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Shopping at home for fun and savings!

At the end of my last post, I mentioned shopping around my bookcases for books which I either hadn’t read or wanted to reread and then treating them as new purchases. This is part of a new frugal initiative I’m trying out-shopping at home.

The premise is simple: I have lots of stuff. I bought that stuff for a reason. Therefore, I’ll probably enjoy most things I discover.

So when the itch to consume or acquire strikes me, I go “shopping” in our little apartment for something to scratch it. For example-if I feel like being creative, my mind often comes up with scenarios and things I could buy or make. Instead, I remind it that I have drawing materials, quilts I haven’t worked on in a while, leftover fabric and thread, whatever seems most relevant.

Last week, when working out our repayment plan for Mr. Micah’s credit card, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I had some kind of notebook where I could write down all our personal finance stuff?” Visions of Staples and Office Depot popped into my mind’s eye. But I shut them down quickly, saying instead, “I wonder what I’ve got in my box?”

So I got out my big box of stationary, lined paper, printer paper, scratch paper, used and unused notebooks, and whatnot to look through it. Very exciting for someone who likes office supplies! Turns out there was a perfect notebook for the job, a five-subject one of which I’d only used two. Essentially, it’s my new 3-subject notebook. As a bonus, it has some notes on Civilian Public Service and the draft of a speech which won me $100. And by using it, I saved $3-5 dollars on a new one.

I used to worry that doing something like this would use things up. Then I realized that using up is much better than not using at all. It’s even uncluttering or simplifying. So take a look around your house next time you have the urge to buy something. What new discoveries will you make?

{ 3 trackbacks }

Use it, don’t lose it!
February 8, 2008 at 9:57 pm
Saving Money by Circumventing the Hedonic Treadmill
March 2, 2008 at 6:38 pm
Frugality: Increasing Your Quality of Life for Less.
March 2, 2008 at 6:53 pm

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous September 14, 2007 at 11:56 pm

Great ideas. One thing that helped me was a budget book. You could write down daily expenses to find where your money goes and what you could cut in your budget. They say to pay off credit debt make a larger payment than the minimum due to save on interest. You could also transfer the balance to a lower interest credit card to pay less. Another option that is helpful is a debt consolidation loan to reduce the intrest payments and pay it off faster. One company that does this is Beneficial. You may want to look them up and give them a call to lower your payments so, you in turn will pay less in the long run. The problem with credit is you have to pay intrest and pay much more than what you originally bought. Frugality is an art that is fun because, you have to use your creativity. For example when shopping I was told to ask myself do I need it?? Is it in the budget??? Is this going to put me further in debt?? Is this something that I can use over and over and ect… We have to have a splurge on holidays, birthdays and ect.. or we feel that we are not being good to ourselves. This should always be in the budget for happiness. The problem is when it gets out of control and becomes a daily thing such as, compulsive shopping that brings more problems than pleasure. Good luck and may you have a splendid weekend. There is a company called Currents that sells the budget books if you want one that is already made up that is helpful. Other wise a $1.00 notebook is great too. There are budget spread sheets for free on the net to print out too. Never give up!!! Annette Oh another question is Can you make it yourself and save money??? This helps so much!!!

Hilda September 15, 2007 at 1:21 am

I was doing the same thing this afternoon. I just started clipping coupons and I wanted to organize them. Like you, I immediately thought of going to WalMart or Target to get some of those baseball card organizers.

However, the little voice of frugality in me said just look around the house and see what you can use. Sure enough, I found three unused little photo albums! Problem solved.

Mrs. Micah September 15, 2007 at 2:33 am

Wow, I have unused photo albums too! I’d never have thought of doing that. πŸ™‚

fiscal musings September 15, 2007 at 4:14 am

It’s an interesting spin on the idea. A little creativity can save you a bundle in the long run. Nice post.

dong September 15, 2007 at 5:01 pm

Yeah, it’s useful excercise just seeing what you actually own. It’s amazing how much stuff we buy when we already have what we need.

Fabulously Broke in the City September 19, 2007 at 9:40 am

I do this too πŸ™‚ I go ‘shopping’ around and see what I have left to do – such as finishing a necklace, or hemming pants, sewing a button back on my shirts or my husband’s shirts, etc..

Kyle @ Rather-Be-Shopping September 21, 2007 at 8:54 pm

Great tip, I have done this quite a bit as well. My garage is full of stuff I can use for small projects around the house. Use it or lose it.

Fabulously Broke February 17, 2008 at 11:34 am

I love shopping in my own home. Esp in my closet πŸ˜‰

tasterspoon February 26, 2008 at 6:21 pm

I love this! I’ve been trying to buy little-to-nothing this year for exactly the reasons you say – I know that in the past I’ve bought things because I loved them and I might need them ‘someday.’ Well, today is someday. ‘Using up’ things I already own is a real pleasure, and, as you say, goes a long way towards decluttering.

Meg from All About Appearances February 27, 2008 at 11:22 pm

I frequently shop in my closet. Lately, I’ve been trying to wear one item each day that I haven’t worn either in a long time or ever. Sometimes I end up changing the outfit bit by bit so that I don’t end up wearing the ‘new’ item, but I do end up wearing old stuff in a new way.

I also have been doing that a bit with books.

The interesting thing is that it really helps me declutter. Sometimes I think, “Would I still buy this?” If the answer is no, then it’s probably best to give it to somebody else. Sometimes it’s that I can’t find a way to wear something, or in the case of books, I just realize that it’s not that interesting after all if reading it feels more like work than fun.

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