Sunday, July 13, 2008

Frugal Tips in Today's Paper

All kinds of budget living content in today's Sunday Tribune, so you coupon hounds who threw away the sections to keep the coupons might want to fish it out of the recycle bin.

In the Home & Garden section, we have tips on scoring cheap home furnishings from thrift stores and other places, Craigslist tips (good one: browse during the last week of the month, when people are moving out of apartments), and advice on those TV converter boxes non-cable subscribers are supposed to buy (a tip I WISH my husband would have followed: Hold off on ordering those coupons until fall, since they expire in 90 days and the boxes are in short supply now.)

Then in Parade, there are profiles of a couple thrifty families (Including a mom who brags she gets her hair cut twice a year with a coupon; note to mom: it shows. I do about the same, and it shows on me too.) And then an interesting feature called "Bargains That Aren't," which includes some interesting academic studies to talk about how marketers fool people into thinking they're getting deals.

New to me here: Manufacturers will convince you to spring for a higher-end product if they also present an EVEN more expensive product. Because how do you shop for a new camera? You look at what they have. Then you say, well, let's not get the absolute cheapest one, because you get what you pay for. And we don't need the absolute fanciest one. That leaves this "mid-range" one.

I am so guilty of that! They don't offer advice for avoiding it, but I can think of some: When you shop for a new gadget, just think about the features you want and your budget. Research the reviews. Don't look at how the item is priced compared to other models, because that's irrelevant. For you, that rock-bottom model could be appropriate. Or maybe you even need the fancy one (but if you're reading this site, you probably won't get it, at least not new, right?)