Combat as a Consumer
I have expensive taste. It may seem contrary to the image of cheap bastard extraordinaire I cultivate. However, it’s true. And its my cross to bare. Why buy a print, when you can get the original artwork? (At 3 times the cost). Need new workout clothes? Only Lululemon will do. (But, they last and last and last). You’ve seen the vacuum I’m going to purchase (with its rave reviews). Cheap options don’t appeal. This is probably my secret weapon in the No Big Box campaign. It’s easy when most of the crap those stores sell, I don’t want.
What it does do is leave me with a significant etsy habit, the need for a overwhelming sense of patience to save up for my purchases (this does not come naturally), and a desire to cut corners whenever and where ever I can (this does). Those are just different skills than coupon clipping and clearance bin scrounging.
Example #1: I am currently taking a regime of supplements in support of my onboard passenger. I could pickup any old prenatal vitamin and calcium horse pill from the corner drugstore and call it good. I don’t. Because I have concerns. Concerns about where these supplements come from (lots and lots are from China), the potency of said magic pills, not to mention digestibility. Prenatals are nasty! Oh no, I want Thorne Calcium Citrate that absorbs quickly and helps me sleep. I want prenatals I only have to take one of, helpfully combined with digestive enzymes to combat stomach ache.
Corner Cutting: Order from Amazon. Maybe you use Amazon bucks you’ve squirreled away. Definitely use your reward card and your prime membership. Those Thorne supplements are only available from Naturopaths anyway. Curse you Naturopaths! With your quality supplements and expensive prices! There are a variety of options here but, when you order with free 2 day shipping, and it doesn’t show up on time, you definitely, definitely email Customer Service and let them know. Shipping fail results in a free round of Calcium, making the 2 days late much less annoying when it leaves me $15 richer.
Example #2: We need new sheets. This is no surprise. We’ve needed new sheets. I’ve been able to deploy a little of that cultivated patience to seek out sheets I actually like, organic-y ones even, and wait for them to go on sale. Sale price $20 off. Win. Shipping and handling from ordering them online: $14 and change. Fail.
Corner Cutting: This particular set of sheets suffers from a case of chronic back order. I know this because I’ve been stalking them for about a year, while we sleep on an ever-dingier jersey set, origins unknown. I wait for the stars to align with availability and sale price, then I pounce! The slight smite from those shipping charges will be outweighed by new sheets in one week. Or not. Because they don’t show up. Despite what my receipt says, more with the back order. Another email to Customer Service later, viola no more shipping charges, and sheets magically heading my way. Again, richer me, happier me with sheets that don’t look like they formerly belonged to Pig Pen.
In both of these cases, this was money I’d already spent. So it literally became money saved in the form of a transfers to my savings account. $30 the richer. I think people consider this too much of a hassle. To follow up, to send the email. To that I scoff. Scoff! These emails took me 5 minutes or less to send, including finding the contact info for Customer Service. $30 in 10 minutes, I’m good with that return.
These are not exactly frugality hacks. Though, I like those too. (Does anybody else water their plants with the dregs of the dog bowls?) But, at some point most of us, must consume. I fight it. I channel it. But, when it inevitably has to happen, I make the most of it. I buy durable goods that satisfy my love of stuff, and I ask for the discount when I think I’m entitled. That expensive taste doesn’t mean I’m a moron. It means, I need to be ready to throw down as a consumer to cut those corners where I can.
Do you have expensive taste? How do you fight it?