It's Frugal Friday today! Go on over to Crystal's blog to see lots of Frugal Friday ideas.
As I browse through the blogosphere looking for frugal ideas (I do this pretty regularly - there are a million and one ways to save money!) - it seems there are a lot of people who are frugal by acquiring a ton of stuff for very little money (CVS deals, etc.). While I think it's great that they are able to get so much stuff for next to nothing, I think there is another way to do it.
First of all, we don't have CVS here in Canada, and coupons aren't really that big here either. I used to clip whatever coupons I could, and spend time scouting out sales, and getting things as cheaply as possible. But something happened when I decided to pursue a sustainable lifestyle. I realized that all the coupons were for pre-packaged, processed foods - that are terrible for the environment, and for our health. When's the last time you saw a coupon for an apple? :) Also, the non-food coupons were always for big name-brand, chemically-laden, non-environmentally friendly products. I learned that it was actually much cheaper to make my own, and not buy them at all, than to buy them using a coupon.
Same goes for all those disposables. I used to try to find diapers and wipes as cheaply as possible, by combining sales with coupons and then stocking up. I found out it is shockingly cheaper to just not buy them! I used to stalk our local Please Mum and pounce when they had a great clearance on - sometimes buying a whole season's wardrobe for my kids. But when that season came, I realized they didn't actually NEED most of that stuff. They could have made do with what they had, and I could have just added in a couple of thrift store finds to fill in what they needed. There were times when they outgrew some of those "great deals" before they even wore them - and they got packed away, still with tags on. I've also since realized the environmental impact of buying things new, and try to buy second-hand whenver possible. For me, no matter how cheap something is, the environmental price is simply too high.
I encourage you to give it a try! Next time you see a "really, really great deal" on something - ask yourself, would it be cheaper to just not buy it? How can I do without this item? I promise you, your budget, and our planet will thank you. :)