The New F Word is Frugal: Highlights of the LIVE Blog from TV show 16X9

By  | 

Thanks to everyone who tuned into the Recessionista segment on TV Show 16X 9 last night. I had such a great time doing the show, and participating in the LIVE BLOG after. There were a lot of great questions that came in from the viewers, and I wanted to share some of them here for my blog readers.

Mary Perrone: Welcome everyone! Please submit your questions for our panel.

Q. How can you tell a good consignment shop?
A. Hi there. Great question. A good consignment shop will have a nice selection of goods, displayed by variety and sometimes even designer sections. Check the shops in your area on YELP to see how other users rate them before heading out to the stores. I have a good piece on it on my blog, you might want to check out. Check my post on Thrift stores and consignment stores . Click here.

Q. What are some simple tips for saving?
A. Shoppers should shop the discounters and shopping clubs. Check my blog under the TOP PICKS (right side of blog) for links to shopping clubs. Also check the Coupon Widget on the blog for codes to save money. Clip and use those coupons! Also, look at YELP listings for user reviews on products and set up GOOGLE alerts for sales.

Q. How do you know if it’s real brand or designer rather than a fake?
A. Great question on the fakes. On handbags, a good rule of thumb is the fakes usually stink of glue and plastic! Also, the labeling (designer name) will sometimes be poor. Check the inside of a designer bag in a good department store for the look/color of it’s lining before buying on eBay or the street. A good bag will have the maker’s specific lining and hallmarks. The fake will not!!! ( Look at pictures on eLuxury to see what the real bag looks like).

Mary Garofalo: If I may, since I consider myself somewhat of an expert on fake bags. You can usually make the distinction by the zippers…fake bags have really cheap zippers.

Recessionista Mary: Mary, good comment on the zippers on fake bags, also LOOK carefully at the ZIPPER TAB. A fake will usually not have the designer name on the tab like a Louis Vuitton or a Marc Jacobs bag will. For handbags, look at the lining, zippers and seams. Seams are usually crooked, zippers don’t have the makers’ name on the tabs and fakes usually smell of glue!
For Chanel jewelry, look for the round plate with Chanel inside on the back on the piece.

One last thing on the fakes, if it’s a Burberry item of clothing or a bag, the seams on the sides where the pattern meets, usually, the pattern plaid lines do not match!

Q. When shopping online how do you know you’re not buying fakes?
A. When shopping online, it’s harder to know if it’s a fake. On eBay, check those handbag pics carefully and compare them to picturess on the manufacturers’ websites. Also, look at the seller’s ID and their eBay feedback. That will tell you a lot! If someone is selling a Birkin bag for $ 100.00, heads up something is WRONG!! 🙂 Here’s a great article for reference on spotting fakes. Click here.

Q. What made you decide to stop paying full price and become a recessionista?
A. On transition from fashionista to recessionista, I saw the economy slowing down and wanted to start saving more. I decided to take the time to shop smarter so I could save money and look for deals, even if I had to wait in long lines to get them!!

Q. Do you think eBay has the best deals?
A. To the comment on eBay, eBay has good deals sometimes, but not always. Some sellers will HIKE the price for a HOT ITEM, and sometimes eBay does not offer a deal on something that is in demand. Check eBay against something like or Amazon is a GREAT source of savings! also has deal alerts for customers and deals of the day. Check before you buy too for coupon codes. There are good deals more and more now, the best thing is to “double dip”, get the store sale PLUS use a coupon! Check the coupon widget on the blog page at the bottom right for coupon codes.

Q. I found it interesting that you got a designer bag from a friend who didn’t want it any more. I guess during the recession we need to be more creative in our shopping.
A. Yes, I traded a handbag with a friend. I’ve been doing some Recessionista swapping lately.
A great source for that is a group called Meetup. Check to see if there are any swaps in your area. Bring the stuff you no longer want, and other ladies & guys do the same. Swapping enhances everyone’s closet!
Look at Meetup groups for swaps. (Also, in the US, check out the Recessionista Shop and Swap on Sunday March 29th in Cincinnati, OH for an example of how people are doing swapping.) Check Fashion Junkie’s site for swapping tips.

Q. I think there is probably a lot of swapping happening! Other tips I have heard on saving money – borrow books instead of buying them, take your gently used clothing to a re-sale shop, get your shoes fixed…any other ideas?
A. All good tips –with books don’t forget the library. And shoes, get them repaired and shined up often to extend their life.

Q. You used to shop and not worry about price – now that you are the queen of the deal – is it more fun to shop?
A. It’s more fun to shop, as sometimes with a good deal I feel VICTORIOUS. But it also takes a little more time. I call it the “courage to be frugal.” I will now wait in line to buy, or wait for the sale! I waited 2 hrs at H&M for Commes Des Garcons.

Q. Your blog is read in 120 different countries – that amazes me – I guess some information and tips are universal?
A. Yes, a lot of the tips are GLOBAL. You can find coupon codes for Americas, Europe and Asia on Plus check the shopping clubs under my Recessionista’s TOP PICKS (right nav bar).
Many of the tips global. The Oscar hair styling tips from the Beverly Hills salon can be used by anyone in any country.

Q. I love spa products and see that you do too. Can you recommend something for me?
A. For Spa Products, I love Travertine Spa, check them online. They ship to Canada, the US and beyond. Great products for less.

Q. Are you working on any type of books or anything? I would love to have a hard copy of all of your tips from your blog.

A. Regarding a Recessionista book, I am writing it. It’s in development! Blog readers have asked for a book pocket reference of what’s on the blog. I am working to compile and expand my material.
Comment from viewer: I would LOVE to see that. I’m already signed (subscribed) up on your blog so will wait (with excitement) to hear more.

Q. Designers are making cheaper secondary lines now, do you think people will buy them?
A. YES, if they ARE GOOD!!! I love some, but not all of them. Check out the H&M collections, Norma Kamali at Walmart and Simply Vera at Kohl’s all GOOD STUFF. The same patterns, for less using different, cheaper fabrics. Right now, I can’t say the same about the Target McQ line. Too trendy for the prices!
(Note: I have liked other Target Go collections like Richard Chai, Jovovich-Hawk and Alice Temperley.)

Q. Thank you for your help and insight. It’s helpful for people to have some fun during these tough economic times and save some money!
A. It’s essential for people to not go into “gloom and doom” mode. You don’t have to deprive yourself and go without. You can still have nice things, just take more time to shop. I am trying to make a pun on the fashion industry with The Recessionista Blog. The $2,000.00 dress from NY Fashion week is not essential.


Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.


  1. Susan

    March 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    I loved you being able to watch you on television! When is the U.S. going to discover our national treasure and put you on our airwaves?

  2. Anonymous

    March 10, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Love the live blog and the tv spot was fabulous. When will you be on US TV? Oprah, Meredith Viera, the View?

  3. Marci

    March 10, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Ooh–I love that I stumbled upon your blog while visiting delightful blogs. Very timely and useful. Thanks and keep blogging!

  4. MH

    March 10, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Thanks so much Readers! That is so nice of you. I am flattered that people read the blog and that there has been any TV coverage. Thanks to Allison Vuchnich at Global TV for doing such a great & timely piece!!!
    The Recessionista has no publicist (it's not in the budget 🙂 ) so no idea on any further appearances! Keep checking in.

  5. FDebrecen2000

    March 11, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    I just discovered your blog and ABSOLUTELY LOVE it. I am in Canada and watched your show on 16 x 9. Keep up the great info.

  6. Anonymous

    March 11, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    from MSIMMO : We need people like you in the UK to do our reviews of our rediculously high priced shoes and clothes.

    Loved your TV show !! Go Recessionista !