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Could be the recession, or could be that everyone learned the calorie count of the Frappuccino

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, July 2, 2009 22:00 EDT
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I never completely understood the early morning Starbucks run, myself—it always seemed to me faster to make your own coffee at home and drink it while getting showered and dressed. 99% of my early morning coffee runs over a lifetime are due to either to the fact that I’m moving and haven’t unpacked the coffeepot yet, that I just now discovered I’m out of coffee or creamer, or that I didn’t sleep at home. There have been a few occasions when I overslept, ran to work, unlocked the office/flicked on the computer and then got coffee from the food stand while the computer warmed up. But even that was rare.

But the explanation for this carnage of Starbucks closings is that people are tightening their belts, financially speaking.

I got that graphic off FiveThirtyEight, where they’re relating it to a Harris poll (PDF) about how people are trying to save money during this recession. 19% of people have started to skip the morning coffee run. Here’s some more statistics from the poll:

I usually think of myself as frugal. I already had reduced to a cell phone, and I already have a habit of going to the hairdresser like 4 times a year. I was never a huge fan of buying expensive coffee drinks in the morning, like I said, and I’m a fan of generics. I reuse water bottles. But I’m trying to find ways to save money, too, which has largely meant not going out to shows as much. Which makes me feel a little antisocial to friends that I do that with a lot, which sucks, but it has redirected a lot of my energies to listening to music at home, which is a plus. And to save money there, I’m trying to buy some vinyl stuff for cheap in used record stores instead of buying everything new (though that happens, too). I’ve discovered that Amazon sells a lot of music for download cheaper than iTunes. Having friends over to make cheap vodka drinks instead of meeting them in a bar has happened a few times. We’re trying to avoid going to see movies in the theater just to do it, and staying in to watch DVDs from Netflix more often. But mostly I’m trying to find cheaper ways to eat. I’m trying to find ways to use canned tomatoes instead of fresh ones for a lot of stuff, and eating more mac and cheese. Trying to buy the cheap vegetables and then figure out what to cook with them, instead of just making a list based around what I’m in the mood for.

I kind of like being an innovator in the “cheap bastard” department. I sold my truck after spending $50 to fill it up and then, after alarming everyone in the area by shaking a turnip at the sky and saying, “Never again!” I have an entire cabinet to stash shampoo, conditioner, and body wash that I buy up when it’s deeply discounted so that it can last me for months. A lot of my clothes are secondhand. But what this means is that I can’t think of interesting new ways to avoid spending money.

So I ask you, Pandagonians, to help me out. Do you have ways you save money? Just learned, always have done it, I don’t care. The weirder, the better. And do you think that people who are reacting to the recession by tightening their belt are being wise, or is this just a panic reaction? Do you give a flying fuck if Starbucks closes?

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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