I’ve pretty much been public about my love of stockpiling, especially things like toilet paper, pantry and meat foods, and toiletries.
Over the weekend, we have been cleaning and organizing things around the house and I realized that sometimes stockpiling is pretty wasteful and maybe doesn’t necessarily save you money in the long run.
Let me give you a few stories and examples of what I mean:
+ I bought several bottles of adult vitamin gummies when they were on sale thinking I would be diligent about taking my vitamins. And I was, for a time, but then I stopped and now only remember occasionally to take my vitamins. Well, while digging through the pantry, I found two more unopened bottles that are expiring in October. I had to be really honest with myself. Am I going to take the vitamins before October? The answer was no, and I ended up giving it to my mom to bring back with her when she goes to visit family and friends. (Vitamins are a big deal as gifts in Chinese culture!) So, essentially, I “threw away” about $20 worth of vitamins.
+ When we were cleaning out our garage and organizing it this past weekend, we found so many pieces of sandpaper tucked away in a container. If we had been more diligent about keeping track of what we owned, it would have saved us some money for our last woodworking project. We thought we were completely out of sandpaper and ended up spending around $15 to buy more.
+ I’ve seen a great deal on pantry items and then when I bring it home I realize the expiration date is a lot closer than what I thought it would be (and it’s not necessarily freezer-friendly). This has made me use the food a lot sooner than I wanted to and messes up the meal planning.
+ I love back to school supply shopping and I’m even more excited that I’ll be able to shop for real when Bunny starts kindergarten (::sob, sniffle::). I have been known to buy a large amount of art supplies. But, sometimes the stuff is dried out by the time we get to using that supply and that’s definitely wasted money and storage space.
Ugh. So that’s been a few realizations for me recently and I’m trying to come up with ideas on how to scale back a bit on this so that the things and the finances are more balanced.
Ask if you NEED the item. This is a lot harder than you think. Back when we did more extreme couponing, we would get things like hairspray or facial products for “free”. Free sounds great, right? But in reality, we never used any of those products and just gave them away to friends and family so it wouldn’t be wasted.
How easily replaceable is it? Back when we lived in a more rural area, we would stockpile things more because it would be about 2 weeks before we’d make the drive to go out again. But now, in the suburbs, the reality is that I can probably hold off and wait instead of buying 5 of something.
Is there an expiration date? If so, then consider how long it would take before said item needs replacing. (Hello, vitamins.)
Do you have the space for it? Our Sam’s Club membership is expiring next month and on our last trip I started telling me husband about how we needed to stock up on the items before we leave. He bought me back to reality by reminding me there is nothing in the store that we need just yet, and besides, we need to use up what we have so we can have room for whatever we do purchase. Plus, he said, we have another month.
So, in conclusion, I’m going to be better about how I stock up for items. Just because I can, doesn’t mean I need to…or even should.
Well, except toilet paper. 🙂