Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Frugal or hoarding?

I saw Extreme Couponing on TLC and I got a little freaked out.  I buy things on sale, and have a lot of respect for people who use coupons to get the things they use and need for much less money (or even for free).  I'm all for stocking up--I do it myself.  I've got home canned tomatoes and beans in my second pantry, as well as staples bought on a really good sale.  I've got meat that I purchased on sale in my deep freeze.

And I've got enough.  I don't need to get another truckload.   I don't need to shop for another few months -- except to maybe get another box of tea bags or some more toilet paper.

I don't save a lot of things unless I know I have a use for them.  (One exception is my used canning lids--I'm trying to make ornaments out of them for next Christmas.  It's cold and miserable out in my neck of the woods now, so it's a fun way to pass the time.)  I don't save things that I might have a use for or that I could use (but won't).  I have a small place.  And I like it relatively uncluttered.

So, if I had 30 years worth of toilet paper, I wouldn't go out and buy TP for 30 years.  Or, I'd donate a bunch of it to a shelter.  But I wouldn't go out and get more. (If I got to be a master couponer, I'd tip friends and family off to the sales and pass along any coupons I had.)

Here's another thing I don't do: I don't always jump at the chance to get something if it's free.  Yes, it's free.  It also takes up room.  It could have associated costs aren't readily apparent.  It might be something I wouldn't really use and just gather dust.  It might be something I could tell myself I'd sell on eBay only to find that I didn't actually get around to doing it until the thing was obsolete or out of fashion.  I won a portable DVD player as a door prize once; I gave it to my sister.  She and her family routinely travel 1,000 miles to see the inlaws and it was useful for entertaining the kids.  I thought for a minute that I'd sell it on eBay, but I know myself.  I probably wouldn't.

I will, however, take bags--I can always use reusable shopping bags.   


  1. Isn't that a picture of a beer can collection? lol...my brother had a similar one back in the 70s.

  2. On TLC's 'Extreme Couponing' show, I once saw a family with several boxes of junk food items like 'oreo' cookies, in their gigantic pantry. What people need to be mindful of, is that its good to save money on necessities, but its also important to be mindful of what we purchase and put in our bodies. Saving more than 20 dollars on several boxes of cookies may gloss over the fact that its still *cookies*...if you have so many, someone's going to eat them; if extreme couponing results in saving money on necessary and 'healthy' items, I am all for it!

  3. Naz, ITA. The snackfood I buy is basically just popcorn kernels--it's inexpensive and my favorite snackfood, so win-win. If I buy cookies, it's either because I'm having someone over or I have a very specific craving that will just not go away. In which case, coupons won't help.