Category: Shopping

Should you get another quote on your toothpaste?

When you’re forking out a lot for a one-off purchase it’s common sense to get a second quote. Maybe you’re about to have some new wardrobes installed. The first carpenter gives you a quote of $2,000 for the job. The next says they’ll build the wardrobes for $1,800. You feel pretty pleased with your $200 saving. But what about getting another quote on your toothpaste?

When it comes to everyday items, it’s less likely we’ll bother whipping out the calculator or opening up a spreadsheet. But using the same approach may be one of the simplest ways to save money without sacrificing your lifestyle.

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Why do women spend more on clothes?

“Fashion is a language that creates itself in clothes to interpret reality.”
Karl Lagerfeld

Some – such as fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld – view fashion as an art form. A mode of communication. A way of life.

In Britain, women spend an average of £28,350 ($35,400) on clothing compared to men’s spend of £16,200 ($20,230). Average spends on shoes are likewise are £8,100 ($10,100) for women, £4,725 ($5,900) for men.

There is a variety of reasons for this disparity. Women’s clothes are generally more expensive, and women buy more clothes. But why?

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Are you worth it?

‘You are in a beauty contest every day of your life’.

A successful advertising slogan, defined as ‘a short and striking or memorable phrase used in advertising’ can exert a powerful influence over us. The importance of a company’s slogan is apparent in their market value. ‘Brands’, which include a company’s name, logo and slogan, are considered extremely valuable corporate assets, and can make up much of a business’s total value – sometimes the brand is more highly prized than its actual products.

Slogans like ‘Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline’, ‘You are in a beauty contest every day of your life’, or ‘Because you’re worth it’ are not only memorable, but make a clear association between daily product usage and self worth.

But what exactly is ‘it’ that you are supposedly ‘worth’?

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Can you enjoy Christmas without worsening debt? | Guest post

The holidays season should be a time of joy and togetherness, not financial stress, but it is also the time of year that, more than any other, we hear those messages to ‘buy, buy, buy‘. With pressure from not only the media but social expectations  – at work, among family and friends – it can be hard to remain focused on not only the real spirit of the season, but our financial goals.

According to some sources, almost two-thirds of shoppers do not save anything for their holiday spending, and around a third finance the holiday entirely on credit card.

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Are you a shopaholic?

“Ok. don’t panic. Don’t panic. It’s only a VISA bill. It’s a piece of paper; a few numbers. I mean, just how scary can a few numbers be?”- Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic.

One of my favourite lighthearted reads is the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella. Although I could never really relate to the main character, Becky (who lacks control shopping for designer clothes and shoes, whereas for me, books are more my bag), I’ve always appreciated the warm humour and gentle finance lessons – even if Becky never seems to learn from them (I guess if she did, the series would have come to an abrupt finish!).

But what is a ‘shopaholic’? Is there really such a thing as an addiction to shopping – or is it a word people simply use as an excuse? And how do you know if you are a shopaholic?

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Are you cheap or frugal?

‘I love your shoes!’ How should you respond to such a compliment? With gracious acceptance? With modesty?

It’s probably the influence of my time spent in Japan, but my usual tendency is to downplay any compliment.

‘Oh, these? They’re only cheap! They were reduced to $20’

For me, responding to compliments with a simple ‘Thank you’, as is common in many European cultures (including Hungary, where I am now located) goes against the grain.

Complimenting ‘is a complex sociolingustic skill’, says Holmes (cited by Grossi), and in Japanese society, a desire for modesty generally outweighs a desire for agreement (Leech, cited by Pohl). Using Japanese norms in Australian society has sometimes surprised – or even annoyed – those I’m speaking to. ‘Don’t say that!’ they respond with utter horror, ‘I don’t need to know how much they cost!’ highlighting the taboo of talking about money.

There’s a stigma attached to the word ‘cheap‘, especially when applied to a person. Something that is cheap is meaningless, to feel cheap is to be embarrassed. No one wants to be a cheapskate – someone who is labelled as ‘stingy’ and ‘miserly’. But just like the word ‘budget’, should ‘cheap’ be viewed so negatively? Surely saving money – or at least, not wasting it – is a good thing?

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Who’s pushing your trolley?

After some rather intense travel over the last few weeks, it has been a relief to settle down for a while and cook for ourselves again.

Combining what we’ve learned from two fantastic books, Feed Yourself for $35 a Week and The $21 Challenge, back at home in Australia, I think we’ve got grocery shopping down to a fine art – our weekly shop regularly coming in at around this mark. But I was nervous as to how we would fare here in the UK.

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