One of the things with bargain shopping and couponing is that it's really easy to mass a HUGE stockpile really quickly. Deodorant for $1 or less a stick? Buy 6! Pasta for $0.16 a box? Buy 20! Toothpaste for free? Buy the whole shelf's worth!
I did a lot of this when I started couponing. Especially the Johnson's Buddies Soaps, Toothpaste, Deodorant, and Laundry Detergent. Pasta is pretty close behind (I currently have 8 boxes in my pantry waiting to be used!). While it's easy for me to run a load to the food shelf or bring a bag to the food shelf drop box at church, non-food items get to be more of a problem since our local food shelf only takes food, formula and baby food and diapers.
I was reading some one's blog (I forget who - thankfully!) who had 57 tubes of toothpaste (full size ones no less) for their family of 2! Then they had 40 bars of soap. And a few other things like that. They were talking about giving some canned goods away before they expired because there was no way they could use them in a month (about 4 cases worth of cans). I was shocked!
And I started to look at what we have....
Do we have too much?
Do I really need to take advantage of every single offer for free toothpaste, cheap deodorant, and the like?
My husband and I go through about 6-8 sticks of deodorant each per year. (Wow. Talk about getting personal here!) We go through about 4 tubes of toothpaste per year. And 4-5 bottles of shampoo and body wash a year. We go through about 2 bars of soap a year (we use liquid soap mostly) and 4-6 bottles of laundry detergent a year depending on the brand and how old the kids are.
I don't need to have 6 bottles of laundry detergent in my cupboard. I don't need 16 bars of soap in my closet. I don't need 20 tubes of toothpaste there either. I don't need 18 deodorants.
Fortunately, there is another place I can donate those things we don't need. And it makes me think twice before I buy things. I've bought 2 tubes of toothpaste in the last year (both for free or free plus overage) and I've bought 1 bottle of laundry soap. That's how much I had in storage. I also put those Buddies Soaps in my Operation Christmas Child boxes along with free toothpaste and toothbrushes. This week I have a good sale and coupon combination for Tide detergent. I can buy a bottle cheaply and I still have 1/2 of another bottle left from the last sale.
I think twice before I buy food things now too. Good sale on pasta, rice, or oatmeal? How much do I have in my cupboard before I buy. Sometimes I can go 6 months without buying one of those staples.
It's allowed me to spend my money on other things. It's allowed me to use up what we already have. It's allowed me to be that good steward that God asks us to be.
So for Frugal Friday, I encourage you to look at how much you really use of things before over-stocking. You might just be surprised at how much more you can save by not spending money (however little) on something you already have.
For more Frugal Friday, Check out Life as Mom.