Drugs

5 Items You’re Paying Way Too Much For

Sure, there are plenty of things I’m prepared to spend more on, like private health care, shoes, and fresh food. And like everyone, I’ve got my weaknesses (don’t panic, it’s organic). But there are also a lot of things you won’t catch me paying top dollar for.

Pharmaceuticals

Generic medicines have exactly the same ingredients, dosage, risks, side effects, safety, standards and testing procedures as branded meds, so it’s crazy not to buy generic when given the choice.

Pharmaceutical companies have a patent for each drug they manufacture, for about 20 years. As soon as that patent expires, it’s free game and other manufacturers can make generic versions under different names.

Branded medicines need to compensate for the cost of research, development, marketing and advertising, while generic medicines don’t have those costs, so those savings are passed onto the consumer.

It might take a while to get used to, but do away with the misperceptions and wasted cash and take the cheaper option.

Makeup 

When David Jones is selling mascara for $60, lipstick for $70, and concealer for $80, it’s easy to see where your weekly pay check goes.

But here’s the thing. There are products out there that do exactly the same thing, for a third (or less) of the cost. Each item you buy probably won’t be from the same brand, and after years of trial and error, you’ll hopefully find what works for you. I like a pretty simple combination of Sukin, Dermalogica and MAC.

Strawberrynet and Chemist Warehouse are great places to start and don’t have the department store price tag attached.

Oh, and that expensive cellulite-vanishing cream you just bought? Yeah, it doesn’t work.

Paperback books 

With hundreds of free books to download on e-readers, plus a library in most suburbs, this one is a no-brainer.

I know there’s absolutely nothing like the smell of new books and cracking the spine open, but think of the all the trees! Something that saves you money as well as the environment is a double win.

It’s likely you’ll only read a book once or twice before adding it to the collection on the shelf or lending it to a friend. Investing in an e-reader also means you can read 50 Shades of Grey/chick-lit fiction to your heart’s content without trying to hide the cover from judging eyes.

Stay out of bookshops. It’s an easy way to beat the book-buying urges.

A purebred puppy 

As a dog owner, dog lover, and someone with a general dog obsession, this is one splurge that really grinds my gears. Not only are purebred pets outrageously more expensive, there are so many shelter animals desperately in need of a good home.

We’ve all seen the RSPCA ads – you know the tear-jerkers – telling us that too many pets in Australia get dumped, are unwanted and either spend their entire lives in shelters or are euthanised.

At the end of the day, you’re going to get the same amount of love and fun from a dog no matter where you get it from or how purebred it is.

So head to the local dog shelter or RSPCA. There are hundreds of dogs – purebred and cross-bred – waiting to go to a good home. They’ll be vaccinated, micro-chipped and de-sexed and will be a fraction of a cost of a purebred pup.

Weddings 

Finding out that the average cost of weddings in Australia sits at a tidy $40,000 got me wondering about such a huge expense for about seven hours of fun.

Yeah, there’s the lifetime of togetherness for the happy couple, but spending a small fortune on flamingos, helicopters and people you’ve never met seems pointless. There’s an endless list of costs – venue, food, dress, suits, photography, invitations, flowers, cars, hair, makeup, accommodation, entertainment, alcohol, decorations, cake, rings – and that’s just the beginning.

Be ruthless with the headcount, prioritise what you want, start saving early and don’t tell suppliers it’s for a wedding. That two-syllable word is enough for them to see dollar signs in their eyes and up prices 150 per cent.

Image: Gary Owen, via Flickr