It’s three weeks since I began my downshifting challenge and now the experiment has come to an end. It’s been interesting trying to save money by moving down a brand in three different areas of my shopping, while also trying to maintain a certain standard of quality.
I was impressed by how much difference shifting down a brand in the supermarket made to my grocery shopping bill – almost a 50 per cent discount and with very little discernable difference in quality between the products. While I have moved down a brand on many individual products before, I had never downshifted the whole of my grocery shopping at once in this way and it was interesting to see the results.
It was also a useful exercise to try to apply these principles to other areas of my shopping, such as clothes and makeup, to see if downshifting could work in much the same way as it does with grocery shopping. However, on balance I feel that doing so produced mixed results really compared to the supermarket experiment.
In the supermarket it was easier to switch to an intermediate brand from a more expensive brand and experience little change in quality. But with clothes shopping, if you shop at mid level stores such as BHS, M&S etc. and decide to move down a brand you really have to go to a cheap discount store where there may be a dramatic difference in price and probably quality. Plus food items don’t have to stand the test of time or the ravages of a washing machine in the same way that clothes do. However, perhaps if you normally shop at a more expensive store then, if you switch to a cheaper clothing chain which still sells well made clothes, it’s possible that you might not see such a big difference in quality.
We also saw a big debate here on the blog regarding the ethical dilemma of buying cheap clothes which might be produced by sweatshop workers earning just a few pence an hour. It was interesting to read your views on this issue and it has certainly got me thinking more about what I buy, where I buy it from, who may have made it and in what circumstances. Before the recession, many people had become concerned about where their food comes from and I think this awareness is slowly spreading to our outlook on clothes shopping. The difficulty is that it seems much harder to source ethical clothes easily at the moment than it does organic or ethical food.
As for makeup, it was fun and a real eye opener trying out new products and comparing them to more expensive ones. I think I would be prepared to downshift regularly on items like eyeliner, lipstick and eyeshadow but not so much on foundation and pressed powder.
All in all, I think downshifting is a great idea but that perhaps it’s easier to apply the principles to certain areas of life than others. What do you think?
Do you downshift your shopping? What other areas of life could you apply the principles of downshifting to? Leave a message and let me know.
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