15 Things That Used to Be Free but Now Cost Money

At one time, these 15 things were provided free of charge. If you want them now, you may have to open your wallet.

15 Things That Used to Be Free but Now Cost Money Photo (cc) by Betsssssy

If you feel as though you’re being nickel-and-dimed by businesses nowadays, that’s probably because you are.

Of course, pricing varies from region to region, but in the video below, Money Talks News finance expert Stacy Johnson lays out a few of the items that used to be free but now commonly cost you money. Find out what Stacy has to say, and then keep scrolling for more. And don’t forget to leave a comment below with any other formerly free items we may have missed.

1. Hotel amenities

You’d think if you go to a hotel advertising a pool and Wi-Fi, those items would be included in the room rate. But apparently not.

According to Travel+Leisure, hotels started tacking on resort fees in the late 1990s to cover the cost of everything from “complimentary” newspapers to maintaining the on-site gym. It doesn’t matter if you don’t swim, don’t have a computer or don’t care about current events. Many hotels assess resort fees no matter what.

At some properties, the number of additional fees tacked onto the room rate has gotten a bit crazy, as this article shows.

2. Drink refills

You used to be able to go into any restaurant, virtually anywhere, and get free refills on drinks such as soda pop and coffee.

However, reports have started surfacing that free refills are being phased out in some areas. One man was even slapped with a $525 fine for helping himself to a free refill. (Subsequent reports indicate that fine was later revoked.)

Where I live, free refills are fortunately still the norm, and Cheapism has a list of 12 chains that may still offer them near you.

3. Extras at restaurants

Speaking of restaurants, I used to get a free handful of dipping sauces when I asked for extras at our local McDonald’s. Nowadays, if I want more than two, I need to fork over some extra cash.

McDonald’s isn’t alone. The pizza place no longer gives free extra cheese, and I was at a burger joint last week that charged a $1.25 fee to share a meal with a friend. Really, I asked? Really, they said.

Eatocracy over at CNN has a list of eight other restaurant surcharges you probably never had to pay in the past.

4. Water

OK, water is still free in many places, but some apparently prefer to pay through the nose for the bottled variety even though it may be the same as what comes from the tap.

And our willingness to pay for bottles seems to have led some restaurants to decide that water will no longer be a freebie for diners.

Going back to McDonald’s (yes, we eat there entirely too much), my non-pop drinking daughter always orders water. I used to be able to get free water in a cup for her, but now I’m charged for a bottle of Dasani and told the free cup is not an option.

5. Airplane-everything

Oh my. Where shall we start with this one?

In the olden days, you would buy a plane ticket, check your bags and maybe enjoy some free in-flight entertainment via a movie projected on a wall. The attendants would give you peanuts, a drink and maybe even a meal if you were on board long enough.

Today, you buy a plane ticket and then find yourself shelling out money for everything from your checked bag to your boarding pass to an in-flight blanket. A 2013 study from IdeaWorksCompany found that airline ancillary revenue (read: mostly fees) has increased 1,200 percent since 2007.

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