. Made an appointment last week for the same service and the price is now $164.
"Of course, I canceled and luckily got a coupon for $17 in savings at a local oil change place. My total came to $51 after dodging all the attempted upsells.
Be careful out there — the predators are running wild."
Movies (and Concessions)
It's no secret that movie tickets have gone up — depending on where you live in the U.S., they can run anywhere from $15 to $24 per person — but concessions are another very expensive story.
One movie-goer related their experience: "Went to Regal for a matinee the other day with my elderly mom. $30 for two tickets. Then ordered two small popcorn and two small drinks. The minute it rang up $32, I canceled the order. Got water and a small popcorn for the two of us. Never going to Regal again."
If nothing else, thrift store hopping on a lazy afternoon was guaranteed to unearth some treasures for next to nothing. But that, too, has been affected by inflation and sites like eBay. Stores like Goodwill and Savers have jacked up their prices to the point consumers are spending as much as they would on items that were new.
One Redditor said: "Goodwill has absolutely lost it's mind. There are these super cheap desks/tables you can get at IKEA — at the time they were around $20. I was excited to see them at Goodwill, but then I saw that they were priced higher than at IKEA and had laminate peeling off and were covered in stickers."
(If you still love thrifting — and who doesn't? — your best bets for a bargain are rummage sales, flea markets, estate and garage sales and church or hospital-affiliated thrift stores.)
With concert tickets well into the hundreds of dollars for bands that aren't even top tier, what hope do the rest of us have of seeing the Beyonces and Taylor Swifts? In fact, both artists have made concert films so people who couldn't afford their tours, which were up in the thousands per ticket, can still experience the live shows.
"I finally have adult money and somehow concerts are now all like a minimum of $500 for non-crappy seats? You have to pre-register for literally everything," said one music lover. "In most cases you get wait-listed and even when you do get a presale, it's so hard to justify spending that much for a night."
When streaming first started, it was a cheaper alternative to cable. But the in the years since, each streamer has risen their rates. Some have done away with shared passwords and all have limited libraries, so if you really want to see something, you have no choice but to sign up.
"Streaming services as a whole like Netflix, Disney, Hulu, even my Spotify went up in price and it's frankly tiring. I'm definitely dropping Netflix and Hulu for a VPN, so I can finally sail the seas and use Plex for my media," said a commenter.
Airbnb is a global online marketplace and hospitality service allowing people to rent or offer lodging — whether it's a room, apartment, or entire house — to travelers seeking unique and accommodations.
These accommodations used to be more affordable but the expense is now more than a hotel as property owners are tacking on insane fees. Do to this development, one Redditor believes a hotels are making a comeback.
"It’s now just as expensive as a hotel with more downsides. You usually have to complete a list of chores before you leave and when you arrive someone walks through the property with you and goes through a list of rules so restrictive it shouldn’t be on the platform in the first place.
"Staying in a hotel is so much more carefree and depending on the type of trip, much more convenient."
Colleges, particularly state colleges, used to be free or cost little money for state residents, and private colleges (that aren't Ivy League) were once relatively affordable. The college experience — including books, a place to live and other things you would need to attend — can now cost well into the six figures and can take decades to pay off. (President Biden has been attempting to relieve former students of their college debt, but he hasn't been entirely successful for a variety of reasons.)
One commenter voiced their trepidation about attending: "The return on investment, at least for me, just never seemed worth it... the time, the debt, the long-term impact (you have this degree forever for this specific thing), all of that seems like more baggage than NOT having any of it.
"The thing I went to school for? I got a job before finishing my courses, hated the industry, then dropped it all entirely, got a cubicle job, and run a business on the side for extra cash."
Cheap furnishings and home accessories have always been what IKEA is all about. Granted, the furniture doesn't last long (especially if you have to move it a few times) and it's difficult to put together, but it does the job in a pinch.
However, a disgruntled customer reports their prices have gone up. "The prices have gotten to the the point where I can just spend a bit more and get real furniture — $600 for a particle board dining table that will be destroyed the first time water spills on it. I might as well drop another $200 and buy one made from real wood. (I can spend) $1000 for a sofa full of fiber fill that will sag within two weeks or I can spend a bit more for a top quality Flexsteel."
Skiing (and Small Family Vacations in General)
Would you like to take the kids skiing or snowboarding this winter? Well, this type of winter fun is no longer an inexpensive option, as one father tells it.
"My wife and I feel like we are both certainly more well off than when we were younger, but there is no possible way we could do multiple ski trips for a family of four. Having done the math, one family trip, even on a non-holiday weekend, would be a significant chunk of change. With the cost of gas, lodging, equipment rentals, lift tickets, etc. it is undoable.
"We did a trip pre-kids and it was insane in price and the overcrowding just made it not worth it. So ski, snowboarding, (and) winter mountain things are out of scope for us now."
So we know eating out has become expensive and cooking at home is really the only option, but that has its own disadvantages, as prices for food have skyrocketed. Food is, unfortunately, something we can't do without, so struggling families are just buying the necessities.
One woman states: "I make almost everything we eat from scratch using clearance and bulk ingredients, including bread, condiments, etc. We're big fans of cold cut sandwiches for lunch, and we've been buying bone-in turkey breasts, holiday hams (after the holidays) and whole roaster chickens on sale for years, freezing them until needed and prepping our own cold cuts for lunches each week."
Even comic books have been hit with high prices! Of course, those from the last century are highly collectible, but even new comic books have exploded in price, leaving diehard fans questioning if they'll continue collecting.
One wrote: "I used to go every week to a local store, but I had a child going into high school and had to make adjustments. I just went cold turkey after buying weekly for decades. Oddly enough, it wasn't that hard and I didn't miss it. I guess it isn't that hard to feel like you're losing something when your comic book heroes seem to change their origin stories twice a decade; you no longer feel like you own them.
"Honestly, I could have tightened in other areas and kept the comic books hobby, but they were getting to be so expensive relative to what I felt I was getting. I started when comics were about 60 cents. By the time I was out, there were all these foil cover variants going for upwards of $5 dollars that it seemed like a cynical cash grab to fleece the loyal fans. I was out and never looked back."
If you wanted to feel pretty and put together, a manicure was an easy and affordable way to do it. During the pandemic, it wasn't as much of a priority but business has, once again picked up. Unfortunately, so have prices.
One woman wrote: "I took a long break from getting my nails done. I used to go to the nail salon every 3 weeks and would get acrylic tips, sometimes with gel color on top.
"I miss having long nails, so the other day I was calling a couple of salons to make an appointment — someone tell me how in the world has the price jumped to $60 to $90 to get a full set of acrylic nails (that are) nothing fancy, just medium length and one color!"