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How we're failing Home Ec 101

Attempts to be frugal often fall flat.

By Karen Datko Oct 10, 2009 6:42PM

Spurred on by the faltering economy, more people are trying to spend wisely and save money. But are we getting results?

Blogger Kay Bell at Don't Mess With Taxes points to a New York Times story called "Failing home economics" that questions many people's methods.

In the NYT story, for instance, shopper Richard Winkler called himself "grocery wise, cable foolish." "You know, walking three blocks to save 10 cents on Triscuits," he said, while "my phone bill still has charges like $4.99 per month for technical stunts I can't even pronounce, much less access."

Other examples from the story:

  • Basing spending decisions on saving time rather than saving money.

  • Buying big-ticket items at Wal-Mart rather than another retailer because shopping at a discount store makes you feel better about yourself. (The lesson here, folks, is that if you're watching your spending, you don't buy a huge flat-screen TV.)

  • Taking bulk buying to extremes. Are you really saving if you've bought six cases of prunes?
  • Making purchases we think will save us money without doing the research first.

Kay says she tries to shop wisely by looking for sales and going to the grocery store with a list. "We try to stick to just those items, but now and then, like the woman in today's article, the convenience factor kicks in," she writes. "And, again like the woman in the article, failure to do so costs us."

Published Nov. 29, 2008



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