I understand that some of us have since moved on to the finer things in life like free KFC grilled chicken and such, but who else grew up having to eat Spam when times got a little rough?

I can’t be the only with a mom who fried up the spam in a pan and dressed it up with cheese (American, of course…go USA), toasted bread and some ketchup and called it a “Spam burger.” You know, to make you forget that you have no idea what Spam is and why you’re eating it.

If some of you didn’t know about then you evidently are well aware of the magic mystery meat now. Spam, along with Dinty Moore stew and Hormel’s chili are all posting a 6 percent increase in first quarter sales.

In other words, chicken isn’t cheap, turkey can get too pricey, and beef, well, it’s not for dinner as much as it used to be.

And what are people having with their Spam burgers and beef stews? Cheap wine, of course!

The Wine Institute says that U.S. sales of California wines totaled about 467 million gallons last year — a 2 percent increase from the year before. But these sales come mainly from their cheaper selections.

I personally recommend the “two buck chuck” found at Trader Joe’s. Or maybe a nice moderately priced bottle from your area drug store.

This trend for cheaper meats and beverages from newly price conscious shoppers like you have led to Dollar Tree Inc. clawing its way into this year's Fortune 500 for the first time, at No. 499.

Yes, you read that correctly. Dollar Tree Inc. is now a Fortune 500 company.

Unfortunately, where cans of chili and cheap Merlot have soared, other industries have suffered.

Maybe you bought your kid (or yourself) that Wii, but obviously it’s dawn on you and other consumers that video games aren’t cheap.  Data gathered by the NPD Group reveals that sales of video game software in the U.S. fell 23% in April from the year-ago period. That’s higher than the 20% decline expected by Wall Street analysts.

Blockbuster is also floundering in this economy. The home video rental chain reported a 39% decline in profits.

I can’t imagine why Blockbuster can’t get ahead considering Match.com reported its strongest performance in seven years. That could be attributed to condom sales rising 5 percent over the final three months of 2008, but I’ll leave that to your imagination.

Is anyone out there sipping on a glass of budget Pinot Grigio as they fry up their Spam burger for their videogame less kids?If so, I’d love to hear from you.

P.S. While Hormel and other companies may be hooking you up with a cheap meal, remember everything has a cost. Chicago-based market researcher Information Resources Inc. reports that sales of laxative liquids and powders jumped 11.5 percent. Sales of stomach remedy tablets, like those from Pepto-Bismol and Phillips brands, rose 8 percent.

Mmm, delicioso!