Target's latest newspaper advertising insert is unapologetically recession-themed, with products pitched as alternatives to more expensive luxuries that so many families are foregoing because of the tough economy. The somewhat clunky ad copy tells us that "Today is certainly a new day. You don't have to give up all the things you love to live the life you've come to live. It's a new day. We'll help you save."

For instance, Target-brand orange juice is "the new room service." A $79.99 bike is "the new commute" and a $14.99 set of hair clippers is "the new barber shop." Target is ushering in a thrifty mentality that has been missing for a long time.

But my personal favorite has to be the $17.99 toss pillows advertised as "the new renovation."

Throw pillows equals renovation? That one's a bit of a stretch in the sense that accessorizing with throw pillows is not, by definition, a form of renovating -- at all. You still have to give Target credit for trying, and for making old-fashioned Yankee thrift part of its marketing pitch.

But for items like throw pillows and the exercise equipment and dinnerware advertised elsewhere in the flyer, savvy shoppers may be able to do far better buying second-hand.

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