Have your changed your shopping habits forever?

Some Associated Press business writers have taken a deep look at the affect of The Great Recession (their words) on our shopping habits. They have produced a three-part series examining how our psyches and habits have changed because of the recession. The writers note that even though The Great Recession has been over for a year and a half and the economy is starting to recover, that shadow of uncertainty still looms and people may have changed their spending habits forever.

Here are a few quick observations from the series:

  • Leisure shopping is over.
  • People are spending more time finding the deal and less time browsing through stores.
  • They are visiting less stores when they go to the mall and spending less time in them.
  • People are shopping at stores they never though they would – like Goodwill Stores.
  • Consignment sales have grown so tremendously that regular stores are starting to include consignment sections.

From The Associated Press:

“This was a massive cultural event for our society,” says John Gerzema, a branding executive at marketing and advertising firm Young & Rubicam and co-author of a new book about the changing ways we spend money. “Eighty percent of Americans were born after World War II, so essentially this is our Depression.”

“The impact is hard to overstate. Consumer spending represents 70 percent of economic activity. Every business feels the pullback in some way, and it’s more pronounced for those that sell things directly to people.”…

“The worst recession since the Depression ended in June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, a group of academic economists that officially declares the starts and ends of recessions.”

“Americans’ psyche hasn’t recovered. An index of consumer confidence from The Conference Board has been in a tight range from the high 40s to high 50s. A reading of 90 indicates a healthy economy, and that level has not been seen since December 2007, the month the recession began.”

“U.S. households lost 17 percent of their wealth over in the past three years, more than $10 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. The labor market remains in shambles, with nearly one in 10 Americans unemployed. One in six Americans now receives some form of government assistance, including food stamps and extended jobless benefits.”

The stories are fascinating and well-worth your time to read. Here are links to all three stories. Please read and see if you find yourself in these stories.

First story: Economy recovering, but recession’s shadow is long

Second story: The rise of the surgical shopper

Third Story: In a tough economy, old stigmas fall away

Have your shopping habits changed over the last three years? What are you doing differently now? Do you think you will continue to shop in this new way as things recover? Are you still using credit cards?

Have your kids changed their expectations of material goods in the last three years? Do they understand what is happening? Have their spending habits changed? Are they saving for things they want?

Does it seem like The Great Recession is over? Where is you consumer confidence now? If 90 is good and the country is around 50, where would you place your number?

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November 9th, 2010
7:16 am

Since this past year we went from two incomes to one, we have cut back pretty much across the board. We only purchase things that we need and less of what we want and wait for deals instead of just going out and buying. I have always been a fan of consignment sales and was able to buy all of my daughters birthday presents at the last sale I went to, keeping the cost at around $50, before her flowers and card. (My llittle one loves flowers and a few dollars is worth the smile on her face)

How can “they” say the recession is over when there are still so many people out there looking for work and still people losing thier homes and life? This hoiday season is going to change for the whole family since we are cutting back, but I really feel in a way that it is a good thing. We are starting to figure out what matters in life and it’s not about money or things, but people and experiances. There is always someone else worse off than myself and I try to keep that in mind. Even though we are doing with less, I still try to donate to food banks and help where I can with time or whatever else I can offer.

Life changes all the time, and it’s all in your attittude.


November 9th, 2010
7:22 am

The reality comes down to whether you are spending money you don’t yet have (credit cards, home equity loans, etc). If you are, then you haven’t changed. As I used to tell my ex-wife when she justified spending because “it was 50% off, I saved a ton”: “If you don’t buy anything at all, you save 100%. And the bank doesn’t care how much you saved when you bounce a check.”


November 9th, 2010
7:22 am

I have always been a frugal shopper. My kids told me they will be putting this epitaph on my tombstone:


I rarely shop at the mall! I love Ross, TJMaxx and Marshalls! Also BIG LOTS….lol!

I almost always use a coupon when we eat out….just not with DB, catlady, Michelle, newmom or Becky. Kathy and I are up for coupons.

We are getting ready to buy a new car and I am prepared with a hard bargain. The sales people are not thrilled with me. I have left my card with several ( over the past 20 years) , who have told me they cannot possibly let the car go for that price and then SURPRISE they call me back the next day and it can be done. We will see on this one.

So no, I have not changed my habits much.

I do use credit cards….not to finance expenses. I use them to get the points.


November 9th, 2010
7:28 am

@ Jeff…I am absolutely with you on your points. I have my own budget and spend my own money.
We have separate credit cards. One exception is that when I see a pair of shoes or perhaps slacks that I really like and will ( at some point) need…I go ahead and get them as it will not be worth my time to go back and spend a half of day looking for an item when I do need it. I will say that I rarely spend more than $25 on either item. Too cheap…LOL.

Remember my two leather couches from Costco, I got them in September on clearance….$650 for BOTH…that was a “just get them now…we will need them” purchase and more than $25! But I was the one who paid for them!


November 9th, 2010
7:44 am

since i was laid (for 9 months) off my spending habits have changed drastically. now that i have a job (2 1/2 years) they havent changed much…i make a lot less money than i did at my old job so i surely havent gone back to any of my old spending ways. i no longer use my credit cards except for true emergencies. and usually if i have a true emergency (like a car repair) i get a small loan that has much less finance charge. i rarely eat out and do not usually buy anything that isnt needed. my youngest daughter has had temp jobs so i have had to help her with gas and such..she is in college so i really dont mind that. she is continuously looking for a job (and has a great prospect–say a prayer!!) so that will help. i dont see ever going back tto spending like i used to even if i eventually find a better paying job. when i think of the money i could have saved when i had a good salary i kick my butt.


November 9th, 2010
7:50 am

Well, this is how I have lived for the past 18 years. VERY FRUGALLY….and the recession didn’t hurt me one bit. Other than the prices of things I normally buy are up, up, up, I never was a big shopper. I don’t have credit cards, so I definately live within my means. I have a mortgage I can afford and the household bills are low, since it’s just me roaming around that house.


November 9th, 2010
7:53 am

I’ve always been a thrifty shopper but we’ve taken a hit the last 2 years so yes, we’ve really tightened out belts more. We are lucky…husband still is employed, just at reduced salary and I’ve been able to find a part time job that allows me to set my own schedule and work when hubby is home with kids.
I’ve slashed our grocery budget by $125…which tells me I was spending too much in the first place. I’m with you MJG…paying more than $25 for clothing is crazy…We have slashed every budget item down to the bare essentials. But as madmommy says it is all in your attitude. My husband and I haven’t been able to exchange gifts in 2 years so we could have enough for kids and parents and honestly it has been no big deal. Sure I’d like to get him the latest and greatest, but having each other is really what matters (not to sound too sappy). We are very grateful that we’ve been able to stay afloat, we have too many friends who have it much worse than we do. Just counting our blessings…


November 9th, 2010
8:06 am

I think the ways of spending before this recession is one of the many reasons that got us into this recession in the first place. We have always tried to bargain shop, and my kids expect us to have a coupon! I taught my girls to shop that way as well, and here’s a funny story about that, my youngest saw a Betsey Johnson dress at Dillards in the spring of her 10 grade year of high school. It cost 330.00 and I could tell she fell in love with it. In October, we were in Dillard’s, and they had marked the dress down to 99.00 and it was one of those days where you get 50& off the clearance price. There, on the rack was that dress in her size, so we bought it and she wore it to the prom the next spring. It just so happened that one of the girls on the OC tv show wore the same dress to her prom, and my daughter was the envy of the other girls, they wanted to know where she had got that dress, they had not seen one like it! So being cheap can actually work to your advantage…lol


November 9th, 2010
8:11 am

@MJG: I’m good with lunch coupons!


November 9th, 2010
8:14 am

I have never really been a mall shopper, but I have been cutting unnecessary expenses. We no longer have a home phone, I now have Netflix instead of premium stations on Directv. I do want to share an interesting event my husband had last week with my son. He’s been growing like a weed and it’s been difficult keeping him in clothes. He now wants all the really expensive stuff that we will never buy. My husband decided to take him to a consignment shop to look for jeans. At first he was like “no way, I’m not wearing used clothes”. Once he got there he couldn’t believe all the designer labels he was seeing. Needless to say, he bought a couple pairs of designer jeans for about 3 bucks each and lacoste shirts. They spent about $20 and he had several items and was happy. That was a great lesson for him to learn. You can look like a million bucks without actually spending as much:)!


November 9th, 2010
8:22 am

Right now there are 5 people for every one job opening in the United States; there are just not enough jobs to go around. In order for us to get back to employment levels of 2007 the economy would have to grow at 4% annually for 5 straight years; 4% continuous growth has never occurred in America. With the economy so sluggish, it will take a decade perhaps for the economy to emerge. Translation: you better be saving like crazy for that rainy day no matter how “safe” you think your position is because the economic threats to everyone’s survival are still very large on the horizon. Too many idiots are out there – way too many – that think this is like every other Recession, “Oh, we’ll snap back just like we always have” – this is not the case. The Fed is now taking unprecedented action with Quantitative Easing (purchasing T-Bills to stimulate the economy) and there are no guarantees this will work. For those who are deeply involved in the markets as I am, the reality is the storm clouds on the horizon are still there and the fear is very real for either a stalling economy or perhaps a double dip.

You better be socking away as much cash as you can for your families’ sake. Or be like most Americans, buy that new car! Get a really huge TV! Give your kids the new iPhone! My kids deserve the best, I’m getting them that in style shirt/jeans/shoes, etc. Consume! Consume! Waste your life away in materialistic things that provide you nothing for your soul and existence. One little event in the markets can bring the whole ship down.

Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow may not come.

Metro Coach

November 9th, 2010
8:25 am

There’s no credible evidence to back up the claim that “the Great Recession” is over. Just because some liberal Keynesian economists got together and said that doesn’t make it true.

@Metro Coach

November 9th, 2010
8:54 am

Accordian to the article ” the National Bureau of Economic Research, a group of academic economists that officially declares the starts and ends of recessions.” declared the recession over, not some ‘liberal Keynesian’. Like to blame much?


November 9th, 2010
8:57 am

For all of you coupon-clippers–Was it tough to get started? I’ve tried on several occassions to come up with an organized system but have failed repeatedly. I realize the best way to do any shopping is with a list and a plan but the reality is that my schedule changes from day to day depending on my appointments and if I tend to be driving by a Michael’s or a mall and there is something I’ve been needing, I never seem to have the right coupon with me.

Do you keep them in your car? Same thing with Office supply coupons, I put them aside for things I’ll be needing but by the time I get by an office supply store, I realize I have an expired coupon.

I know, I know, organization is key–but did your system come together quickly or are there others, like me, who tend to spend to much time clipping and hoarding coupons and not enough time redeeming them?

Mrs. G

November 9th, 2010
9:00 am

My shopping habits have definitely changed. I am kind of ashamed to admit this, but I used to be a shopper – I would go to the mall with a friend or cousin and buy a new outfit just because or I would stock up on items (even items that I didn’t necesarily need, like candles) at Bath & Body Works if I had a coupon. I was the ultimate impluse buyer (and not just when it came to cheaper things; I wouldn’t think twice about buying a $60 outfit if I loved it).

We’ve definitely have had to cut back in all areas, though, given the economy and various other things (for example, the furnace decided to quit earlier this year, so we had to buy a new one…going without one in upstate NY isn’t an option!). We have a budget that we follow and my husband and I each get $100 in “Spend It On Whatever I Want” money each month. I’m proud to say that, with the exception of a new dress and cardigan and earrings (the dress and cardigan were about half off and the earrings were free with my purchase!) for my company’s annual outing last month, I haven’t bought clothes or accessories since June, before my husband and I went on our honeymoon. I’m learning to be a lot more creative with my outfits, which cuts out the need to buy new things to “freshen up” my wardrobe. I’m pulling out jewelry from the bottom of my jewelry box, too, so no need for new jewelry, either.

I do a lot more research before I purchase these days; big purchases scare me!!! My car needs new tires and I am terrified.

I’ve always been a coupon shopper (my mom is the coupon queen and she taught me well), so that hasn’t changed. I clip coupons, cut them off of products’ boxes and bags, use internet coupon sites, and scan my shopper card at the little kiosk that prints coupons at the grocery store. I’ve also been known to visit manufacturers’ websites for coupons.

Another way that we save money is that we buy store brand/generic items for most of the products that we use. My parents are brand snobs and kind of scoff at that, but I honestly don’t notice a difference except for the price! Also, there is a lot more variety out there when it comes to store brands these days – I think that stores are realizing the opportunity there (if they offer it at a lower price, people will buy it).

We put everything on our American Express Blue card (including the cell phone bill) for the points and so that we don’t have to write every purchase in a checkbook, then we pay it off.

Lastly…one thing that I’ve noticed now that we have tightened up and are budgeting so carefully is that I really value experiences over things. I would rather use my “Spend It On Whatever I Want” money on a movie with my hubby and a lunch with my cousin than on material things. My mom’s birthday was last month and, instead of buying her another pair of pajamas or another necklace, I had a salad and a pizza from California Pizza Kitchen delivered for lunch (she lives in Seattle, so I wasn’t able to spend her birthday with her); my dad was out of town and my cousin was visiting, so I knew that my mom and cousin would be able to have a fun lunch without leaving the house. My mom seemed to really appreciate it.

I won’t consider The Great Recession to be over until the job market improves substantially.

Mrs. G

November 9th, 2010
9:03 am

Um hi…I just wrote my own blog, LOL. Sorry it’s so long, guys. I got carried away. :)

Betty – My coupon system took years of honing. I have a coupon organizer (Christmas gift from my mom!) that I use to sort coupons by categories like “Groceries,” “Toiletries,” “Household Goods,” “Restaurants” (there are tabs). I keep it in my car and try to go through it every couple of weeks. If there is a must-use coupon (say, for a free product with no purchase – love those! – or for $5 off a grocery store purchase), I slip it in my wallet. And I keep Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons in my car AND in my husband’s car!


November 9th, 2010
9:07 am

I got behind a lady at Publix about three weeks ago, who’s bill was $135.00. She had $127 in coupons and only had to pay like $8 and some change. I talked to her about how she did it, and there’s two web sites she told me about. One is Iheartpublix.com, and the other is Southernsavers.com. You really have to have the time to look on those websites, and get your coupons. The Publix site will show you all the sales, shows all the coupons, etc.

I used to use coupons, and I had a coupon organizer. Now I just stack the coupons on the table, and when I look at the weekly sales flyers for Publix & Kroger, I plan my weekly menu, and use whatever coupons I can. The most I have saved in one trip was $32.00.

Now, when I see my “savings” at the bottom of my receipts, I transfer that amount from my checking account into my savings account. It really adds up.


November 9th, 2010
9:19 am

I have always been thrifty when it comes to spending and have taught my kids the value of being thrifty. My husband and I also teach them about saving and tithing. I started going to get jeans from the thrift store because my boys’ jeans always had holes. They would even get holes in them after I patched them. It was just better to buy jeans for a $1.50 – $3.00 at the thrift store and many are in very nice condition and quality. If you like name brands, you can find them there also. I don’t care much for advertising someone else’s brand. :-)


November 9th, 2010
9:48 am

For every economist who says the recession is over, there is at least one who says the worst is yet to come. Since I am by no means an economic expert, I really don’t know who to believe, but it certainly doesn’t feel like the recession is over. Personally, I’ve always been thrifty, but I definitely do not enjoy shopping anymore. The weak economy and having to live without any form of job security has really changed the way my husband and I look at material things. We were never into status symbols, but we really think about the cost of just about everything before we buy it these days. Sometimes the security of having that money stay in our bank account for a “rainy day” is infinitely more valuable than whatever material item we were thinking of purchasing.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 9th, 2010
10:00 am

Betty — We need to ask new Mom to give us some lessons — she is really awesome at couponing. I will send her a note.

I keep hearing the recession is over but I have more friends in trouble now than ever before. We have friends out of work, friends about lose houses, people who can’t sell houses and are under tremendous stress with double mortgages (had to move to keep a job). I agree with Photius that you had better save, save, save because things may get worse and your turn may come. Our kids are going to have the smallest Christmas they have ever had and we have been preparing them for it (more on that discussion later). We stopped using credit cards for most purchases more than a year ago — we still use them occasionally (I still use my target card because i get money off and also because I invariably return things and never have the receipt so it’s out of convenience) I had to get four new tires last week and I did charge that. but that’s pretty much it. The bad thing is if people aren’t spending the economy won’t get going but until people start feeling more secure about their jobs they aren’t going to spend.


November 9th, 2010
10:21 am

I consider myself REALLY fortunate in the fact that I decided not to return to work after I had my first child 4.5 years ago. THAT move made us get all of our financial ducks in a row -getting rid of credit cards, becoming a coupon and bargain whiz, boiling down purchases to what we really needed vs. what we just wanted, etc. Also, since my children are so young, they haven’t gotten into the habit or idea that they get whatever they want, only certain brands of clothing or shoes will do, and so on. I never wanted to raise them that way anyway, but we’re more focused on bargains for sure!

I’m the rare and lucky individual who got not one, but TWO jobs this year! A full-time position and a work-from-home editing job for an internet-based company. I’m even happier for the last 4 years of frugality, because the old me would have gone nuts spending all of this new income, but the new me is a saver, a coupon freak and an outlet and consignment junkie! Yes, I’ve made some purchases I’ve been waiting quite some time to make, but we have no credit cards and there have been no wild spending sprees. I’ve always been a fan of vintage used clothing, so I still seek that out and we have a great intown neighborhood group of “clothes swappers” going near me where we all bring our shoes, accessories, clothes, and bags that we no longer want and trade them out for other people’s stuff that we do want! It’s FREE!

I go through grocery store ads and adamantly clip coupons. The key to coupons is making sure that you actually need and would buy that item anyway. Many times the store brand is still cheaper and just as good even if you have a coupon for the name brand. I HIGHLY urge you to try ALL store brands! That’s one of the first moves I made when I quit my job 4 years ago, and I’ve been so pleasantly surprised. Truly, there have only been about 3 items I haven’t been pleased with that are store brands. Everything from diapers and baby formula to deodorant, tampons, coffee creamer and cleaning supplies have been top notch from Kroger, Costco, Target and Publix.

So -my advice -DO NOT get credit cards! If you don’t have it, DON’T spend it! If you feel you absolutely must have one for emergencies, get one until you get a sizable amount in a savings account, but keep it in a drawer at home where you won’t be tempted to use it. Also, if your family is hurting and you really must have extra money for something, there’s nothing wrong with waiting tables part time at night a few nights a week or working retail or something like that. There are far better ways to make and get money than charging up credit cards. Take it from a former “credit queen” -I was lucky to never truly get in trouble with them, but I had an insane amount of credit and it took a lot to pay them all off. However, it’s been so liberating and wonderfully nice to know there are no bills other than mortgage, utilities and cars, and no ridiculous interest rates coming in every month! The joy of not having those bills has far outweighed the joy I ever got over buying a bunch of stuff I wanted. Also -CLIP coupons and really watch those grocery store ads. As long as it doesn’t cost you anything, get frequent shopper cards at stores and sign up for any email list from any store where you like to shop. I have an email account JUST for these emails! I also routinely save 30-50% on tons of clothing, shoe and other options. You would be amazed at the amount of realy cute kids’ clothing you can get at the OshKosh and Carter outlet stores when you also get their emails for 10-20% off the outlet prices! And use those store brands!


November 9th, 2010
10:29 am

@TWG -my comment is lost.


November 9th, 2010
10:49 am

You can look at the cars people are driving and tell the economy is NO where near what it use to be. Not only are people not purchasing new cars, they are driving their old ones around with dents and tail lights taped on. The mechanics are loving it right now. They are litterally covered up in work since everyone is fixing their old cars as opposed to purchasing a new car without mechanical issues. The body men are hurting needless to say. When we start noticing every other car as a new one, we’ll know the slump is finally over. Until then, we just keep on ticking and waiting but that’ll be a sure sign that we all will notice without an economist telling us so.


November 9th, 2010
10:58 am

I have alsways been a thrifty shopper..Learned a long time ago that you can buy very good name brand clothes at the thrift store for usually 2-4 dollars..Of course, I’ve never worried about being in style, so that helps also..

@JJ..I have coworker that his wife does the coupon thing at Publix and they usually spend about $30-50 to feed a family of 4 plus two dogs and fish..She goes to 2-3 web sites and prints out coupons, I’m not that
detailed with my coupons..

I never buy books brand new, I get all of mine at the thrift store for $1.00 each..Just bought me a new set of dishes still in the box for $1.01..They had a store tag (Macy’s $59.95), 5 piece set for four..A lot of things that I have bought for Christmas gifts came from the thrift store still new..Like others, I see no reason to shop at the mall..

@MJG..Not sure if you saw it, but I did answer you about lunch..I would love to meet for lunch if you find yourself out this way..I will be on vacation the week of Thanksgiving, other than that any time is great..


November 9th, 2010
11:03 am

I think there’s confusion over what economists refer to as a “recession.” When economists say the recession is over, I believe that means that GDP has increased (or maybe just stopped decreasing, I’m not sure) for two quarters. So it’s more of a technical term, but when regular people think recession, they simply think “hard times,” which obviously we’re still in. The recession being over doesn’t mean that foreclosures are down or employment is up, just that based on GDP, the economy seems to be moving back in a upward direction toward recovery, and unfortunately that still doesn’t mean the recovery will be quick. Think of it like the flu — once you get over the flu and the virus is gone, it can still take a few weeks to recover and get your strength back.

So basically, when “they” say the recession is over, they are not saying that now things are good or that things are getting noticeably better yet for most individuals. Rather, overall, things have gotten a little better the last few quarters. That doesn’t eliminate the possibility of entering a second recession in the next few quarters, but hopefully, we really are starting to slowly climb out of this mess.


November 9th, 2010
11:20 am

I was always cheap and I still am in this economy. I still spend as much money as I used to when economy was good. so no need to change habits. :)


November 9th, 2010
11:21 am

LOVE COUPONS! I have always used coupons here and there but got really serious in August. Iheartpublix.com is my favorite site (she has a companion site for other stores/deals as well) and I also checked out Couponmom.com to learn the systems. You can go to a seminar but I figured it out by visiting a few websites.

In the past two months I’ve been tracking my spending at Publix and have saved 61% off regular prices & 41% of sale prices with the use of coupons. My next step is to start using competitor coupons to see if I can save more. Publix will allow you to stack a manufacturer coupon with a store OR competitor coupon. I also have a ’stockpile’ now so the past couple of weeks I’ve only bought produce or things that spoil and items that were dirt cheap. I expect to see my grocery bill drop way down now that I’m not stockpiling. It’s a good thing I have a big pantry!

One other thing we’ve started doing is planning our menu in advance. On nights we know we are busy with activities, we specifically choose quick meals and then my husband, son and I each choose a night that we are going to cook. The other nights are either the quick meals or we cook together. This has helped as well since we’re not running through the Chick-Fil-A drive through when we’re busy or just can’t figure out what to cook. I plan my shopping list by what we need for the meals and what the best sale items are for the week.

I too keep a folder of store and restaurant coupons in my car though they usually expire before I use them as well because I’m really not a big spender. No big deal to me- I’d rather know they are there in case I need them than get somewhere and realize it’s sitting on the counter at home.

By the way, this does take effort and time. Anyone that tells you they only spend an hour a week on coupons, isn’t saving money like the lady mentioned above. Most of the people on these sites are SAHM but there are some of us who aren’t and do find ways to save. I doubt I’ll ever get to the 90% saving level but then again, even at 50% I’m doing great based on not using coupons and having limited time.


November 9th, 2010
11:24 am

Oops not sure where the “not” came from… *even at 50% I’m doing great based on using coupons and having limited time.


November 9th, 2010
11:28 am

Let God will be done thru this blog http://lightoftheearth.blogspot.com


November 9th, 2010
11:39 am

I cook a lot on the weekends (with the neighbors), and freeze for later. Just last week, I pulled some Beef Stew I made back in August, out for the weekend and shared with the neighbors. YUMMY. Last night was leftover chili my neighbor made on Sunday. Tonight is leftover turkey spaghetti, with a nice fresh salad & some garlic bread.

My neighbor’s husband works until 9:00 so she and I have been having dinner together. We alternate nights. Last night her house, tonight my house.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 9th, 2010
11:46 am

second topic up based on front-page story — hyper-texting equal more sex, drug use????



November 9th, 2010
1:06 pm

We haven’t had to change our shopping habits. I like coupons, search specifically for sales that are things I was going to buy anyway. We still take trips, and go out to eat once or twice a week. I just bought a new car this weekend, but it lowered my car payment and will be cheaper in fuel. I’ve taken pay cuts and furlough days, and it sucks, but when you don’t live above your means in the first place, it makes it a lot easier during times like this!


November 9th, 2010
1:38 pm

JustMy2Cents – good for you on buying a new car!! Things like that are what will drive the overall economy. I also got a new one for $214 a month and don’t have to worry about paying my mechanic 1/2 my paycheck. That guys is kicking butt making $$ right now but he’ll have to make it off someone other than myself now :)


November 9th, 2010
1:54 pm

I have always been frugal as well…it is nice to see others learning that you can still enjoy life even spending less. I am curious if anyone who uses coupons has any comparisons to share about using coupons vs. simply using store brands, such as Kroger or Publix? I find that I mostly purchase things in the store brand- usually Kroger. I also like using the Kroger Plus card. I love the thrift and consignment stores. It’s such a thrill when you find something great and only spend a couple of dollars for it.


November 9th, 2010
2:45 pm

I hear you LD…they charge outrageous amounts.


November 9th, 2010
3:16 pm

We certainly do not use as much food now since ours are both at college. But I have used over $50 many times…in coupons.

The BOGO at Publix is awesome too. I am not the coupon queen my Mom was but I try to do a big shop once a month and save $50….that is $600 in a year. Sometimes Kroger has great sales too and you can buy things in bulk.

I also always use coupons to rent my cars and since I rent almost 100 days per year, I save at least $2000 there, for my business. You also get free days when you are loyal to one company….I use National and get another 10 or so days for free each year. We rent a car to take a trip and do not put the miles on our car.

Then there are the restaurant coupons….at least $10 per week and that would be another $500 in a year. I belong to all hotel clubs I use and get most of the nights for our vacation for FREE. As I mentioned before, I have almost 1 million points with Hilton. I use their American Express for my business. I could take 4 people on a cruise FOR FREE with those points.
You just have to be on the lookout for things that work for you. I am not as organized as some but I do know where I can rack up the savings.


November 9th, 2010
3:17 pm

Becky…are you up for lunch on Tuesday? Shoot me and e-mail…


November 9th, 2010
3:18 pm

@ MJG…you should point out to the kids that they better not pay full price on the stone or the engraving either. ;)


November 9th, 2010
3:39 pm

@FCM….I just read an article about how more folks are cremating and saving the money in the will for themselves and not to bury the deceased in a fancy coffin…no biggy here….LOL.


November 9th, 2010
4:27 pm

We may be the ultimate in cheap. Haven’t changed much in 10 years. I rarely use grocery coupons because I only buy store brands or unbranded items (cheaper, nearly always, than national brands with coupons) and look for coupons that activate at time of purchase (same day meat coupons, for example). We cook vegetarian dinners – beans, grains, pasta – four times a week.

Clothes shopping two times a year for my child (about $250 per time), once every two years for me (about $350), although I have a lot of “classic” clothes that I’ve had for 10 years and still wear. Shop for quality and pay a reasonable amount for items that will hold up for 2-5 years. I don’t like consignment only because, like discount stores (TJ MAXX), you spend a lot of time looking and little time buying, so in the end, I can use the time to make money working rather than spending gas money in multiple trips to the store. I also sew and knit clothing and gifts – spend maybe $150 a year on materials. A good hobby – cheaper than golf and productive, too. Daughter sews too and has started to pick up commissions (friends who want her to sew for them).

We never ate out more than once a month, and only for dinner – we pack all our lunches and even our coffee for work – always have. Look for functional, inexpensive furniture, usually from Target or a used furniture store. Use credit cards for everything and pay off every bill every month, earning us about $500 per year in tax-free cash back on expenditures. Use the library for music and books. When traveling by car, leave early in day so no overnight stays in hotels. When traveling for vacation, tack on days to work trips, saving airfare so we only pay extra hotel days and meals. When on vacation, we tend to walk rather than take cabs or rent cars.

Cut and color my own hair (I get more compliments now than I did when I paid a stylist), wax my own brows. Daughter had a free spa treatment as a gift, and now does nails and facials for herself and me. We spend about $30 a month in supplies. Again, more compliments now than when I had my nails done professionally (the one time I did it).

We pay by the call for cell phone – no contracts, no expensive phone, no data service. Helps us stay off the phone for frivolous calls, although we don’t have a business that demands phone service, so you might not be able to cut there. We don’t have a pet, which also saves a lot, from what people tell me.

If you want to live frugally, you need to think more about what you really *need* than how to get all the things you *want* less expensively. The former is a lifestyle shift.

Economic realist

November 9th, 2010
4:54 pm

There was never a real time for excess spending, debt, etc. There was no real prosperity. It has all been artificially created through the zero interest policies and printing press of the Federal Reserve. There was no equity in your home to borrow. It was all an illusion created to enhance the bottom line of the criminal banking industry that runs this country.

The time has always been, but certainly is now, the time to save, buy gold and silver, and pay off debt. Consumption does not fuel an economy. Savings does. The Keynesians have been wrong since their failed policies caused and prolonged the first Depression.

Yes, if your habits have not changed, they must. Putting off consumption now makes your savings available to those who can grow businesses in anticipation of your spending in the future. Without savings you end up with what we have now – nobody with any money to spend on products created by companies that were artificially able to borrow money that should not have been available.

Be happy you are being frugal. That is how a society grows. Debt is how a society fails. Our ever-increasing government debt is still to show its true impact on our economy. The fall for america will be great and will make 2008 and even the 30’s seem like a cake walk.

Economic realist

November 9th, 2010
5:00 pm

If you really want to save money, stop all airline travel. The new porno scanners not only give perverts a clear view of your naked body but that of your children as well. If that isn’t bad enough, the radiation emitted have never been fully tested in climical trials for safety. If you “opt out”, then you will be subjected to a thorough (yes, breasts, genitals, etc.) pat down of your body (and your kids too). Send a letter to the airlines and your congressional representatives to tell them you will not tollerate this kind of treatment. The Israeli airports don’t use these machines because they know they are worthless. But then the former head of DHS Michael Chertoff makes a ton of money on every machine sold so you KNOW why we have them. It certainly isn’t about safety.

Grocery Shop For FREE!

November 9th, 2010
5:58 pm

We have definitely had to find ways to make cut-backs and try to save money. I’m just glad we were able to find different ways to save and keep a little more money in our wallets.

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November 10th, 2010
7:48 am

i know this is late and no one will probably read back lol…but i have to say…i think JJ mentioned it…i take all my receits and any money i saved i transfer to a savings account. all the store value cards savings…my discount at work…anytime there is a savings on the receit i put it in savings…you would be surprised (i sure was) at how fast it adds up and it really helps to know that you are saving money. i put it into a holiday account that i cant touch until october. sometimes im really broke and cant…but i save the receits and transfer it when im able to.