TODAY guest Katy Wolk-Stanley stuck a chord with her first-person account of how she has gone five years without buying any new consumer goods, other than underwear or socks.
Many readers say they shop secondhand stores by necessity, not because of a lifestyle choice. Typical was "Blondini," who said:
As a mother of 5 children, now adults rearing their own children, I have shopped yard sales and thrift stores and been given hand-me-down clothes throughout their lives. This was necessity, not a game. I felt that the segment was demeaning to those of us who have had to scrimp and save -- and yes -- even buy used underwear in thrift stores. I'm proud that my children always looked well dressed and have grown up to be intelligent adults with admirable work ethics and a true knowledge of the value of a dollar.
Others just prefer to live a more non-materialistic lifestyle. As "one-non-conformist" put it:
My husband and I have been doing this for years! We love CL and eBay. We do consignment and have been on a mission to clean out all of the "stuff" we have accumulated over the years. We have found that in the last few years that thrift stores are being used tremendously more then even 5 years ago. It has become a way of survival for many! Reuse, reuse, reuse!
Katy Wolk-Stanley thought she could go a month without buying anything new. Five years later, she's continuing her "non-consumer" lifestyle, based on borrowing and buying used.
Watch this space for a follow-up story on other extreme savers.
Senior writer Allison Linn also struck a nerve with a story about the middle class feeling worse off financially now than they did when the recession began nearly five years ago. More than 30 percent of the 20,000 users who responded to our survey said they feel they have fallen completely out of the middle class.
Contributing writer Dana Macario is in the third week of a 30-day challenge to avoid the grocery store. There have been some bumps in the road. First, she failed to plan ahead and had to buy some food at a grocery store. Then she tried to bake her own bread and made "two wonderful-smelling doorstops." Next week Dana will share what she has learned over the past month.