The New York Times has an interesting article on otherwise smart people spending dollars to save pennies:
All around the country, at similar cosmic moments, perfectly sound brains have been seizing up like an old car on a frigid day, particularly in the last few weeks. As Americans attempt to perform cost-benefit analyses of their needs and behaviors, they are whittling pennies from cable bills only to squander dollars on gas driving miles to discount stores, or on coupon-spurred splurges for nonessential items, like Cheez Whiz or organizing supplies. Pinched by shriveled retirement and college accounts, battered by ballooning mortgage costs, rent and co-op maintenance increases, and hedging against the possibility that a job might vanish, some are practicing economies that may not deserve the name.
— Penelope Green, Failing Home Economics, New York Times, 19 November 2008.