The More You Buy, The More You Save!

If there is one thing we learned from the pandemic, it is how to stock up.  We stored up as much toilet paper and canned vegetables as we could get our hands on.  The threat of low supply sent us into a panic, which was reinforced by near empty shelves every time we went shopping. We dove into the concept, “the more you buy, the more you save” full steam ahead.

Many, many years before the pandemic, my family was greeted with the signs “The more you buy, the more you save” every time we pulled into the garage.  I’m not sure where my dad got these signs, but it was his motto in the grocery business.  Buying in bulk was the basis for his warehouse type grocery stores.  People used flatbeds for carts and marked their own groceries with markers (can you even believe it?)  “Work a Little, Save a Lot!

Save, Save, Save

The business model of buying in bulk to save, is alive and well in stores like Sam’s Club and Costco. In fact, consumers can save money by buying in bulk.  The problem with this is storage, once the products are brought home.  Most homes have enough storage for products that are being used. But, extra supplies are a problem.

Why Do We Buy?

In my experiences in organizing, I find that many people buy much more than they have room for. It may be that they are trying to save money.  Or it may be that they don’t have a good idea of their current inventory and buy more “just in case”.

Another thing that may be happening is the rush of “feel good” hormones that are secreted during a purchase.  People become addicted to shopping to get this feeling.  The problem is that this soon turns to anxiety once the products are brought (or delivered) home.  Things start piling up.  Boxes start piling up. Cupboards are jam packed.  New clothes aren’t even tried on.  Tags stay on items for months, even years. 

 I have seen this time and time again. In several homes, I have essentially set up stores within their homes. Rows of salad dressing, tooth paste, sunscreen, you name it.  In addition to the time it takes to sort through all these items and organize them, it also takes time to check expiration dates. 

So, certainly shop for items that you need.  But, when you have a surplus, use up what you have first. Shop your closets and pantry before you buy more.  If you have more than you will ever use before it expires, donate it.  

Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project” describes one of her 12 personal commandments as the desire to Spend Out.  By this, she means to stop hoarding, to trust in abundance, to put things in circulation and to use what she already has.

Rubin is trying to read the books that she already owns, vs purchasing more.  She also describes her desire to use her new white t-shirts and beautiful stationary instead of “saving” it.  My grandmother used to say “it’s too good to use.”  Let’s use it and use it up!

One piece of advice from the Depression era that is foreign to our time should be considered. 

 “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

My joy filled life website provides 40 ways to achieve this.

 I will highlight 5 ways to achieve this goal here:

-Learn simple clothing repair techniques, like how to sew on a button and patch kids’ clothes.

-Instead of buying new clothes, learn to accessorize to enjoy the clothes you have longer.

-Don’t leap for every new electronic that comes out.  Use what you have until it breaks and can’t be fixed, or absolutely doesn’t suit your needs anymore.

-Limit the purchase of new toys.  One rule to consider.  If your child gets a new toy, they need to choose one to donate.  (This one in one in one out rule can be used for almost everything)!

Organizing Toys

-Don’t waste leftover food.  Either eat it as is, or reinvent into something else. I love to make creamed chicken out of leftover chicken.  Serve it over rice and it is a wonderful new meal!

If you are a recreational shopper, either in person or on-line, this is something you will need to address.  Finding a new hobby that you enjoy, or accomplish something you have been putting off.  This and many other suggestions when trying to downsize are addressed in this article.

You may save more if you buy more, but be aware of what you already own.  Be thoughtful about your purchases.  And finally, enjoy the satisfaction of saving money, space and your peace of mind.