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France goes to the polls on April 22 and a big theme of this year’s campaign has been purchasing power. The widespread perception in France is that wages are not keeping pace with the cost of living, and that the middle class—squeezed is being left behind.
Consumers have responded by defecting to no-frills discount supermarkets like Ed l’Epicier, which has branches all over Paris and offers the cheapest prices for basic items like milk, cereal, and shampoo.
There has also been a flowering of initiatives ranging from Web sites trumpeting free stuff to Web-based solidarity economics. For instance, Peuplade was launched last fall as a neighbourhood networking association. It allows people to exchange services like an hour’s yoga instruction for an hour of babysitting. The group now boasts 400,000 members in Paris. Cheapos can sign up and swap English conversation for, say, a cookery class.
Bargain hunters should also check out radins.com. “Radin,” which is French for “cheapskate,” is a great resource for Cheapos. While perusing it recently we found tips on everything from discount codes for SNCF train tickets to how to make your own skin exfoliant.