Is being a frugal shopper cool these days? Some analysts say yes. They believe the days of flashy spending are over and shopping smart is in. Some experts believe our weak economy is driving the trend to save. The era of flashy buying and flaunting the latest items on the market could be over. It is called conspicuous consumption, buying things you don't need for attention. Carlton Yedinak said those days are gone for him. “I used to be very much, if I see, I want it, I need it, I buy it,” said the one time lavish spender. The proof - he recently damaged his Blackberry, and instead of buying a new one, he's making due with another one he already owned. Is this a sign that being thrifty is in style? David Weber, UNCW associate Communication Studies professor said, “One of the great trends that is happening right now is that people are questioning their habits and their questioning the relationship to the things that they own.” Weber said conspicuous shopping has been around for about 100 years. He said the baby boomer population played a role in the high-end shopping in the 80's and 90's. But these days, he said penny-pinching could be considered cooler because of the recession. “What's happening is people are not giving up or renouncing items, but they are down-sizing the quality. If someone wants to buy a car, who 2 or 3 years ago may have gone for a sixty thousand dollar car, he or she is going to buy a twenty-five thousand dollar car,” said Dr. Weber. Reports show sales at high-end stores like Neiman Marcus dropped nearly 30 percent last fall, compared to Walmart, which continues to see gains. Weber said because the economy is in shambles, people are re-evaluating their shopping habits. “I actually don't need to be the stuff that I buy. I can be someone else better than that. I think that's a pretty good thing,” added Weber. Dr. Weber predicts once the economy turns around, people will eventually go back to lavish spending, but will always remember how the recession affected their finances.
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