4 super simple tips to prevent diaper rash

This post is sponsored by Andy Pandy. As always all opinions are my own.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to deal with an unfortunate case of diaper rash?

Awful stuff right? If your kiddo is anything like my Margs, diaper rashes just seem to pop up out of nowhere and they cause a ton of discomfort and fussiness. In the early weeks and months when she was just a wee infant we struggled with redness and chaffing and other uncomfortable diaper rash related issues. We were totally new to the whole parenting thing and despite thinking we were on top of her diaper changes we somehow were clearly missing the boat because no matter how well we cleaned her, how much diaper cream we applied and which diaper brand we used baby girl seemed to be constantly dealing with irritation on some level. And, as most of you know – a baby with an irritated tush is a fussy unhappy baby!

When she was about 3 weeks old my 92 year old great aunt came to visit who gave us a ton of useful and effective information about treating but more importantly preventing diaper rash altogether. She sat there and told Mer and I that the best way to keep a babies bottom rash and irritation free was to use a simple approach. Boy was she right. We started to follow her really simple principles and not only did we manage to treat Margsy’s diaper irritation but we’ve been able to prevent it ever since.

Her tips have been invaluable to us and so I wanted to share them with you today!

4 Tips to prevent diaper rash

Change baby often The number one reason babies get diaper rash is because their sensitive bottoms are exposed to urine and feces for prolonged periods of time. Now that Margs is older we basically need to change her after every pee or poop because she’s older, bigger and produces larger quantities of urine and feces. When they are smaller this isn’t usually the case. In the very early days she could have technically worn the same diaper for 3-4 hours before fully saturating it because she was producing such small amounts of urine. The problem with this is that however absorbent a diaper is – she’d still be sitting in her own urine despite the diaper not being saturated know what I mean? So, changing baby frequently prevents their super delicate skin from being exposed to urine and fecal matter which are incredibly irritating to their skin.

Use soap/water for clean up At the peak of our struggles with diaper rash we were purchasing expensive baby wipes that we assumed were the absolute best option for cleaning baby during a diaper change. Those wipes contained creams, fragrances and chemicals that only further irritated her already sensitive and diaper rashed skin. We switched to making our own solution of diluted all natural baby soap and water to spray on and wipe off with super soft baby wash clothes. It was effective at cleaning and sanitizing the area without adding any harmful chemicals, lotion and unnecessary fragrances. Once we’d cleaned her up we’d always make it a point to dry her very well with a soft dry washcloth. Removing all moisture before putting on a new diaper is vital because it prevents bacteria from growing and affecting the skin.

Use diaper creams sparingly Would you believe me if I told you we rarely use diaper cream? Well it’s the truth. Once we started changing baby more often and cleaning her with a delicate soap and water solution the need for diaper cream in this house reduced significantly. I know there are parents out there that apply it after every diaper change but we opted to keep the area as dry as possible without applying any extra creams to Margsy’s sensitive skin. That’s not to say that we never  use it. Recently, while on a long road trip Margsy fell asleep in her car seat and we didn’t have the heart to wake her for a much needed diaper change which resulted in a pretty icky irritation and chaffing that we treated with the above suggestions in addition to this homemade diaper cream made with only 3 ingredients – Zinc Oxide, Coconut Oil and Beeswax. It makes me feel better knowing that I’m only applying creams to her skin when absolutely necessary and this home made cream is extremely effective if you’re dealing with a nasty diaper rash that gentle cleaning and frequent changes doesn’t help clear up.

Buy breathable good quality and eco-friendly diapers if possible. We’re a disposable diaper family and have experimented with various brands and our main requirements are comfort, environmental impact, absorbancy and leak protection. As our baby girl grew into an active toddler our disposable diaper needs have changed because kiddos at this age produce more urine and need more absorbancy protection. The more breathable the diaper the less likely you are to encounter diaper rash so when Andy Pandy reached out to collaborate with me to promote their awesome Andy Pandy Bamboo Diapers I was super excited to share their unique eco-friendly and super breathable nappies with you fine folks!

Pamper your kiddos bottoms with Andy Pandy

Andy Pandy Eco Friendly Disposable Nappies are seriously the most amazing diaper I’ve seen on the market so far. Not only are they 100% eco-friendly and biodegradable but they are naturally hypoallergenic and antibacterial which makes them the absolute best choice for babies with sensitive skin. They are made from biodegradable bamboo which is not only super soft but very absorbent AND they are moisture wicking to keep babies sensitive areas as dry as possible.  Each diaper has a totally natural aloe liner that nourishes baby’s skin without exposing your kiddos to harsh chemicals AND a wetness indicator. The diapers are also Chlorine, alcohol, preservative, Phthalates, Latex, PVC, TBH and Antioxidant free! They are truly a steal at $0.40 per unit considering they are of supreme quality and environmentally friendly!

Andy Pandy has generously offered a 25% coupon code for TTBH readers to buy these diapers via amazon where they are already 58% off their regular price! How awesome is that? Head on over to purchase yourself a pack today and use TINYBLUE to score an additional 25% off. This right here is a potential frugal diaper stockpile extravaganza folks!

To take advantage of this seriously awesome deal head over to Andy Pandy via amazon  or Amazon UK and use the coupon code TINYBLUE at check out! This deal is open to folks living in Canada or the UK!

What are your go-to tips to prevent and treat diaper rash?


the hidden consequences of frugal parenting

One Sunday morning during Margsy’s  weekly swimming lesson a fellow swim mom (is that even a thing?) stopped to tell me how cute she thought my daughters bathing suit was and to find out where I bought it because she’d like to purchase a similar one for her kiddo. Now, I’m pretty open about my frugal lifestyle choices and will gladly tell you that x, y or z is used with great pride but that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel judgement from time to time.  You see the judgement I often face is not necessarily about our choice to live this way but more about the perception or maybe assumption that by living frugally we’re somehow parenting our kiddo incorrectly or depriving her in some way.

I was met with a little- okay a lot – of judgement that day and to be frank, it sucked.

It didn’t suck because I was being judged for buying, using and frolicking in used garb.

It didn’t suck because my lifestyle choices were scrutinized.

It didn’t even suck because we were assumed to be cheap, poor, underprivileged and somehow unable to provide for our little.

It sucked because my parenting choices were judged and it was assumed that I didn’t want what was best for my child.

The Hidden Consequences of Frugal Parenting - Frugal Living | Frugal Parenting | Frugalism | Parenting | Motherhood | Parenting Anxiety | Lifestyle Choices | Toddlers | Personal Finance |

See, once I informed fellow swim mom about Margsy’s used bathing suit I was met with questions and comments about our lifestyle and how I cope with not giving her the best of the best. There were sympathetic references to understanding “our situation” and hoping our “situation” would improve so that moving forward we’d be able to buy into mainstream consumerism.

Holy assumption that buying new is the only way to provide a kiddo with the best right? I find it so so interesting that giving a child “the best” has come to be intertwined with a families ability to provide materialistic and consumerist goods. Anyone else?

But, what if I want to buy used? What if I consciously opt to buy things that other people’s filthy (sarcasm clearly) kids have worn? What if, *gasp* I technically have the means to buy her everything new but simply prefer not to? Does that somehow make me a bad parent?

What if my ultimate goal as a parent is to raise a kid who could care less about materialism?

What does a frugal momma do when she’s left pondering complex frugal questions? Well, she turns to google and finds awesome conversations like this one over at Mr Money Moustache. I’d be totally lying to you if I told you that Mer and I had it all figured out with regards to how we plan to manage our frugality and minimalistic tendencies as this kiddo ages. At this point in her life, Margsy has no flipping clue that her shoes, Tonka truck, play house or blackboard were pre-played with or worn by other littles. She’s just so thrilled to have stuff to throw and lick (they legit lick and try to eat everything) and has zero awareness of this narrative that “new” is best that consumerism has done such a great job at brainwashing our society to believe.

In a perfect fabulously frugal world my kid would grow up to love personal finance the same way her father and I do. She’d scoff at buying new and prefer to bank that money to invest or use for something more meaningful moving forward. Ideally, and this is a stretch, my kiddo would plan ahead and retire at let’s say 35. One can dream right?

In all seriousness though, frugal parenting in this world can be kinda scary folks. It’s scary because living a lifestyle that is even remotely outside our mainstream culture’s definition of “normal” can be met with raised eyebrows, harsh criticism and inevitable judgement.

So, I’m about to get pretty vulnerable right now. Read on if you want to find out some of my very real fears about raising Margsy in our frugal family.

My fears and anxieties about frugal parenting

Margsy will resent us. Imagine for just one second that you were forced to wear used clothes and play with used toys as a child only to find out that your parents very well could have afforded to buy you all that stuff new? Would you in someway resent them? Technically, we can afford to buy our little pretty much anything she needs new. We just choose not to. We barter, dumpster dive and hit up local second-hand shops to basically satisfy all of her needs. The money we save on satisfying her needs is actually accruing in a bank account so she can pursue education without having to in-debt herself when she’s older. One of our major life goals was to make sure that this kiddo would have her entire education paid for and in a few more years we’ll have been able to check that goal off our list. But, will providing her with an education fund negate the fact that she never got “new” stuff? Will this kid turn around at 7 and tell us that we sucked as parents because we never gave her cool new stuff? It might sound ridiculous but this in fact is something I think about often. Can forcing frugality on kiddos somehow lead to parental resentment and feelings of deprivation in young children?

Margsy will get bullied. Kids can be cruel. I know it’s a statement that is thrown around a lot but as a former teacher I saw with my very own eyes how cruel kiddos can be to each other and more importantly how damaging it can be to self-esteem, agency and self-efficacy. I often worry that when the time comes Margsy’s peer group will meet her with harsh judgement. Sure, she could potentially keep it to herself. Although, until she is old enough to truly understand the whole concept of new vs. used she likely will have no idea but what happens when she does understand? Will she feel ashamed by lifestyle choices that were forced on her by her parents?

Margsy will overcompensate and plunge herself into a lifelong consumerist bender. Mer thinks I’m overthinking this one and creating an irrational fear that our daughter will be so potentially damaged by our lifestyle choices that she’ll run off, credit cards in hand and buy out a local T.J Maxx or Target. You see, what if she wakes up at say 18 and reflects on her childhood and says these crazy parents of mine made me wear used stuff, play with used toys and now I’m choosing to buy all. the. things for myself? A stretch perhaps but I often wonder if frugal parenting over the long-term has the potential to mold young children into young adults who crave the newness that consumerism encourages?

How we plan to manage and cope with these frugal fears

We don’t have a plan. Not a solid one anyway. You can’t plan anything for your kiddos. Trust me. Instead, you can lead by example, instill values and encourage kids to explore and perhaps challenge ideas that society has prescribed as “normal”. We’re hoping that our kiddo will grow up to quite literally not give a crap about consumerism. Ideally, she’ll be comfortable enough in her own skin to disassociate her own self-worth from what she owns. We hope and cross our fingers that by leading by example we’re instilling good money habits and consequently an awareness or at least an acknowledgement that consumerism in many ways is a social construct.

How will we do it? Well, we plan to keep on keeping on and lead 100% by example. Children learn by examples set by their parents. Hopefully, Margsy will see and appreciate that we’ve created a safe, happy and stimulating home without spending a fortune, attempting to keep up with the Joneses and give into consumerism more, more, more philosophy. Hopefully, she’ll see and appreciate that we’ve never deprived her of anything she’s ever truly needed while also saving for life goals that are important to us as a family. Hopefully, she’ll see and appreciate that happiness does exist beyond what you own and what you can buy.

The Hidden Consequences of Frugal Parenting - Frugal Living | Frugal Parenting | Frugalism | Parenting | Motherhood | Parenting Anxiety | Lifestyle Choices | Toddlers | Personal Finance |

Here are a few more frugalicious posts from TTBH for your reading pleasure:


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Do you think there are hidden consequences of frugal parenting? Do elaborate and share your thoughts with me.


5 easy ways to save thousands by brown bagging lunch

Way back when Mer and I were ultra money wasters we never and I mean never brown bagged lunches. We sucked at organizing ourselves food wise and so it only made sense to pass by the food court or drive through to get something to eat at lunch hour. We seemed to never be prepared, never have enough food, never have enough energy and never be organized enough to actually pack anything to take for lunch. Apparently we never ran out of excuses too! The worst part? There were ALWAYS leftovers sitting in our fridge begging to be eaten. Worse even is that those leftovers often got thrown straight into the garbage because we’d forget about them and let them spoil. We were so incredibly lazy and really had no idea how much our bad  habit was costing us so we kept spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars each month in addition to our pricey weekly grocery bill to buy lunches while at work and school.

Not only did this cost us an absolute fortune but it was super unhealthy. I wish I could tell you that we’d at least make healthy choices and use our money on healthy food but that would be a bold face lie. Instead, we’d often turn to pricey convenience foods that were not only heavily processed but full of unnecessary calories, sodium and fat.

Our turning point came when we found ourselves drowning in consumer debt. That debt snowballed because we were over spending and wasting money on things that we could have done ourselves which constantly resulted in living pay check to pay check. When we made the radical decision to live a frugal lifestyle to finally take control of our financial situation we immediately cut out bought lunches and vowed to brown bag it exclusively moving forward.

Best decision ever folks. Now, let me tell you why:

First, we saved a ton of money *duh*

Second, we got healthier and by healthier I don’t mean we became marathon runners or super athletic cross fitters. Nope. Instead, our relationship with food changed and we became far more conscious of what we were putting in our mouths. Now, we struggle with eating out because we’ve become so accustomed to preparing our own food and knowing EXACTLY what goes into it. Added bonus we both lost a little weight along the way..


Five Super Easy Ways to Brown Bag Your Lunch and Save Money - Frugal Living | Money Saving Tips | Budget | Debt Free | Save Money | Frugal Tips & Tricks | Brown Bagged Lunches | Packed Lunches

In the process of becoming dedicated lunch packers, we’ve become pretty savvy at making sure we’ve always got good quality and easy lunch meal options that we can put together at the very last minute to avoid spending any cash on purchased foods while we’re out. Keep on reading and I’ll tell you EXACTLY how we pull it off.

Frugal living isn’t about depriving yourself ya know? So please don’t think that I’m sending my husband off to work with a can of tinned beans or moldy left overs. Quite the opposite folks! Mer regularly enjoys delicious, healthy and satisfying meals because we’ve implemented a system where we reduce food waste by reusing our food to feed ourselves lunch.

But, before we get into the nitty gritty of how to commit to brown bagging let’s talk about numbers because you folks know how much I love my numbers!

Did you know that in one year you could be spending approximately $2500 by not brown bagging your lunch?

Statistically speaking the average food court or drive through meal costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 – $13. (source) which averages out to about 10 bucks per meal depending on what food choices you make. (That article was published in 2012 and according to what Mer has told me about the goings on at his company the average meal his peers are purchasing are up to around $17. But, for the sake of simplicity we’ll stick to an average of $10)

If a working professional eats out 5 days a week for an entire calendar year with a modest 2 week vacation removed we’re looking at  roughly 250 bought lunches or an investment of $2500 per year.

If you work  for 10 years and continue with the above pattern you’ve spent a whopping $25 000 on lunches that you could have brown bagged and brought to the job with you!

If your partner does the exact same thing the cost inflates to a cool $50 000 over a 10 year period.

That’s right folks, the cost of your food court and drive through meals could potentially be used to pay off 50k in debt or student loans, a hefty down payment on a house or condo or invested in mutual funds.

See what I’m getting at here?

If we take it one step further – the average person works for approximately 40 years which,  at roughly $2500 per year in lunch expenses that accrues to a terrifying $100 000  over the span of ones career. A couple would have then shelled out approximately $200 000 on lunches in their lifetime. That general tao chicken, burger, chic a fila or whole foods buffet you’re eating on a daily basis folks cost you the equivalent of a very comfortable home in many areas of the country.

Laying out the numbers is scary as hell am I right? But, sometimes it’s the only real way to call attention to the magnitude of our poor spending choices and how wasteful they have the potential to be. It always seems that in the moment the small amount we’re spending is insignificant but when it becomes a routine part of your lifestyle it’s critical to examine the long term effects of that choice ya know?

Five Super Easy Ways to Brown Bag Your Lunch and Save Money - Frugal Living | Money Saving Tips | Budget | Debt Free | Save Money | Frugal Tips & Tricks | Brown Bagged Lunches | Packed Lunches

So, how do we do it? Let’s get right to it.

5 tips for always brown bagging your lunch

Cook with the intention of always having leftovers. When I cook a meal for our family of 3 I always make enough to produce at least 3 extra portions. Why? Leftovers are your absolute best friend when it comes to brown bagging a lunch. If you do this consistently throughout the week you’ll have a variety of leftovers to pick from so you’re not stuck eating the same food you had for dinner at lunch the next day. Variety makes brown bagging easy because it gives you plenty of choices to choose from in your fridge. Generally, I cook 6 portion sized meals on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. This makes lunches for the rest of the week an absolute breeze!

Freeze extra food you wont get a chance to eat. To keep our food waste at zero and to prevent against unforeseen circumstances I always freeze at least one portion of each of our leftovers immediately after making it. Why? Stuff happens and things come up and sometimes there isn’t anything available to brown bag. Well, that’s not an excuse in our house because we’ve got a good assortment of frozen leftovers waiting to be eaten. Pop out a frozen meal in the morning and it’s adequately thawed and ready to be reheated by lunch.

Stock your pantry and freezer with easy lunch solutions. If cooking large meals doesn’t fit with your lifestyle you can easily brown bag by making wise shopping choices and loading up your freezer and pantry with essentials that make packing a lunch easy. I’ve always got tins of canned fish, beans, chick peas and lentils in our pantry and our freezer is stocked with frozen breads and tortillas. Salads topped with tuna or salmon or a delicious combination of chick peas, lentils and capers make for a super healthy and easy lunch option. As long as you’ve got some go-to staples laying around you’ve got everything you need to pack up a delicious and cost effective brown bagged lunch.

Have appropriate brown bagging gear. Transporting lunches safely in good quality and spillproof containers is a must. Years ago we invested in the Lock and Lock by Starfrit pictured below. After doing a price comparison after seeing them at a local thrift shop it was actually cheaper to buy the new via Amazon so we invested in this good quality set of these reusable glass containers. I cannot tell you how much I love these! They are super convenient, BPA free, easy to clean , do well in the dishwasher and most importantly completely spill proof. I highly recommend these to anyone who is going to adopt a brown bag lifestyle. They guarantee that your food will survive the trip with you and not leave you with frustrating leaky messes!

Be Commited! Making a radical change to your lifestyle is never easy. At first, brown bagging might seem like an enormous amount of work but once you find a system that works for you  it just becomes a natural part of your daily routine. In our house, while Mer loads the dishwasher I pack lunches for the next day, freeze an extra portion for a rainy day and portion out the rest to keep in the fridge. It’s become such a normalized part of our day to day life that we don’t even realize we do it and we can get the process done in less than 10 minutes flat. Be consistent, I promise you’ll love love love all the money you’ll save!

Even more frugal living posts for your enjoyment


Now tell me, how many times did you buy your lunch last week and how much did it cost you?


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How to build a stockpile and save thousands in the process

Raise your hand if you’ve ever gotten sucked into watching Extreme Couponing? I don’t watch it anymore but back in the day when we were struggling financially I’d sit there and try to soak up every ounce of wisdom those coupon divas had to share. I mean, how did they do it? How did they manage to save hundreds and hundreds of dollars on their hauls? Impressive right?

I mean from a quantitative point of view – aka accumulating the most amount of stuff for the least amount of money- it really is impressive. But, as a frugal lifer I take issue with stockpiling so many items for the sake of stockpiling. In most of these episodes you’ll hear things like ” I’ll buy the whole shelf – we don’t really use it but at least I can add it to my stockpile “. In retrospect these ladies were probably actually buying into consumerism because they were wanting to coupon to buy more, more, more regardless of whether what they were buying was useful! It can get incredibly wasteful when your stockpiling products that you don’t regularly use – the shelf life of many foods although rather long wouldn’t be sufficient to carry you through consuming let’s say 600 tins of tuna before it expires ya know?

Tangent –> I wish they would do a follow up to show exactly how much of that stuff actually gets consumed and how much gets tossed. Interesting stuff I imagine.

That’s not to say that stockpiling is a bad thing! Don’t get me wrong, done correctly, it’s quite the opposite actually! We stockpile on the regular for things that we know we use and need. I see it this way: if you’re going to stockpile things just to benefit from the deal then you’re absolutely wasting your money. If you’re stockpiling things that are essential in your home then keep on keeping on because stockpiling can and will save you thousands every year.

We tend to buy all our goods on sale and stock up to make sure we never run out and have to pay full price.  See, when you run out of something you’re forced to buy it out of necessity which becomes problematic because buying out of necessity and not planning ahead often costs you more money. Consumerism is really founded on this idea of fulfilling immediate needs right? So, it’s not surprising that running out of laundry detergent can potentially set you back over 10$ a box if you’re in a jam when you can get the same product for half the cost when on sale. You don’t have to pay full market price for these items folks. With a little planning, organizing and know how you can stock up on what you need at a fraction of the cost.

The point is, stockpiling can be extremely useful and beneficial to keeping your expenses down if you approach it reasonably. I’ll confidently say that stockpiling is what helps us keep our weekly grocery budget under 100$. Would you believe me if I told you I’ve never paid more than 4.99$ for laundry detergent? I hope so because it’s the absolute truth. I stock up when it goes on sale and I buy as much as my budget permits. Usually, I have at least 6 months worth of product in my garage so I’m never faced with an emergency run to the store where I’m forced to pay full price for essential household items. For what it’s worth we tend to use 2 boxes of powdered laundry detergent per month as a family of 3 which means I always have at least 12 boxes stocked in my garage.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

How to build your stockpile from scratch

Identify your household needs

All our needs are different but I’m pretty confident in saying that we likely all need some form of detergent, fabric softener, bleach and cleaning supplies. Sure, you can make your own which I’ve tried and although it does save you a ton of money I really wasn’t satisfied with how the products cleaned my clothes and home. For what it’s worth, all the DIY detergents I’ve made ended up dulling our whites and being ineffective at stain removal. Additionally, with my weirdo skin conditions I know that Tide works well for me and keeps me rash free so I stick to what I know works.

To get a solid idea of what you need pull out a pen and paper and divide it into categories: household cleaners/detergent, personal hygiene and food. From there, take an inventory of what shelf-stable items you use on a very regular basis. Those items are the ones you need to be stock piling folks.

Related TTBH content: The Buyerarchy of Needs aka do you want or need it?

Save 20$ per week for a “stockpile fund”

So how does one start saving up enough money to start spending money to save money? It’s really not that simple right? Most people are living paycheck to paycheck with very little space for any extra expenses! I was one of those people and so, I know just how difficult it is to spend a little extra on anything let alone boxes and boxes of kleenex or detergent. Well, my suggestion is to plan ahead. If you’re in a situation where you can’t necessarily start stockpiling right now, that’s fine! Start putting a little away every week to build up a stockpile fund. This way, you’ll always have a little extra cash available to you to take advantage of awesome sales happening in your neighborhood. If you’re truly stuck and can’t manage to put anything aside have a look at my post about side hustles that can earn you a little extra cash. Doing a little temporary side hustling can totally give you the momentum you need to build up enough of a cash flow to start stockpiling sooner than later.

Related TTBH content: 50 side jobs that will help you pay of your debt aka side hustles to build a stockpile fund

Create a space/location to store your goods:

Find an area of your home that you are willing to devote to stockpiling. Folks, this stuff takes up room and without having a dedicated space you’ll easily get overwhelmed by the stockpile hoard. Garages, closets, basements, spare bedrooms and even garden sheds work well. Find a space and prepare to start filling it up with awesomely useful household goods.

To put this in context there was this one time years ago that I was able to score a bunch of 1$ coupons for Cottonelle toilet paper. It also happened to be a flash sale weekend where the 12 packs of said toilet paper were at the ridiculously low price of 2.99. So, Mer and I loaded ourselves into our car and hit up at least 5 different stores to stock up. We paid 2$ per pack and ended up hauling over 260 rolls of toilet paper home that day. Stocking it was a challenge because we didn’t have a dedicated space at the time and admittedly I did go way overboard. We had so much TP that we were storing it under beds, in closets, in bathrooms and basically every nook and cranny we could find. Moral of the story: set up a dedicated space that will keep your home organized and stress free. Sleeping on toilet paper isn’t ideal folks.

Scout sales/specials and online coupons

The next time you get your weekly flyers in the mail take the time to really look through them and make a mental inventory of which of your stockpile items are on sale and where. I cannot believe how many people tell me that they dump the lot of circulars directly into the recycling bin! Those circulars are your lifeline when you’re building up your stockpile.

When I receive mine I divide them in two piles. One pile is devoted to drug stores and the other to grocery. Why might you ask? Well, in our area drug stores tend to have awesome sales on household cleaning products while grocery stores tend to do better with regards to sales on food (obviously). Once I’ve split them in two I jump in and start making an assessment of whether there’s something I need on sale.

Generally speaking, laundry detergent goes on sale only twice per year in these parts. When you’ve been doing this stockpiling thing for a little while you’ll start to notice patterns when it comes to sales on certain items. So, because I know that our laundry detergent goes on sale only twice per year I make sure to get as many as my budget allows for when it’s time.

If you’re feeling especially thrifty you can scope out online coupon sites to try and score coupons for these same items. Having said that, coupons need to approached with caution. I handle it this way: unless it’s a coupon for something I’ll buy regardless I will not take the time to print and use it. Coupons can easily lead you into the excess buying of unnecessary things simply to take advantage of a deal.

Hit up more than one store to get more product:

In our area when there are great sales there are usually limits on how many items you can buy. Sales generally start on Thursdays and run until the following Wednesday but usually by the weekend the really great deals are sold out. I usually head out early on a Thursday with Margsy in tow and hit up as many stores as I possibly can. One drug store that usually puts my detergent on sale has 4 locations in my area and I make sure to visit each one. This way I can stretch the 3 person limit to 12! If something is sold out I’ll always ask for a rain check. This way I can head back in when they’ve replenished their stock and still benefit from the awesome deal. 

What makes its way into our stockpile

Stay tuned for a post on stockpiling food and freezer items!

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Want to read even more frugal fabulousness? Here ya go!

Talk to me about your stockpiles!

Do you do it? If so, what are your must have stockpile items? If not, is it something you’d consider?


4 ways frugal living changed my life

10 years ago I was a completely different person. To the outside world I appeared to have it all together. I wore fashionable big ticket clothes, had killer designer handbags and wore expensive and uncomfortable footwear. I was a marketers dream! If it was “in” I had to have it. If it was trendy – I was the first in line to buy it. If it made me “appear” more successful, put together, worthy or important you bet I’d drop cash on it. I was a hostage to consumerist chaos and the more, more, more narrative that marketing and consumerism convinces us should be part of our lives. I lived my life by establishing my worth as a person by what I owned. The major caveat was that I had a dirty little secret. I couldn’t afford that lifestyle, it made me miserable and no matter what I bought it was never enough. The cycle continued and continued until we found ourselves in a ton of consumer credit card debt and facing the harsh reality that we had to make significant lifestyle changes if we wanted to get a grip on our spending and regain control of our finances.

If you’ve been reading here for some time you’ll already know that we managed to pay down that debt by completely transforming our lifestyle. We went from being massive over-spenders to living a frugal lifestyle. We slashed our spending everywhere we could so we could finally get a handle on our poor financial choices. To be perfectly transparent, I don’t think either of us thought we’d actually like living a frugal lifestyle. Way back when, we entered into this thinking that we’d do it for a while to get rid of that debt and then slowly transition back to a more normal consumerist life.

Frugal living has transformed more than just our bank account. Sure, we’ve been able to pay off that debt, buy a home with a 50% down payment and consistently put money away into our savings but beyond that it’s transformed who we are as people. I wont get into the details about Mer’s thoughts on the subject because they are his. But, I can tell you that adopting a frugal lifestyle and adhering to frugality for nearly a decade has transformed my life in ways I never imagined.

Not only have I developed a far greater respect for money but frugality has graced my life with so much positivity and insight that I would have previously taken for granted.

4 ways frugality generates positivity

Crazy hunh? It’s really surreal to think that I’m actually happier having less stuff and spending less money! I’m a firm believer that frugality changes your outlook and regard for everything that surrounds you. I believe wholeheartedly that by severing ties with consumerism one is finally released from negativity, unrealistic social expectations and envy. Maybe I’ll get into that another day but suffice to say that I really and truly believe that frugality sparked significant positive changes in my life.

My emotional health has improved

Nothing sucks more than constantly feeling inadequate. Consumerism has this way of convincing us that if you don’t have the newest car, clothes or gadgets we are somehow failing at life. One of the major consequences of living a hugely consumerist life is feeling inadequate when you can’t keep up. This whole keeping up with the Joneses lifestyle can negatively affect your self worth, confidence and agency if you allow consumerism to manipulate you into thinking that you are only as worthy as how much stuff you have. Sure, there might be people out there who aren’t as easily influenced by these ideas but generally speaking the goal of marketing and consumerism is to get you to buy more, more, more by playing with your emotions.

By severing those ties and not allowing myself to be manipulated by consumerism I’ve had no choice but accept and manage my emotional health. Buying to fulfill a need or to make myself feel better were no longer options and so for the first time ever I had to deal with the emotional side of buying in a more hands on way. Frugality has helped me realize my self-worth is absolutely not dictated by the car I drive, the clothes I wear or the stuff I own. My worth is now established by my core values, beliefs and lifestyle choices.

I’ve become a creative problem solver

Faced with no choice but “deal”  I’ve had to become incredibly creative when solving problems. Pre-frugality I was totally that person who would haul myself to the store to buy anything and everything that would make my life easier. Quite honestly there seems to be a costly solution for just about anything available for purchase.

Tangent -> Mer and I were watching T.V last night and there was a commercial for V.I Poo by Airwick. Did you see it? If not, I’m including it here because it needs to be discussed. I’m still not 100% sure I buy that this is a legit product and not some marketing tactic. Although V.I Poo is for sale on sites like Amazon.com and Well.com. (Note <—- I would never affiliate link that) so maybe there’s a market for this? In any case, this right here folks is proof that there is a solution for all of the world’s “problems” no matter how small. Now, you can even deodorize the toilet bowl before releasing “devil’s donuts”. Essentially, we’re being  poop shamed.


So back to the point. I’ve become far more creative and a better problem solver. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to re-purpose, build or create something from what I already had on hand. When you don’t have the option to spend money on things to make your life easier or solve a problem you have at hand it’s pretty amazing how resourceful you will become. I’ve become an expert at scouting out what I need without spending any money at all.

I’m more patient

Confession time. I was a hot headed, impatient, stubborn diva pre-frugality. Why? I was totally overcompensating. I think we all naturally deal with certain levels of insecurity when it comes to our lifestyle choices and professional lives. Consumerism in some respects teaches us that buying stuff helps us deal with those insecurities right?

Consumerism gave me an “out” because I was able to compensate for the areas of my life that made me feel insecure by buying more and more stuff the mass media convinced me a I needed to be more confident, more professional and generally a better human being. By cutting ties with that lifestyle I’ve had to employ frugal tactics to stretch our budget and get us out of a deep financial sink hole. The consequence? I’ve learned to appreciate a lifestyle that is far slower, far less competitive and generally more quiet. Although I might be surrounded by people who live a very consumerist lifestyle (and that’s okay too!) I’ve disassociated myself from it and no longer feel like I’m part of that rat race. I’m now more patient, accepting and if you ask Mer probably more fun to be around 🙂

I enjoy my friends, family and life more

The consequence of all the above is that I’m far more present and by consequence I’m able to enjoy the things that are truly important to me which are my family, friends and the bounties that this life have blessed me with. By living frugally, I’m not consumed with the need to identify by what I wear, own or where I eat. Instead, I’ve had to really get to know myself and acknowledge who I am as a person. These insights are what make being present so much easier. Without frugality I’m sure I’d still be the woman who was uncomfortable in her own skin and who feared being judged.

Interested in reading even more posts about frugality? Have a look at these!

4 ways frugality has changed my life

V.I Poo – Real product or savvy marketing?


Why buying used isn’t gross

Raise your hand if you’re a little put off by buying, wearing or touching used stuff?

I double pinky swear that I wont judge you for having the ewww factor about used stuff! My goal here isn’t to chastise you for your opinions! If you’re raising your hand way up high I can assure you that you are not alone. Often times, when I tell people that we buy virtually 100% of our stuff used I’m faced with some of the most interesting responses. There are those who question us – I’ve gotten asked more than once if we’ve ever “caught something from buying used”. In other situations I’ve been met with really strong and sometimes harsh opinions about how buying used is gross and that I’m actually neglecting my kiddos needs by doing it.

Buying used gets such a bad rap doesn’t it folks?

There seems to be this assumption that buying used is gross and today I’m hoping to show you that buying used is not only a great way to save you a ton of cash but also a good and responsible choice for the environment because it keeps stuff out of our landfills.

Our frugal family really doesn’t attach a value to things. After hard work and the conscious decision to really separate ourselves from consumerist chaos we’ve gotten to a point where stuff is just stuff and doesn’t shape our views of ourselves, our social standing or our place in our community. A long long time ago the story was a very different one and by living a frugal lifestyle out of necessity we developed a new appreciation or lack thereof for the stuff that surrounded us and really detached ourselves from the want cycle that is so common in consumerist culture. But, we do need stuff – tons of stuff even so when it does come time to spend our money on things we always turn to buying used first.

So, before we get into the whole buying used is gross thing, tell me, when’s the last time you went on vacation? What resort did you stay at? Are you a cruise type of person or more of an all-inclusive type? How were the accommodations? Was the food good? Did you send your kiddo to the on site daycare? I promise there’s a reason that I’m asking you these questions – so, keep a mental inventory of your answers okay?

I’m sure most of you have stayed in a hotel, eaten at a restaurant, sent your kid to daycare and driven in a cab before right? If you’ve done all these things then you’ve absolutely touched, used and been in contact with used stuff! Gross right? Or, is it? When you’re staying at a hotel you are sleeping on a used mattress and used bed linens that we hope have been sanitized correctly. When you’re eating out you are eating off of used plates with used cutlery while sitting in a used chair. And, *shutter* when you send your kids to school or daycare your kiddo is playing with toys and reading books that have been touched by dozens or even hundreds of tiny germy hands.

See where I’m going with this?

The Stigma of Used Stuff

The thing is, there’s a pretty big stigma attached to used stuff- that ewww factor is very much real and in many cases it causes people to fear used goods and completely overlook it as on option when it’s time to fulfill consumerist needs and wants. The ewww factor leads people to believe that used goods are somehow disgusting, dirty, germ-infested and useless items or objects that belong in a landfill instead of in your home or mine.

The used stuff stigma often manifests itself in two very real and overlapping ways folks.

First, there’s the personal fear of buying used because of the perceived threat of being socially inferior or judged in some way. When we first started off on this journey I was absolutely one of those people and was humiliated that I was shopping in a second-hand shop. Left with no choice but live frugally to crush our credit card debt I stuck it out and eventually as I started to appreciate frugal living more and more I became so comfortable with buying used that I’d tell anyone and everyone about my great finds and how much money it saved me compared to making the same purchase on the “new” market. Having said that, the social stigma creates fear – because *gasp* what if someone finds out you’re buying used? What if you’re labeled as one of those people who uses used stuff? Well, here’s a secret – it’s your business and nobody else’s. You don’t have to tell anyone where your awesome shirt, shoes, handbag or belt came from.

Second, there’s this pervasive need to keep up the Joneses right? The neighbor wears designer clothes, has a fancy new car and has expensive home furnishings. The whole notion to buy more, more, more in an effort to keep up with this narrative of what is acceptable has really driven people away from appreciating the used market. What if I told you that buying used can give you access to designer clothes (if that’s your thing), fancy cars (if that’s your priority) or expensive home furnishings (if that’s what you value)? Sadly, many people feel this need to buy new to keep up with what society has created as an acceptable way to acquire goods. Society has trained us that to have “made it” in our world you have to buy new and that buying used somehow makes you inferior, underprivileged and a lesser member of your community.

Cost Analysis & Little Frugal Math

I’m a numbers geek and I’m often calculating exactly how much I saved when I find a used treasure. Some times our used finds are absolutely free because we barter or dumpster dive (which is the best case scenario because free is free right?) but when we do score a used deal I always hit up the internet to calculate exactly how much we saved.

Let’s do a little frugal math, shall we? I hope to show you that the savings when buying used are astronomical.

Here’s a current photo of my back balcony. We’ve created a play area for Margsy because this kiddo loves being outside but sometimes it’s difficult to let her roam the backyard when there’s important adulting things going on. By creating this play space for her we know that not only will she be within view but she’ll also be safe and occupied.

When Mer and I decided we wanted to invest in some outdoor activity toys we both agreed that we’d hit up the used market. Kids toys are so incredibly expensive and when you’re buying any type of toy you’re always taking a risk that your kiddo wont really like it. We got really lucky with this haul because she absolutely loves each of these toys and plays with them on the regular.

Now, let’s calculate what this would have cost me new versus what I spent.

* Source: I sourced the prices on the various toys from both amazon.ca and toysrus.ca. I used the lowest price found between the two vendors.

So there we have it. Had I purchased each of these items brand new from Amazon, Toys R Us or any similar vendor in my area I would have been facing a 681.79$ expense plus applicable taxes. In our province we have a 15% tax rate that by my calculations would elevate the price to a whopping 784.06$. But, by employing some frugality to our purchasing plan we were able to score all those super cool toys for a total of 48.00$ Yup, you read that right 48$! In total we saved 736.06$ by buying used. Holy, you know what right?

How I clean my new used stuff

Generally speaking most used stuff is in pretty great condition. Thrift and second hand shops are pretty picky about what they put on their racks and the worst of the worst usually never makes it out into the store front. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve bought clothes or shoes for us with the tags still on. Think about it for a second, how many times have you donated brand new stuff to a local organization that resells it because it didn’t fit, went out of style or wasn’t useful for you anymore? Yup, I’m the lady who will likely buy that stuff.

With that in mind, we always employ rigorous cleaning methods to make sure that every item we buy is clean and ready for us to use. It’s no different than buying clothes at your local TJ Max or Target. There’s a good chance someone or several people tried it on before you so washing it before wearing is always a good idea right?

When it comes to clothing items, linens or any other cloth type product we always give the items a good soak in a hot water and vinegar bath. We have a handy basin sink installed in our garage and I just put all our goodies in there and disinfect them with vinegar. From there, I add them to our regular laundry that we do roughly twice a week. Once it’s clean and smelling fresh you’d never know that it was bought used in the first place.

For large plastic kiddo toys we haul out our pressure washer which we got from a barter trade a couple years back. First, we rub on a baking soda vinegar paste and scrub off any dirty spots. Once we’ve removed any stains or built on dirt we give it a good rinse and follow up with a soap bath made with equal parts laundry detergent and vinegar. More often than not the toys come out squeaky clean and as good as new!

For dishware and other glass or breakables I usually just give them a good soak in equal parts dish soap and liquid bleach. After a 30 minute soak I rinse them off and pop them into the dishwasher on a clean and sanitize cycle. They always come out looking as good as new.

A couple of things I’ll never buy used

Buying used is such an awesome way to get what you need for literally a tiny fraction of the cost. We’ve taken advantage of used opportunities and bought clothes, shoes, linens, dishware, furniture, baby clothes, toys, garden equipment, pool gear, baby gear, camping gear, winter wear, small appliances to name just a few. I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch of things but you get the idea that we’re pretty open to buying most things used. But, there are things that we wont buy used because quite honestly it’s not safe. Here is a list of things that you need to be cautious about and a couple of reasons why.

Mattresses/Couches/Upholstered furniture. Unless you know exactly where it’s coming from and that it’s coming from a pest free environment approach with caution. We used to live in an area that was heavily affected by bed bugs and as a result we never bought these items used. If you know where it’s coming from and you are 100% sure that bringing the item into your home wont cause you issues then absolutely go for it.

Crib & Carseats. The thing with these items is that it’s okay to buy them second hand assuming you are 100% sure of the items provenance. With cribs, it’s always wise to check out the model number for any recent recalls (think safety issues, led paint etc). If you know the people it’s coming from and the crib checks out with a little research then it’s absolutely okay to purchase. But, when you’re looking at buying from someone you don’t know and you’re unsure of the age and/or model number then I’d be cautious because cribs can pose serious risks to a baby. The same goes for car seats. I would never ever ever jeopardize my kiddos safety and as a result I would never buy a used car seat unless I knew for absolute sure that the seat had no recalls and is 100% accident free. Safety above all folks.

The rest. Always use common sense. If an item looks truly gross – it probably is. The thing with used stuff is that you can absolutely be picky. If you pass on an item today I’ll bet you any amount of money that you’ll come across something similar soon. Just because you’re opting to buy used doesn’t mean you’re prevented from being a discriminant shopper. If an item doesn’t seem satisfactory to you then simply don’t buy it regardless of its low price. Even when you’re buying used you can opt to buy for quality and durability.

How I approach used shopping

Shopping used is truly no different then buying new. Actually I’ll propose that buying used is actually more fun because you can score some pretty awesome deals and save a ton of money in the process. Who doesn’t like to save a little cash right?

Like I mentioned above, buying used doesn’t trump quality in any way. You can totally buy quality clothing, accessories, furnishings, electronics and everyday essentials on the used market. I approach used shopping like a challenge. I want to ensure that my money is purchasing an item that is in great used condition, shows as little wear as possible and will be durable for years to come. Just because I’m buying used doesn’t mean that I’ll accept lesser quality or condition – I want to use my money wisely so I’m picky and selective about what items I bring home with me. It’s okay to pass on an item no matter how great it might appear if it doesn’t meet my expectations.

Beyond this, I always set a budget about how much I’m comfortable spending. If you remember up above where I told you folks about building a play area for my little one I went into the project with a budget. I knew that I wanted to get as many toys as possible for at most 50$. We planned accordingly and headed out bright and early on a garage sale weekend knowing that we only had 50$ to spend. I also knew that I absolutely wanted a table of some kind, a ride on, a plastic house and a net. We drove around and managed to pick up each of our items by being steadfast about our price. When buying that house I was asked for 50$. I told the guy straight that I had to take it apart to get it home and that it needed a good wash so I was only prepared to spend 20$. He agreed and we took it apart and hauled it home.

A couple of buying used suggestions: go into any shopping situation with a budget and a list of exactly what you want. Negotiate whenever you can and be upfront about your best offer. Be prepared to walk away if you can’t respect your budget or if it’s not exactly what you need. Buying used can also be a trap in that the low cost can convince us to buy buy buy because we’re getting such a great deal. Always shop wisely even if you’re not spending a ton of money.

What buying used is not

  • Buying used is not a reflection of your worth as a person, member of society or social standing. Wearing used clothes and eating off used dishes with pre-loved utensils in no way minimizes your worth as a person. You my friend are not a reflection of your stuff.
  • Buying used does not mean you are poor, underprivileged and/or miserly. Instead, its a reflection of the frugal priorities you’ve set yourself.
  • Buying used is not only for the extremely cheap. Instead, it’s a conscious and well thought out decision for the well being of both your wallet and the environment.
  • Buying used isn’t gross, dirty or disgusting – it’s a sustainable way to get what you need at a fraction of the cost!

Managing the social stigma

Before I wrap up this super long post ( I apologize for that by the way – once I get going I just can’t seem to stop!) I want to address managing the social stigma that comes from buying used. I got into it up at the top of this post but if you’re just skimming I’ll give you a quick recap. Essentially, society has taught us that it’s gross to buy used by manipulating our belief system. They’ve enveloped used goods with an ewww factor that prevents many people from taking advantage of buying on the used market. We’ve been taught that buying used is gross and disgusting and so we’re feeding into consumertist chaos by overpaying and overbuying on the new market. When we walk into a room we don’t generally thumb off the places we bought each piece of our outfit. When we have a dinner party we don’t start the meal by listing off where our dishes, cutlery or tablecloth were bought. Buying used is a personal decision. If you’re into it great – if you want to try it but fear being judged just remember that it’s absolutely your business and nobody elses. Buy used and keep it your little secret if need be!

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Interested in reading even more frugal living posts? Have a look at these:

Where do you stand? Are you disgusted by the ewww factor?


The Buyerarchy of needs

After writing Tuesday’s post and really delving into how we save money around here I got to mulling over this grand and somewhat obscure idea of needs. It’s really easy for me to preach frugal mantras like “buy only what you need” or “don’t spend on things you don’t need” or “figure out how to make the distinction between wants and needs”  when in reality following through with this is actually really really really hard to do. What happens when we lose sight of our true needs? Well, Consumerist culture has desensitized us to our true needs and so, the lines between needs and wants seem to be permanently blurred for most of us. Consumerism has done such a great job of severing our relationship with our true needs that more often than not we’re able to convince ourselves that just about any “want” is in fact a real need on some level. Buy more, more, more is basically the way most people live – and guess what? we used to be those people!

How many times have you been in a shop and picked up something that peaks your interest only to proceeded to convince yourself to buy it by thumbing off at least 20 reasons why you absolutely need to purchase it? I’ve done it many, many, many a time myself. The things is, we’ve been conditioned to overlook what our true needs are and buy things because on some emotional level they satisfy something we are looking for in that very moment. I often refer to this as a “want cycle”. I’ve had many many “want cycles” in my lifetime. Pre frugal living I’d have one just about every other month. One time, I remember running to Best Buy because I had to have an Eye-Fi card. The idea was that I took so many photos and uploading them was such a chore and with an Eye-Fi card the photos would miraculously upload themselves whenever in range of the computer. Sure, the Eye-Fi card is pretty cool. It’s efficient, it’s handy and it’s pretty darn useful but, did I truly need it? Absolutely not. Sadly, that Eye-Fi card died a lonely death in a drawer in my office desk only a few short months after buying it. The gratification of fulfilling that “want cycle” sort of fizzled out.

Consumerist culture is super efficient at manipulating us to believe that new cars, new homes, new clothes, new gadgets and just about anything and everything that one could potentially purchase falls into the realm of true needs. We’ve been sensitized to this idea that we need to moisturize our faces with expensive creams, we need to dine on expensive dishes and we need to toast our bottoms while we drive.

In Tuesday’s post I talked a lot about how we save money. If you have a read through that post or one of the other one’s I’ve written about how we manage money in our frugal household you’ll soon come to the conclusion that we basically live by the Buyerarchy of needs.

If you’re interested in reading some of my other posts about how we live frugally these are a great place to start:

The buyerarchy of needs

The Buyerarchy of needs was created by Sarah Lazarovic who used the info graphic that she created above as a reminder to explore other options before jumping in and buying anything. Her thought process, much like my own revolves around getting creative, borrowing, bartering, buying used, reinventing and ultimately buying if these options get exhausted before accomplishing whatever consumerist goal you had set out for yourself.

In having adhered to the basic tenants of the Buyerarchy of needs for nearly 8 years now I can tell you that you can in fact satisfy most of your basic “true needs” without ever having to climb up to the very top of that pyramid. The options to obtain what you need is very much possible with a little creativity or through borrowing or bartering. I’d even go out on a limb to say that if one were to be patient enough they could potentially borrow or barter for every thing they need including  primary needs like food and shelter. Having said that, there’s absolutely market for bartering for even the most basic of needs but given the consumerist culture we live in it would likely be rather difficult to barter for a home or for food on a consistent basis. It’s entirely possible but I imagine rather difficult since bartering has unfortunately not become mainstream form of exchange just yet.

Needs versus wants

So here is where the topic gets a little complicated. How do we differentiate between primary (basic needs) and secondary needs and set them completely from wants.

For everyone primary needs involve things like food and shelter.

For nearly everyone primary needs involve food, shelter and safety.

For a lot of people primary needs are extended to include food, shelter, safety and the secondary need of transportation.

For most people primary needs have become focused on food, shelter, safety, transportation and excess. So, the lines are blurred you see?

Now, I’m not accusing you of being a compulsive shopper or binge purchaser. Instead, I’m pointing out that most of us (myself included until circa 2009) now have the tendency to potentially lump luxuries like clothing, gadgets, electronics, high-end vehicles and travel into our most basic of needs.

How many times have you said “I absolutely need a vacation right now!”? Or, I absolutely have to have a car with A/C and power windows”? These types of wants have now been transformed into basic needs for a large proportion of people.

The ugly truth is that consumerist culture has convinced us through the more, more, more attitude that you need more clothes (more options make life easier night?), we need more gadgets (you must have a juicer, sodastream and VitaMix because they make life more convenient) and we must drive a brand new car with leather interior and heated seats because we’re entitled to them and need them to secure a certain level of happiness.

Consumer culture sells us a dream right? They sell us a narrative of success that most people fall for and buy into which creates a debt spiral that leaves people facing financial distress because they are spending far more than they are making. How many times have you told yourself “I’ll buy now and pay later, no problem” because whatever consumer good you were pining over was so important to have that you were willing to in-debt yourself to get it? This right here is where the problem lies – our basic needs have now branched out to include things that are in fact wants and by consequence the majority of us have indebted ourselves because of this consumerist chaos.

Knowing the difference

Knowing the difference isn’t easy and naturally we’ll all buy something we want instead of need from time to time. If however, we can consciously disassociate our needs from our wants we’re making positive steps in breaking down the dream created by the consumerist narrative. Wanting stuff is okay – it’s when we start to dig ourselves deeper and deeper into debt that we start facing the problem of our wants overthrowing the balance of spending within your means and saving for a rainy day. If you’re constantly adding to your debt spiral it becomes very very difficult to maintain your quality of life because your hard earned cash isn’t actively working for you since your throwing it at your debt pay down.

Knowing the difference and consciously making choices not to create and fall victim to a want cycle is critical. But, how? That’s the hard part right. Mer and I were in a position where we had no choice. We were overspending and needed to really get a grip on our finances so we decided to go at paying down our consumer debt by becoming extremely frugal. Not only did it work (we kicked that 21k in the butt) but we found peace and happiness along the journey. How did we figure out if something we wanted to purchase was a want or need? We do one simple thing.

We never make impulse purchases. If there is something we feel we needed we mull it over for weeks or even months. Our reasoning is that if the item in question still appears necessary or useful to us 2 months down the road then we’ll buy it. This cooling off period allows for a real analysis of the consumer good and whether it’s purely a want or more of a need.

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What do you classify as needs?

What is a recent want that you purchased for yourself?