1.08.2010

Friday $avings: Am I Missing Something?

I've done well this week money-wise. I realize I'm only one week into the new year, but I'm doing better this month than I've done in past months, and for me, that's something to be happy about. Jessica, over at Life as Mom, is talking about ways to be frugal today, so I'm linking up to her and I hope to hear from some of her readers about how they deal with my problem (keep reading!). :-)

One of the things that I struggle with is wondering what great "deals" I'm missing when I don't go out. And you know what I've realized? I'm making the best "deal" of all by sitting right here and keeping my wallet safely in my purse. I try to go through my coupons once a week to see if there really is something that it would be a shame to miss, but unless it's something outstanding that I'm out of anyway, I end up throwing the coupons away. I know, all you real coupon queens out there are gasping in horror right now, but I'm not trying to feed 20 people per meal - it's just me and the hubby and we have a pantry and freezer full of food, so in the end, we need nothing.

Need is such an interesting word, isn't it?  Let's see what Mr. Webster says about it:

Main Entry: need

Function: verb
intransitive verb
1 : to be needful or necessary
2 : to be in want
transitive verb
: to be in need of : require

OR as a NOUN

2 : a lack of something requisite, desirable, or useful
3 : a condition requiring supply or relief
4 : lack of the means of subsistence : poverty

So if we go solely on Mr. Webster's definition, I am not in need of anything. I'm not hungry or thirsty or require relief. I'm not lacking basic "essentials" (in quotes because when we lived in underdeveloped countries, what we considered essentials - toothpaste, toilet paper, shoes, band-aids, Advil - were not, in fact, essentials for the people around us). I am well cared for, well provided for, and the treadmill in my basement should be in use more often! :-)

Contentement is one of the best things that I have learned over the course of our (almost) 10 years of marriage, our global living, our time on support (as missionaries), and as a "manager" of our household accounts with certain financial goals in mind. It wasn't an easy thing to learn though, and there were many tears shed and even some anger. I'm not saying I never get a case of the "gimme-gotchas", but there are fewer of them. And here's something else, the more you have, the more you have to care for and clean. As Peter would certainly tell you, I don't like taking care of (i.e. cleaning, dusting, washing) the stuff we have now, so why would I want to bring in more?

Which takes me full circle to my original thought...what "deals" am I missing out on? Maybe one or two, but nothing I can't live without. Why do I feel compelled to check the Target circular online? Because Target is my favorite store and those little red clearance tags make my heart skip a beat. What would be in there that I possibly need at this time? Nothing at all. What it comes down to is that putting a Target Ad in my hands is the equivalent of handing a bottle of vodka to a recovering alcoholic - not a good idea.

One of my goals this year is to make a grocery list and then see what coupons I can find for the items I'm buying, rather than printing off coupons I don't use and wasting ink and paper - kind of cancels out any "savings" I get using the other coupons. I don't need more candles or holiday decor or sheets or kitchen towels or sweaters or...well, you name it. And if I don't need them, that means I don't need to go to the stores that sell those things. I'd like to get to the point where I could walk into those stores and walk out with nothing - and I'm getting better - but until that happens, I'm just stearing clear.

Bottom Line: Coupons are great and sales and grocery deals certainly help the budget. However, if you don't need anything, don't go to Target just to see what you might be able to find that you didn't know you needed wanted until you saw it.

Feel free to leave me a comment and tell me how you save money or make the most of deals or even how you deal with a case of the "gimme-gotchas". Happy Friday and Happy Week-end! :-)

4 comments:

  1. Carrie,
    I think you're doing terrific with frugality and self-discipline! What impresses me most about you and Peter is your cooperation as a couple wrt savings/projects/life etc. When a couple works together on their finances, AND everything else, success is inevitable!

    As I read your blog, and others committed to financial soundness, I recall my grandma's favourite Amish proverb: Use it Up, Wear It Out, Make it Do, and Do Without.

    Of course, my daughters used to think I followed this adage TOO literally--especially when they were teens! :-) Even now they'll say, "How long have you had THAT?"

    We must be gracious with, and to, ourselves!

    Blessings, Linda

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  2. This took me a few months to understand when I started coupon shopping. After I realized it, it made things much simpler!

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  3. oh I know what you mean! Last January we had "no spend month" and it helped me to realize what a lot of stuff I already have and could use for different purposes or just for it's original purpose and actually use it instead of it just taking up space. Something I'm trying to do this January is to put things I own in places where I will most likely use them and use them often. For instance, yesterday I went through all of my linens and got rid of some and put the rest of the tablecloths, runners, etc. and cloth napkins in a little bookshelf by our dining room table so each day I can pull one out and ENJOY using the things I already have which makes the things out there on clearance seem less appealing.

    Finally, your one in, one out post also got my attention about this very issue. Do I really like the present Target clearance item better than something I already own? Often the answer would probably be not.

    Kelly

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  4. You're so right! When I avoid shopping, it's easy to avoid the "I need it" mind set. If I go shopping with a specific list and the idea that I won't buy more than what is on my list, I do well. I've avoided shopping so far this year, except for planned grocery trips, and have spent under $20 (lunch with a friend, and construction paper for crafts with the kids.) I'm okay with that, and I'm working toward a bigger goal, which makes me happy too.

    thesavedquarter.wordpress.com

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There are more than 400,000 words in the English language. My only request of you is this: Use them wisely.

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