The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Reader Email

The other day I posted something about how word of mouth influences my shopping habits. One of the examples I used was how I’ll check out certain insurance quotes if a friend or colleague tells me about great rates that he found at a certain site.

That prompted reader Rich to write in and say

I don’t think it’s a good idea to change your insurance coverage just because someone else got a discount. There are a ton of variables that go into a policy quote, including age, marital status, number of kids, smoking history, medical history, and so on. So the chances of two people getting the exact same quotes just because they’re friends is slim to none.

Well, thanks for your input, Rich. I certainly didn’t mean to imply that everyone would get the same low quotes. What I meant to say was that if an insurance company is known for giving lower quotes than the industry average, then they might be worth checking out.

Thanks for making me be more specific with my posts!

Dog Odors

One of my dogs has a chronic skin problem that makes her smell really bad. I mean, it’s awful. No matter how many baths we give her, no matter how much odor spray we use, she gets pretty ripe after just a couple of days. The vet says we have two alternatives: pay for an antibiotic that costs $50 a week or put up with the smell. Since we can’t afford the former, we chose the latter.

But that doesn’t mean we’re going to let our house become overrun by the smell. We’re confining the dog to certain rooms and keeping others off limits.

In the off-limit rooms, we’re getting rid of all the old carpeting and drapes that have the odors trapped deep inside them, and we’ll replace those with throw rugs that can easily be washed and Bamboo Blinds or something similar that won’t soak up the smell.

The rooms that the dog is allowed to go in don’t have carpeting, and we’ll start to enforce a “no sleeping on the furniture” policy as far as she’s concerned. And then we’ll keep spraying everything with Febreeze until the odor subsides a bit.

In case you’re wondering, no, the skin condition is not painful or anything like that. It’s just a nuisance for the humans in the house!

Anyway, I hope these changes work!

Obama Inauguration Souvenirs

inauguration-souvenirs For those of you who are into such things, either as Obama supporters or political junkies, there’s a wide range of inauguration souvenirs that you can buy online. Occasionally, items like these become highly valued by collectors (decades hence, of course), so who knows what you’re getting into. That $20 t-shirt could be worth $2000 a century from now if you keep it in pristine condition!

Anyway, you can go to places like CafePress or eBay to shop for your Obama inauguration souvenirs. Both sites have items like t-shirts, buttons and pins, mugs, pennants, caps, plates, books, bookmarks, Christmas ornaments, and just about everything else you can imagine. Shouldn’t be a problem finding something you like!

Word of Mouth

How much of your shopping is reliant upon word of mouth? You know what I mean, right? When a good friend tells you that this one store has awesome shoes at great prices, then you have to go there for yourself to check it out. Or if the woman sitting in the cubicle next to yours recommends comparing term life insurance quotes online because you can save money that way, then you go and do it.

Personally, I find a lot of terrific new stores and websites via word of mouth. I actually don’t get around a lot, nor do I surf the web too often (past my regular rotation of sites, I mean). So any time someone hears of a good deal and passes it on to me, I’m sure to check it out.

Actually, that’s one of the reasons I started this website. I wanted to be able to share various shopping deals with all of you, just in case you’re in the same boat I am as far as not coming across new stores too often.

Anyway, the next time you get a hot tip from a friend or coworker, why not follow up on it? You never know where it might lead you!

Saving Time

rubber-stamp I usually post about ways to save money while shopping, but I thought today I’d mention something that can help you save time. Why not order a custom rubber stamp for something that you often find yourself writing out longhand, such as your return address or signature?

I have online payment plans for a few of my bills, but I still send out a good number of envelopes every month. I absolutely hate writing in my return address, so I would love to have a rubber stamp do the work for me. It would be perfect during the holiday season too, when I have a bunch of Christmas cards to send out.

I know other people use rubber stamps for crafts and scrapbooking, so that might be an angle to consider as well.

At any rate, these things are very cheap and will last a good, long time. No reason not to get one!

Inexplicable Marketing

Kurt Warner has been a favorite of mine since he led the St. Louis Rams to the Super Bowl title in ’99-’00. Now that he’s enjoying a major resurgence in his career, I wanted to buy a Warner replica jersey to have in time for next month’s Super Bowl. Too bad I can’t find one.

Take a look at this screen shot of the ESPN Shop Arizona Cardinals jersey page. You can click to enlarge.

espn-cardinals-jerseys

See my problem? No Kurt Warner jerseys at all! They have a couple of Matt Leinart replicas available, but nothing for Warner. The same is true of the NFL Shop page at NFL.com. I’ll probably have to buy the jersey directly from the Arizona Cardinals shop if I want to get it in time.

I don’t understand this marketing strategy at all. If I want a Kurt Warner jersey now, then you can bet hundreds, if not thousands, of other people do too. And yet Reebok and the NFL aren’t on top of marketing this item.

Look, Warner has started 30 consecutive games for the Cardinals, so it’s not like everyone was caught off guard by this season. He’s a great player, a good person, and has an amazing backstory. In short, he should be a marketer’s dream.

But no. Everyone would rather sell Leinart jerseys because he’s a good-looking SoCal party boy. Ugh.

Morning Drag

nespresso I’ve always described myself as a morning person because I have no trouble rising at 5 or 5:30am every day of the week — including Saturdays and Sundays. But recently, I’ve been dragging and I don’t know why. Sure, I can still get up at the same time, but I don’t really become productive until several hours later, which sort of defeats the purpose of waking so early.

Anyway, maybe a huge jolt of caffeine in the mornings would help me out. If I had a nespresso espresso machine, I could set the timer and have a warm, delicious beverage waiting for me as soon as my eyes open. Sipping on an espresso should get me going a lot faster than waiting to fully wake up on my own.

Jerry loves espresso too, to this purchase shouldn’t be too much of a hard sell. All I have to do now is clear some counter space in the kitchen for the machine!

New Wallet

I need a new wallet. My current one is about five years old, and is fraying at the corners. It looks pretty beat up, which can be embarrassing when I go to pay the bill at a nice restaurant or something. Moreover, it’s too small for everything I have to carry, and is literally bulging at the seams because of all my credit cards, membership cards, and photos.

I have a Prada wallet now, but I’m so over the name brand thing that I’m just planning on buying the cheapest one I can find at the mall. I’m giving myself a limit of $20, which should definitely be enough to get something cute and functional.

I can’t wait for my wallet to be organized again!