Friday, April 18, 2008

Frugal Friday

Over at Crystal's it is Frugal Friday! Today I don't have a specific tip as much as looking for some encouragement, advice or ??? I have read many articles, websites, books, and blogs on frugalness but I am still finding myself questioning my intentions and motives behind stockpiling and getting things for free or nearly free.

Above you see pictures of my pantry! If I took the time to take pictures of the shelf with all my health and beauty items and my upright freezer you would see that those areas look very similiar to my pantry. The areas are full!! Granted it isn't as organized or as full as here! But I have organized things the best I can for the space. So with those pictures in your mind, let me ask some questions. (Questions that I wrestle with almost on a daily basis!)

  1. How does one not go to the extreme of feeling greedy or being obsessive?
  2. When does one say that enough is enough and work at emptying the stockpile?
  3. While working at emptying the stockpile, one finds a good deal does one act upon the deal or just think that they do not need anything else or for that matter do not have room for anything else!?
  4. Should one be doing stockpiling of goods if the rest of the family(especially hubby) does not have the same desire or think it is necessary?

I thought I had pretty much figured all the ins and outs to being frugal. I have been working a little bit at a time putting them into practice over the last several months. However, I am finding myself in discussions(sometimes heated) with my hubby as to how much is too much. For example, he thinks that us having 30 boxes of cereal(at last count) is extreme! Is it extreme?! As a family of 7, we won't even eat that much in the 6 weeks!

The best reasons that I have come up with for the stockpile is "I got the item for free or nearly free." OR "I don't want us to have empty cupboards should we get blindsided with another unemployment." (we have had four periods of unemployment in our 12 years of marriage, two of which were longer than 6months and one of those two was over a year). OR "Its saving us money."(Actually, I have spent more in the first four months of this year than last year, however, I am attributing some of the difference due to rising costs.)

What are your thoughts, advice, or encouragement? How does one take all the information on frugalness, deals, living within your means, etc. and apply it to their lives in a reasonable and balanced way?

*looking for a nice calm discussion*

For actual advice, resources, tips, or ideas, head over to Frugal Fridays at Biblical Womanhood


Crystal Paine said...

My advice: Follow your husband's lead. If other more important priorities are not being taken care of, bargain shopping needs to take a back burner.

One reason I recommend a budget of time and money when it comes to frugal/bargain shopping is so that you don't become obsessed with it to the detriment of much more important things--like your marriage and family! Our $40 budget and one weekly trip with two toddlers ensures that I can't go overboard! :) I've put those measures in place because I know I am susceptible to letting frugality consume too much of my thought and time and priority.

Find the balance that works for you and your family. It will be different for each family. Look to the Lord and your husband for direction and don't compare yourself with others; we're all in different seasons and situations.

God bless you!

Donielle said...

I agree with Crystal. I have a weekly budget and if buying 'extra stuff' makes me go over, I don't do it. Another sale will come around soon enough. I also limit myself to one naptimes worth of getting my deals and grocery list ready.

Maybe you can come to some sort of middle ground with your hubby, like have a months worth of stock for certain things and then save the rest of what you don't spend for those 'emergencies'. Maybe have a live off your own pantry week (or month by how much stuff you have!)every once in awhile. My thoughts are, if your discussions are getting to the point of heated, you may want to back off just a bit. Something I've recently been struggling with is allowing the Lord to do his work. Are we over worrying but stockpiling to much? Should we not let him take care of us in times of great need?

I find it best to stock up on expensive items that I can get for nearly free (like the stuff from CVS and Walgreens) and stock up less on things that are already priced under a dollar or two, like canned goods, cause those go on sale more often. I also have a price book that I made up for my local stores so I know what normal and sale prices are.

Another thing I've started doing is finding out how long it actually takes us to go through some items, like shampoo and conditioner. I write the date I open it on it with a sharpie so I can see how long it lasts. I figure I don't need more than a few months supply of beauty products and if I can get more than that by pharmacy shopping, I give it away. I know plenty of families that could definitely use it.

I've taken some awesome advice from Crystal over the last few months and the one that's helped me the most is to pray over your grocery trips and spending. It sure helps me through each trip.

KayleighJeanne said...

I think that your own family's pantry and supplies depend on where you are as a family.

You should really examine why you feel you are being greedy or being obsessive. I could understand feeling that way if your actions were depriving someone else of food, but I doubt that is the case in your situation.

I like to rotate everything, and buy things I use and use what I buy. So while we are constantly increasing our pantry, we are also using up things too. Do you feel like you are just adding and adding?

My biggest fear would be having nothing at the same time as a family emergency, be it unemployment or illness or something else. Perhaps you could find a compromise with your husband that you eat what you have right now and not purchase more, but put the money you would be spending aside for the future, "in case" something happens?

I think the pantry looks awesome though!

Jennifer said...

I can certainly understand why you feel the need to have a well stocked pantry! You have a history of needing one. I think if people look hard enough, most people will find a history of needing one, but maybe it won't be so obvious as a job loss.

So maype 30 boxes of cereal is enough for awhile. So stop buying cereal and stockpile on something else. At some point you have to stop buying the great deals if you already have too much of it. You will run out of room and things will expire before you use them up.

Set some guidelines. Like you won't buy any cereal that you already have in the house, but if Kix goes on sale and you love it and don't have any, buy that. Or when you get down to 15 boxes of cereal you can shop the cereal deals again. There will always be more deals, but they might not be as good with the way food prices have increased.

You need to limit yourself at times when it comes to shopping the deals, or it gets to be too much and overwhelming. At least for me. Good luck with finding a happy medium.

5intow said...

God has been stirring the same things in my heart in recent weeks, I have three separate blog posts about giving and saving and frugality in the last week or so. I don't have a lot of answers, because it is different in each home.

I think God is honored that we are examining our hearts in this area. I have seen many similar posts and am excited for all God can do through those of us willing to live simple and frugal, and above all keep the balance in submission to Him.

Thanks for sharing your heart!

Sophia said...

You have some very good questions! Here's a thought for you (which is what I do for similar reasons to yours) ... Do you know of a family that could use some help on the items you're overstocked with? When you see a "free" deal, do certain people come to mind? I keep my eye out for brand-name products I know my parents and sister use on a regular basis, since I know they are struggling to make ends meet. I might not be able to use it, but I can certainly pass the savings along and have fun doing it.

Another thought - some people get 20-50 coupons for a particular item and go clean the store out. Sorry, but I don't think that's fair to the rest of us. I personally limit myself to 4 identical coupons (unless I get more accidentally).

Ewokgirl said...

My personal method is to stockpile what I know we use when the price is right, then use what I've bought until another good sale. Then again, some things I have so much of that I completely ignore the sales because I can't see buying any more of it right now. Toothpaste is an example of this for me right now. I have something like 8 boxes in my linen closet right now. It's just my husband and me, so it'll be a while before we get through that supply.

For a while I was acting on every sale that came along for things we use, but that was too much. Now I just look for specific things when I'm getting low on them. This method ensures that I don't waste money, we have room to keep the items, and we'll actually use whatever up at some point.

I think it's a good plan to have food in reserve for an emergency, but realistically, you can't keep stashing stuff away for that nebulous maybe. You'll have to start using some of it or become overwhelmed by it all.

If it's becoming a point of contention in your marriage, you might consider backing off on the sales for a while. When you think about it, the groceries probably aren't something you want to turn into a battle. It's just not worth it.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to comment on the ins and outs of pantry details, but two things come to my mind. First, you are commanded by the Lord to respect your husband and if he is asking you to scale back, then you need to. With that said, I believe you can approach him at an appropriate time and ask him to help you formulate a reasonable plan for stocking your pantry as you probably have a much better handle on those needs as home manageer, cook, etc. Secondly, God has told us that He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind. While it is a wise thing to be a good steward and plan financially for both today and some future needs, I do not think God intended for that to be manifested in any way that becomes an idol- a god- to us. Satan is subtle, so do share this struggle with your husband and let him pray over you and with you as you also do in your own personal times with the Lord. Ask God to reveal areas of unbelief. While this is critical to your own walk, it is also so very important for your children. From you, they are formulating a picture of who God is- you need to make sure that what they are coming up with is absolutely consistent with Who God says He is and what He says He can do in the Scriptures or they run into the danger of having a very limited God when their own faith is tested. Lastly, don't beat yourself up with guilt- Praise the Lord He is ready to redeem, restore and bless those who bring it to Him to fix. Love, your old roomie

Jodie said...

Wow. I was going to post some thoughts, but it's as though "your old roomie" was already in my mind and said everything I wanted to say! Amen to that!

Many blessings as you seek God's direction for you in the area in which many of us struggle!!!

Lyn said...

I would like to say that your honesty is refreshing. I think it's wonderful that you are questioning yourself and checking your motives. Not many do, nor are they willing to admit that too much might be too much. I do think some may be addicted to CVS or bargain-shopping. It is very easy to happen to anyone.

I don't stand in judgment of you though. There's enough of that going around on blogs. I think only in your heart do you know if it's too much or not. You do have a large family, so I think that is a consideration. Maybe you and your dh can discuss this more and find out what he feels is an acceptable stock-up? You could also set up certain limitations on where you store things and tell yourself that when it's full, you need to stop.

I think it is a fine line sometimes to prepare and do all we need to do to be wise christians. On the other hand we must also trust God to care for us.

You seem to have a wonderful heart that wants to do what is right.

Lyn said...

May I add that I understand about being concerned about layoffs since that has happened to you in the past. It has happened twice to us and we've not been married a very long time. I don't think you are wrong to be wise in helping to care for your family (especially in this economy). A full pantry can most definitely help in those circumstances.

Again it's a delicate balance of being wise and trusting the Lord. God bless your heart for being vulnerable and putting your heart out there.

Stephanie@AHighandNobleCalling said...

I have so often questioned myself in this same way. My husband and I have decided on a grocery budget, and once our weekly needs are taken care of, if there is money leftover, then we will look at other deals. This ensures that I am staying within budget as well as not overdoing it on deals. My husband has recently asked me to save any extra so that we can put it towards purchasing meat for our freezer. So that is where we are now! Definitely get your husbands input on this! Mine has helped me tremendously in this area.

Donna said...

All I know is, I would love to come to your house to eat! lol

Perhaps you and your husband could consider living from the pantry, setting the extra aside in a rainy day savings account!

And here after, what you don't need from your food budget $, set aside or make it a family project for missions or those deals that are just too good to be true, donate to the local food bank....and perhaps allow yourself so much in the budget to do that with!

It is SO hard, after going through really hard times, not to feel the need to stock, but we must trust God -above all- when those stormy days come! kids loved the pic of the pantry by the way!