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Weekend Reading: Buying in Bulk, Cool Nerds, and Diamond Rings

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Happy holidays! If you’re like me, you are probably thankful that the holiday shopping season is coming to a close. Yes, after Christmas there are some sales that can’t be ignored: if you buy Christmas-related items, now is the time to find them for 50% to 90% off their regular prices. And as stores try to eliminate their inventory in preparation of 2010, you can find sales just about everywhere you look.

I think I’m done spending for the year.

Here are a few articles worth reading this weekend:

Save Money By Buying Sale Items in Bulk. Buying sale items at the grocery store in bulk can often save more money than buying bulk packaging at warehouse stores but will almost always save money than buying only what you need for the coming week. If you have storage space for non-perishable items and an extra refrigerator and freezer, this savings technique works to your advantage.

Having extra storage space is a luxury that not everyone has available; living in a studio apartment in a city or renting a tiny apartment for a large family, space is a commodity. In this instance, the best savings opportunities are available for those who need them less, while those earning just enough money to survive or living in poorer conditions won’t be able to take advantage.

The U.S. Economy Needs More Nerds. This article mentions an interesting distinction: while the group of people who understand how technology is used seems to get younger and younger, like middle school students who can text faster than adults and high schools kids who can configure your wireless internet settings perfectly, there is actually less technology-related education in schools. Increasingly, students are learning how to use technology but not how to control it. Computer programming skills are in demand but fewer high schools are teaching computer science.

The article also points out the country needs more “cool nerds,” those with the computer science skills and the ability to apply those skills beyond the technology itself. Here is someone MSN cites as a “cool nerd:”

Kira Lehtomaki, 27, was an artist who loved animated film. She studied computer graphics in college and graduated with a degree in computer science. She’s now an animator at Walt Disney Animation studios, working on “Rapunzel.” Lehtomaki says her computer science education is an asset every day, less for specific technical skills than for what she learned about analytical thinking. “Computer science taught me how to think about things, how to break down and solve complex problems,” she told the Times.

Diamond Engagement Rings: Bling Bling! Here is an in-depth discussion of the concept of diamond engagement rings. It’s a shame that a marketing campaign created by DeBeers, a company that claims “DeBeers is diamonds,” has affected millions of women worldwide to believe that a diamond is a symbol of love, and that the clearer and bigger that diamond is, the stronger that love. This demand and perceived value has turned the diamond industry into what it is today, taking a fairly common stone and turning it into the product that a man must buy if he would like his girlfriend to stay with him forever.

Of course, not every woman in the developed world shares this need, but the concept has certainly permeated culture.

Updated February 10, 2011 and originally published December 26, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Tyler Karasewski

I could tell you the same thing about technology skills. The main reason so many of these jobs are held by Indian or Chinese or Eastern European immigrants is simply because there aren’t enough Americans with the skills required. It’s a lot easier to hire a U.S. citizen, from a bureaucratic perspective, than someone from overseas, but only if you can find one with the skills required. Companies are looking for the most-skilled engineers, and they’ll get them from whichever country is training them, U.S. or otherwise.

While I generally agree with the diamond ring thing, pretty much everything beyond basic food, shelter and housing could be described the same way. We could all survive just fine without soft drinks, but how many coke/pepsi ads do we see every day? The industry creates demand. Same thing with consumer electronics or nice furniture or designer clothes or the fact that Britney Spears can sell a million albums. There’s a lot of effective marketing out there for all sorts of things, not just diamonds.

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avatar Financial Samurai

Happy Holidays Flexo!

I wish I was a cool nerd, so I could fix all my computer probs and come up with some cool site things on my own, but alas, I’m a dummy.

Anybody who reads the “Diamond Engagement Rings: Bling, Bling” article should hopefully find a humorous approach to the subject on how to actually get girls on a bus, to revolting against the 3 month salary rule, to figuring out whether you should actually get a diamond. Thnx for highlighting.

Happy Holidays! Gotta go exercise!

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avatar Matt Jabs

Well by golly… I buy in bulk and save, I think I may be classified as a cool nerd, and I don’t believe in the marketing lie that diamond rings = love.

Maybe I’m on the right track after all. :-)

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avatar John DeFlumeri Jr

Bulk buying of sale items is great, but when it’s food, must caution against bulk eating, produces fat in bulk!

John DeFlumeri Jr

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