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Are YOU Buying Fewer Basics?

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Are Consumers Buying Less Basics by Hip2Save

Have you noticed that you are buying less basic items like toothpaste, cereal, laundry detergent and razors? Are you opting to purchase store brands over name brands?

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal entitled “Discounts Are Piled On as Americans Buy Fewer Basics,” shoppers are purchasing less packaged goods, less laundry detergent (maybe due to higher-efficiency machines requiring less detergent), less soda, less toothpaste and less household products in general compared to year’s past.

To combat this decrease in consumer spending, companies like Procter & Gamble Co., Georgia Pacific Corp., and Henkel AG have been offering up some awesome deals and coupons – remember all the fantastic Purex deals that you could score at the drugstores last month and the different gift card promotions that have been offered at Target when you buy select household items). All of these coupons and special offers are attempts to get Americans to increase their spending habits in these categories.

So how about YOU? Do you find this article to be true when it comes to your own spending habits?

(Thanks to Sherry for passing along this article!)

Join The Discussion

Comments 178

  1. ann

    I just don’t buy as much as I did before. I had a great stockpile and I did donate and have a garage sale once a year but between realizing what I was paying oop, even if it was a moneymaker( meaning items you still paid for, but then got a rr or cat or ecbs) and sales tax in Chicago, forget it. If we will not use in the next three months, I don’t buy it. My kids have noticed, as they asked what happened to our stash. They would give it away to friends in college and such and when I had it, that was fine. Not the case anymore.

    • Lisa

      I hear you Ann. I too shop in the Chicagoland area and felt the same way. Last year I was buying for Family/Friends and donating. This year (especially during the winter) I am only buying what I need as by the time you pay even just the tax on the overinflated CVS/Walgreens prices you are still SPENDING not SAVING.

  2. froggy79

    I am still using a lot of stockpile from when I moved into my new place which was about 6 months ago. If I don’t have paper towels I wait for a deal but do think I will invest in more rags/dish towels and only use paper towels to clean my bathrooms (fuzzy from rags on mirrors/toilets drives me nuts) as far as soda I think people are drinking less and/or using a soda stream but I myself didn’t enjoy the taste so I only drink actual soda on rare occasions. I do think having to have insurance is putting a damper on things financially for people. People are seeing their premiums sky rocket, people that didn’t have insurance before are paying a lot more then they want to. I am disabled and hub has been out of work so for a family of 4 we have $1,400 a month, rent water and electric are close to $1000, insurance through the ACA for hub n I was $1100 a month, in FL the kids get Medicaid but we are not eligible. We would be homeless if we took that insurance 🙁 not worth it to me! Not to mention it would not cover what I really need which is pain management. I just think people are being more careful with spending and doing healthier things in general. Celiac is on the rise, going to be tested myself, but Gluten is just overall an issue not just with Celiac. People are learning more and more about processed foods altogether and I think therefore buying less. Also, as far as hair, nails, cell phones and I an going to include eye brows…..1. Most people know a cosmetologist so really come on…my sister is one, she did my eyebrows and my nails for me last night what did it cost me? Not ta! My cell…metro PCs great android cost me $30 the apps and coupons paid that already! People get great phones on their plans free, is anyone aware of the horrible fees to cancel their cell plans? If people had their plans before they lost their jobs why would they cancel them and hurt their credit so badly, I never understood the cell phone argument along with cars, I would not (I don’t have any car right now 🙁 ) let my car get re-possessed. Let me re-phrase that…if I lost my job and got unemployment and I got enough for rent car utilities but what about food? I am gonna apply for stamps, why? Cause I have paid beautiful America taxes and I am stuck and hope it’s temporary and if I let the car and cell just go 1 it’s going to be very difficult to get another car 2 the damage to ones credit is going to hurt. We have to stop all the judgement. There are always the few who take advantage but putting everyone who needs assistance into the same category is really shameful! Sorry about the drawn out story and my add ha!

    • Rae

      Microfiber towels!! no more streaky or fuzzy mirrors and shiny surfaces. You can get them cheap at harbor freight or menards. I usually just get them from costco(I give lots away) and they last for a long time.

    • Tilla Ham

      if your income is that low for a family of your size, in my state you qualify for completely free medical for all, so not sure why that doesn’t apply in florida. I am sorry you are having a rough time, finances are the most stressful thing when they aren’t going well. it will pass, keep your head up!

      • Pat

        In AR they only give kids Medicaid and sometimes the mother but never the father. Men only get welfare/medicaid if they have kids or are on disability. They send men to a food bank most of the time and then to the unemployment office I have been told.

    • mariel

      I hope this is only temporary for your family. Stay strong and keep up the good work!

  3. crystal

    I haven’t been buying that much lately. I use to go coupon shopping once or twice a week . That is not the case anymore. I don’t feel like the deals are as good at the stores. I have also run into a lot of rude cashiers and managers. I don’t like dealing with drama at the register so I have just been using my stockpile.

  4. laura

    Me personally: I have no idea if I am buying more or less. I did have a stockpile of a bunch of stuff that I have been working through, but I do tend to just go buy an item when we need it. I couponed really heavily for several years, but just couldn’t keep up with it. My job is very demanding of my time and I couldn’t chase the deals any more (nor do I have time to make my own cleaners etc.)
    Society in general: Obviously, I’m speaking in general terms b/c each person has their own individual circumstances, but I think a lot of people are just more money conscious. People are being more careful with how and where they spend their money.

  5. Nicolle

    Part of it, is the aging of the population. Things change as the baby boomers age. For example I’ll bet the feminine products are down because in the last couple years A LOT of women have entered menopause. The generations behind the boomers are just not as big, so there are less menstruating women than there was in the recent past.

    • Joanne

      True, and it seems like Mirena and other IUDs are a more popular birth control choice now, and they can leave women without a period for up to the 5 years that they are active.

  6. Jennifer A

    I have noticed myself purchasing fewer goods, especially feminine products and cleaners. My Dr put me on the Seasonique birth control, so I only get my period one every three months (hence a SIGNIFICANT decrease in my need for those products). In addition, my son has severe asthma, so I have reduced my chemical cleaner use drastically. I use a lot of Norwex products (no Windex here!) and natural cleansers which seem to last longer. It has helped my son’s asthma, as this was the first winter that he didn’t need to be hospitalized! 🙂

  7. Kim

    I agree with Tiffany – the deals are just not the same anymore so I buy a lot less. I started couponing in 2006, due to a friends suggestion. She gave me a web address and the name of a blog and I was off! That ended a few years ago. The payoff (for the time I would spend searching/collecting/organizing)is not as good anymore and I would rather spend my time looking for deals that don’t require coupons. I am loving your new posts on the drugstore deals that don’t require coupons! Thanks!

  8. Em

    People are becoming more aware. I have had more friends asking me to teach them our ways recently than ever before! We’re a super Eco friendly vegan home so we have the know how to save the cash (and Earth) and my friends are loving it! I teach for free ways to change and sell certain products locally, like cloth period pads. Less waste, less money, better for you and Earth. I’ve had a 75% increase in sales the past year!

    • Beth

      I would love to know some of your tips and tricks!

    • Fabiola

      Cloth period pads??? Would love to know about those! I’m sort of allergic to the plastic in some feminine pads and I would like something that would be plastic free

      • Rae

        There are tons of Cloth pads to pick from. You can make your own or buy them just search etsy for them. If you have an allergy to the disposibles you may notice lighter flow and less or no cramping when you make the switch to using cloth. One of the main comments I have heard from those who switch is the pads can be thinner than you think they should have to be. You can upcycle fabrics from shirts or sheets for absorbent layers… an internet search for cloth pads and you can find printable free patterns and instructions.

      • Diana

        I also recommended looking in to the Diva cup (amazon has it) changed my life! Not for everyone, but its a lot better for me, and you never have to worry about the way your flow can increase or decrease or anything! 🙂 CHECK IT OUT! 🙂

  9. Ivette

    Maybe everyone is learning to coupon… I haven’t bought razors, shampoo, soap, toothpaste or lotion since I started couponing in Oct 2012.

  10. n.o girl

    I’ve just started to coupon and I’m kicking myself for not learning sooner esp after reading some of the previous posts.( in awe with a stockpile lasting 6 months/ years) I’m truly enjoying learning ways to get more for my money. I have to say that I personally am not spending more on basics but receiving more than I would have had I not ventured into the world of couponing.
    Eager to learn more!

  11. megulle

    I totally agree! I for one will no longer go back to disposable feminine pads. I stopped getting yeast infection ever since I switched to cloth. I use that along with menstrual cups during my cycle. Making your own lotion has been life changing as well. It’s better for the skin and paraben free. If you can heat water in the microwave, then you can make lotion.

  12. Ihearthip

    I haven’t bought soap in about 4 years thanks to a great deal on yaysave. Other than that I have seen us pare down on a lot. I don’t buy alot of packaged things anymore. Mostly meat dairy produce and baking ingredients. I honestly think people don’t clean as much as they used to. Too busy or don’t have the same standard of clean a generations past.

  13. Christina

    I have tried to change over to natural cleaners for my house. You would be surprised how much $ you can save by making your own cleaners. Most are just water, vinegar and baking powder….and buying a gallon of vinegar for only $3.29(full price) brings down my monthly cleaning costs significantly. I buy less and throw away less.

  14. Denise

    I currently have limited disposable income, so don’t ‘stock pile’ as many things as I would like. I am buying more ‘generic’ brands, unless I can get a good deal, thanks to Hip2Save!

  15. igotmybox

    I am actually consciously on a project to spend less money at drugstores, exactly for such products as mentioned in that article. I am so geeky, I post spreadsheets on my blog 🙂

  16. LauraL

    Perhaps it’s because more people are sharing households. Very few late teens/early twenties can afford to live on their own so they are still staying with parents and the ones that do move out tend to have roommates.

    I also read less people are getting married and having babies, so that would contribute to the decline too.

  17. deb

    I’ve noticed that the packaging for many national brands is shrinking, but the price is increasing. why would I buy unless I was getting a really fantastic deal?

  18. Crazy About Coupons

    I thought this site was for couponing! Save your political opinions for another blog!

    • L

      And save ur opinion to urself…if Colin had a problem with political discussions she whould block it…so if u dont want to comment,that is ur right…but dont try to prevent us from doing so!!

    • Dee

      Thank you!

      • Dee

        My thank you was to you, Ms/Mr Crazy About Coupons… 🙂

    • Dayna

      This article relates to spending habits and companies responding to said spending habits with more deals and coupons, so I can EASILY see how it relates to couponing, and would be a thought for discussion on this site.

  19. lisa

    We are trying to go green in our home. and I buy less and less every year. We use baking soda and water for shampoo and vinegar and water for conditioner. I make my own cleaning products and use micro fiber cloths. I wash my face with a 50/50 mix of olive oil and castor oil and my face has never been more clear, tea tree oil for the occasional (monthly 🙂 zits. I’ve been buying Dr. Bronners to use as my body wash and I use it for lots of other things, it is more expensive but they are a family run business based in CA and I’d rather give my money to them than these big corporations.
    I think it is a combination of people having less to spend and realizing they don’t need all this junk that they are pushing on us.

    • Nicole

      That is exactly what we do too. I have no use for stuff I can make that’s cheaper and more effective. I don’t think you were being political. I saw your reason for not purchasing these items and then your opinion. Nothing wrong with that.

  20. Bunny

    Recently ordered E-cloths microfiber cleaning cloths (I read about them in Real Simple magazine). They are supposed to clean very well with only water! And they have different kinds–one for glass, one for stainless steel, etc. Super excited about trying these since they get such good reviews online. Then hopefully I will be reducing our need to purchase cleaning products for the house.

    The main thing I like about what I’ve read about the E-cloths is that people say that actually LOVE cleaning with these–LOL 🙂

    I also loved reading everyone’s comments. Hip2Save readers always have such great input on everything! Thank you so much!

  21. liz

    Lisa: I use the same oils on my face. I love it! Love the suggestion of tea tree oil for the monthly need. Thanks!

  22. Ashley57

    Not that these are basics, but I know my sisters and I do not use makeup. I think there is a movement for less makeup in general. We also do not dye our hair, another product that would need to be purchased.

  23. Rachel

    I was obsessed with couponing about two years ago. I had a huge binder and would buy coupons/inserts on eBay. Now, it is more of a pain in the butt, for me personally. I don’t have time to stop by CVS and Walgreens every week. I do all my grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. I take my ads and price-match from Meijer, Target, Kroger and Dollar General. We receive two different newspaper on Sunday. I flip through the inserts and cut the coupons I know I will actually use. I also print coupons from once a month. If I can save $5 a week, then I will.

    Pop is definitely a staple in my house. I can afford it, so I will buy it. I do tend to buy more when it’s on sale. I will still buy it when it’s not on sale. At one time, I had a two year supply of toothpaste at one time. It was ridiculous. I don’t even think that the deals were that great because I ended up letting the Register Rewards or ECB expire. So, I stopped stock piling. I just buy as I need it. I buy my Angel Soft toilet paper on Amazon, and I buy generic paper towels and cleaning wipes at Dollar General. I buy generic brand cleaning supplies as well; I think they work just as well. I usually buy Purex or Dynamo laundry soap. Even with coupons or sales, I feel Tide is too expensive; that is just a personal preference. I get my nails done every two weeks, and I have a smart phone. I had a prepaid plan, and I pay $55 a month. That is a steal compared to the $90-110 that Verizon, At&T or Sprint cost. I am a professional single mom with one child. I chose to only have one child because I wanted to make sure that we would live comfortably.

    • Dayna

      I agree about being way more involved with couponing several years ago. I still coupon and will go out of my way to get a deal on items I use or if there is a REALLY good deal, but I definitely don’t do it as much as I used to.
      I did it during college and when I was working part time, but now that I have a full time job, I just don’t’ have the time or energy to do it anymore. I was getting caught up in the craze and getting things because it was cheap or free and wasn’t really using them.

  24. Pat

    I think everybody is watching their dimes and nickels these days. I am watching more and more. Even if it is free if we won’t eat it I won’t buy it unless I know I can donate it. I got 12 coupons for free bagged salads but nobody eats it at my house so I donated them to the Ronald McDonald House. I couldn’t give them away to my friends as they don’t trust bagged salads. Of course my brothers are very picky eaters, no BBQ, no spicy foods, no mexican etc…. It is frustrating sometimes.

  25. Nicole

    I make my own laundry soap, toothpaste, lotion, and shampoo & conditioner. I also don’t buy cereal or soda for my household, but I also think these are not staples either.

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