Friday, November 27, 2020

Affluence & Frequency of Purchase


This may seem intuitively obvious, but one way to gauge a household's level of wealth is by determining its frequency of purchase of various products and services. While some less affluent households may be deceptive due to debt spending, and while other more affluent households may be deceptive due to frugality or a focus on sustainability and the environment, this is generally an accurate gauge of wealth. Here are some examples:

  • How often are homes bought and sold?
  • How often are renovations completed for the house? How often has the kitchen been remodeled? How often has the master bathroom been remodeled? How often have rooms been redecorated? How often have furniture, carpets or lamps been replaced? Constantly? Every few years? Once or twice? Or never?
  • Have additions been built on to the house? How often?
  • How often are the grounds re-landscaped? 
  • How often is a new outbuilding constructed on the grounds?
  • How often is a new car purchased? Every year? Every couple of years? Only when the car has been run to the ground? Or never?
  • How often is a new boat purchased? 
  • How often are new computers purchased? Every year? When a new model is introduced? Every few years? Or only when the old computer no longer works?
  • How often are new smartphones purchased? Every year? Every couple of years? Or only when the old ones no longer work?
  • How often is a housecleaner used? Daily? Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? Or never?
  • How often are gardeners or ground crews used? Full-time? Occasionally? Only when needed? Or never? 
  • Is unused food thrown out or is it used for leftovers?
  • What is the frequency of purchase of artwork? Does artwork need to be rotated? If so, how often is it rotated?
  • How often are vacations taken? Several times a year? Once or twice a year? Or never?
  • How often is air travel used? Fifty or more times a year? At least twenty times a year? Several times a year? Or less often?
  • How often are plays, concerts, operas or dance performances attended? Several times a week? Weekly? Monthly? Or less often?
  • How often does the household eat out at restaurants? Seven nights a week? Four to six nights a week? Three nights a week? Once or twice a week? Or less often?
  • How often is a dress or pair of shoes worn? Once, for a single occasion or event? A couple times but only for one season and while still in fashion? A few times, but never with the same people? For years? Or until they are worn out?
  • How often is the massage therapist visited? How often is the beauty parlor visited? How often is a manicurist visited? 
  • How often is a personal trainer used? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Less often? Or never?
  • How often are fresh flowers purchased for the house? Daily? Weekly? Only for special occasions? Or never?
  • How often does one shop? Multiple times a day? Daily? A few times a week? Weekly? Or less often?
  • How often does the FedEx, UPS or Amazon Prime truck deliver goods to the house? Multiple times a day? Once a day? Several times a week? Or less often?
  • Related to this, what is the volume of trash or recycling that is picked up from the house each week?
  • How often are items that are no longer wanted donated to charity?
At a superficial level, household spending may seem similar across social-economic groups, but when one investigates purchase frequency, one may note significant differences due to significant differences in financial capacity. 

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