Elizabeth Entenman
October 17, 2012 7:00 am

I’m a sucker for a good sale, DIY project and bargain bin. Sometimes I don’t mind paying a little more for certain items, like gluten-free macaroons or a JCrew sweater that isn’t on sale. It’s nice to treat ourselves to top-shelf every now and then. But there are certain things that are forever costly, no matter where you shop, and it really messes with my financial planning. You know the ones: these items aren’t necessarily special or impressive or made by one specific company; they’re just universally expensive, and we’re supposed to sit back and fork it over. I still haven’t figured out why, but the list goes on, and here it is.

Candles. Wax? Paraffin? How do you cost so? Sure the cake batter candle smells so realistic I’ve fantasized about eating one for dessert, but even the smallest jar costs a fairly large chunk of change. And even then, some candles don’t have the nerve to come with a container. All that money, just to make a melted beeswax mess on my mantle? I don’t think so. The only financially reasonable member of this paraffin family is the tea light candle, but by the time you’ve set the mood, he’s already burnt out. I can never justify spending more than $10 on a ball of wax, and instead resort to stealing them from my parents’ house. (Sorry, dad.)

Bathing suits. The less material, the more expensive… ? I like designer clothes and fashion as much as the next Maxxionista, but I draw the line at bathing suits. Clothing stores know swim season is a sensitive subject for females, and capitalize on our insecurities when they’re at their worst. If we find the perfect bathing suit that makes us look good feel good, we’re probably going to pay any amount of money to own it. And they know it.

Diapers. I do my co-workerly duty and buy them for office baby showers. And then I remember to take my birth control, because I can’t afford not to. Not only are diapers expensive, but at the rate babies go through them, parents ought to get frequent buyer discounts. Talk about a necessary evil.

Textbooks. Are we charging by the character? If so, Infinite Jest agrees with your methods, but college students’ parents do not. Career counselors should offer incoming freshmen an average bookstore bill per semester along with each major, because there’s a significant cost difference between Latin American Studies and pre-med.

Ice cream. It seems reasonable at the time, but for the price of a cone, you can take home an entire half gallon from the store. Going to get ice cream is one of my favorite things to do with friends, on a date or as an alternative to being groped at a bar, because ice cream has a magical way of setting the scene for memorable, meaningful conversations. And while they say you can’t put a price on fun, but Baskin Robbins has equated it to roughly half an Edy’s tub.

Cereal. Upwards of $4/box for oats and grains and processed sugars? I don’t think so. The best cereals, the ones you treat yourself to every four months, come in tiny boxes and cost half your paycheck. Yet you pay, because have you ever tasted the delight that is an Oatmeal Square?

I know not everything can be as shockingly cheap as potatoes or ASOS shoes. But some things have no business being so overpriced. Down with candles! Enough, ice cream! What items plague you as shockingly, universally expensive?

Image via ShutterStock

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