Unless you're filthy rich, you've probably noticed that movie theater popcorn costs an arm and a leg. Still, for some unknown reason, countless consumers shell out the big bucks for this greasy flick-food.

IN PICTURES: 20 Lazy Ways To Save Money

Of course, movie theater snacks aren't the only budget busters. Just think about the exorbitant cost of greeting cards, printer ink and bottled water. The sky-high price tags on those products are enough to send today's cash-strapped consumers spiraling into debt. Yet, we continue to cough up the cash for these absurdly expensive items.

Here are six outrageously overpriced products that consumers can't seem to live without.

  1. Movie Theater Popcorn
    At the grocery store, microwave popcorn runs about $3 per box, and each box includes three 3.5 ounce bags. So why on earth would consumers even consider paying a whopping $6 for a single medium-sized bag of popcorn in the movie theater? No one knows exactly why - but for some bizarre reason, movie-goers continue to drain their wallets to crunch on a bag full of those greasy little nuggets during their favorite film.
    After considering that movie theaters purchase popcorn in bulk, the average markup of movie theater popcorn is a whopping 1275%! At that steep price, you'd think those buttery bags were laced with gold. (To learn more about the movie theater business, check out Movie Theater Finance.)

  2. Greeting Cards
    Since when does a folded up piece of paper cost $2.99? Since someone slaps a precious kitty picture and a cleverly written message on it and then stamps the back of it with a well-known logo. That's right - we're talking about those pricey greeting cards. Many consumers spend hours poring over the neatly arranged stacks in the greeting card aisle, searching for the perfect message for their sister's birthday, their parent's anniversary or "Just Because."
    The average greeting card costs between $2 and $4, and we consumers don't seem to think twice about paying that precipitous price. The markup is between 100 and 200% - which is not quite as shocking as movie theater popcorn, but it adds up quickly. When you consider how many of those paper jewels you buy each year, it's enough to send you running for the construction paper and markers. After all, it only costs a few cents to create a home-made card. (Do you know how much you're really spending? Find out in What's Eating Away Your Money?)

  3. College Textbooks
    In 2010, the annual in-state cost for the typical state university soared to more than $15,000, and private colleges now charge an average of $35,600 a year. As if college kids (and their parents) aren't financially drained enough, there's yet another inflated price they face: college textbooks. College students pay an average of $900 a year on textbooks and other supplies.
    College textbook prices have skyrocketed by 186% since 1986, and these expensive volumes of knowledge now account for 26% of the overall cost of college. Unfortunately, broke college students are required to purchase these costly books for their classes. At least they can try to sell their books back to local book store at the end of the semester - for a few measly bucks. (It's not just tuition fees that are rising. Keep your book buying in check with A Foolproof Budget Plan For Textbooks.)

  4. Bottled Water
    You've probably heard that "Evian" is simply "naïve" spelled backwards. OK, so the well-known company probably did not choose their name for that reason - but many people believe that consumers who buy bottled water are certainly naïve. After all, water is one of the most abundant resources in the world and is available for free from countless water fountains and sinks across the nation. Yet, many consumers are still willing to pay $3 a bottle of it.
    In 2009, the U.S. Congress revealed that about 45% of bottled water comes from municipal taps - and then the bottled water company may or may not do some additional filtering before pouring it in their logo-stamped bottles. Still, Americans continue to buy more than 500 million bottles every week, making it the second most popular purchased drink (after soda).

  5. Printer Ink
    You may be able to buy a surprisingly affordable printer at your local office supply store, but don't start celebrating just yet. The printer companies make their biggest bucks on ink.
    Over the life of your printer, you'll probably pay more than 500% of the total price of the printer itself on ink refill cartridges. At $30, a 42ml cartridge of black printer ink comes out to 71 cents per ml. On the other hand, the Red Cross charges $200 for 500 ml of blood, which comes out to about 40 cents per ml. (Do you know the latest ways to keep more coin in your pocket? Check out Social Buying: A New Way To Save.)

  6. Brand-Name Fashions
    How much did you pay for those True Religion jeans, that Burberry scarf and those towering Louboutin stilettos? Probably a small fortune. But it was worth every penny, right? Not so much. When it comes to designer clothes, it's pretty obvious that you are paying for the label.
    As a matter of fact, brand-name clothes are often marked up by 500 to 1000%. Yet, fashion-conscious consumers continue to drain their bank accounts and pile up massive amounts of debt to stay on the cutting edge of couture.

Broke Consumers Are Saying No
The recession has hit many households hard, and thousands of broke consumers are passing on these and other overpriced products. So, does that mean the inflated prices of these items will eventually fall? Only time will tell. In the meantime, you may want to check your bank account before you hit the movie theater snack bar.

Catch up on your financial news; read Water Cooler Finance: The Ups And Downs Of A Double-Dip Recession.

Related Articles
  1. Investing Basics

    Why Interest Rates Affect Everyone

    Learn why interest rates are one of the most important economic variables and how every individual and business is affected by rate changes.
  2. Entrepreneurship

    How an Internet Sales Tax Will Affect Your Small Business

    Learn about how the Marketplace Fairness Act may impact small business owners should it pass in the House and what the act requires from business owners.
  3. Savings

    Craft Beer Clubs – Bargain or Not?

    If you're an aficionado of artisanal brews (or would like to be), a beer club can be a palate-pleasing, albeit pricey, way to expand your hops horizon.
  4. Stock Analysis

    When Will Dick's Sporting Goods Bounce Back? (DKS)

    Is DKS a bargain here?
  5. Stock Analysis

    Has Urban Outfitters Lost its Way? (URBN)

    Urban Outfitters just made a bold move. Will it pay off?
  6. Stock Analysis

    Is Walmart's Rally Sustainable? (WMT)

    Walmart is enjoying a short-term rally. Is it sustainable? Is Amazon still a better bet?
  7. Savings

    Are Wine Clubs Worth It?

    Some points to consider, before committing to a membership for yourself – or as a gift. The right club can also help you save money over the holidays.
  8. Stock Analysis

    Kohl's: Should You Stock Up or Sell? (KSS)

    Many traders are bearish on Kohl's, but long-term investors might want to take a closer look for this simple reason.
  9. Stock Analysis

    GoPro's Stock: Can it Fall Much Further? (GPRO)

    As a company that primarily sells discretionary products, GoPro and its potential falls right in line with consumer trends. Is that good or bad?
  10. Stock Analysis

    How Macy's Will Refresh its Brand

    Macy's is heading in the wrong direction, but what's the potential for a turnaround?
  1. Where can you buy NetSpend reload packs?

    You can only purchase NetSpend reload packs at Giant Eagle, Albertsons, Roundy's and Pathmark supermarkets. NetSpend cards ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How do you make working capital adjustments in transfer pricing?

    Transfer pricing refers to prices that a multinational company or group charges a second party operating in a different tax ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the utility function and how is it calculated?

    In economics, utility function is an important concept that measures preferences over a set of goods and services. Utility ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What does marginal utility tell us about consumer choice?

    In microeconomics, utility represents a way to relate the amount of goods consumed to the amount of happiness or satisfaction ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What is the difference between JIT (just in time) and CMI (customer managed inventory)?

    Just-in-time (JIT) inventory management focuses solely on the need to replenish inventory only when it is required, reducing ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are some examples of Apple and Google's best-selling product lines?

    There are many good examples of product lines in the technology sector from some of the largest companies in the world, such ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Take A Bath

    A slang term referring to the situation of an investor who has experienced a large loss from an investment or speculative ...
  2. Black Friday

    1. A day of stock market catastrophe. Originally, September 24, 1869, was deemed Black Friday. The crash was sparked by gold ...
  3. Turkey

    Slang for an investment that yields disappointing results or turns out worse than expected. Failed business deals, securities ...
  4. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
  5. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  6. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
Trading Center