Monday, October 12, 2009

smell? what smell?

I've mentioned several times that for the past three years, I did the 'mega-coupon shopping' thing.  I had a deal worked out with my newspaper delivery person where I paid for two subscriptions, but received 4 sets of inserts, thus giving me 4 of every coupon (at one point I had 6).  I ran around to all the different stores getting things I didn't know I needed because they were cheap or free.  We converted a hall coat closet to a shelving closet and nicknamed it 'ball-mart' (our last name is ball).  If I needed something, I had it.  If you needed something, I had it.  If your cousin Joe needed something, I had it.

There are a lot of benefits from shopping this way and keeping huge stockpiles.  I am not (totally) knocking this way of shopping - I did it for three years.  I was able to teach lots of friends an neighbors how to coupon shop to save a lot of money.  I was able to give items away and help out friends when jobs were lost and extra money wasn't there for personal care items and such.  I gave bags and bags away during charity drives. 
That part felt great.

I cleaned out 'ball-mart' today.  My once overflowing closet of a stockpile is now down to one shelf.  At one point, there were over 50 bottles of shampoo and conditioner - there is now one.  The toothpaste boxes were stacked 5 high and about 8 deep.  I am now down to 7 boxes. 

Sometimes things get excessive.  It got excessive.
I've been working hard to simplify my life a little and think about what I purchase.  The time, energy and effort I spent towards getting 'things' was excessive.  I don't need all those things. The 'cheap' items added up in the pocketbook as well. 

Often, manufacturers will put out coupons for the main item and not the refills.  With the combination of sales and coupons, the main item or starter kit for the system ends up being so much cheaper than purchasing a refill kit.  This is often the case for razors, soap dispensers, and...... air fresheners.   I saved all of my air freshener 'systems' in case I ever found a good deal on refills.

seriously?  do/did I need these little plastic fire hazards invading my life? no.

I still think coupons are a great resource.  I still use coupons, but I print only online ones that I think I will use and I get my parents leftover newspaper coupons after they have cut out what they want.  I will still match up sales and coupons, but I won't run to 5 stores in a week just to get a bunch of free or cheap things that I don't really need.  I will work hard to keep a balance.

As for 'ball-mart', I now have a lot of extra storage space!  I was able to gather all of the kid art and craft supplies (coloring books, play-doh, paints, etc.)  which had been moved to various locations in order to accommodate our stockpile, and give them an entire shelf in the former 'ball-mart' closet. 

Hopefully the art supplies will serve as a reminder.  Yes, I may only get one free tube of toothpaste at a time, and may even have to spend some money on a tube here and there, but the extra time I have in my life can be spent with play-doh at the table or making a painting with my kids.

As for the air fresheners... If my house smells from here on out, I will stick a pot of cinnamon on the stove!


  1. I love cinnamon on the oven...or bread in the oven.

    I completely agree with you. I got so good and cutting back and only buying real things, and husband complained. "remember how you used to get hundreds of dollars worth of stuff for $3?.... I miss that". Grrrr....

    So I started stockpiling again.... And so many free or better than free deals are for just pure junk. My grocery shopping trip saved over $100 but is mostly junk. :(

    I'm sad. But my husband is ecstatic! Well...I see a lot of fooddrives around the holidays, so I'm going to sneak a bunch of it out. :)

    Thanks for the reminder. And holy air fresheners! I bought all those when they were free too and I give them to teachers as parts of their holiday gifts.

  2. Best, cheapest and easiest air freshener in the world: distilled white vinegar. Put a cup in a "less than fresh" room, and leave for 24 hours. Smell is almost always gone.

  3. I laughed at this post. I've tried the coupon route for my family of 9- a lot of cutting but very little that we can actually use. We eat pretty much only whole foods and cook from scratch, we buy a lot from local farmers. We don't use very many "beauty" products. There are not just a lot of coupons out there for whole oat groats.

    Amen on the refill thing- so frustrating!



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