Shopping

Bulk Buying versus Clutter

I’m an enormous fan of buying many things in bulk. I make no bones about it. You can save a lot of money if you buy nonperishables in bulk as well as if you bulk buy perishables that you’re sure to use up. The challenge is that if you’re buying quite a few different things …

Categories: Frugality, Shopping

Do Amazon Mail Order Subscriptions Save Money?

When I buy household products, I look at the cost per unit before everything else. I try to figure out the cost per ounce, the cost per bag, and so on whenever I examine an item. Usually, my comparisons end up looking at the cost of the item at our local warehouse club versus the …

Categories: Shopping

Does Amazon Prime Actually Save Money?

Charlie wrote in with an interesting question. I wanted to see if you could run the numbers on this. My family is considering signing up for a year of Amazon Prime for $80. I can see a lot of situations where it would save us a little bit of money, but I don’t know if …

Categories: Shopping

Stop Justifying Your Spending Yes’s

Imagine, for a moment, that you’re standing in a store. You’re holding an item you want in your hand. As you look at that item, thoughts are running through your head. Usually, you’ve already decided whether or not to buy the item. Usually, you’re just trying to reinforce the decision you’ve already essentially made. If …

Categories: Shopping

Online Buying, Impulse Control, and Amazon.com

Recently, I listened to a story on NPR (for the life of me, I can’t find a link to it on their website) where developers at Amazon.com were discussing their goal in shaving seconds off of the time it takes for a person to come to their site with a desire in their head and …

Overcoming the Power of Branding and Brand Preferences

“Having preferences means having weaknesses.” – Magnus Carlsen, currently the number one rated chess player in the world Thanks to Adria Richards for the picture Over the years, Sarah and I have relied on Cascade Complete to get our dishes clean. We’d tried a lot of different dishwashing detergents, particularly when we were first living …

How to Find Good Stuff at Goodwill (and Other Secondhand Stores)

I’ve mentioned quite often that I tend to shop at Goodwill/consignment shops/secondhand stores for various items. Whenever I mention this, I tend to get a bunch of responses along the lines of this message from Tessa: How do you find anything good at Goodwill? Whenever I go into one, all I find is a lot …

My Top Tactics for Reducing Online Shopping

I find it very easy to buy stuff online without adequate thought. I’ll click a few times and suddenly the item I want is on the way. I particularly struggle with three sites directly connected to three of my biggest hobbies: Amazon (for books), Cool Stuff Inc. (for board games), and Steam (for computer games …

Categories: Shopping

15 Shopping Rules of Thumb

I recently read a wonderful post over at The Technium containing twelve simple shopping rules of thumb for various products, mostly technology related. Some of them are great. A few of them are outdated. I find I use some of them myself; here are the ones I really find value in: Pay for RAM, not …

Some Thoughts on Product Placement

Please take a moment and watch this YouTube video before we get started. I’d embed it here, but the person who uploaded it has disallowed embedding of the video. If you’re unable to watch, the video is a series of clips from the movie Transformers, showing the absurd amount of product placement within the film …

Categories: Shopping

Cost and Quality

I’ll start this post out by showing you three chef’s knives from my kitchen. The top chef’s knife is a loose one that I picked up for $0.50 or so at a yard sale more than a decade ago – I’m unsure even what type it is. It’s serviceable, but it loses its edge fairly …

Categories: Shopping

The Egg Nog Dilemma

This past week, we spent quite a bit of time visiting Sarah’s parents. Her mother kindly bought several items that I would be able to eat or drink throughout the week in advance of our visit (yes, I actually like my mother in law!). One of the things she picked up for me was a …

Categories: Food, Frugality, Shopping

My “Reverse” Black Friday

This pre-Thanksgiving year is the time in which the internet seems to be abuzz with what various retailers are going to have on steep discount on “Black Friday” in order to get people in the door. For those not from the United States, Thanksgiving is a national holiday that occurs on the fourth Thursday in …

Categories: Shopping

Degrees of Want

Two days ago, I wrote an article discussing the damage done to my often-used iPod Touch and my decision-making process when it comes to a replacement for it. A great many of you encouraged me to straight-up replace my iPod Touch with a new one, and I appreciate the comments. I thought I’d walk a …

Categories: Shopping

Degrees of Want

I received an iPod Touch as a Christmas gift in 2008. Since then, I have used and absued the thing at a level perhaps beyond what Apple ever intended. I’ve used it as a constant pocket notebook. I’ve used it as a podcast and music player every time I go on a walk (usually several …

Categories: Shopping

Subconscious Connections

Open up one of your favorite magazines. Turn to a full page ad for a product – any product. Look at it carefully for a minute. What do you see? Fire up your television. Fast forward through the commercials (I know many of you can). Think about the flickering images that still made it through. …

Paying for Meaningless Words and Phrases

Every time I go shopping for a food item or a household item, I’m always bombarded with all sorts of nonsensical and largely meaningless terms plastered all over products. The words are often tied to products that, frankly, I view as overpriced for various reasons. I decided to catalogue a few of these wonderful meaningless …

Buying with Confidence: Reviews, Trust, and Accountability

A few weeks ago, in the July 2010 issue of Bon App├ętit, Andrew Knowlton succinctly summed up the way I feel about trusted and untrusted reviews: If I’m curious as to whether a restaurant is worth trying out or not, I don’t consult sites like Yelp – I ask a friend. That way, I can …

What You’re Buying When You Go to a Store

Why do you shop at your preferred grocery store? Think about it for a minute. What reasons do you have for shopping at one store over another? Is it purely the prices? What about the location – is it because it’s close to your home? Cleanliness (like my Aldi story a while back)? Store organization? …