Techno-frugality grows in popularity


“In reality I knew that moms are the power consumers who make many purchasing decisions for their families. But I am happy to see the tides are turning, the age of the "power mom" is upon us.”

—Beth Blecherman, founder and CTM (Chief Technology Mom) of techmamas.com

 

Frugality is the word of the day for my generation. When our determination to spend less is combined with our tech-savvy natures, I have to say, I think we have those other generations beat.

I’m not going to count the up-and-comings (our kids) who will no doubt surpass us all in accomplishment and ingenuity. For my kids’ sakes, I hope I’m right about that.

But as I see it, today’s 30- and 40-somethings are set up to do pretty well, even if we haven't always followed the golden budget rules up to this point. By using what’s available to us, we can tweak the economy to function our way.

There is a proper tool for every job.

The dollar is a tool we all rely on. Like a roll of paper towels, we want to stretch it out as far as possible before having to grab another. There are creative ways to do it.

Online “fruaglity” sites say to buy store or generic label items because they’re cheaper (unless you have the right coupon), use sale flyers to plan the cheapest meals and research the Internet for tips from other tightwads.

Eighty-seven percent of all shoppers use coupons.

Why isn’t everyone either offering or using these? Everybody wants a deal. And when someone has a choice to make, say…drive 30 minutes to make a purchase at a discount store or drive two minutes to make a purchase with a coupon at a local store…the local store could help them make that decision.

Consumers are actually figuring in gas costs right now—we may have ignored that in the past, but not anymore. Help us to help you. Pat our backs, we’ll pat yours…etc.

With a little planning and coupons (in a three-ring binder for the organizationally obsessed) from online sites and the newspaper, a lot of budgeted money can be saved.

Of course, we’ll end up spending more of our “extra” money. And since we already know this, the smaller retailers might as well throw us a bone with a little incentive attached so we buy it from them.

Cheap is good, but free is better.

This is the motto for consumerqueen.com. I think I’ll adopt it, too. Sometimes (always?) it’s the simplest concepts that bring the best results.

Melissa, aka The Consumer Queen, is super-thrifty and gives tons of ideas to save a buck. In one vlog, she showed how she bought $107 worth of groceries for $16. It did take three hours to go through the sale items and her three-ring binder of coupons, but still….

Her site has coupon links, freebies, radio broadcasts and links to current sale flyers.

It takes an online village. Bloggers drive the market. But not just any rambling blogger. Mom bloggers. Who’s more capable of organizing and simplifying under pressure than a juggling mom? Exactly, nobody.

“We see moms as a vital force for our store-brand strategy,” says Gap spokeswoman Louise Callagy. Companies like this are showing that they do listen and respond to public input.

An Associated Press story reported that “Moms have always had marketplace muscle, but a new frugality driven by joblessness, housing woes and other economic problems has them exercising it like never before with the help of the Internet.”

We’re all about keeping it together, within practical means, without losing our shirts or our sanity and having a couple of bucks left over for a java chip iced latte.

Oh, sure, we still want it all. But in our reconditioned, spend-savvy, and occasionally hormonal minds, “it all” by definition has changed.


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