Demand is rising for kitchen and bath gadgets that squeeze out that last blob of toothpaste and help get the suds out of tiny slivers of soap.
Marketers of these gizmos tout how the pennies they save by reducing waste can add up. Retailers are stocking up.
During the Great Recession, penny pinchers got even cheaper, while showing the newly frugal how it's done. Cheapskate gadgets may be a sign of the times, but they're also a sign of how product makers and retailers are trying to get people back in the spending habit.
Big companies like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and The Container Store and a longtime "As Seen on TV" pitchman are stocking up on items claiming to help people save a buck, such as:
• Caps that keep the fizz in opened soda cans.
• Digital day counters: gizmos that count the days and hours food has been in the refrigerator, to help keep track of when that milk might be in danger of going bad.
• New, stylish versions of pants extenders that let people wear their clothes even when they gain or lose weight.
A.J. Khubani, the man behind many "As Seen on TV" gadgets such as the PedEgg foot scraper, is making cheapskate gimmicks a priority at his company Telebrands, one of the nation's top direct-response TV marketing companies.
More than half of Telebrands' gadgets, sold online and at 90,000 stores, are now focused on helping shoppers be cheap. Khubani, who has been traveling around the country to meet inventors, is speeding up his launches of new products to every 30 days from every 60 days.
"The mood of the country has changed," Khubani said. "We've had tremendous opportunity with this recession."
Since 2007, Telebrands' revenue has doubled to several hundred million dollars, he said.
Retailers, scrambling to find new ways to pump up anemic sales, expect these products will have staying power as Americans try to save more and waste less.Are gadgets worth it?
An open question is whether the truly frugal are too cheap to buy gadgets that can cost up to $20. Who needs a soap saver when an old washcloth or a pair of pantyhose will do?(2 of 2)
Home Warranty FAQRandy McClain: Save early, often, exec turned author advises