Saturday, June 19, 2010

Stretching your dollar

From time to time, you will notice me recommending products, books, clothes and the like - things on which one might spend money. Let me say up front that I do not advocate the LET'S SHOP FOR FUN! philosophy that some bloggers do. I believe that rampant consumerism is a huge problem in today's society, leading people to submerge themselves in debt and our landfills in junk. And, if you are someone coping with a chronic or life threatening illness, you have likely taken a financial hit. Now more than ever we must make careful choices on how we spend money.

If you have to spend money, do it mindfully. That means shop used (Craigslist, garage sales) before new, and reduced (sales, liquidation stores) before retail. Buy local before imported and quality before crap. And do your research first. That means reading comments from previous buyers when you buy online and checking out performance reviews on sites like Consumer Reports, Cooks Illustrated and Epinions. If you are looking at a site like Etsy for quality, handcrafted art, clothes and gifts, remember to checkout the feedback left by previous customers.

Please know that if I recommend a product or website, I strive to follow these rules. And when I learn about new and better ways to help you save money, I will pass them along here.

And for the love of all things holy, please don't let all the fashion, home decorating and beauty websites feed any sense of dissatisfaction with yourself or your life. Be happy with what you have, or get crafty and make stuff you love. Plant some seeds, paint a wall, frame a child's artwork. Stop letting people sell you things that they think you need. Take back control of how you spend your money.

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