spending

gossip girl picI only started realizing how out-of-whack the luxury industry had gotten back in October, while chatting with the well-respected publisher of a now-dead magazine at a charity event.

“You don’t watch Gossip Girl?” he said, incredulous. “But you’re in luxury!”

(That, of course, was when I still was In Luxury).

The next Monday I settled in to learn about my industry from a CW television drama about New York private school kids. After five minutes, I flipped it off, rattled. How was it luxury to watch 16-year-olds sporting handbags that even I couldn’t justify spending $10,000 on? How were they supposed to have acquired said bags? Is that what luxury had come to? Glee in watching people with expensive purses, and hoping that one day we might be able to own something similar?

How did this happen?…

boy smile 150Robbie Blinkoff, a consumer anthropologist and founder of Context-Based Research Group, a Baltimore firm that advises corporations on product strategies, believes that the recession is turning us into “grounded consumers.” He spoke to us about the rite of passage we’ve been through in the last year, how we’re all becoming happier, and why this will be the Best Holiday Ever.

So the “grounded consumer.” As opposed to what?

I’m a cultural anthropologist. What we’re looking at is people living within our culture—that culture defines our rules. Where our economy has taken us is to a point where we say we have a culture, but what we really have is a market. Market has supplanted culture and drives the way we live. Consumerism has supplanted cultural identity, like when there’s an eclipse the moon comes over the sun. People have been foregoing relationships in return for material goods—though nobody went out and said I’m buying an iPod because I don’t want to have relationship with someone.

Has this sort of thing happened before?

We did a study after 9/11, and people were realizing they’re more in control of their identities. Last fall—Sept. 29 actually—the market fell all of 129 points. This feels to me like Sept 11 without the terrorism. It was the same blue sky that day. This is going to transform us…

The 99-cent iPhone Case

by Sara Clemence on October 16, 2009 in Culture

Recession iPhone case

How the Gizmodo did we miss this one?

During the boom, there were a few too many smartphones riding around in Louis Vuitton cases. Well, tough times call for cheap cases. Case-Mate has a “recession” iPhone case made from cardboard for just 99 cents, including shipping…

mouse-and-money-150Every week, we post a handful of online deals hand-picked for Recessionwire readers by the nice people over at Savings.com. Feel free to pass them along to your friends. And if there’s something you’d like to see, let us know!

We could use a massage, a facial, a manicure, and everything else…take 10% off all orders at SpaFinder. (See more SpaFinder coupons.)

cookies-200Suffering from austerity exhaustion? Got the urge to splurge? We’ve been there. If you’re going to start spending again, make it thrifty and pay a little less for your indulgences. Every week, we post a handful of online deals hand-picked for Recessionwire readers from Savings.com. Feel free to pass them along to your friends. And if there’s something you’d like to see, let us know!

Brownies, truffles and hand-dipped strawberries are relatively inexpensive indulgences. Especially with a 15% discount on all orders at Secret Spoon. No code needed. See more Secret Spoon coupons.)…

ny times spending graph 200We’ve all read or heard about how retail has been suffering in the downturn. That’s why “on sale” has come to mean 70 percent off, well-known names like Eddie Bauer and Filene’s Basement are ending up in the bankrupt bin, and even Wal-Mart has laid off hundreds of workers. Of course, all the layoffs mean people have less money to spend at stores, which means more financial difficulty for retailers, etc., etc.

At the same time, it can be hard to picture the numbers–like September auto sales being down 25 percent. How much has everything else dropped? Compared to what?

The New York Times has created another nifty chart…

mouse-and-money-150Every week, we post a handful of online deals hand-picked for Recessionwire readers from Savings.com. Feel free to pass them along to your friends. And if there’s something you’d like to see, let us know!

20% off sitewide at Bloomingdales…

money-tape measure 150Heather Wagner’s witty new book, Happiness on $10 a Day (HarperCollins), explains how to find joy through inexpensive activities like puppy stalking and backyard bungee-jumping. Buy the book — or win a copy by retweeting this post OR by telling us in comments their cheap happiness tips. (Deadline for entry is Oct. 9.) We love this chapter on schaudenfeude–so easy to come by in recession!

“Schadenfruede” derives from the two German terms: Schaden (damage) and Freude (joy). The mighty do fall–and it is mightily fun to enjoy their descent.

Look Hotter Than Your Ex (FREE!)
Seeing a former flame in a bloated, tired, or sloppy state when you look fantastic is one of the fundamental sources of happiness in this world. The first part of this equation is strategic: by stealthily monitoring your ex’s online activity, you can pinpoint the party or public gathering likely to reunite you with Mister or Miss Utterly Heartless…

mouse-and-money-150

Every week, we post a handful of online deals hand-picked for Recessionwire readers from Savings.com. Feel free to pass them along to your friends. And if there’s something you’d like to see, let us know!

Click here to get 10 percent off $10 or more from Gardeners Supply Company

Click here to get get $10 off $60 or more plus free shipping at Beauty.com

Click here to get get 10% off any order at Red Envelope

Click here to get 20 percent off orders of $75 or more at Banana Republic

price tag question mark 200If you’ve ever eaten at a restaurant and thought your meal wasn’t worth the price, this latest recession trend might be right up your alley.

When massive discounts and coupon deals aren’t enough, a growing number of businesses are letting customers take the wheel and pay whatever prices they see fit.

Community car washes have been encouraging customers to donate what they can for years. In the recession, restaurants, yoga studios, and even taxi cabs have started asking patrons to pay whatever they think the service is worth. After all, the thinking goes, it’s better for businesses to have customers paying a little less than staying at home and paying nothing at all.

Restaurants and Cafes: Was that rib eye really worth $30? Was the latte worth $4? One World Everybody Eats in Salt Lake City is among several restaurants that think you should decide—and pay donation-style…