What Does The Weak Dollar Mean To Shoppers?

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about the weak dollar, but might not be sure what exactly it means for you.

First of all, it means that those bottles of Château Lafite-Rothschild are going to cost you more than they did 6 months ago. SmartMoney has a good article about what else to expect from our sagging currency, if you happen to be in the market for some wine, cars and bling.

Here’s what they think of jewelry, for example:

The double whammy of a weak dollar and high consumer demand world-wide has sent prices for raw jewelry materials — most notably diamonds and gold — skyrocketing.

The issue with gold is twofold. Typically, when the dollar is beaten down, investors flock to gold as a safe-haven investment. That’s definitely been the case in recent weeks. (Gold hit a 28-year high Wednesday as the dollar flirted with record lows.) On top of that, gold is priced in U.S. dollars, which means foreign buyers can buy it at a discount to U.S. consumers as the dollar continues to fall, which drives up demand and therefore prices.

And while some jewelers set prices by what they paid at the time they bought these precious metals and gems, others continuously jack up prices to reflect the going rate. That makes it crucial for consumers to comparison shop, warns Renée Newman, author of “The Jewelry Handbook.” “It’s no longer a given that a more expensive piece is better,” she says. You’ll need to research — and then compare — those factors that affect a piece’s quality and desirability. An independent appraisal couldn’t hurt either if you’re eyeing a particularly expensive piece.

Ok, so we probably can’t afford any of this crap, but it was still pretty interesting.

What a Weak Dollar Means for U.S. Shoppers [SmartMoney]


Edit Your Comment

  1. SOhp101 says:

    To put it simply, it means we’re f****d.

    Sure there are some concession prizes. For example, foreigners like to come here and spend their money… but that’s like winning five dollars in the Powerball.

    But all imports become a lot more expensive, and domestic companies in the same industries raise their prices too so they don’t look ‘cheap’ compared to the import competitors.

  2. Phildawg says:

    lololololol weak dollar? I’m sorry a currency losing 30% of it’s value in less than 2 years is called hyper-inflation. Right now there has a been a lot of cover-up and that our economy is great!!! Actually what people don’t want to discuss is your economy better be increasing when you currency has been losing about .5% of it’s value every day!

    A good example of this is if the stock market is sitting at 15,000 points… if it gains 75 points a day… it is only keeping up with the current rate of inflation… meaning its stagnant as hell. The stock market is just better than having piece of crap U.S. dollars in your hand as they become more devalued by the day. Give it a month, and we will have the lowest value dollar in U.S. history.

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

  3. RocktheDebit says:

    The loonie is worth more than our dollar. The frickin’ Canadian dollar, formerly reliably at approximately 2/3 of an American dollar, is now at 1.04. The pound’s gone from “about a buck-fifty” to “a bit more than two dollars” in an insanely short period of time. I’m not sure what I should put my investments in anymore. I mean, it could swing back, right? Right?

  4. Scazza says:

    @RocktheDebit: Yeah, but at least a good half of the canadian loonies strenght lies in the upswing of the canadian markets. Also its hit 1.058 today for awhile…

  5. North of 49 says:

    Wooohoo!!! Loonie’s worth more! *happy dance* Nyah Nyah. Suck it up you yankees. Now you know how we’ve been feeling like for the last… oh… thirty years!

  6. doormat says:

    Likewise with Jewelry, a weak dollar and an international commodity market priced in dollars means trouble for the US. Oil for example, trades higher and higher every day as the dollar shrinks. The value of that barrel of oil hasnt changed, the value of how its denominated has dropped.

  7. EtherealStrife says:

    It means you’re better off spending your money now while it’s still worth something. Investing is for suckers, unless it’s gold or forex.

  8. mr_jrdn says:

    It’s funny that even now as the Canadian dollar rises in value, our Canadian imports remain more or less the same price. Liquor, gas, and other imports have remained at about the same rate for a long time! It is my opinion that capitalist monsters are keeping prices artificially high in Canada.

  9. motocopas says:

    It means that as a US expat living in the UK and earning £, but buying stuff in the States (i.e. my new Macbook) is going to be that much cheaper.

    The USD has fallen from £1=$1.6 in January 2003 to its current rate of £1=$2.08. Nice.

  10. sduane says:

    A weak dollar is good for any company in the US who exports to other countries. My company, a heavy truck manufacturer, is already seeing an increase in interest from Canadian buyers who see the current exchange rate as an opportunity to get more bang for their buck. On the flip side we haven’t seen any dramatic increase in prices for parts or materials. I expect to see our backlog increase in the next few months and our sales and profit figures to go with. Now is a good time to be investing in any US company that manufacturers goods that our exported to a country with a higher valued currency.

  11. iamme99 says:

    Some reading for the curious:

    Rubin Says Relying on Weaker Dollar Isn’t `Sound’

    What Factors are Affecting the U.S. Dollar?

    “Dollar Stores” are Losing Money:
    The Untrustworthy U.S. Currency


  12. snrub says:

    A weak dollar for me in Ireland means I was able to save 800EUR importing a Macbook Pro

  13. spinachdip says:

    @snrub: Funny, for the last few years, Apple Stores have been mobbed by European tourists looking to save a few Euros with the exchange rate. I suppose we can now expect Canucks to do high-end electronics shopping in the States as well.

  14. Eilonwynn says:

    We sell on eBay, and even though we’re in canada, we sell in US $ – The second the US dollar started falling, our foreign customers skyrocketed – noticeably – but our US customers are not falling away.

  15. savvy9999 says:

    so for real, should I start moving the eggs in my 401k basket from US index funds into mostly foreign markets and exchanges? Or is it too late, they’re already omelets?

  16. lalahsghost says:

    THe weaker our dollar gets, the more desperate americans will be. We might even create a pact with Mexico and/or Canada to create a More ‘universal currency’. The mexican president himself stated that We will eventually be gobbled up by some kind of european group. ?EU? This is all a plant to bring upon a new-world order type deal…


  17. mol666 says:

    we’re going to be just like the UK in the 70’s and 80’s. That’s around the time when the Pound Sterling no longer became a global currency standard; the US dollar took its place. Now we’re entering a situation where the Euro will overtake the dollar.

    On the upside, maybe we’ll have a decent punk rock scene around here again. Although, I’ll be too old to take part in it, damn.

  18. cdan says:

    Meg, you totally Googled “most expensive wine”

  19. iaintgoingthere says:

    I have four gold fillings in my teeth. I’m gonna cash it in buy me a 65 inch LCD TV.

  20. CapitalC says:

    I’m now using American greenbacks as toilet paper since it’s cheaper than actual toilet paper! :)

  21. tadowguy says:


  22. lalahsghost says:

    [quote=”CAPITALC”]I’m now using American greenbacks as toilet paper since it’s cheaper than actual toilet paper! :)[/quote]

    Didn’t the weight of the paper that the deutchmark was printed on cost more than the money itself after WWI?

  23. lalahsghost says:

    damnit, how do you use quote/reply function…?

  24. Phildawg says:

    @lalahsghost: I just hit the little arrow button and it works, haha, and yea it was when the peace treaty said Germany owed a specific amount of Deutsch Marks to the winners of the war for reparations. Germany was like oh yea? Cool, we will get the printing press ready and get that to you ASAP! After printing up trillions of marks, their currency was worthless =) It was a better option though that trying to actually pay the reparations!

  25. lalahsghost says:

    @Phildawg: hah, thanks for the reply~