Addiction and spending

A recent Mintel report examined how consumer spending habits have changed since the economic crunch hit in the US. Interestingly, it shows that consumers aren’t giving up their ‘indulgences.’ In fact, sales of chocolate, cigarettes and alcohol aren’t just holding steady, they’re predicted to rise.

How can this be true? Isn’t an economic downturn the time to cut out indulgences and buy only the basics? Not necessarily. According to a Mintel staffer, people who feel thwarted by the economy and who are cutting back on big ticket items feel entitled to small rewards.

Interesting stuff. Although I don’t smoke and don’t plan to start, I can see myself falling into this mindset for the other items on the list. In fact, my man with a pan has always held firm that when we’re the most impoverished, we should drink the best bottles in our cellar. I never complain about his policy since our economic hiccups are always just that: short lived inconveniences. We always know that the cellar will be replenished within a few months.

But what if our economic situation was reduced long term? Would we still splurge by opening the expensive wine or save it for special occasions? I hope I never have to provide you with a tested answer.

How do you change your eating, drinking and shopping habits when you go over budget?

8 Responses to Addiction and spending

  1. Your man with a pan won’t like to hear this, but restaurant meals are the first thing to go when we pinch pennies. For social events, we’ll host pot lucks instead of dining out.

    We already buy few pre-packaged items, so it’s hard to cut back on the grocery bill. While I’ll still buy my grain-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat from the butcher, I might switch to less expensive cuts and make more stews.

  2. Rosa says:

    My budget is tight, so i control everything I buy, but I always make sure to buy local and quality products! I don’t go to the restaurant, but I buy chocolate, wine and other similar goods……

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. danamccauley says:

    Both of your comments remind me of what I’ve known for so long: restaurants really are the canaries in the coal mine when it comes to gauging the economic condition affecting everyday people.

  4. Kitt says:

    I know movie ticket sales go up when the economy goes down. I think little indulgences like that continue to do well because they’re affordable escapes. Restaurant meals suffer because people think, “I can make food at home.”

    I like to go out for a nice meal, but that’s usually only a couple of times a month. For day-to-day (worktime lunches being a prime example), I cook for myself. That saves a lot of money.

  5. Cheryl says:

    I agree with everyone else. I’ll still go out, but far less frequently and to tried-and-true places with a reasonable price point. No fancy meals right now — not just because we’re trying to be prudent, but because it feels profligate and irresponsible. However, small indulgences (like nice cuts of meat, fish fillets, or good quality chocolate from the grocery store) are unlikely to be scratched off my shopping list. As you said, these items feel reasonable in the greater scheme of things and act like a salve during difficult times.

  6. Adam says:

    As a college student for the past 7 years, I’ve been in a recession all my life🙂 I buy neccesities, and only go out to eat when I feel like I’m going to go insane if I cook something. You have to treat yourself once in awhile🙂

  7. Candace says:

    We’ve also cut back our dining out. Instead of 3 times a week (yeah, we were bad) we’re down to 1 day a week. I’ve been inviting people over for dinner more lately instead of going to a restaurant. I cook, they bring the wine… good combo!

    I’m also trying to cook more frugally when its just the hubby and me. I find myself making one chicken breast for us to share… this also helps my dieting! 🙂 But yes, we still buy frivilous things, like chocolate and wine. I don’t see that stopping unless things get really bad.

  8. Dean Tudor says:

    Try borrowing VHS and DVD from the public library — one week free.

    Go to AYCE or buffet places. Some are reasonably good, especially for families, and have discounts for kids and seniors.

    Order in a pizza or Asian food. Sushi works good, with lots of items for under $35.

    Don’t go out for dinners: try lunches instead.

    Buy a great cookbook and memorize it.

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