Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Compromises I Make: Trading Up & Down The Consumer Chain

Life is a menu and I don't have the time, money or energy to sample every item.
So I have established priorities. Basically in some areas I'm not willing to compromise on quality (trading up), but in other consumer categories, I care less about quality and more about price. In those areas, I have traded down.

Those concepts are featured in the books Trading up and Treasure Hunt by Michael Silverstein (with John Butman).

After reading Treasure Hunt for a book review assignment, (not related or linked to this post), I made my own list of where I trade up and down in my buying decisions:

Groceries:
I Trade down for basic products and household items. (I use private labels and loss leaders and coupons.)
I Trade up for organic produce. (I pay more for organic fruits and veggies, but I have cut costs by joining an organic food coop.)

Hair Care
Trade down with DIY haircuts & braiding
Trade down for hair care products: We use mostly Suave brands ($1 on sale) or some other discount promotion.

Makeup/Personal Care
Trade up for some "green" and healthier products
Trade down for most cosmetics and creams: I've dropped makeup products with unhealthy ingredients and I've tried to find safe and frugal drug store choices.

Vacations:

Luxury for less. I look for off-season deals at upscale resorts.
We have also gone on a cruise with my parents and relied on family assistance for other posh vacations.
In Orlando, we saved money by staying with family.

Clothing:

Luxury for less: I love finding expensive clothes at steep off-season prices. It's my red-tag only strategy. Best deal: $60 skirt for $6 at Ann Taylor

Transportation:
Trading down: My husband drives a used minivan and we save thousands by using just one car. I use public transportation, car pools and I walk a lot.

Tax planning:
Trading up: Nixing the DIY tax-route. I'm hiring a professional.

Meanwhile:

I'm re-evaluating my trading up/down approach to banking, entertainment, utilities, and other areas.








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2 comments:

nancy said...

very cool approach to evaluating what's worth spending more, or less, on. Somewhat similar Madame X in New York (I forget her blog) who evaluates purchases according to if it's something that is important to enjoy now (eg. skiing) or would be better off enjoying in her senior years (eg. a cruise). Thanks for putting your own style out there! I love any kind of intentionality about money.

Frugal Duchess: Sharon Harvey Rosenberg said...

Thanks Nancy! I appreciate your comments so much. I'll have to check out that Madame X post at "My Open Wallet." Thanks for the tip and the feedback.