"Having a big SUV was always an expensive affair, but it was big, roomy and it made you feel safe," Jim Cramer told his

"RealMoney" radio show listeners Monday.

But paying $100 to fill your tank if a far cry from $50 to $60, and people nationwide are cutting back on spending to account for this increased and onerous cost, he said.

How does he know that consumers are cutting back? Look no further than recent earnings and sales results from the nation's biggest retailers including

Lowe's

(LOW) - Get Report

and

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

, he said.

Next week,

Best Buy

(BBY) - Get Report

could be the next big box store to feel the pinch, just as

Target

(TGT) - Get Report

already has, he added.

In this environment, Cramer said that the market would traditionally move to defensive, consumer-oriented plays -- including

Procter & Gamble

(PG) - Get Report

,

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

and

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

-- meaning companies that do not need a strong economy to survive.

These companies make products that people buy to stock their medicine cabinets and refrigerators, he said, noting that we have to spend on these items whether the economy is hot or not.

However, the market hasn't been behaving as it should lately, said Cramer, and these big defensive names aren't necessarily doing well. Stay away from the big drug and beverage plays he said, suggesting instead companies like

Wrigley

( WWY) and

Cadbury Schweppes

(CSG)

.

The companies that are doing well are making products that are not that expensive, he said, noting that

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

has been strong even as the market fell for 10 straight days.

He said that commodities like gold and copper are still declining, but that this is in some part due to the fact that they ran to unsustainably high levels. He often tells listeners to buy strength and sell weakness, and he recommended doing so in this sector, too.

Cramer said that he would "circle the wagons" around a couple of good commodities stocks and some defensive stocks in order to put together a diversified portfolio. This is the strategy that he has used to create his charitable trust

Action Alerts PLUS.

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James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for

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