Dialing up the good and dialing down the bad

Since this is my 1st recession as a working adult, it's interesting for me to see how people are reacting...for example, here are some recessionary behaviours from Time Magazine (See quote below). From what I can tell, people are dialing up the 'good and positive' and dialing down the 'bad and negative'...so while we are still splurging and being indulgent, we are just toning it down.

"With few exceptions, people are spending less nowadays. Spending is down on everything from home improvement to organic milk to Mother's Day gifts. So, obviously, the recession affects the way all sorts of people—such as an unemployed couple, a sports CEO, an ER doctor, and others profiled in a Time package—make decisions about how, what, and when to buy. But there are exceptions to the spend-less rule. What sorts of things are we actually spending more on of late?

Think escapism. Think mini-splurge. Think stress relievers. People are going out less for splashy nights on the town. They're staying in for romantic nights at home instead. Hence, condom sales are up. So are donuts, which might be considered escapist, splurge-y stress relievers all in one."

10 things consumers are doing in a recession

We all like top 10 lists...here is a good one from Influx insights

1. Food stays on the list, clothes and furniture don't
2. People are trading down to private label
3. People trading down the protein ladder from steak to ground beef, others moving from beef to chicken and others moving from protein to carbs
4. The home is the focal point- cheap take out pizza and movies is the new form of entertainment- people aren't going out and they are not cutting back on their entertainment tech. Sales of the more affordable flat screen are holding up
5. Vegetable gardens are booming
6. People are trying to stay healthy on their own with out resorting to experts- this means increased sales of vitamins and OTC medicines.
7. They need relief for these troubled times so they are buying more sleep aids, pain relievers and antacids
8. Home repair is on the increase
9. People are not buying new cars, they are repairing and maintaining the ones they have
10. Parents are not transitioning their kids between diapers and underwear with pull ups, instead they are going straight to underwear

Survivalists stock up ready for the worst

Even people who normally pass for functioning and intelligent human beings believe that the world may be coming to an end. The state of anxiety that these people live in must be at time debilitating. And, given the world has existed for how many million years? It is sure to continue on as it evolves and reincarnates. Some things are sure as eggs, the sun will come up each day.

Survivalists stock up ready for the worst.

More on survivalists here

Behaviour in tough times

I love that as researchers we can sit back and see how people are reacting to the current economic climate. Here are some clues from a recent SMH article.


"They are trading up from less expensive products and what they perceive to be poorer performing brands. We are seeing similar patterns in most developed markets - people are sticking to the brands they know and trust, even if they are a little dearer. They don't want to wash things twice. They don't want waste." Vice-president, marketing, David McNeil


Foxtel says the economic climate has created a trend for more people cocooning at home, which is generating subscription growth for the pay TV provider. For the December 2008 half, Foxtel's subscriptions were up 7 per cent. Pay-TV take-up is increasing this year, Foxtel says.

General manager of Stayz, Kirsty Shaw, who has about 20,000 holiday rental listings, says. "Online traffic is up 55 per cent for February, year-on-year. Nights inquired for over the Easter period is up 46 per cent. There's been a general increase in people holidaying domestically rather than travelling overseas."

"While competitors are taking a slash-and-burn mentality with their communications, we have been focused and consistent on how Hyundai delivers quality and value."

Have you noticed ......Ostentatious shopping is out of fashion?

Thats right if you haven't picked up on it yet, 'dont brag about your new designer gear', 'brag about the second hand item you bought on eBay'

Have you noticed ......
Ostentatious shopping is out of fashion?

Many of us have less 'fun money' these days. Indeed, certain types who used to shop up a storm (bankers' wives, for example) haven't a been, leaving those still salaried feeling guilty about splashing out Meanwhile, we're told it's our duty to shop to save the economy. The upshot? We're spending more discretely.

 "As a society struggling with mortgage stress and credit card debt, we're rethinking extravagance," says Neradine Tisaj, author of How to Give Up Shopping (Hardie Grant, $19.95). "Bragging about the cost of your new designer gear seems a bit gauche now. In the current climate, people are more likely to show off something they've bought second-hand on Bay."

Sure, vintage bargains are all the rage these days, but for those fashionistas who prefer their threads fresh out of the packet, so too is sneaky shopping.

"My clients are still spending, but they're looking for less flashy things: confirms model-turned-personal-shopper Candace Lake. "And designers are taking note: a lot of labels are toning down their branding,"

This season, quality will be announcing itself with more of a whisper than a scream, which means overt designer logos are fast becoming no-gos. If your T-shirt announces that you 'adore Dior', it's time for a cover up. Also steer clear of signature checks, recognisable prints, and brashly branded buttons – that way, if interrogated, you can pretend it's a knock-off or an op-shop steal.

Perhaps this trend explains the latest Manhattan shopping craze of private after-dark store appointments. What's more, shoppers are requesting plain paper bags instead of branded ones, which give the game away. US label Proenza Schouler has discretion down: their satchels could belong to any schoolie.

For those who can't resist a dig at the fashion establishment, there's the irony option courtesy of Sydney-based label Bagladies, which has a 'Louis Who?' bag.

But however you decide to spend your money, just remember that too much shopping can damage your wealth.

Health Magazines & recession

Isn’t it interesting that during these hard economic times the magazines that are blooming in sales are all centered around health:
  • Healthy Food Guide
  • Health Smart
  • Women’s Health
  • Men’s Health
  • Diabetic Living
 The heaviest hit are men’s magazines:
  • FHM
  • Ralph
  •  Alpha
  • Zoo
 It is a contrast to the increase in sales of comfort food.

We Went To The Cinema - It Cost Me $60!!

We Went To The Cinema - It Cost Me $60

A family friend is in the film making industry, he asked me if there was any research as to why cinema attendances are falling

I responded by saying that a trip to the cinema cost about $30 in tickets, $15 in refreshments, and $15 in out of pockets

If there is a wide screen at home hooked up to a decent stereo or better, the in home experience is nearly as good as the cinema, the cost of DVD hire is much less, the price of a dud film is lower and you don't have to drive or leave home

And if you hook a computer up to your flat screen the latest releases are available on Bit Torrent as of NOW

How much longer does the cinema have in it's current format?

The Office Dishwasher

The office dishwasher is running twice a day to keep up with the dirty dishes

What does this mean?

Is it Frugality Nouveau 2009?

Or is it just that a couple of new team members are creating just that bit extra washing up

Personally, I have long done the maths on bought in lunches (220 working days a year x $10 = $2,220 spent on lunches alone)

And every $.60 spent from the pocket means $1.00 pre tax ($5,000 a year pre tax on lunches) 

So, given the new world order of uncertainty I am buying the raw materials and making my own (most days) and saving a lot of dosh

And I get more variety, the food I like and better control over the calorific content