Friday, May 11, 2012

Curing my bad shopping habits: Part Three

Once upon a time I bought far too much.  I’d spot great bargains and buy them because I knew they were things that we would use, or that we needed - even if they weren’t really.   I guess I overestimated what we needed and how much we used - maybe because I grew up in a large family and we always needed lots, or maybe I was duped by the two-for-one sales and the economy of scale. 

It started with cling wrap.  I scoffed at a comment I’d read online somewhere, someone saying they took a year to use a roll of it.  So I wrote the date on the end of the next cling wrap I opened, and finished it almost 18 months later.  I started to keep track of other things as well.   500mL of olive oil lasts me about two months.  I realised we use less pasta and rice because we tend to bulk up on vegetables.  We have used 9 rolls of toilet paper in the last month.  I haven’t worked out how long deodorant and toothpaste last me, but I know I only need to buy them a few times a year.   At the moment, the largest box of Weet-bix lasts us less than two weeks.  This has revolutionised my grocery shopping.  I stockpile less, I spend less, and I waste less. 

Considering how much and how little we used food and personal hygiene items made me also look at how much I owned of non-perishable items.  Clothes.  Shoes.  Books.  DVDs.   Recipe books.  There are only 24 hours in a day, only seven days in a week, only 352 days in a year.  I had enough recipes in books that I could cook something different every day for two-and-a-half years.  A whole month of not having to wash clothes.  Two weeks worth of shoes.   Books that I was never going to read again.   Did I really need all this stuff?

I started buying less clothes for the kids once I realised that I was packing away barely worn clothes when my eldest son grew out of them.  I wash every few days, and he would always just take the clothes on top, so why not only have the clothes on top?  

And I stopped buying craft and sewing materials at a faster rate than which I could actually use them, but that’s whole post of it’s own! 

What about you?  Do you tend to by more than you need, or only just enough?


  1. I understand the whole thing about having so much stuff. After a month of wearing three jeans and four shirts and living out of a 38L backpack, the thought of going home to so much stuff actually freaks me out a little.

    I stockpile gifts, but only a years worth. After Christmas each year just about everything is gone.

    Sorry about any dodgy punctuation, Im using a czech keyboard which has all sorts of weird characters and I cant figure out how to get most of the normal punctuation marks that I need :P

  2. 9 rolls of toilet paper in a month! We generally go through a roll a day! At first (when we finally hit the one a day mark) I thought it must be me (8 months pregnant so going to the loo A LOT) but then Michelle went to Nepal and suddenly a roll was lasting us almost three days. I still don't get it though, cause she's BARELY here! It must have been a coincidence, cause it just doesn't make sense. Anyway, I'm sure once I've got 4 fully toilet trained boys we'll be back to the one a day :/ How cheap am I that I've actually gotten into the habit of "going" when I go to the shops. Well, that was while I was still going to places like the shops etc, but these days I just waddle about at home.

  3. I was hoping it might work for you to comment now that I'd changed my blog format!

    I'm pretty sure I must be the only person in our house who uses toilet paper. Either that, or we had a low usage month lat month.