Friday, February 13, 2015

Frugal Friday #2: Mindless Spending

Welcome to another edition of Frugal Friday. If you missed my first post from a couple of weeks ago, you can catch it here: Frugal Friday #1. In that post I talked about how I feel clutter is costing us money, real money. I'm guessing many of you reading can relate.

This week I thought I would talk about another area that costs my family money: buying stuff we don't need. I can't tell you the number of times I have gone to the store (Target specifically) and bought something I didn't need because, "it was a good deal" or "it was on clearance". Well, I'm about to share a big fat secret with you, prepare yourself.

If you don't need the item any cost above $0 is NOT a good deal. Let that sink in. It is NOT a good deal. Let me give you an example of where I purchased an item I don't need. In order to make room for a recently installed dishwasher (my first one EVER!), I lost a kitchen cabinet. With this loss, I needed to reorganize a few cabinets to make room for my homeless items. In my cleaning/reorganizing, I found fifteen insulated lunch bags. FIFTEEN! We only have two people in our house that need to even pack a lunch, my hubby and I (my oldest son gets free lunch at school thanks to a grant his school district receives for all students). I of course only use 1-2 of these bags and my husband doesn't use any, he opts for the classy system of shoving his food in his briefcase. Sigh.

Too many hats and mittens for one family!
Ok, so I found these fifteen bags in my cabinets in October. During the month of December I found myself at OfficeMax and they had an insulated bag on clearance for $3. It is a freezable sandwich bag.... I don't have one of those .....and it was only $3.....and it was a super cute pattern. I bought the stupid thing. Why? Why? Why? I know, it is only $3, but these little purchase are what add up and I didn't NEED the silly thing. In January I did this at Target with crib sheets. We already have 4, I bought 2 more because they were on clearance for $2.98. Ugh, why?

I am especially guilty of these mindless purchases at Target. Their clearance aisles are so irresistible. I find all kinds of goodies all the time but before you know it, your quick run in for your prescriptions has you standing in line with $50 of "stuff" in your cart. My husband has this problem at Menard's. He goes for nails and comes home with crap we don't "need" all the time: hand soap, batteries, rugs(!),household cleaners. Heck, my garage and basement are full of these silly thoughtless spending trips.

Look at all those lint rollers!

So we're making a real effort this year not to make these purchases and to ask ourselves, "do we really need this item" before making the purchase. Just asking yourself that simple question before making the purchase can help. Another way to cut back on mindless purchasing: make less trips to the store. Wait till you have a list of items you need instead of going for one thing or going because you're bored. If less trips isn't enough, ask your partner to make the trip to the store for you instead. Swap trips, for us that means my husband may need to go to Target and I go to Menard's. I won't be as tempted to fill my cart with unneeded stuff at the home improvement store and he will not do such mindless shopping as I do at Target....heck, I don't think he knows where their baby aisle even is! 

We also created a "do not buy" list that we both have access to on our phones when we are at the store. We have items on our "do not buy" list that fall into this mindless spending category and our "clutter" spending category (related to the first Frugal Friday post). Here are some of the items on our list:  batteries, hand soap, lotion, toothbrushes. Very similarly, you could keep an inventory list of items you have, I could see this being really benificial with food items. How many times have you found yourself buying a spice for a recipe because you weren't sure you had any at home but when you get home you already have 3 bottles of that same spice....Ugh, molasses anyone? will only take me till ETERNITY to use those bottles.

So in closing, give some thought to your mindless spending and find ways to reduce or eliminate it before it becomes a real budget buster!


  1. I think floss should be added to that "do not buy" list, but it's up to you ;)

  2. It is on the list! :). Truth be told, we have never bought floss, our supply is the free stuff we get from the dentist. Clearly we need to start using it!