Thursday, January 7, 2010

Frugal Shopping Verses Hoarding

So week one of the Pantry Challenge has flown by and I have only spent $3.27 on a large container of 1/2&12!  I am so proud of myself.  I do not feel deprived at all and have not had the urge to shop. 

Shopping has become a quest for bargains over the years.  It seems I am driven to beat the system and not pay full price for anything at all. I actually feel bad if I do pay full price and think I could have worked harder or waited just a bit longer.  This year I want to master that ill ease and confirm to myself by acknowledging I am a good, thrift shopper and not have to be so obsessed about it. 

Shopping is more of a hobby and source of enjoyment.  I like to read the sale pages of the local stores and plan menus maximizing the use of weekly specials.  I don't mind going between a couple of stores and controlling myself to the leader items because it is a form of entertainment.  Not everyone has the time to do this.  At the moment I do.  I actually get a rush reading hthe sales slips and seeing what I saved.  Yes, most of my friends think I am nuts but I know what I spend is a fraction of what they spend.  So if I am a bit twisted as a shopper so be it.

Knowing the freezer, pantry and refrigerator is well stocked is a feeling of satisfaction and safety.  I am ready for anything whether it be economic or environmental.  I can fend for myself without needing to go shopping for long periods of time.

Two Yale economists, Daniel Kahneman and the late Amos Twersy won a Nobel Prize for coining a term called loss aversion.  In simple terms losing money affects your level of happiness much more than winning money.  In other words, you feel losses more deeply than gain of the same value.  We hate loosing what we have.  So, subconciously does a Prepper (term for person who prepares) prepare to avoid feelings of loss?  Well, heck yes!  Is this a bad thing?  No, as long as it does not become obsessive.

Speaking of obsessed, have you seen the new show on hoarding?   If not watch an episode free .  These folks have a serious disease and need professional mental health attention.  Hoarders have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  They have an inability to discard items seen as useless to others and therefore accumulate massive amounts of stuff which can lead to seriouse health and safety issues, functional impairment, dangerous unhealthy living conditions which can impact  not only themselves but their family. It is heart wrenching to see some of the living conditions these people create.An  estimated 700,000 to 1.4 million people in the United States are believed to have compulsive hoarding syndrome according to the International Obsessive Compulsive Foundation.

Watching this has show has given me pause.  Is filling freezers, pantry and refrigerator hoarding?  Is preparing for emergency situations hoarding? Is keeping items to recycle them hoarding? Is always having an ample supply of toilet paper hoarding?


There is a fine line between being prepared and going overboard into compulsive obsessiveness.  If my behavior created clutter to the point of inability to move around the house, inability to access a room and use it for it's intended purpose, unsafe living conditions then I would need to have my head examined and seek help.  My intent is not to ridicule this debilitating condition but to emphasize the fact that often storing food, emergency supplies and being prepared can be seen by others to be hoarding and hoarding carries an unfortunate stigma.  Even the word stockpile has taken on the image of strange people who buy up large quantities of food, weapons and medical goods often creating a shortage and impacting others.

Personally, I believe putting a negative spin on being prepared, stockpiling and storing food is a conscience plan by some spin doctors to keep the masses unprepared and dependent on commercialism.  What would happen to the economy if we all had gardens, knew how to can and preserve food, knew how to hunt and fish, repair things ourselves, cook and heat with alternative sources and so forth?

I am going to continue ways and hope to impact some other folks along the way to join me in becoming less dependent on stores and being more self reliant.  If you want to join me, please keep reading and sign up as a Follower to my blog.  You will not have your email address shared with anyone it will only inspire me to keep writing.  Thanks so much and clean up some clutter today!

Have I ever gone overboard and bought way more than I can use?  Yes!  This challenge is forcing me to see just how much I have put away and the necessity to rotate my food stores and let up buying items that I have an over abundance of.  For example I do not need to purchase any more meat until I have used what is stored in the freezer.  Frozen meat has a shelf life and I must honor that so as not to create waste.

Have I bought more food or items instead of saving money?  Yes!  I would honestly say that my savings and tied up in my preparedness actions.  Am I addressing that?  Yes.  By now setting a goal to save cash instead of investing in more than I actually need I am changing behavior.  It is time to but away cash.  I think the symbolish of storing my cash in a canning jar is great and very telling!

Do I have a fixation on shopping?  This month I am testing that and will be able to give an honest answer.  Will I want a quick fix?  Will I long for the grocery lines?  Will I miss lugging in grocery bags and unpacking?  I think not.  There are plenty of other things to do. Now that I have established a goal to save money I am looking forward to applying shopping energy to putting money in the savings jar!  What a concept!

Here is a test.  Which number room best decribes a room in your home?  If you picked number 4 or higher it is recommended you seek professional treatment.  The picture was used by a research group lead by Boston University and Smith College.

Ok I am off to clean my bedroom!


Anonymous said...

Lately I've found the best way to save on shopping bills is to be snowed in and have the windchills be in the negative 30s!

I don't even want to leave the house, but I've got so much great food in the freezer and pantry and basement that I don't feel the need to. It's nice, isn't it?


2 Tramps said...

Sure can understand where you are with regard to your shopping and food storage - I think a great deal the same way as you. The hunt for a bargain is great fun and I, too, love to read the ads when they come out. Couponing is my form of gambling!

The Frugal Fraulein said...

You two are my kind of peps! And to think some people see couponing and shopping as tedious!

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up!
And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but only this time! :)