I Am Not Letting Go Of This Product Until Its Usefulness Is Completely Exhausted

It’s a good sign that consumer spending is up lately, but an even more telling trend shows that no one is forgetting how tough the times can get. In ongoing efforts to save money, it seems consumers are holding products close and never, ever letting go. Or at least waiting a long time to replace them.

The New York Times says that the urge to make do with outdated technology or even stretch a tube of toothpaste longer, as well as other products we use on a day-to-day basis, is a result of the recession. The dip in the economy has everyone so freaked out over what can happen that they’re being more careful now with what they do buy.

In the case of Patti Hauseman of Brooklyn, that meant sticking with a five-year-old Apple computer until it started making odd whirring noises and occasionally malfunctioning. She and her boyfriend bought a new computer for Christmas — actually, a refurbished one.

How extreme!

Whether out of a desire to not appear wasteful or just to really get your money’s worth, the recession made an impression on consumers much like that of its predecessor, the Great Depression. That economic episode lead many eccentric uncles to squirrel away say, a few hundred pairs of cheap socks and seven boxes of bottle caps.

Instead of socks, we’re hanging onto cars, cellphones, laptops, adding water to shampoo and other household products, and conserving in general.

The NYT does say that eventually, we’ll all be sucked back into our hold habits of yearning after the newest, shiniest, coolest toys and start stuffing our shopping carts full of novel products.

What do you think — are you more likely to hang onto, try to fix or otherwise stretch your purchases?

Use It Up, Wear It Out [New York Times]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.