Sorry about the rambling yesterday, I just re-read my post and it was very badly written. I apologize.
I've been thinking about Mayberry's blog of a couple of days ago. The one where he describes the pain of finding out that you can't make things as cheaply as china mart sells them.
Let's stand back and think about this for a bit. In the way of research, I went to china mart today to take a walkabout. What a pile of shit. Most of the stuff there is not even close to necessary, and is so cheaply made that it may break on the way out of the store. The essence of the place is cheapness. It isn't inexpensive, it is cheap and shoddy.
What we have to get over is the idea of lots of stuff as a sign of success. Wal-Mart and the big stores are built around selling you shit you don't need. If you do need it and buy it at Wal-Mart, check it over closely, make sure it is what you need and make sure it will serve the purpose well. I think that we are going into a world where you have less stuff, a lot of the stuff that you have will be made close to you by people you know, and the stuff you have will be yours for a long time. It is a world where Wal-Mart cannot survive.
Buy stuff that will last, don't buy so much crap. Figure out what you need and don't try to keep up with the Joneses, those days are over. When you can, try to make stuff yourself, that way you can make it well and learn how to make it.