Personal Finance

Boo! The 'pumpkin spice tax' could scare away your holiday cheer

Key Points
  • It may be the flavor of the fall, but you'll pay more for anything with pumpkin spice.
  • MagnifyMoney analyzed roughly 200 pumpkin spice-flavored products and found that the "pumpkin spice tax" could run as high as 133 percent.

For many, the first signs of fall are college football, colorful leaves and cooler weather. For others, it's the return of pumpkin spice latte.

However, the flavor of the season isn't just limited to coffee drinks; there's an increasing selection of pumpkin spice products from waffle mix to water (yes, water).

And nearly across the board, you'll pay a premium for the flavor with a cult following.

MagnifyMoney analyzed roughly 200 pumpkin spice-flavored products at restaurants and grocery stores, including Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's, and found that the "pumpkin spice tax" averaged nearly 8 percent higher but could run as high as a 133 percent premium.

Pumpkin orange is the new black

Everything from Oreos to almonds generally cost more with the fall flavor, the price comparison site found.

Of course, Starbucks drinkers may be all too familiar with the upcharge for a pumpkin spice latte (affectionately dubbed PSL) when it is released each fall. The coffee chain charges as much as a dollar more for pumpkin spice, or nearly 25 percent, MagnifyMoney said.

On the flipside, Dunkin' Donuts, which not only offers pumpkin-flavored coffees, but also donuts, muffins and pumpkin cream cheese for its bagels, does not charge a premium for the fall favorites.

Overall, Trader Joe's pumpkin waffle mix had the highest percentage markup, according to MagnifyMoney: It costs 133 percent more on a price-per-ounce basis than the plain old pancake mix. (Click on graphic below to enlarge.)