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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weening off Brand Names

For the past 2-3 decades, one's social status and self worth were wrongly attached to brand names as self identity was based on whether a shirt had a little horsey sewn on, or a pair of sneakers had a swoosh.  There were many reasons for this phenomenon-  a basic human need to conform and be accepted by the larger society, the constant barrage of advertising that plays upon one's emotions rather than intellectual reasons for buying a product, the increased availability of personal credit which allowed people to feel they could afford $75 shirts and $125 shoes even when income remained relatively stagnant, and so on..

Whatever the reason(s) for this need to own brand names, the current recession and financial struggle is causing a lot of people to scale back consumption and look to lesser brands or generic to allow their dollar to stretch.   This should not be done with bitterness or frustration--  Stretching a dollar is one of the most important skills you can possess to make it through this economic climate in one piece.  In addition, the savings is really amazing when one takes the time to break things down.   Today's example...


Reebok Crew NFL sweatshirts  $44.99-$64.99  (you're paying mostly for the team logos)
Nike Classic Crew Sweatshirt     $24.99-$39.99 (you pay for swoosh)
Champion Crew Sweatshirt        $15.00 (logo on front; at Macy's)
Jo Boxer Crew Sweatshirt          $9.99  (no logo; $6.99 when on sale @ K-Mart)

Now, what can I get for $65?  I could buy 1 Reebok NFL sweatshirt and have nothing left...  or I could get 2 Nike sweatshirts and have $15 left..   or I could get 3 Champion's and have $20 left..  OR I could wait until Jo Boxer goes on sale, buy 3 sweatshirts which add to about $21 and have $44 dollars to save or spend on other things that will provide joy and happiness...    Remember, all 4 items serve the same basic function- to keep you warm, and they are all made overseas with cheap labor so you're not paying for workmanship.

So, let's say you bought the least expensive, basic sweatshirt..  What things could you spend $44 on?   Two full weeks of TV dinners at the supermarket?  A full tank of gas?  3 pairs of matching sweat bottoms which at same sale price would mean still having $23 left?   3-4 CDs and/or DVDs? 

Those who survive and thrive understand the old adage that a penny saved is a penny earned.  And the truly confident know that status and self worth do not come from a label.. it comes from within.

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