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The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

Coal Creek Farm on Facebook

The Chicken Doctor


The Architect


The Stock Pile

My boys do not care one lick about what they are wearing, which is mostly evident by the shirt my 6yo is wearing backward and the shorts he pulled on that belong to his older brother.  Every time we go out in public I have to remember to double check what they are wearing or we will walk into a store looking like…well, like the above photo.

One time as  my boys were walking ahead of me into church I noticed they had picked up each others clothes and worn them without knowing or caring.  My older boy had a shirt on that looked three sizes too small so that his belly was peeking out and my younger boy’s clothes were barely hanging on to his hips and shoulders.  I made them go into the bathroom and trade clothes much to their dismay.

I am thankful that they don’t care about brands or how many shirts they own, but what do I have to do to ensure that they at least care about the clothes fitting?  Oh, and one more thing, I had to HIDE all the long sleeved shirts, sweaters and corduroy pants so they would STOP wearing them this summer.  They have no concept of seasonal clothing.  NONE.

Okay, I’m done with my little rant.

Now, on to my new way of shopping.

We had pretty much come to a stand still with our debt this last year.  We have paid off our vehicles and then we were making tiny payments toward our consumer debt, but we were having a hard time making any progress.  Our income has not increased for several years and two years ago we actually lost income.  Everything had gone up, insurance, groceries, gas, kid’s expenses and so on.  It’s so frustrating to take a tiny step forward and a giant step back.  We knew we were going to have to change something to get the ball rolling in the right direction, but where in the budget were we going to find room to maneuver?

I have dabbled in coupons several times over the last few years, but I never quite understood how to use them so that I was actually saving a significant amount of money.  I decided to give the couponing one more chance, because our food and household budget was the only place we could easily cut.

I want to make it known that I have NOT seen the TLC show Extreme Couponing.  We do not have cable, we have never had cable, we will NEVER have cable, it is a complete waste of time and money in my opinion.  We own one TV and it’s primary use is to watch movies and play games.  So, we can’t watch the show, but I have seen some little snippets of the show on YouTube and I watched those after I started seriously diving into the couponing world.  I really don’t have an opinion one way or the other about the show, but I hope it’s helpful to some folks.

This time when I started couponing I spent a lot of time reading web sites, especially all the Walgreeens 101 and” How To Save” types of posts.  I had to go through a big mental shift from buying purely off-brand items and shopping for only the basic items we needed to searching out sales of name brand merchandise and matching the sale with a coupon to get those items cheaper than I could ever pay for the off-brand items I was used to.

This new strategy has not only saved us nearly $150 a week, but it has allowed us to stock up on much needed and highly used items.  Thus, I needed some storage shelves.

This was the start of my little stock pile, which took me several weeks to accumulate.  I’ve been seriously couponing for about three months now and Clay got so excited about the stuff I was bringing home that he gladly agreed to build me some shelves.  My goal is to have a 4-6 month supply of non-perishable items for my family.  I’m not interested in buying 100 boxes, bottles, cans or bags of anything because we simply do not have that kind of storage and I really don’t need 100 boxes, bottles, cans or bags of anything.  So, save the hoarding comments…..I know they’re coming, but save it, there are enough people that can testify to the fact that I have a hard time keeping anything and they all live with me and have suffered the wrath of me throwing out their unwanted crap, or wanted crap.  This stocking up thing is a very strange habit for me to start because I love to use up everything we have before I get more.  Yet again, I have had to mentally change my way of thinking about how I shop and how I store stuff.

Can you tell I’m ready to do some smack down of any negative comments on this post?  These items were paid for with a lot of preparation.  The best way of describing a stock pile that I’ve heard was that you are not shopping for your family right now…you’re investing in your families future.  Just like you save money in the bank, I’m saving items that I pay much less for now so I won’t have to run to the store to get them when we need them and pay full price.  It makes a hurkin’ lot of sense if you have a good shopping brain, which I think I just grew the last few months.

Our house is over 100 years old, which means we have a very small, shallow basement…that leaks.  Everything that goes in the basement needs to be elevated on blocks for fear it will get wet.   Our shelves were built on top of cinder blocks.  We had to purchase some of the wood, but the blocks and plywood were found in the barn.

While Clay built the shelves I found my two little boys nestled in a laundry basket watching the spin cycle of the laundry machine.  Maybe I should reconsider letting them watch TV?

The previous owner of our home brewed his own beer and against that black plastic he had metal shelves full of brown bottles, it was really quite a site.  I think my new shelves full of bathroom products might be equally as interesting.

While Clay was building these shelves I was writing the last installment of The Birthday Saga.  I went downstairs to ask him a few questions on video and I thought I’d share with you the beginning…..he loves it when I help him build stuff, because I’m extremely helpful and I never irritate him…ever.

Fast Tube by Casper

He loves me so much!

Here’s what the stock pile looked like this morning.  I’m using part of the shelves for my sewing supplies which irritates Clay enormously, but it irritates me that he has to line up all the Suave body wash on the edge of the shelf so he can see all the different flavors, so we’re even.

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