Living on Frugal Street

Canada’s National Post has a piece entitled Changing Fortunes: Take a trip down Frugal Street. Here they write:

The economic slowdown is certain to change the way we shop — and that might not be a bad things. The world might not suffer with fewer bags of pre-cut, pre-washed, pre-peeled carrots. Some goes for those expensive toys. Why did it ever make sense to spend $100 (plus extra outfits and accessories) for a child’s doll? Sakes [sic] are already dropping in some areas — fashion and cars took a hit in August, according to the latest figured from Statistics Canada. This month, the Conference Board of Canada released a report showing that people’s faith in the economy is at its lowest level in nearly three decades. The National Post spoke to retail analysts and business insiders to get a sense of how the new economy is expected to reorder which products and services do well and which ones drop off the shopping list. — Julie Smyth, National Post

What is worthwhile reading is this graphic that the National Post created summarizing where Canadians are likely going to be pinching pennies.

In reading examining the chart, I can only conclude that Canadians will be half-hearted penny pincher’s. They write, for example:

One Double Espresso, Then Office Sludge. Canadians will still allow themselves at least one nice coffee a day a small luxury when we can’t afford much else. So Starbucks and other high-priced coffee sellers will continue to get our business, but may not get as many repeal visits. [A true Penny Pincher would limit their high-priced coffees to once a week, and only if meeting friends and getting some other value out of it.]

Hold the Phone. Canadians are not willing to give up their cellphones or Blackberrys. [In other words, they are still willing to spend to much money as cellphone plans in Canada are quite expensive, especially when compared to what we would be paying in the United States.]

DIY Food. Convenience products, such as pre-washed, pre-peeled, pre-cut vegetables, packages of ready-made scalloped potatoes and bagged, ready-to-eat lettuce, became a multimillion-dollar industry when times were good. But experts say they could fall off shopping lists. [As they should as they are the bane of penny pinching.]

Eating out, at home. Analysts say one big saving most Canadian will make is less eating out a nice restaurants. Some people will trade down to lower-end eateries…. As a trade-off, we will pick up more prepared meals at the supermarket or local food shops… “We’ll bring our own lunch to work,” says analyst Len Kubas. Brown bagging will become fashionable, he says. [In other words, Canadians will be reluctant penny pinchers, saving because they have to, spending where they still can.]

The transition from spendthrift ways and penny pinching will not be easy as we define ourselves through out spending habits. The National Post has a brilliant piece of analysis featured in their series, and I will post this in my next post.

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