I've been busting my butt trying to bring our food budget (and our overall budget) down and I found myself incredibly stressed out but I couldn't put my finger on WHY. It wasn't the process of couponing or searching for those amazing deals. If anything, that process was exciting! But the concept of stockpiling foodstuffs really left me feeling anxious and stressed and I just couldn't figure out what my deal was.
And then I was flipping through my Google Reader list and it hit me. In the process of searching for great deals, I've subscribed to several blogs and websites that alert me when there are AMAZING!!!!1!!! deals to be had. Quick! toilet paper is on sale for 21 cents per roll if you stack a store coupon with a manufacturer's coupon and are one of the first 500 through the door to grab this deal! And so, because TP is on sale for such an AMAZING !!!!!!1!!!1!!! price, you feel like you should be buying dozens of rolls. Which, in a long-term outlook, makes sense if 21 cents per roll is a great price. Everyone uses TP, right? Well, those of us in civilized countries do.
However, this minimal(ish)™ mindset I've been adopting really runs smack in the face of the "oh-my-goodness-I-must-buy-eleventy-seven-of-these-items-because-this-is-such-a-great-deal" mentality. It's tough to balance the idea of having eleventy-seven of something when really, all I need is ONE. Yes, I will need another one in a short while but RIGHT NOW I need ONE.
So where is the balance? I don't know yet.
Currently, I have twenty-six boxes of different kinds of cereal in my house. Twenty-six. I didn't pay more than $2 per box for any of them and most of them actually cost closer to $1 each. And we WILL eat all of that cereal. We eat cereal for breakfast, for snack, for lunch and dinner at times. It comes with us to our sports practices, to church, on hikes and bike rides, and so on. It will be eaten. But we are also getting ready to move from a 3,000+ square foot house into a condo about 1/2 that size. I am not going to have the room for twenty-six boxes of cereal. See my quandry?
I just cleaned out my closet. Right now, there are 3 giant lawn-and-leaf-sized trash bags full of clothes sitting in my bedroom. Once I haul all of my clothes that I have not worn in a year off their hangers, I'll probably have two more trash bags' full. Plus several pairs of shoes. Just pulling the bags out of the closet and moving them into the bedroom was liberating! My closet seems so OPEN! It is great. I don't spend much time worrying about what to wear on a regular basis (not that a stay-at-home-mom really needs to be worrying about what to wear...'Is it clean?' really is the most important issue at hand for me on a regular basis) but even on Sunday mornings or on the rare occasion that we go out, I don't spend much time. I have a few items that I know look good on me and I simply choose from them. Easy peasy.
But then I'm back to reading the blogs and the websites and I come across great deals on shoes or books or school supplies or whatever and that urge to buybuyBUY kicks in and I have to restrain myself. Yes, 27 cents for a composition book is a good price. But we already have several brand new ones left over from last year so I do not NEED any more, regardless of how wonderful the price is. But I have to keep reminding myself of this because the buybuyBUY pressure is constant. It's a tough balance to strike - having enough, paying as little as possible, but not having too much.
How do you strike the balance?