Monday, January 7, 2008

Frugality or Hoarding?

I have noticed a lot of posts on Frugality lately. Trent has discussed when it is stealing. JD asked for some frugal stories in exchange for a chance to win a free book. (And, I am sorry but some of those people really DID steal things, lol) I don’t know exactly how I would classify this post. Maybe, the difference of frugality and hoarding.

I have long known that many people suffer from hoarding. If you have ever watched an episode of Clean Sweep on TLC you know what I am talking about. There are many things at work here.

1. Buying something because it is a good deal is a waste of money if you don’t need it.
2. Stockpiling things that you never end up using is also a waste of money, and a waste of your personal space.
3. Collecting a bunch of ugly mismatched containers is also a waste of space, and in my opinion makes you feel bad which I will explain in a minute.

The first one is so obvious I don’t really need to say much about it. This is one reason coupons can be bad. Coupons save you money but if you go out and buy an item just because you have a coupon then it didn’t save you a thing. And, even if you use that item the advertisers have probably just added a new product that you can’t live without (even though you did before) and they will be making the price of that coupon back tenfold.

Ah, stockpiling. When you don’t keep up with what you already have and you buy more before it is used up, two things are going to end up in the trash. The item you bought and the money. This is true when you just buy a ton because it is on sale. It can also happen without spending any money. For example, after the hurricane we had so much donated food that we were not going to eat. I loaded up all of the stuff we wouldn’t eat and gave some of it to a poor family I knew and the rest to a church to use to feed the homeless. However, I know of more than a few people who refused to do this and still have some of that food. Most of it went bad and was tossed. So someone who could have used it never got the chance.

***The third is kind of a stretch. And, I get my feelings from being a member of for so long. But, I have a big problem with saving a bunch of butter tubs under your cabinets. Every time you look at one of these you are reminding yourself that you don’t have the money to buy yourself a small set of storage containers (even if you do have the money). What is worse is if you actually have these AND your own set of storage containers. You are not being frugal, you are collecting junk. (and yes, I used to be guilty of this too) Now I know everybody is going to have some, and if you only have what you actual use on a weekly basis, fine. But, if your cabinets are about to burst, toss them!! And this is not reducing the amount of stuff in landfills, it is only delaying it. If you want to truly be recycling, you will have to buy a cow and start churning your own butter. J

Well, this has come out much longer than I wanted, but the point is hoarding is not frugality. In fact it encourages the opposite. If you let go of the things you don’t need you are welcoming more into your life. Throw out those old butter tubs and see what happens. J

***The butter tubs are really a metaphor for anything you collect in bulk and do not use. Chunk that junk!

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