Vending Machines Can Cost Us 580% More

by The Happy Rock on July 2, 2007

vending_machine_snacks.jpgI go to the vending machine maybe once a month. Each time it gets more and more painful knowing that the item is has such a huge markup(I still buy). I realize that am paying for my lack of planning and laziness. Let’s take a look at how much we are paying for convenience.

I compared the price of a couple items out that could be purchased at Costco or Sam’s club to the $0.80 cents that you would pay in a vending machine.

  • $0.38 cents for 3 Musketteers – Better, but still 210% more in a vending machine
  • $0.709 cents for a 20 oz. Pepsi – 176% more in a vending machine at $1.25
  • Just for fun, $0.0226 cents for gum balls – 1109% more

If you were to buy a soda and a pack of crackers just three days a week, you would be spending 320$ a year. This is almost $200 more a year than buying it yourself. Is $200 worth changing your habits to visit Sam’s or BJs a few times a year? This isn’t even taking into consideration the fact that if we put just a little upfront planning in, we would probably make better choices than a Mountain Dew and a pack of Peanut M&Ms. Some people even take it a step further and capitalize on the situation by having their own mini-snack stores.

Are you vending too much?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy Double Par July 5, 2007 at 10:23 pm

I never thought about it, but when put in percentages, those markups are a lot scarier! So are gumballs the highest % markup?


TheHappyRock July 5, 2007 at 11:11 pm


The percentages do open some eyes. At least they did for me.

As far as gumballs being the highest, I included it because I thought it would be. I can’t think of any items that would be higher.

If anyone has an thoughts, I will research it.


Johanna B July 14, 2007 at 4:44 pm

I don’t consider myself to be a vending machine addict except when I take my daughter to her class at a community college in another town. There I spend probably 4 or 5 dollars getting things out of the machines. I now see that I should plan ahead and eat something before I take her so I will be less tempted to spend the cash. Thanks for an eye-opening post.


The Happy Rock July 15, 2007 at 11:03 am

Glad to help Johanna.

It is eye opening when something spurs us seeing the reality of our actions. Sometimes scary too, but that is all part of facing change. Good luck on changing that habit.


Mr vending route July 12, 2008 at 1:58 am

Its all about convenience. We are so lazy we will pay 10 times more for the products as long as we don’t have to get in our car and go somewhere. I guess with the price of gas these days its probably a wash anyway.


Holly August 28, 2008 at 12:55 pm

I was trying to find ways for my workplace to save money. Is it cheaper to buy several cases of pop and charge a certain amount for a can/bottle or is it cheaper to have two pop vending machines and one snack vending machine around?
I was thinking we could just buy in bulk from Sam’s and charge a small amount and then get the deposits back on the drinks and just recycle all the money back in to buying more….


The Happy Rock September 1, 2008 at 11:58 pm


I think the vending machine shouldn’t really cost your company any money. The vending machine company installs it and stocks it, but it will costs the employees a high mark up.

If someone buys soda and sells it at cost, it will be much cheaper than a vending machine for the employees but will take added effort from an employee. It might be a nice perk for the employees.

I haven’t had to deal with that question before, but hopefully my input helps.


FIRE Finance February 26, 2011 at 8:03 pm

This figures are simply mind boggling. Thanks for presenting them, shows how much bad habits can cost us.



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