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Monday, February 27, 2006

Smart shopping is, well, smart

The Bargain Queen is convinced that smart shopping is a smart thing to do, and gets very annoyed with the stereotype that all women who are interested in shopping are bimbos. It's a rational, intelligent response to a world brimming with consumer choices, to survey and compare those choices regularly.

Every day, we see stacks of advertisements encouraging us to buy the latest and greatest stuff. Here's three possible responses to seeing all those beautiful things:
  1. Go out and buy the lot, credit card be damned!
  2. Learn to ignore them and be content with the things you have already
  3. Become a smart shopper so you can keep to your budget and still have nice things
Now which do you think are the intelligent responses?

The Bargain Queen, who isn't rich enough to buy everything that catches her eye, uses a mix of being happy with what she has and smart shopping for the things she needs, to live well and stay within budget. There are many gorgeous things on the glossy magazine pages that The Bargain Queen doesn't actually have any use for, so it's relatively easy to ignore them. There are also things that sound brilliant, except they would lead inevitably to bankruptcy. Think private jets, couture outfits and $60,000 dining tables.

On the other hand, The Bargain Queen does need a winter jacket and has a reasonable budget for it. That money could be spent on the first thing that fits the bill, or with some more shopping around, it could stretch to something beautiful and top-quality on sale. Or one might turn up at an op shop or market, allowing The Bargain Queen to use most of that money for other things. Or even better, she might even find one for FREE! It is possible if you know where to look.

So what's so dumb about knowing what's available, how much it costs and where to get it? Being interested in clothes is perceived as shallow, vain, superficial and dumb, when it actually takes serious smarts to be stylish without much money. There are arcane skills and specialised knowledge involved, like knowing if a fabric's good quality, if that skirt makes your ass look big or if a trend's almost over. As far as The Bargain Queen's concerned, smart shopping is one of a set of intelligent responses to living in a consumerist world.

There'll be more on this later, so stay tuned!

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