Wednesday, February 18, 2009

When to Spend More Money Than Usual

Although I go out to eat a lot, I have always cut costs in other departments, and could never understand why people would spend a lot of money on, say, household products or shampoo. My hair gets clean whether I use Suave or Aveda, so who cares? It seems like almost all of my friends (and some of my family members - our generation, not the baby boomers), prefer quality, pricey products over the frugal stuff.

Before moving to Madison, there were about four things I preferred to purchase that were of higher value: Chap stick, make-up, paper towels and razors. I have to use Burt's Bees chap stick because it is the only stuff that works. I swear. MAC make-up, because it seems to stay on all day long. And, expensive razors can last for up to 6 months, and do a phenomenal job of leaving the skin sooo smooth. Bounty paper towels are thick, and they also last me a long time because one paper towel can dust my whole place.

Now, the sociologist in me would ask "what is your definition of expensive?" and even more, "what products are you referring to?" Where is the line drawn? Yes, I like nice bags. I have a lot of Coach purses. I enjoy a good wine. I prefer to buy mostly organic foods. But I am talking about household products here.

I never understood why people preferred fancy dishwasher soaps, deodorant, toothpaste, etc., when you can get all of that stuff at the dollar store. I mean, we are in a recession, aren't we? Well, I have a new found appreciation for this stuff. Let me explain. Meyer's cleaning supplies is a must. The products are natural, environmentally friendly, are not tested on animals, were created by an American woman, I believe they are made in our country, and they smell divine. It is worth the money. Tom's of Maine toothpaste is another product I just purchased for the first time. It has the same philosophy as Meyer's. No animal cruelty, all natural, and the company believes in using sustainable products. I have also upgraded to fancier coffees. Alterra is very popular in Madison, as it is based out of Milwaukee. They participate in fair trade, which, most Madisonians like to contribute to. The coffee just tastes better.

Part of the concept of going "upscale" with these products is to continue to circulate the dollar in my country. If I can't help with a bail out, which I can't, at least I can assist with keeping the money here. The solution to our economic problem isn't that simple, but if you do not support businesses that outsource their jobs overseas, and who keep their money in our country, it is a start. Which is why I stopped shopping at Walmart. But that's for another posting altogether.

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