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Wealth & Economics > Is a search for 'cheaper' a new way of life?

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16056 comments There were times, when people were not bothered by a resolution of spending a few dollars/pounds/euros/whatever less or more on certain things. The small amounts were not on the consciousness.
Well, I argue these times have changed! The reasons are multiple: the financial crisis and ensuing hardships many experience in making the ends meet, the eroding middle class, the feeling that we are often being overcharged, maybe even subliminal resistance to being manipulated by vendors and manufacturers. As a result more and more people (and not necessarily needy) are engaged nowadays in previously unfamiliar calculations where and how to save or pay less. BTW, I argue that many rich people were always like this, which ultimately helped them to become rich -:)
This tendency has a strong and immediate response in the business world:
low- cost flights and coffee chains, airbnb, uber, sharing economy in general. Search for free and discounted books maybe too?
Now, the above may be just my hung-over thoughts after a couple of single-malts last evening or does it ring true to you? -:)

message 2: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2328 comments People are funny...we do in fact run around looking to save a few pennies on a lot of things. Coupon use has absolutely spiked in the last few years. Driving half-way across the city to save an extra penny on gas has been going on for so long it's a stereotype at this point.

Yet people still spend money on things without giving it a second thought. Starbucks is one example I could go on and on about. And there is the new trend of K-cup coffee. People pay such a premium for coffee and they don't give it a second thought. Look at the real estate market when it comes to new construction and builders are throwing so many features into the homes to drive up prices - and people love it. Do you really need 3k or even 4k square feet of space?

Furniture buying has become a seasonal pastime as if people were buying clothes to match the summer fashions, and lately, it seems mattresses are something people have to constantly trade in. There was a car commercial where the actor says he's been with the brand for so many years and owned a number of cars, but when you think about it, it works out to a new car every two years - and that pretty much sums up how we view cars these days.

I would always argue that while the government and certain policies are driving the death of the middle class, the people do themselves no favors with their spending habits.

Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) My husband and I are statistics in this crisis. He lost a good-paying job over 3 years ago and only found a low-paying temporary job in January. I lost a well-paying job New Years Eve. We have to pay COBRA for health insurance. It's like making another mortgage payment. Besides the fact we both have health issues and are on daily medication, in the U.S. it is a federal law you must have health insurance, or you will be fined thousands of dollars.

As you stated J.J., I also believe manufacturers are making products more disposable so they will break sooner and you'll have to buy another one, such as cars, computers, printers, DVD players, cell phones, etc. And speaking of cell phones, let's not forget that some people are of the mindset they must always have the latest and greatest technology.

Don't get me started. I just shake my head sadly at it all.

message 4: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11778 comments When I was younger, people were more cautious about spending, and spent a lot more time looking at what they spent money on. They expected things to last, and be repairable. Now, there is the tendency to just throw things away when something goes wrong, in part because the way they are made they tend to be very near unfixable. I find computers to be a real pest - every five years they seem to have become museum pieces.

message 5: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) @Sir Ian: *whispers* This is your conscience...

Buy a Mac ^_~

message 6: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11778 comments Annie wrote: "@Sir Ian: *whispers* This is your conscience...

Buy a Mac ^_~"

Actually, I use Macs, and have since 1986. I have a collection going back that far that still work, not that the early ones are useful for much :-)

message 7: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) *Squeeee**hugs Sir Ian**more squeees*

Ha! I knew there was something I liked about ya!!!!

message 8: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11778 comments Yay! Someone likes me!! Hugs back!

message 9: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16056 comments Ian wrote: "Someone likes me!!"

We are many, Ian

message 10: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16056 comments J.J. wrote: "the people do themselves no favors with their spending habits..."

Diagnosis: Encouraged exalted consumerism, I guess... Easily contracted, no vaccination, conspired together with big pharma -:)

message 11: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2328 comments Ian wrote: "When I was younger, people were more cautious about spending, and spent a lot more time looking at what they spent money on. They expected things to last, and be repairable. Now, there is the tende..."

The biggest problem I run into with computers is the death of the power supply. It was always a cheap and easy enough fix until I felt the computer was old enough to replace anyway. My laptop died the other day (almost certain it's the internal power supply) but when I opened it up to search for it, I find everything is practically fused the mother board, so I would have to replace the entire internal workings just for the power supply.

I figured it was time to update anyway, and just bought a new laptop, but when I went to open it up hoping I could insert the old hard drive to retrieve some files, I can't figure out how to get it open. The screws come out, but the case won't come apart unless I want to completely shatter it...WTF. It's not just that they make everything so cheap and fragile, but now they make it so you cannot work on it if you were inclined to...

message 12: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11778 comments The biggest problem I see with all this is the way we are burning through resources. The touch screen of the iPad type computer has already burned through half the current supply of indium, and it is not really being recycled. We won't actually run out, but it will get extremely expensive eventually, and there is no substitute for an element, and so far, nothing else has been found that does what the necessary indium compound does. Of course we don't have to have touch screens, but do we have to burn through a resource on something so relatively trivial?

message 13: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16056 comments Ian wrote: "Of course we don't have to have touch screens, but do we have to burn through a resource on something so relatively trivial?..."

'After us, the deluge' has been a guiding principle of many generations, hasn't it? -:)

message 14: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16056 comments Just how thoroughly do you compare prices?

message 15: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11778 comments For me, not very. For most things, I value my time more than the small amounts I would save.

message 16: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6171 comments If I can save $10 for 10 minutes of comparison shopping, and I often do, that's a pretty big return on my investment. It's easy to do online.

message 17: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16056 comments Is it?

message 18: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 301 comments The original post asked about discounted books. One thing I usually buy new are books. Occasionally I will go to our library sales, but I feel like I'm paying to support the library and for a "read" because I usually wind up re-donating them. But I buy new books all the time.
Many years ago, I was watching a TV interview with two actors who were promoting their movie and talked about how they became friends on the set, and one of them said the other gave this piece of advice: Never buy retail.
And there was a book published years ago, called "The Millionaire Next Door" which talked about these people who seemed like "average Joes" but who probably had accumulated millions in net worth because of habits of economy - they bought used cars, did as many of their own home repairs as possible, shopped at sales, never took lavish vacations.

message 19: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6171 comments Heck no, Nik. That was in 2018! These days I'm lucky to save a couple of dollars by comparing prices. Thanks, Joe Biden :-)

message 20: by Jim (new)

Jim Vuksic | 176 comments The quality of any product is more important than price when making a purchasing decision.

In 1970 my late wife and i purchased a 4-piece bedroom set for $900. Friends and relatives opined that we had paid far too much.

Today, 52 years later, that bedroom set still looks new. The way I look at it that furniture cost me $17.30 a year.

message 21: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11778 comments I think price vs quality has been a question ever since we started trading.

message 22: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6171 comments I get that, Jim, about things like furniture. But that doesn't apply to buying groceries. Comparing prices makes sense for consumable goods. I still consult the weekly circulars before I go to the grocery store, and prices for everything there are up. What's Joe doing about that?

message 23: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie | 1847 comments Before tech, I couponed and compared the sales pages for prices. With tech, I go through the app before and during grocery shopping. I saved more before the tech - in 2000 I averaged 32% savings but the past 5 years only 24%.

I research everything from cookware to computers. That is where quality has to be weighed against cost. I applaud Jim. (Personally, I get frustrated and annoyed because things don't last like they used to.) I spent a year researching which new TV to buy in 2017, While being on disability allows me the luxury of searching and waiting, I have been that way most of my adult life.

In 2010 my boss got tired of waiting for my research to end and said pick a tablet now. My Christmas present in 2012 was my first flat screen TV. He had learned and just took me to Best Buy and asked which one of several looked best to me; bought it; took it to my house; and said Merry Christmas.

When research was more difficult it was reserved for bigger purchases. I remember researching computers before having a computer in order to recommend to my attorney what he should get to initially computerize the office in the late 80s. That was fun.

message 24: by J. (new)

J. Gowin | 4576 comments Here's a funny one.

Omega and Swatch partnered to create an Omega Speedmaster with a quartz movement at an affordable price.

The Speedmaster is a watch of which I love the look and history, and at $260.00 USD the Omega x Swatch is about as close as I can afford to it. Unfortunately, the speculators have already bought out the stores. The watches are now going for thousands on ebay.

message 25: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11778 comments Swatch et al. should make more. There is a clear demand.

message 26: by J. (new)

J. Gowin | 4576 comments Ian wrote: "Swatch et al. should make more. There is a clear demand."

There is a limit to how many cheap Swatch Speedmasters Omega will allow to be made. They don't want to lower the price of the real thing.

message 27: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11778 comments Capitalism in action, frustrating the betterment of the average guy :-)

message 28: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6171 comments Biden proposes a new way of life: green energy. Is it cheaper?

message 29: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11778 comments Scout wrote: "Biden proposes a new way of life: green energy. Is it cheaper?"

No. It is clearly more expensive. That is why it has not been generally adopted.

message 30: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6171 comments Actually, Biden has declared war on oil in favor of green energy. That's why we have such high gas prices which affect prices across the board and make it difficult for the common man to make ends meet. He jumped the gun, in my opinion. We're still a country dependent on oil, and his policies ignore that fact.

message 31: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11778 comments So-called green energy has a big problem in doing anything in a hurry, or in a coordinated way. Further, we have "green" energy. Thus NZ makes about 75% of its electricity through hydro, but the greenies block any proposal to put in new dams! Wind farms get blocked in many places because of the noise or dead birds. Solar so far provides about 2% of the world electricity. It is easy to say these things - doing it is much more difficult.

message 32: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6171 comments Yes, doing it is difficult. Why doesn't Biden see that, instead of going forward killing the oil industry before we're ready to be oil independent? It seems like a stupid, economy-killing move. He should back up on this until we're ready economically.

message 33: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11778 comments My guess is he has taken aspirational as something to be done, but I suspect he will backtrack before long.

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