Laundry Cleaning Appliances Washing Machine Clothes Dean Drobot Shutterstock

21 Things That Have Recently Become a Total Rip-Off

Lately, our favorite products have been getting more expensive while the companies that produce them are reducing the size of their packaging. It’s easy to overlook how the quality of everyday products and services we cherish slowly erodes as their prices creep upward. Stop and take a closer look at what we’re really getting for our money.

Fast Fashion

Clothes organizing closet storage Stock Asso Shutterstock
image credit: Stock Asso/Shutterstock

The allure of constantly changing trends has led many to overlook the declining quality of clothing. While the prices creep up, the use of cheaper materials and rushed manufacturing processes means these clothes often wear out quickly. Yet, the cycle of buying new trends continues, masking the true cost per wear.

Packaged Food

Grocery shopping food cart Prostock studio Shutterstock
image credit: Prostock studio/Shutterstock

As packaging becomes more sophisticated and marketing more aggressive, the actual quality of the food has diminished. Ingredients have been replaced with cheaper alternatives or fillers, yet prices have risen under the guise of convenience or brand prestige. Consumers often pay more for less nutritional value and taste.

Cable Television

American Football Fans Watch Sports Gorodenkoff Shutterstock
image credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

Despite the surge in streaming services, cable television prices have climbed, even as the quality of service and customer satisfaction have dropped. Channels are bundled in expensive packages filled with unwanted options, and viewers are left navigating through endless commercials. The cost doesn’t match the declining value proposition in the digital age.


Male Listening Music headphones phone city walk night Gorodenkoff Shutterstock
image credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

With each new release, phones boast minor upgrades at significantly higher prices. Though marketed as essential, the improvements often don’t justify the cost, especially when durability issues like planned obsolescence and non-user-replaceable batteries come into play. The race for the latest tech blinds many to the diminishing returns on their investment.

College Education

College Students Education Campus University 4 PM production Shutterstock
image credit: 4 PM production/Shutterstock

The cost of higher education has skyrocketed, outpacing inflation, while the quality and value of a degree in the job market are being questioned. Class sizes have grown, and tenured faculty positions are replaced with adjunct instructors. This increase in cost doesn’t always equate to a better education or prospects.


Doctor Male POC Patient Medicine Jobs - Yuri A Shutterstock
image credit: Shutterstock

In many places, healthcare costs have risen dramatically, but the quality hasn’t seen a proportional improvement. Administrative fees inflate prices, and patients often face rushed appointments and impersonal care.

Air Travel

Boeing 737 Max Airplane BlueBarronPhoto Shutterstock
image credit: BlueBarronPhoto/Shutterstock

Plane tickets have increased, while the flying experience has become more cramped and less comfortable. Additional fees for what used to be standard services, like checked bags and seat selection, add to the cost. The decline in service quality and comfort is often overlooked.


Woman Charging Electric Vehicle Car PH888 Shutterstock
image credit: PH888/Shutterstock

New vehicles come with higher price tags and modern technology and features that promise enhanced experiences. However, the reliability and durability of vehicles have been questioned, with some models plagued by recalls and mechanical issues shortly after purchase.

Home Appliances

Clean Home Dishwasher Kitchen Dishes Appliance Gorodenkoff Shutterstock
image credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

Modern refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines feature sleek designs and smart technology but often fall short in longevity and durability compared to their predecessors. As prices climb, the use of cheaper components leads to frequent breakdowns and expensive repairs.


Beauty shop nail polish manicure Minerva Studio Shutterstock
image credit: Minerva Studio/Shutterstock

The beauty industry has seen a surge in prices, partly driven by influencer endorsements and luxurious packaging. However, the actual product quality and ingredient costs have not always seen a similar increase, with many products offering the same formulations in pricier containers.


Home Decor Living Room Suitcase Coffee Table ESstock Shutterstock
image credit: ESstock/Shutterstock

Contemporary furniture often sports modern designs and convenience features at higher price points. Yet, the shift towards cost-saving materials like particleboard has resulted in pieces that don’t stand the test of time. The decline in craftsmanship and durability is masked by trends.

Sporting Events

Soccer Field Professional Sports Natursports Shutterstock
image credit: Natursports/Shutterstock

Attending live sporting events has become an increasingly expensive outing, with ticket prices, concessions, and merchandise all seeing hikes. However, the actual experience hasn’t proportionally improved, with fans often finding themselves in overcrowded stadiums and long lines.

Movie Theater Experience

Family Movie Theater Experience Film bbernard shutterstock
image credit: bbernard/shutterstock

As ticket and concession prices at the movies climb, the appeal of the big screen competes with high-quality home streaming options. The increase in price often doesn’t match the enhancement in the viewing experience.

Bottled Water

Woman drinking water hydration exercise health - Yuri A Shutterstock
image credit:

The price of bottled water has increased, turning it into a luxury item for something that flows freely from taps. Marketing and branding efforts have convinced many that bottled water is better, despite numerous studies showing that tap water in many areas is just as good or better.

Software and Digital Services

Male Computer Programmer jobs work NDAB Creativity Shutterstock
image credit: NDAB Creativity Shutterstock

Subscription software promises constant updates and new features. However, the quality and necessity of these updates are often questionable, with many users paying more over time for services that haven’t fundamentally improved.

Greeting Cards

poc woman writing card
image credit: Joshua Resnick/shutterstock

The price of greeting cards has steadily increased, with elaborate designs and premium materials driving up costs. However, the sentiment—a simple message of thoughtfulness—could arguably be conveyed without such extravagance.

Coffee Shop Beverages

Male Waiter Barista Coffee Job Work Restaurant Ground Picture Shutterstock
image credit: Ground-Picture/Shutterstock

As coffee culture has grown, so have the prices of specialty drinks at popular coffee shops. Despite the rise in cost, the quality of the coffee and the skill in preparation vary widely. Consumers often pay premium prices for the experience rather than the beverage itself.

Childcare Services

Child art window painting boy Da Antipina Shutterstock
image credit: Da Antipina/Shutterstock

The cost of childcare services has risen significantly, burdening many families. Despite the higher prices, the ratio of caregivers to children doesn’t always meet ideal standards for quality and individual attention. Parents pay more for services that haven’t kept pace with their expectations.

Pet Care Products

image credit: rebeccaashworthearle/Shutterstock

Premium pet products, from gourmet foods to luxury accessories, are sold at elevated prices. However, the actual benefit of these high-priced items over standard care products is often minimal. Pet owners are paying more under the assumption of enhanced quality.

Subscription Boxes

Woman opening package box present stockfour shutterstock
image credit: stockfour/shutterstock

The value of the contents in subscription boxes can be hit or miss. Despite their growing cost, the quality and usefulness of the items don’t always justify the price. It’s a gamble that increasingly costs more than it’s worth.

Professional Sports Merchandise

American football fans sports gpointstudio shutterstock
image credit: Brocreative/Shutterstock

Fan loyalty comes at a high price. As prices for jerseys, caps, and other gear climb, the quality doesn’t always follow suit. Items are often made in bulk and sold at a steep markup. Fans pay a premium to show their support, sometimes for merchandise that falls short of expectations.

Josh Dudick

Josh is a financial expert with over 15 years of experience on Wall Street as a senior market strategist and trader. His career has spanned from working on the New York Stock Exchange floor to investment management and portfolio trading at Citibank, Chicago Trading Company, and Flow Traders.

Josh graduated from Cornell University with a degree from the Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management at the SC Johnson College of Business. He has held multiple professional licenses during his career, including FINRA Series 3, 7, 24, 55, Nasdaq OMX, Xetra & Eurex (German), and SIX (Swiss) trading licenses. Josh served as a senior trader and strategist, business partner, and head of futures in his former roles on Wall Street.

Josh's work and authoritative advice have appeared in major publications like Nasdaq, Forbes, The Sun, Yahoo! Finance, CBS News, Fortune, The Street, MSN Money, and Go Banking Rates. Josh currently holds areas of expertise in investing, wealth management, capital markets, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and personal finance.

Josh currently runs a wealth management business and investment firm. Additionally, he is the founder and CEO of Top Dollar, where he teaches others how to build 6-figure passive income with smart money strategies that he uses professionally.