Couponing and Minimalism – those sound like two very mismatched lifestyles. As a former extreme couponer and a newly converted minimalist, I found that old habits die hard. I still wanted to save money by using coupons, but didn’t want the bulk of having everything stored in my house. I rejoiced when I found the middle ground!
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The Sacred Middle Ground
We are well on our journey to living with less, but I still love to be frugal. The middle ground, or sweet spot, is this: digit coupons, a small stockpile, and charitable donations.
Almost every store now has digital coupons through their app. Gone are the days of spending hours of clipping newspaper coupons and organizing them. This was such a learning curve for me as I at times still craved that snip-snip-snip of the Sunday paper. Having all those coupons stored in my phone is very liberating!
I don’t have to lug those coupons (or coupon binder) AND a baby into the store. That’s a huge win! All I have to do is scroll through the store’s app and then look at their ad to match up the deals. This is so much easier than combing through newspaper inserts to find the coupons I want.
My Small Stockpile
I have two shelves in my hall closet dedicated to the stockpile. There is no where else that it hides. I promise! I used to have four to five shelves packed full and overflowing with products. In 2017, we donated the majority of the products to our local community center.
Now I only stock up on shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, laundry detergent, and toilet paper. I clearly have priorities 🙂 and of course, I paid very little for everything.
Once a year, I will go through my stockpile and donate what we haven’t used and will not likely use in the next six months. In doing this, I am able to help people in my community that need it. If I got a little too excited about free shampoo, all the extra goes to the community center.
In donating on a regular basis, we are able to help the community and reminds me that I don’t need to hoard everything to myself.
Where My Frugality and My Minimalism Clash
Nothing about couponing screams “I’M A MINIMALIST!” so let me explain where I’m coming from when I say that my frugal side and my minimalist side clash.
I love being frugal. Every bone in my body rejoices when I find a super deal at the store on an item I was already going to purchase. Or when I find a new frugal life hack that makes our lives easier. Whenever I see that great deal at the store though, I little bit of my heart aches knowing I’m going to bring one more thing into my home.
It is my 2018 (and 2019) goal to spend as little as possible. Sometimes that requires spending and buying more of a product that is on sale. I have imposed a limit on myself: If I spot a super sale it needs to meet a few criteria:
- Do I already have this product in my house or are we almost out? If we are already stocked up on this item or if we already have four or more (think tomato sauce, canned beans, shampoo, soap, etc) I don’t buy it.
- Will it fit in the cabinet or would it need to sit out somewhere? If it doesn’t fit into our “closed spaces” then I don’t buy it.
- Will I actually use this within the next three months? We rotate recipes on a fairly regular basis. It takes about a month and a half to truly go through them all. So if I can’t plan for us using all of whatever I am purchasing in the next three months, I don’t buy it.
With these limits, I am in more control. I limit how many grocery and household goods come into my home. I see now through my minimalist lenses that I don’t need four bottles of Tide. Whereas three years ago I would have bought eight because it was a good deal.
If you’re a frugalist like me, I hope this helps put a minimalist spin your purchases. I don’t think there is any “correct” combination of minimalism or frugality one can have. It’s all about finding YOUR happy medium.