As we all tighten our belts, we fight decades of advertising encouraging us to spend, a force so pervasive it probably leaves a genetic imprint. As one shopper overheard in a big-box store put it, "I just feel better when I buy something."

As we all tighten our belts, we fight decades of advertising encouraging us to spend, a force so pervasive it probably leaves a genetic imprint. As one shopper overheard in a big-box store put it, "I just feel better when I buy something."

We know that consumerist rush well, and with everyone spending less, we aimed to see how much of it we could get for very limited means. Starting with $30, we searched for practical and fun items from local discount stores.

Although we went a few cents over with sales tax, we came back with a total of 20 items, good for staying warm and fashionable, sprucing up the house and entertaining yourself and others.

THE CHEAP STUFF >>

20 items for $30? Try 20 items for free. Enter to win everything on this page - click to City Club.