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Here’s how the “pumpkin spice tax” affects your favorite products from Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, and beyond


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Photo: Stocksy/Jojo Jovanovic

Not to put a damper on your love for all things pumpkin spice, but your obsession is probably costing you more than you realize. Largely due to pumpkin spice’s cult following, you’re paying a premium on items of that flavor—even if you’re completely unaware of the unofficial tax.

MagnifyMoney conducted a study analyzing the prices of food and beverage items everywhere from Starbucks and Trader Joe’s to Walmart and found the pumpkin spice tax is pretty hefty: Anything pumpkin spice related is up to 133 percent costlier on a per-unit basis, the research noted. Even worse? Despite you footing a bigger bill, you’re also often getting less product.

Anything pumpkin spice related is up to 133 percent costlier on a per-unit basis, MagnifyMoney the research found.

After reviewing around 200 items, researchers found the average pumpkin-spice tax rate to be approximately 8 percent—but some retailers skewed way higher than average. Trader Joe’s, for instance, was the worst offender with a “tax” rate of 62 percent on certain goods. As for beverages, Starbucks had the highest upcharge on the seasonal drink—compared to places like Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s—at 24 percent.

Curious about the other offenders—ummm, I mean purveyors? Take a look at the chart below to see where your money is going when it comes to pumpkin spice products—and where you might just want to stick to the pumpkin-less variety to save for other trendy pieces, like these splurge-worthy leggings.

pumpkin spice tax
Photo: MagnifyMoney

Here are some healthier pumpkin spice foods to satisfy your cravings. Want to make your own pumpkin spice latte on the cheap? This is the only recipe you’ll need.

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