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TheStreet Open House

7 Products You're Paying Too Much For

Stocks in this article: AAPL BBY

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Even the most budget-conscious people have overpaid for products at some point. Maybe it's because you just didn't care about paying a few extra bucks for something you needed, or perhaps you were in a hurry and didn't have time to shop around.

Or maybe you just didn't realize it was possible to get a better deal. There are several products habitually priced way too high -- higher than the company needs to make a profit margin and much higher than you could find it elsewhere, if only you knew where to look.

Don't help companies make huge profit margins at your expense.

Fortunately, we've got a pretty good idea of where to look. Here are several products you've probably overpaid for, along with tips on how you could have gotten it much cheaper.

HDMI cables
High-Definition Multimedia Input cables are used to connect high-definition TVs to cable boxes, video game systems and set-top boxes, replacing the RCA cables (those red, yellow and white split cables) that once served that role for standard-definition televisions.

Unfortunately, high-definition technology is apparently young enough that it's still possible to get people to massively overpay for these cables. Consumer electronics experts generally agree that spending more than $10 on one of these cables is a waste of money, yet we've seen brand-name cables selling for upward of $50 at electronics stores such as Best Buy (BBY - Get Report). In fact, Best Buy's Web site is selling a Monster brand cable for $90. Not surprisingly, the sole customer review notes that, "Once you learn how these cables work, you'll know to find the absolutely cheapest ones you can find."

I spent $8 on Amazon to get an HDMI cable (which comes with an adapter for a speaker system) and have never had any problem with my picture or audio quality. Don't let a sales rep convince you your $2,000 big-screen TV needs a gold-plated $100 cable to get the best picture quality.

Apple accessories
If the headphones or USB cable that came with your iPhone or iPod fails, you can get a free replacement at the Apple (AAPL - Get Report) Store -- provided you got the AppleCare warranty. If you didn't, you're looking at $29 for the headphones, $19 for the way-too-short USB cable and another $29 for the adapter that lets you plug the cable into a wall socket for charging.

Those accessories can be found for much cheaper elsewhere. My iPhone is plugged into my computer with a USB cable that costs $2.95, or you could get the connector and adapter bundled for $7.95 refurbished, a full $40 cheaper than you'd pay for both at the Apple Store. And you can get those earbuds -- complete with the remote and mic -- for $7.95 plus $2 shipping, though we've seen it even cheaper.

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