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]