Three weeks ago, I moved back from Australia with a completely different outlook. While I was gone, America experienced the Global Financial Crisis and frugality became a necessity rather than a hobby for many people. Families have moved from two incomes to one and from two cars to one. Stores have shut down and shops are stocking fewer items. Some of the biggest changes are:
1. Thrift stores are not necessarily where you will get the best deals.
2. People are unloading amazing luxuries at garage sales.
3. Nordstrom and Macys sometimes have better prices than Costco on clothes.
4. Since gas is more expensive, it sometimes makes more sense to do all of your shopping in a localized area instead of driving to Ventura to a 99 cent store.
5. Clothing seems to all be black, grey, tan, or white. Where did the color go?
6. Freecycle seems to be the place where people dump broken and bashed items now.
7. Gardening for food is now a community activity.
8. Packaged foods are sold for far less than home made in most cases.
9. Restaurant prices seem to have gotten lower.
10. Santa Barbara is now more affordable than ever, thanks to lower housing costs, close proximity to everything, and shops with lower prices.
In the next few blog posts, I'll start covering each of these areas in detail, along with giving you some great ideas of how to take advantage of the best values in Santa Barbara.