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Seven things you hate paying for

By on December 4, 2009

refill cartridge
photo by bitterjug

Prices keep rising. On some items, it’s a few cents, and on others, it’s even higher. You’ve probably noticed at least one item you buy regularly costs more, or you’re getting less in the package. Sometimes we have easy-to-find alternatives, but there are some rising costs that are harder to avoid.

What do you hate spending money on?

Here are some of the top annoying things readers hate paying for.

INK CARTRIDGES: Ink is starting to cost as much as a printer, and it doesn’t last long. A.C. in Pennsylvania shares: “I buy generic cartridges from eBay. With some, you have to move the chip from an authentic cartridge over to the generic, and the printer can’t always read the ink levels. But they work, so it doesn’t matter to me. Recently, I bought five generic black cartridges for my printer for $12 total, shipping included (name-brand cartridges sell for $12 a piece).” Refilling cartridges works well enough for some people, but others aren’t happy with the results. So check for sales, print less, and keep color printing to a minimum. Check your printer’s settings, and print in draft quality and grayscale when possible.

SHIPPING AND HANDLING: While it’s amazing that an item can be shipped safely and quickly, some shipping and handling fees are out of control. Retailers with free shipping are going to do far better (especially during the holidays) than those that don’t. Visit sites such as, which shares stores that offer free shipping and provides any necessary coupon codes. Visit to search for items on Amazon to help reach their $25 minimum purchase to get free shipping.

PARKING: One reader, Donna in Louisiana, shares: “I don’t think about it much, but when I do, it infuriates me — I am charged $17.50 a month to park at work. It’s bad enough having to work without having to pay for parking, too. But public transit is not available during the hours I work.”

SOFT DRINKS: It’s bad enough that a two-liter bottle of your favorite soft drink has increased in cost, but the price for fountain drinks at restaurants is out of control. Two words: no ice. You used to be able to order water, but lately some places are charging for that, too. Don’t get me started on the bottled-water industry or vending machines. Most people don’t mind paying a bit more, but it’s no longer a reasonable amount.

ATM FEES: Nothing like getting charged money to withdraw money. And if you’re out of network, look out. Often, credit unions will offer free ATM services.

TEXTBOOKS: Spending $150 for a “required” book that is barely used in a class. Especially annoying is when you can get a previous edition for far less but are told you need the most recent edition and then never use it in class. Try selling it back to the bookstore and you get raked over the coals again. You can try to sell it online at Web sites such as,, or Students can rent textbooks, too. Visit and Compare textbook prices at websites like and

AIR: Paying to inflate your tires. Someone please offer free air again.


  1. leslie

    12/4/2009 at 11:36 am

    I used to live right next to a Quick Check gas station that had a free air pump! Since free air pumps were all over the place when I was growing up, I didn’t realize the luxury of it. Since I have moved, all of the air pumps now charge $0.50-$0.75! I hate paying for it! Whenever I get my oil changed, I will always ask them to check my tires (some places don’t) so they can just fill them up on the spot.
    .-= leslie´s last blog ..Daily Spending – 12/3/09 =-.

  2. Kelli

    12/4/2009 at 12:07 pm

    Hotel taxes! We just booked a hotel and the tax on our rooms was almost as much as one entire night! Seriously, just up your room price and knock of the 30% tax!!
    .-= Kelli´s last blog ..Freebie Friday, December 4, 2009 =-.

  3. james

    12/4/2009 at 1:06 pm

    I really don’t mind ATM fees if it’s not my banks ATM. Definitely beats finding one of my banks, and going inside just to get $20 buck. I don’t shop at too any places that only take cash anyway.

  4. Christine

    12/4/2009 at 2:45 pm

    Printer cartridges – I make use of Walgreens. They refill most cartridges for $13 color or b/w.

    Air Compressor – I have a 24/7 chain gas station a block away from home but unfortunately it looks like it is a designated child exchange site for several divorced couples switching the kids around for the weekend. Most of the people who park in that spot are not even using the compressor. Parking in the area adjacent to the compressor would require turning around in the parking lot and coming back to reach the tires on the opposite side of the vehicle. No one really gives much thought about anyone else, I guess. But, never mind that buses, RVs and triple tow jobs try to squeeze into this gas station off the freeway…it just makes for a very annoying situation for all. The mom/pop down the street doesn’t even take credit cards; you don’t find that out until after you fill up.

  5. Carrie

    12/5/2009 at 11:10 am

    Re: textbooks

    A friend of mine refused to buy textbooks for her classes if the campus library kept them in the stacks. One would have to be pretty disciplined about making time to go and read the assignments, but it can be done without even having to rent books.

    • Bev

      6/15/2012 at 9:46 pm

      My son goes to community college and the books are all available at the library as well as use of the copy machine for free. A couple of hours and you save a fortune!

  6. Mike

    12/6/2009 at 12:48 pm


    Here’s one for the books.

    Toll roads / hwys. If we travel back east such as NJ or NY or even FL the tolls will eat up $100 bill before you can blink an eye.

    Not many toll rds in the western US compared to the East coast.

  7. Mary P (savvy_sniper)

    12/6/2009 at 4:48 pm

    Ice – I HATE purchasing ice! When we plan a camping trip, I freeze premade food, refrigerate beer and soft drinks in advance and freeze my own ice. I take two coolers – one with soft drinks, water and beer and the other is for food. I freeze ice in large plastic containers that I have amassed over the years. Plastic ice cream buckets are an excellent example. Large chunks of ice last longer than cubes.

  8. Richard W.

    12/8/2009 at 12:46 pm

    Avoid all ATM fees by making any size purchase at a large grocery store and getting cash back after paying with your debit card.

  9. Sara Noel

    12/9/2009 at 2:13 am

    I love hearing what others hate paying for. Mary P I’m with you on buying ice. We buy quite a bit of it over the summer for our cooler. And Mike after years of living in NY, I hate tolls, too.
    Richard, my husband does the cash back option a lot. But we’re fortunate that our credit union has free ATMs all around.

  10. missyvn

    12/9/2009 at 2:25 pm

    I hate it when you go to McDonalds and they want to charge you a quarter each for BBQ sauce etc., when you just bought food from them!

  11. Beth

    12/10/2009 at 8:01 pm

    You also can check out Costco for Ink refills. I just paid only $8.99 for a tri-color refill and it was done in 1 hour. Most of the time you can also ask if they will do it without a membership. As for the air issue, you can pick up an air compressor for your car at Target or Walmart that plugs into the lighter for around $20-30 and then keep in the car for emergency’s. It usually has a light on it as well if you need to change a tire on the side of the road at night. You can always ask at your car’s dealership in their oil change area, or make friends with the local repair shop or tire store. I used to go to the local tire store and then when I needed a new “used” tire, they knew me already and I was able to get a better discount.

  12. Lisa

    12/12/2009 at 12:56 pm

    I know that the bottled water thing is often covered. But it infuritates me that folks visiting my own home expect me to have bottled water for them! Our “gang” takes turns hosting a group of 15 couples every few months for appetizers and a dessert. I offer beer wine and soft drinks but over half of my guests ask, “Where’s the water?” I point to the RO spigot next to my sink and a tray of drinking glasses next to it. They look at me like I expected them to go out to behind the shed and use the old fashioned hand-operated water pump to fill an old dipper cup! So I try filling a pretty clear pitcher with my RO water and a few ice cubes and some lemon slices. Still I get, “Where are the waters???” As they dig around in the large ice chest filled with beer and sodas on the patio. Thats MY pet peeve. My hubby’s is seeing almost every female on our favorite hiking trail carrying a bottle of water. He says, “Cant they go one hour without water???” Now, THAT use of bottled water makes perfect sense to me. You cant go hiking, jogging while carrying a glass of water in your hand. The bottled water issue seems silly, but its a multi-million dollar industry.

  13. Richard

    12/16/2009 at 12:41 pm

    I have to agree with Lisa above, I hate paying for bottled water at home and especially around the holidays ally our guest look at you like you are crazy when they discover the only water option comes from a spout in the kitchen, its called a faucet but I guess most houses do not use it for drinking water.

    I do buy bottled water when on a driving trip and I am not prepared, but to buy it for your home makes little or no sense to me.

  14. Jessica

    12/22/2009 at 8:11 pm

    For trips out hiking check out the aluminum reusable bottles (at TJ Maxx for as little as 6 dollars) I use one at the gym.

    For friends who scorn your faucet, maybe purchase a fridge filter and have water in a jug that has been filtered.

  15. Linda

    1/20/2010 at 5:44 pm

    I know this sounds ridiculous, but I absolutely hate paying for utilities, like gas, water, electricity, etc. So I do my utmost to keep utility bills down, such as:

    – blackout shades are pulled down in summer to block heat, and raised
    in winter for heat gain. Curtains/drapes are interlined for the
    same purpose.

    – clothes are only partly dried (to decrease wrinkling) and then placed on hangers over bathtub to finish drying. In winter, this also decreases dry air in house. In summer, clothes finish drying on outdoor covered patio.

    – since both husband and I have very dry skin, the dermatologist told us to bathe/shower every other day, and to just wash up on opposite days. We do this unless we have done strenuous activity that requires daily bathing. It saves water and power to heat it, as well as sewer costs. If you are really frugal, you can save bath water for flushing, but we skip that step.

    – In master bath, we use the rule: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” This literally translates for us into flushing after every other use. This may be too frugal for some, but it really saves water in drought prone areas. We don’t do it in the 1/2 bath that guests use.

    – we set heat and cool to minimum levels necessary for comfort, and we’ve gotten used to it and don’t mind. We layer in winter and wear minimum clothing indoors in summer. We open doors/windows and love the fresh air whenever possible from about April to November.

    Some people may consider these ideas cheap, not frugal, but we get savings month after month, year after year, so we think it’s worth it. Most of it is just what our “depression era” parents did as a way of life!

  16. Debbie Wnuk

    11/16/2011 at 7:04 pm

    Here in the land of sun and fun, we never flush for number one. To quote the sign next to my friends commode!

  17. Jacqui

    4/13/2012 at 3:15 pm

    I used to camp a lot and I would freez water in 2 liter bottles and put 1 or 2 standing up in my cooler. It usually kept everything cold enough and I had ice water to drink as well.

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