Watch for These Highest Markup Products and Services + How to Save Money on Them!

Jan 26, 2022 | Budgeting, How To Save Money, Shopping Tips

Not every good is made the same! Watch out for these highest markup products and flex those frugal muscles, mama. We'll show you exactly what to watch out for and how to save big!

Woman shopping for a new mattress from Fun Cheap or Free.

Markup is real, and it's really high sometimes! From movie theater popcorn to bottled water to mattresses, we've compiled a list of the highest markup products you need to be on the lookout for. Stop wasting money on these things that shouldn't have to cost so much!

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Not only will we shed some light on which goods are marked up the most, we're sharing some insight on how to avoid paying so much! With these tips, you'll be a bargaining, frugal master. Let's get to it!


Woman drinking water from a bottle from Fun Cheap or Free.

Food already has high markup percentages, but here's a list of some of the highest markup products in the food industry.

  • Bottled Water – Bottled water may be convenient, but it is such a ripoff! That water bottle that costs you $2 only costs the manufacturer about five cents to make! Skip the bottled water and invest in a reusable water bottle that you can refill for free.
  • Fountain Soda – The markup of a restaurant fountain soda is about 1,125%. Wowza, that's a lot! Skip the pricey sodas while you're out and buy a two liter at the store instead. Better yet, make your own for pennies with a Soda Stream!
  • Movie Theater Popcorn – Everyone knows movie theater concessions are overpriced. Grab your candy and popcorn ahead of time and stash it in your purse! No shame in that game…
  • Cheese at a Restaurant – Have you ever seen a menu that up charges for cheese on burgers or baked potatoes? Yeah, they can really get you there! The markup on cheese at a restaurant is upwards of 500%.
  • Meat Pizza – It's estimated that a meat-topped pizza has a markup of almost 700%! Skip the takeout and just make it yourself with our delicious pizza recipe.
  • Brand Name Cereal – The brand name cereals are 44% higher than the generic. Skip the Fruit Loops and dive into those off-brand fruity rings instead, mama!
  • Pre-Cut Produce – You pay a premium of 40-100% more for pre-cut produce at the grocery store. Save that cash and cut the fruit yourself!
  • Baked Goods – Pre-baked goods like muffins, rolls, and other breads cost 300% more than if you bought ingredients and baked them at home.

A lot of the markup you pay for food is for convenience. With just a little preparation and work ahead of time, you can save BIG and skip these pricey items!


Medical items are expensive! But did you know the markup on these products is incredibly high?!

  • Brand Name Medicines – Medicine can be so pricy! Whether it's prescription or over the counter, always go for the generic version. Brand name meds cost 200-3,000% more! Don't worry, generic works just as well!
  • Eyeglass Frames – The markup on eyeglass frames is 250-1,000%. Buy on sale when you can, and take care of those babies so you can wear them for years!
  • Allergy Medicine – Again, go generic!
  • Vitamins – Vitamins can be so pricy, so if you're going to use them, make sure you get one that is both affordable and quality. If you're just looking to add more vitamin c to your regimen, you may just want to eat more oranges!

Generic is the name of the game when it comes to medical expenses. Skip the name-brand whenever possible. If you can't, ask your doctor for samples of any prescription medication you need!


Two women shopping for jeans from Fun Cheap or Free.

Here are some more of the highest markup products to be on the lookout for!

  • Designer Jeans – The biggest price difference in non-designer jeans and designer jeans is the cost of marketing. Skip the pricey designer pair and grab the off-brand. As long as they fit well and make you feel good, that's what matters!
  • Furniture – Furniture is another item with massive markup percentages, about 200-400%.
  • Mattresses – Typically a three thousand dollar mattress only cost the manufacturer about three hundred dollars to make. That's a whopping 900% markup! How can you avoid overpaying? Only shop sales and dust off those bargaining skills!
  • Greeting Cards – Does anyone else thing greeting cards are just too darn expensive? Skip the over-priced supermarket cards and make your own! Get crafty or print a pre-made card off yourself!
  • Designer Bags – Designer bags are marked up about 100% meaning you should never buy full price. Wait until the store puts the bags on sale or shop at a discount store like Ross or TJ Maxx.

Now that you know how high the markup is on these products, do your best to avoid paying full price! Shop around and look for sales or strike a deal. Better yet, if you must have the designer label, shop second-hand!

What items do you hate paying full price for? Share with us in the comments below!

Want more frugal tips and tricks?

Happy saving!


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