Packaging is one tool that manufacturers can use to entice people to pay a lot for very cheap things. Think the classic pet rock. Get rock -> put rock in fancy packaging -> charge people $20.00 -> laugh all the way to the bank. The truth is, there are ‘pet rocks’ everywhere; products made of cheap ingredients that are repackaged and sold for huge mark ups. Frugal shoppers can put their money to better use by being informed.
Here are three products with very fancy packaging that are actually made of really cheap stuff that you can buy separately much less:
Metamucil is used to “promote regularity”. I took an in-depth look at dietary fiber supplements a while back and I still don’t get how the justify charging around $20.00 or more for this stuff. As pretty as that packaging is, surely it can’t be worth that much.
Active Ingredient: Psyllium HusksSample Price Comparison from Amazon.com:
Metamucil = 85 cents/oz
Psyllium Husks = 47 cents/oz
Psyllium husks, when put into a beautiful Metamucil package cost almost twice as much as psyllium husks bought outside of a Metamucil package. Sure they add stuff like Citric Acid, FD&C Yellow No. 6, Natural and Artificial Orange Flavor, and Sucrose, but do I really need or want that stuff going into my body anyway?
PAM Non-Stick Cooking Spray
This sounds like a product with very special ingredients, doesn’t it? Well, its active ingredient is plain old Canola Oil. They do add a few more things like tasty propellants, but what helps it with its non-stickiness is Canola Oil. I don’t understand why putting canola oil into a can suddenly suddenly jacks up the price of a basic commodity like cooking oil. Get yourself some cooking oil, dab some on a paper towel, lightly rub your frying pan or muffin tin. Voila! You just saved yourself some money to spend on better things.
Active Ingredient: Canola OilSample Price Comparison from Amazon.com:
PAM Non-Stick Cooking Spray = 63 cents/oz
Canola Oil = 27 cents/oz
The price difference here is even more dramatic that it is for Metamucil. Yes the PAM packaging looks good, and it is convenient, but is it really worth the extra cost? For me, absolutely not.
Arm & Hammer Cat Litter Deodorizer Powder
I was at the local dollar store a couple of days ago and noticed this deodorizing powder in the pet section. The price was $2.50 for a 500 gram package. The ingredients? Baking powder and a bit of fragrance. I then became curious about what baking soda cost and went to check. A 500 gram package of baking soda cost just $1.00 two aisles over from the pet section. Apparently just slapping the word “Cat” on the product packaging merits a 150% price premium. If you really want to add a scent in addition to baking soda in your litter box, do it yourself. I am pretty sure this is not the only product like this out there.
Active Ingredient: Baking SodaSample Price Comparison from the local dollar store:
Arm & Hammer Cat Litter Deodorizer Powder = $2.50/500g.
Arm & Hammer Baking Soda = $1.00/500g.
Packaging – Wrapping It All Up
Putting new packaging on an old or very basic product like baking soda is one way that manufacturers try to get you to pay more that you have to. Unnecessarily paying more means having less for the stuff that really matters to you and that you want to spend more money on.
Read labels and find out what the active ingredient or ingredients are in the things you are buying. Can you buy the active ingredient by itself? Is it cheaper? Do I really need all the extra stuff like colouring for the product to be effective at a much lower cost? Don’t judge a product by its packaging alone.
Thanks for dropping by. I hope you visit again very soon.
What products have you discovered that charge too much for what you get? Have you found ways to save on other packaged products?
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Author: Jason Milburn Google