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It's Chic to be Cheap

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It's interesting to me how the words "sale," "bargain," and "frugal" no longer have the negative connotation they had years ago.

woman clipping coupons

Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: When I was growing up, if something was on sale, you could be pretty sure it was broken, or had some pretty major, visible flaws. Now that's just not the case. My economics training is not strong enough to tell you why, but for whatever reason, the stuff sold at a lower price is generally perfectly fine. It's taken a while for people to figure that out, but now most have. I find that being careful with money is not necessarily a sign of not having money. In fact, sometimes it's the opposite. Maybe shopping wisely is how some people got to be where they are. That's why discount stores are found in some pretty nice neighborhoods -- and it's not uncommon to see a Mercedes or BMW in the parking lot of a Big Lots.

I knew the tide had really turned when I was at a family gathering, and a cousin of mine was talking to me about this blog. He is a self-employed, single guy in his 40s -- not the type usually hunting out the deals. He was excited to tell me about a trip to the 99 cent store, where he bought some granola bars, and later saw the very same bars at a grocery store for close to $3. He thought I should write about it, and I am. I'm not sharing a tip about deals at the 99 cent store, though. I think it's a bigger story about changing times -- a real culture shift that ties economizing into reducing, reusing, and recycling, and I think it's good.

next: Why Nosy Kids Drive Us Nuts!
7 comments so far | Post a comment now
abbi January 31, 2010, 8:56 AM

… are you stupid?
you can’t figure out that they reduce the cost of merch so people buy out the old crap so they can get new, more exciting stuff in that people will shell out their top dollar for.

the prices change according to buyer demand, exactly why you go buy a new swimsuit in winter, and a new winter coat in summer, off season prices are sooooo much better, they reduce the heck out of everything to entice people to buy things when they don’t really need it at that moment (which is why it’s good to buy that winter jacket in july and save it for december).

anyway, hopefully i’m not blowing your mind too much or anything, it’s actually really really simple.

have you ever wondered why the EXACT same product will be 5 dollars more at one location versus walmart or target or somewhere else?
(or your cousin at the dollarstore)
they put cheaper things where they know cheaper people will shop, and bump up the prices where they know the overall demographic is richer and will likely spend more without shopping around.

do you not think about things? honestly?
it’s hurting my brain that this type of stuff doesn’t occur to you. are you just swimming in debts of stupidity or what’s your deal?

Sandra January 31, 2010, 8:34 PM

Wow, abbi. Who pissed in your Cheerios?

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Recession Mama February 1, 2010, 12:58 AM

Abbi -
It’s just not that simple. You’re not taking into account factors like retailers’ potential financial difficulties (especially in this economy)or changes in international trade agreements and currency strength or weakness. (we get a lot of stuff from overseas…) Also, the newer threat of Internet purchasing looms over brick and mortar establishments and that could affect pricing as well.

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Ranee Milush January 22, 2011, 1:10 AM

Great article. I will definitely share this post with my friends. Thanks for the info.

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