We spend a lot of money. Between regular bills (house payments, utilities, and transportation) and discretionary expenses (gadgets and gizmos and all of the other crap we don’t need), the money we shell out adds up to a large chunk of change.
Last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that each consumer unit spent an average of $51,100. This translates into about $4,260 per month. Those in the lowest income bracket spent around $1,903 per month, and those in the higher-income brackets (those earning more than $70,000) spent around $7,105.
With our hard-earned money, many of us buy items that are outrageously priced. Some of these items — cars, homes, and technology products — may look like they’re worth the money. With other expensive items, though, it’s almost impossible to tell (without looking at the price tag or labeling) if these items are worth a few bucks or a few thousand. We’ve created a list of items you may own that might be really expensive, yet they sure don’t look like it.
Designer sunglasses and clothing
One of these pairs of sunglasses will cost you $6.74 (plus $1.99 shipping and handling) if you were to buy them on Amazon, and the other will cost you $260 (plus $5.99 shipping and handling). Can you tell which is the more expensive pair?
Without any large brand label, the two sunglasses look pretty similar in quality, design, and style. The front-facing pair (they are Gucci, and they are the more expensive pair) are probably a better-quality pair of sunglasses, but they don’t look all that much different from the $7 pair.
The same goes for designer clothing and shoes. It may be very difficult to decipher any difference in appearance between a $40 dress and a $4,000 dress. The designer’s name on the label is associated with quality and even prestige, and therefore the item is more costly, even if it’s made from similar (or the same) materials.
How much do you think the above Captain America collectible costs? Well, this 21-inch-tall Captain America Premium Format Statue is priced at $499.99 (plus $33.24 shipping and handling). And while there are millions of comic book fans out there — many of whom would be willing to shell out this much cash for a collectible like this — this item still does not look like it costs $500.
Let’s play the guessing game one more time. This time, try and figure out which painting costs $14,000 on Amazon and which one costs less than one-tenth that amount ($1,200). Unless you’re an art scholar or art dealer, it’s pretty tough to choose. They’re both nice-looking, and they’re both similarly sized (around 3 feet by 4 feet) oil paintings that were completed by talented artists. So what’s the difference? Well, it’s all about what people are willing to pay. If these artists found that they couldn’t sell their paintings at these price points, they would probably lower these prices after a relatively short time period.
If you take a moment to think about some of the things you own, you probably have several items that fall into this “more expensive than it looks” category. So many people struggle to even make ends meet, and even those who can pay their regular bills may have a hard time meeting financial goals, like saving enough for retirement, being able to afford health care and other insurances, and building an emergency fund.
But in spite of these financial challenges, we still see people who can barely afford their rent buying $600 phones, as well as people who are in huge debt buying designer-label clothing. Perhaps it’s because these items make people feel as though they are doing well for themselves, even if only for a moment.