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Thread summary:

American’s adjusting to down economy, decreasing spending, thrift store shopping, American’s becoming fiscally conservative, improving daily spending habits, sale shopping

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Old 12-17-2008, 08:48 AM
 
Location: SE Florida
9,367 posts, read 25,102,532 times
Reputation: 9449

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Like many, my family and I have changed many of our habits in response to the economy. But more and more I am realizing that many of the changes will stay with us beyond this down turn.

For instance, I used to go to major chains first when looking for clothing- Dillards, Chicos- while I always tried to find things on sale first, they were my first stop when looking for clothes for work or play.

Now I have a new favorite- a thrift store. There I have purchased new clothes for work, but also some very nice used items. And I am finding that I don't have to forego my desire for some of my favorite brands. Last week I picked up a Chico's jacket for under five bucks.

When looking for winter coats for my kids, it wasn't Land's End that I turned to, but the thrift store. Found coats that both kids love and spent under $25for both.

Orange juice- always bought Tropicana or similar cartons. I recently began getting frozen concentrate and my kids love it- say it tastes like Sunny D!

I have no doubt that things will improve for our country, though not in the near future. And I am wondering how the changes in our buying habits, changes that will remain permanent for many, will affect the turnaround. Surely they will slow it down.

A post by Riveree in the Jacksonville forum captured my thoughts perfectly:

I too think that a new American era is on the rise and a change in how we approach housing is only the tip of the iceberg.

What are some changes that you have made that will become permanent?
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:42 AM
 
52 posts, read 193,701 times
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We always had a budget for our monthly expenses but when paying with credit cards (we don't carry over the debt to next month) we would always go over a bit in each category. Well all those little overages really added up. This down turn got us to take those seriously, once and for all.

So now we are cash in envelopes type of family. We go to the store with cash.
I got to say it is really really hard to justify a little overage with cash.

We even have in Internet purchase envelope to has to be 'paid' before the purchase is made.

There are some drawbacks to cash...

1. Having a lot of cash on hand
2. Having it at home when you need it out
3. Getting it out of the bank
4. Not getting "rewards" from the credit card

..though most are resolved by a little bit of planning.

Oh. I tend to fix things and solve problems with available resources rather than just replacing them. I'm in a long battle with the garbage man over the treatment of our cans, I refuse to buy a new can!

And finally: Harbor Freight is my first stop now for man tools.
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Orlando
8,176 posts, read 18,453,735 times
Reputation: 49863
I've been a tightwad for awhile.
At 1st out of necessity, now just a habit.

I love the thrift stores! I have never purchased brand new furniture from a retail store. My entire house with the exception of the mattresses, has been bought at yard sales, thrift store or gifts.

I do have a problem with impulse purchases. I've had to learn to curb them.

Not so long ago we had to watch every penny just to pay for the necessities. Now we do it just to make sure we have "play" money.
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Looking over your shoulder
31,304 posts, read 32,700,452 times
Reputation: 84471
Lightbulb an old way is coming back again.

HIF

I agree!,,, Americans are on the move for something better and different in our lives. It’s good that we’re not as wasteful as we have been over the last few decades. I’m remember now how Mom and Dad made things work for our family and it was much better then. You don’t just throw out an item without giving it some thought that others (friends and neighbors) might have a need for it first.

Dad always bought his work shirts at a second hand store for 25 cents each. He said if he damaged the shirt – it was not a problem just throw it away then. It made logical to do that then and it’s that way now.

I think (if not now soon) there will be a internet website that will “match” men and women for size and style of clothing. People can then exchange items after they get tired of wearing them. Shoes, shirts, dresses, pants etc can all be exchanged with others.
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Old 12-17-2008, 01:00 PM
 
28,803 posts, read 47,419,717 times
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We have changed some things. We still do our "big ticket" items the same as we used to, but we worry about quality so we have a tendency to spend more there.

We aren't eating out near as much. From 6-8 times a month to 1 or 2. Drinking a lot less. I enjoy a good buzz, but it is secondary to anything else. She is changing the way she cooks. When she makes things like Chili she makes more than she used to so we have more meals from it. We are certainly shopping more sales, and putting off some things that we don't really need, but would have bought anyway last year (new work slacks for me as an example). We dropped all the movie channels from cable and switched to Netflx. It costs less and we find ourselves watching more movies!

I continue to fix and make as much as possible. My wife claims I am a Renaissance man in that regard. I just seem to be able to "fix" things for some reason and can build almost anything, including a house. We estimate that over the last three summers I have saved us about $10,000.00 by tearing off and building a new deck, placing 150+ stepping stones down each side of our house, hauling in (over two summers) 9 1/2 tons of 1" gravel, and rebuilding the back corner of our lot.

We bought her a "retirement" sewing machine that was very expensive, but it includes embroidery and quilting functions. It should last the rest of her life. Instead of buying a table for $600 or more for it we found a video on the Internet that showed us how to make one for less than $150 out of folding tables from Sams Club, foam insulation from Lowes (they even cut the 4x8 sheets down to 2x4 for us at no cost) and a sheet of vinyl!

We're not feeling deprived, but we are certainly spending less money than we used to. In fact we are having a meeting this weekend to go over our budget again to see if it can be trimmed some more.

Like others our spending habits are changing. Now that we have a number of expensive items out of the way things will really change next year. No vacations are planned for one thing. Maybe, just maybe, a weekend getaway or two...

Last edited by Tek_Freek; 12-17-2008 at 01:12 PM..
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Old 12-17-2008, 03:31 PM
 
13,640 posts, read 24,385,756 times
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I haven't really had to change the way I shop because as far as myself I was never very materialistic, but I am more careful now in making sure to turn off lights when not in use, using the clothesline as much as possible and cutting out all my "joy rides" My H has come out of retirement and gone back to work to pay for his ebay and QVC habitsHe has a hard time giving up not getting all the new gadgets and "stuff", but is really trying
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Old 12-17-2008, 03:44 PM
 
Location: Where the real happy cows reside!
4,279 posts, read 10,329,507 times
Reputation: 10472
Believe it or not caring about the enviroment has a big impact on the wallet. I don't buy paper or plastic products (paper towels, cups, trash bags etc), I collect rainwater in barrels, compost, use old t-shirts and socks for cleaning, turn off lights and electronics and unplug at the wall when not in use ... the list goes on. I was taught all this growing up in a family of six with a single parent who had a very tight budget. I'm thankful that I watched and learned.
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Old 12-18-2008, 12:04 AM
 
Location: Coachella Valley, California
15,639 posts, read 40,873,847 times
Reputation: 13465
[quote=HIF;6597018]Like many, my family and I have changed many of our habits in response to the economy. But more and more I am realizing that many of the changes will stay with us beyond this down turn.

For instance, I used to go to major chains first when looking for clothing- Dillards, Chicos- while I always tried to find things on sale first, they were my first stop when looking for clothes for work or play.

Now I have a new favorite- a thrift store. There I have purchased new clothes for work, but also some very nice used items. And I am finding that I don't have to forego my desire for some of my favorite brands. Last week I picked up a Chico's jacket for under five bucks.

When looking for winter coats for my kids, it wasn't Land's End that I turned to, but the thrift store. Found coats that both kids love and spent under $25for both.

Orange juice- always bought Tropicana or similar cartons. I recently began getting frozen concentrate and my kids love it- say it tastes like Sunny D!

I have no doubt that things will improve for our country, though not in the near future. And I am wondering how the changes in our buying habits, changes that will remain permanent for many, will affect the turnaround. Surely they will slow it down.

A post by Riveree in the Jacksonville forum captured my thoughts perfectly:

I too think that a new American era is on the rise and a change in how we approach housing is only the tip of the iceberg.

What are some changes that you have made that will become permanent?[/QUOTE]

Well ... I will never, ever invest in real estate again!
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Old 12-18-2008, 01:14 AM
 
3,459 posts, read 5,743,124 times
Reputation: 6677
Its good to see other people learning to find ways to save money, but for them to keep doing it as a way of life, they still have to find ways to spoil themselves. The OP finding nice clothes at a thrift store is a great example.

I like to check the meat isle every time I go to the grocery store. I won't pay $10-15 for a ribeye or T-bone, but I'll happily splurge $5 for a good steak that's about to go past its expiration date. Even if I'm not planning to eat it right away, they're fine to freeze.

Craigslist is a good place to find some bigger purchases like furniture, cars, etc. You have to be patient, and quick when you see a good deal, but they're out there.
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Old 12-18-2008, 04:46 AM
 
Location: in the southwest
13,396 posts, read 44,840,809 times
Reputation: 13598
I can't think of anything I have changed, but that's because we're already thrifty, I already haunt the thrift stores, and we've never eaten out that much, we already recycle etc.

I used to have cleaning help in Denver; I haven't had that for 3 years now.

Basically, a lot of the changes people are either feeling or making, we already felt and made two years ago when the husband got laid off.
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