Be Frugal, Value Your Resources

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by on June 11, 2009

dime piggy bank Last week, we explored What it Means to be Frugal. I enjoyed reading all your comments and thoughts on the subject. I know Being Frugal is a HOT topic, but I also gather that it is controversial. Why is that? Is it because we all have different definitions? Or because, as Charlene at A Virtuous Woman stated, our “Frugal Meters” are set at varying places? Or maybe because it has become competitive and another item to judge others on?

Before tackling these questions, we need to discuss what being frugal is NOT.

Waste Not.

Being frugal involves effectively using one’s resources. As Carrie at It’s Frugal Being Green pointed out, being Frugal involves more than just finding a good deal, it is buying things that you need, want, and will use. Remember, from the definition, being frugal involves not wasting. How does it benefit you if you are buying items  that you will never use? Are those items just sitting on a shelf waiting to expire? Or worse, you’re taking products you won’t use when someone else needs them?

Tia from Tia Saving Cents also brought up the point that freebies can fit into this area if they are cluttering your life. Time is one of our resources and if they are taking too much, then it may be necessary to cut back. Just this week, Northern Cheapskate discussed Greediness and Freebies, which discusses the negative side of freebies. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with getting freebies as long as they are not creating a negative impact. How do getting FREEBIES affect you?

Value Your Budget, Not the Sale

Being Frugal does not mean that we need to shop every sale or use every coupon that we come across. A good deal is relative to a person’s needs, wants, and budget. If you are spending more on unnecessary items just to find that “great deal”, is it really worth it?  Wouldn’t you rather save your money for something you need? Isn’t that what being Frugal is about?

The same goes for coupons. I know many people argue that they may spend more with coupons because they are buying things they normally would not buy. They argue that using coupons can lead to buying useless junk. In this case, I would say to stop using coupons. Coupons alone do not save you money. It is pairing them with a sale for items that you need/want (things you would buy anyhow) that can save you.

Personal Note:

I personally love finding a great sale  and have been tempted to buy things just because of the deal, but I have to ask myself if it is worth it. I must be wise, and use my SENSE, to decide if a deal really is a good deal for me or my family. With that said, it is important for you, my readers, to know that every deal I post on Saving Cents with Sense may not be the best for you, but it may be perfect for someone else. I hope that by posting deals I find, freebies, and coupon match-ups, that I am able to help you save, and ultimately use your resources in the way you want.

Who Knew Saving Was Competitive???

I know I’ve been alluding to this for the past 2 weeks and readers Brooke and Erin gave some of their thoughts on the competitive nature of Being Frugal. However, since I think this topic deserves attention, I think it deserves its own post. Make sure you stop by next week as we dive deeper into the competitive nature of being frugal (and subscribe if you haven’t already to make sure you don’t miss anything).

Until then, what are your thoughts on buying items you don’t need just to get a great sale? Do you buy things your family doesn’t need, but donate them to shelters, etc?

UPDATE: Continue reading the series in: Frugality is Not a Competitive Sport


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  • you’ve already posted my thoughts on buying items you don’t need so here’s my opinion on buying things to donate:

    don’t fool yourself. the charity would be better off with the cash you would have spent on that item, then they don’t need to pay for transportation, storage, organization and management of all the donated items. your cash, even the tiniest bit will probably do a lot more good. this was particularly brought to light during the katrina aftermath, the charities could do a lot more good buying the things they actually needed as close to where they needed to distribute them as possible.

    Carrie’s last blog post..Farm Fresh to You Produce Service

  • I have mixed feelings on getting freebies or cheaps that I don’t use. I have donated many toiletries to womens shelters and church outreach programs. Yeah, I could donate the money, but lets face it, the 4 cents that I paid for toothpaste, isn’t going to get the church anything.

    There are many homeless people that come through the shelters. I recently had 40 tubes of toothpaste and about 25 bottles of shampoo that I paid under $5.00 for. These items are real expenses that the shelter has – so they greatly appreciate the free toothpaste and shampoo. Who knows maybe they would prefer the $5.00?

    Also, I do save freebies throughout the year and make baskets for a womens rehab. The women love getting them and often they come in without any of these items. I purchase some dollar store baskets, cellophane and ribbon – add free shampoo, conditioner, hair products, razors etc. My mom did the same thing for graduates at the church going to college. She made huge baskets full of freebies .. the kids loved them and certainly get good use out of them.

    So I do think some good can be done with freebies. I am not suggesting being greedy and clearing the shelves, but I don’t see anything wrong with getting one or two things free each week that I will donate.

    Shannon’s last blog post..Get Free Products with Tryology

  • When I first starting couponing, I bought some men’s haircoloring because I actually made $10 profit on it–and it’s sitting in the closet still. Face it, the guys at the homeless shelter have needs much more pressing than haircolor, so this was a total waste. That same deal recently came back around, and I made a conscious choice NOT to take the deal. I try to be sure these days that everything that I buy is really usable–by my family or by someone that I know needs it or could use it. Toiletries, food items, etc, are great, but I do draw the line at some things!

  • Your blog is awesome!! Enter to win circus tickets on my blog!

    the mama hood’s last blog post..FREEBIES AND GIVEAWAY LINKS!

  • Great post! You’ve got an award from me. You may grab it here

  • Erin

    I do have a limit as to what can come into our house. For example, right now, I am full stocked on shampoo and conditioner and won’t buy any more until my shelf space for that item runs low. I really like sample size freebies, though, because I use them on trips and honestly, I just like to try new products! :)

    Also, I am relatively new to stocking up on certain items, but last month, it came in handy to have full-sized, unopened toiletries ready to go. A friend stopped by who had to leave home quickly without grabbing the things she’d need to be away for a few days. I was able to load her up with basic toiletries right then because I had them on hand.

    Like Carrie said, in situations like Katrina and world-wide disaster relief situations, it is easier for organizations to use cash. For my church’s food pantry/assistance program (small scale, local program), they take donations of actual product and so when I can get items for free or very inexpensive, it helps them out a lot!

  • There for awhile, I was getting caught up in the buying it just because it’s free whirlwind. It seems like I was going to the store every other day because I would come across a scenario I found on the web. 5 months with no computer broke me of that habit. I do still find the free stuff, just not in massive quanties like I used to. I finally got myself back into once a week shopping and stick to it.

    april’s last blog post..Frugal Fridays

  • I love the discussion here! Thank you everyone for sharing! It sounds like many of you have certain places and/or organizations that you are donating to. I have to agree that if there is someone or some organization that you know can use the free products, then it is worth getting a few freebies, but we definitely need to be careful about not clearing out the shelves.

    There was a great promo at Safeway a few months back that you could get Barrilla pasta sauce for free (after coupons). The promo was going on for several weeks, but of course by the first couple of days the sauce was gone. I received a great suggestion to ask customer service to order more so I could stock up (I bought 6) without emptying the store shelves. CS loved the idea, I got my extra sauce, and left plenty for someone else.

    There is a fine line between stocking up for your family, becoming greedy, and hoarding all the freebies/products for yourself.

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