Are you paying more than the going rate?

Most of us know when we’re being ripped off but it can be hard to tell. There are times when you’re blissfully unaware that the price you’re paying for something is just ridiculously high. So we’ve compiled a list of products and services where you might not realise you’re paying more than the going rate.

Cinema popcorn vs Supermarket popcorn

We’ve all done it; gone to the cinema for a cheap night out and ended up spending more than we bargained for. The average cost at the cinema is normally upwards of £4 for a small bag. If you buy it as part of a combo then the price comes down a little bit, but not by much.

But popcorn is relatively cheap when bought from the supermarket, costing on average no more than £2 for microwave or ready-made popcorn.

So our advice is; try to avoid buying snacks at the cinema, or eat beforehand or buy it in advance from the supermarket.

Just to add: A large bag of sweet popcorn at an Odeon cinema contains 1005 calories or 502.5 if you’re sharing with your Valentine!

Petrol Prices  – local v motorway service station

We all have to buy it if we’re running a car and it’s probably one of the biggest costs you’ll face if you drive. In 2014 The RAC published figures saying that fuel prices were 10p more at motorway service stations than the national average and could cost up to £8 more when filling up a tank.

However there is some good news as the Department for Transport is planning a trial this year which will involve motorway signs that will advertise the petrol prices before you get to the service station. This will hopefully lead to increased competition and cheaper fuel costs. Details on the trial can be found here.

Something to think about: Plan your journey carefully. If you need to plan for petrol stops consider stopping off at supermarkets where petrol is normally cheaper.

Coke from the fridge vs coke from a pub / restaurant

Eating out is usually enjoyable when you manage to get some free time.  Incase you didn’t know, the biggest mark-up and profit that most restaurants have is on drinks. Take a glass of coke for example. A multipack of 10 cans, which is just over 3 litres, from Home Bargains will cost £3 compared to £2 for around 250-300mls in a pub. The same could be said for alcoholic drinks as well – remember that you’re also paying for things like serving, replacing glasses and storage.

Our advice: Try water, or even a jug of tap water as a possible alternative.

iPhone vs regular phone

So there’s a reason why the iPhone is the most popular phone on the planet. With its sleek design and easy to use functionality it’s easy to see why most people have one. Alternatively you could buy a device with the same functionality but for a fraction of the cost.

The current range of Android devices more than match Apple’s offering. There is also the added bonus of SD card memory, on selected models, which Apple don’t offer.  Windows mobile also has Cortana which is a rival to Siri on the iPhone. So it’s well worth considering next time you upgrade.

As of February 2016, a 16GB iPhone 6 will cost £459 outright. A 32GB Samsung Galaxy S6 would cost £399. Remember that these costs that are spread out over the course of your contract so you’ll end up paying more.

Our advice: Consider an alternative to the iPhone unless you can haggle down the cost of your next contract.

Main dealer car service vs independent garage service

For most cars, it’s a good idea to get your car serviced at least once a year. If you do some research online you’ll be able to find a number of garages near you. Whilst the labour costs may not be that much higher at a main dealer, compared to independent garages, the costs increase as any repairs or replacements are done using genuine manufacturer parts.

Our advice: Ask around for recommended local independent garages or alternatively have a look at the Good Garages Scheme to find a reliable mechanic near you.

As a guide on what you get from a service you can check out the Kwik-fit and Halfords websites for a breakdown on what to expect.