The True Cost of Potato Chips

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Let me preface by saying, I love me some potato chips.  Like…totally love them.  I could eat them every day.  (could..I mean, I do…) The crunch.  The salt.  The way they fit just perfectly inside my mouth.  All pluses in my book.  Do you know what isn’t a plus?  The fact that potato chips are probably one of the most expensive things that I buy.  Why?  BC I’m paying for air.  Half the bag is air.  Seriously.  I buy a bag of chips, let’s just say, for fun purposes….a 10 oz bag of chips.  I rip that baby open…and there are maybe 4 oz of chips which take me all of two minutes to eat…and I realize I’ve been duped once again into paying for 6 oz of air.  AIR.  The free air that we breathe every day….although, I will say..on the plus side, at least this air is scented…like Doritos…Cheetos….Fritos….(wait, why do they all rhyme???!!!)

So, I’ve realized that chips are really freakin’ expensive…still totally worth it (;-))  but how dare they???!!  Charge us for air?  Really?  How much money have I wasted on air??!!!  How much happier would be soul and tummy have been with a full 10 oz of potato chips?!!!  How much different would my life truly be if I was able to have enjoyed all those extra moments of crunch and salt?  UGH, it’s unimaginable.

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But, truth be told….There are so many things in life that we pay “extra” for.  Some, for convenience reasons…some, just because we want to and can.   Did you know that for .55 cents more, you can buy cheese in the store that is already cut up and ready to serve?  So, to me…that means I don’t have to take home a block of cheese, open it, try to cut it without fail (which never ever ever happens), try to make them even (which again never ever ever happens) and then store it all nice and neat until next time.  Please, I’ll pay the extra .55 cents EVERY. TIME.  My time is worth that, my sanity is worth that and gosh darn it, I’m worth it.  😉

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Bottled water is another extremely expensive guilty  convenience.  Did you know it cost 2000 times more than tap water?  What a mark-up!  And guess what?  We, as Americans, spend over $11 Billion (yes, that’s billion with a B) on it yearly.  That. is. insane.  I’ll stick to walking to the faucet, turning the handle and getting my water out for free like the world is supposed to operate.

Are we being duped???  Are convenience items defying the ability to be frugal?  How far is too far to pay for convenience?  Where does one draw the line?  We each have items in our mind that we justify….so, what items do you find are worth that “convenience” splurge?



88 thoughts on “The True Cost of Potato Chips

  1. Lauren Atkins says:

    I LOVED this post! I completely agree with you on the frustrations of paying for air- and it only seems to be getting worse! I am definitely one to always refill a water bottle from the tap so I’m not contributing so much to this BILLIONS… wow that’s a lot!

  2. Stephanie JNote says:

    I get bottled water all the time. You really pay for the bottle. But yup, it seems like there is less and less chips in the bags nowadays that you are paying twice as much as you did in the past when the bags had more chips in them.

  3. Cia Black says:

    Couldn’t of agreed more with you. My family needs to see this, I keep tell them you’re not paying for the product you paying for the convenience of the product being easily readily to you. What from the tap is fine, homemade potato chips are better anyways, homemade snacks are cheaper…..I’m not wasting my money when my home is down the street.

  4. Ithfifi says:

    Oh my god, I love you!!! I’ve been moaning about the free air for so long, it seems to get worse and worse each year. I love chippies too, I want chippies, not air! Haha. I think you are right, people are picking ease over cost sometimes and sometimes its great but other times we’re paying more for things we really are perfectly capable of doing ourselves.
    Ithfifi recently posted…Born Pretty Silver Magnetic Polish & Cute Animal Water Decals – Born Pretty Store ReviewMy Profile

  5. Stephanie says:

    As I sit here divulging in a bowl of Doritos….. There are some things I will pay convenience for, but others I won’t. The only time we use water bottles is when we are heading out on a road trip or when we have a hurricane coming. Otherwise, we use some reusable water bottles.
    Stephanie recently posted…Yummy Crunchy Halloween Bark RecipeMy Profile

  6. Dawn says:

    i am with you on those delicious little bites of salty deliciousness… so tasty, but why oh why is the bag mostly air? i read somewhere that manufacturers do this deliberately so as to prevent the chips from getting crushed to smithereens, but who knows. to me, it feels a lot like buying expensive air.

  7. Cassie says:

    Potato chips are a real waste of money! I love them too and am so partial to grabbing a handful if they are around, but I can see the value in paying $3 for a packet that’s half full!
    Cassie recently posted…Greek SaladMy Profile

  8. Grace says:

    Good to know that I am not the only one with a love for potato chips and the frustration that comes with it… The air in the bag!!! Love your post you are spot on!

  9. Amber says:

    I totally know what you mean. Here’s one that gets me—hot dogs come in packs of 10, hot dog BUNS come in packs of 8. What the heck?! So in order for everyone to have a bun, you have to buy two packs, and the rest just go bad if you don’t freeze them right away. And THEN next time you go shopping for hotdogs/buns, you can’t remember how many are in the freezer or just plain forget and the cycle continues. *eye roll*

  10. Sue Tanya McHorgh says:

    Those potato chips bags are so frustrating. I totally agree with you. It’s just air and it really just seems to be getting worse. I love Doritos but this is always the probably. There’s only about 8 chips in the bag!

  11. amber says:

    i could not agree more with you here on this. We try so hard to be frugal but we are paying an absolute fortune for pure lazy us i what i say. iam a guilty user of this way many times. i know i should stop i would be keen to hear ways to save if you have ideas

  12. Michelle Leslie says:

    I’ve never been a big fan of buying bottled water. It just doesn’t make sense to me unless of course you stay somewhere where the water is so polluted it’s dangerous. I always wonder who was the bright spark who thought of bottling a natural resource. Their marketing must have been brilliant to convince so many people to pay mega bucks

  13. Linda says:

    hahahahaha, we seriously pay for air,lol! I too love potato chips but we are totally being ripped off, lol! Same to bottled water, and seriously, they say tap water is much more safer!

  14. Laura @ The Mindful Mom Blographer says:

    Wow! 11 billion dollars a year spent on bottled water? That is crazy!

    I agree with you on the convenience factor of some items, ie. the cheese. I actually have a block sitting in my fridge right now that is likely not consumable anymore because I didn’t finish cutting it so we could eat it! I stick with cheese slices or sticks now, even though they cost more.

  15. Stephanie Cruz says:

    So much truth in this! You pay for the chips but you get air.. So disappointing:( but we still buy it anyway which is so sad.. Also your last points resonate with my thoughts.. When I lived in the Philippines, the vegetables being sold in the market were not washed, or chopped or packed.. but it was cheap. That’s why I got surprised when we moved to the US and saw how companies made it so easy and convenient for consumers to make food at home as the items are already prepared and cut into different slices depending on what you need.

  16. Samantha says:

    I frequently complain about the amount of air in chip bags. Sometimes I’ll compare them to other bags of chips & get the bag that feels like it has less air. I avoid buying bottled water as much as possible (mainly because it’s terrible for the environment). I have a tumbler filled with water that I keep with me at all times & I travel with it wherever I’m going.
    Samantha recently posted…Guide to Dietary Restriction Friendly Halloween CandyMy Profile

  17. Tony (tonyandkimoutdooradventures) says:

    Yes we are ripped off in general. We have become lazy and companies are using laziness for there profit. 100% agree with bottle water, and most companies just bottle tap water, and we are too stupid and lazy to be prepared to carry water on us. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Jamie says:

    Do they not weigh the potato chips before they bag them???? Ugh. At the route 11 potato chip factory you can buy them in a clear bag that they fill up right then or at least that morning. Anyway, I digress. My real thing is that my tap water is gross. So bottled water is a necessity for us. Even filtered our water isn’t great. And, it’s expensive. Whenever someone says water is free I think- please tell my town because I pay $100-200 a month just for water 😭😭😭 and we don’t even drink it. Go figure. Loved your post!! So fun and good points.
    Jamie recently posted…Explore the Senses and Deepen Your FaithMy Profile

  19. Joanna says:

    I very rarely buy chips, and that is because they are very unhealthy. If I want chips I can actually make my own. With the price of a pack I think I would probably make at least 1 kg of chips. Also water, why buy when the tap one is perfectly clean? I understand in countries where tap water is not clean, but in my country it is. So why not drink it?

  20. Kaitlin says:

    I’ve been making a more conscious effort to be more sustainable in my lifestyle and that has really pushed me out of the guilty convenience habits. I never ever ever buy single use plastic water bottles! But I am guilty of the chips for sure!

  21. Katie says:

    So true. For this reason I want to buy the really big packets so I actually get some chips, but then feel too guilty, so end up just having, like, 3 chips. Ha. Glad someone feels the same and glad to hear there are other chip fiends out there. YUM!

  22. Ingrid says:

    We must admit that potato chips I are delicious. And even though we know there is so much air in the bag we still buy it for its delicious taste. We really we need to pay greater attention to ensure we get value for our money. Thanks for raising awareness

  23. Cynthia says:

    I read somewhere that companies do that on purpose so the air cushions the chips so they don’t break! About the water, I’ll have tap water, thank you very much. I see nothing wrong with it, as long as it is clean of course!

  24. Lauren says:

    Once I bought a water bottle I liked, I gave up buying bottled water. What a difference it’s made! I do hate that there is always so much air in the chip bag but I think I would hate squished chips more.

  25. sonali jain says:

    Potato chips are so delicious even though we know there is so much air in the bag we still buy it for its delicious taste. WE need to pay more attention to this matter!

  26. says:

    The convenience of eating out in general is just killing me! we have to pretty much freeze all of out meat because we never know what kind of day we will have. PASTA!!! its like $1 a box but 11 for some cavatelli in Vodka Cream sauce! ( which i found wasn’t even that expensive to make either)

  27. Elizabeth O says:

    Those potato chip bags are totally frustrating. I admit that potato chips are more delicious than other. But I do not consume lots of chips.

  28. Misty Eilar says:

    I am with you on this! I shop frugal, but can’t seem to give up my chips. I hate paying for air. I tend to stock up on a really good sale, just so it doesn’t hurt so bad.

  29. Carol Cassara says:

    You’re absolutely right about that, there are items that we get out of convenience but it’s totally worth it too for some reason. Lol. I think it’s just important to analyze which ones are benefiting you when you’re under a budget.
    Carol Cassara recently posted…EarthboundMy Profile

  30. Tara says:

    This is so true. I know that everytime I get potato chips, there is about 50% of the bag that is just air. I don’t even mind it though, because I love chips so much. I should be more mindful.

  31. Nina Lewis says:

    Haha, I didn’t think of it like that. As I much on a bag of chips, there really is a lot of air! But to think that that translate to cost, I never thought of it. thanks of this!

  32. Erica Schwarz says:

    So the worst is when you open a bag and it feels half empty {sad face]. I only buy chips when they are buy-one-get-one-free anymore. ..But I do still get them because, chips.

  33. Tanya @ Intimate Explorations says:

    Oh, I think I’m the worst paying for convenience. I think I spend more to save my time and sanity all the time. But I’ve got very little time, and for me, it’s totally worth it. The other day we paid for Uber to take my sweetie to pick up his car at the auto-repair so I didn’t have to drive across town and could spend my time blogging. Choices! And chips! 🙂

  34. gogirlph says:

    We’ve gotten so used to modern conveniences that we neglect to consider their true value.. Even when money is getting harder to come by, it’s become more difficult to revert to simpler lives. This is especially so because “simpler lives” don’t always mean “easier..” I think it’s human nature to go more for convenience.

  35. Emma says:

    I agree with you about the water – unless I’m in a country with dodgy water systems, all my water comes out of the tap! However convenience will always cost you the big bucks!

  36. Ivy Patterson says:

    My question is….have you in fact weighed the chips? Perhaps you’re paying for the packaging. Which is even more despicable in my eyes because they…and we are throwing out that much more waste. I was delighted when sargento made their cheese packaging smaller, but right on the package it says “contains the same amount of cheese”.

  37. Angela Tolsma says:

    The cost of things is ridiculous! You can get four puddings for 99 cents and an apple for over a dollar. I have never even thought about the cost of air in potato chips. We really do spend far too much for convenience.

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