Can you pass up a good deal?

As a person who tries to be intentional about systematically going through my house to keep the clutter monster at bay, there is another side of the issue that I haven’t often talked about. Stopping the clutter before it even gets into our homes.

I’m frugal. I hate spending money. But I love a good deal.

It’s easy to say yes to things simply because we know that it really is a good deal. And it is. Let’s be honest. But good deal or not, if you don’t need it, there is no point in having it.

Consignment shops are tricky for me. I love shopping at quality consignment shops because I can find good quality clothes for a fraction of the cost. But I have to  keep really good tabs on what I really need. Otherwise the good deal bug gets me.

Some people love to garage sale. Or shop ebay. Or dumpster dive. Or Goodwill. Or just a really good sale online or in a retail store. These are absolutely all great ways to save money. If you aren’t careful, the constant good deals end up filling up our house. “I don’t really need this, but it’s such a good deal, I’ll go ahead and get it. Certainly I can find someone to use it.” Next thing you know you are throwing it in a Goodwill pile years later.

Why waste our resources on things that are going to end up in a garage sale in a year at the expense of not meeting our goals or not creating meaningful memories with our family?

I’d rather fill my life up with great memories. Items I know my family will cherish. Needed and useful items. But let the extra stuff go. If that means saying ‘no’ to a good deal, or, gasp, a freebie, then so be it.

If bringing that free thing in my home is going to take my time from something else, than it wasn’t really free. It may not have cost dollars or cents, but it cost you your time. And time is a valuable resource.

Just think. If we hadn’t let all this stuff in our homes in the first place we wouldn’t have nearly so much to declutter now. So this year, not only am I working on clearing out clutter, I’m also stopping short and considering every item I bring into my home. If I can curb the problem before it is ever in my home than so much the better. And, psst, that goes for Valentine’s gifts, too.

Do you find it hard to pass up a good deal even if you don’t really need it? 

P.S. I’m guest posting for my friend Bernadette while she is on a family missions trip in Indonesia. Embracing today when the future is unknown has been something I’m clinging to these days.


  1. With a potential international move in a few months, I’ve been thinking about that, too! I like how you included V-day gifts – this year I got rose two new fancy pairs of socks and freeze-dried raspberries, her fave TJs treat, and we plan to make a really nice breakfast – instead of years past where we pick up a few things here or there. Great post!

  2. Great thoughts! I found myself surrounded by the clutter of good deals a few Christmases ago, and was struck by the fact that I didn’t need any of them before I heard about the deals. Since then, I’ve tried to ignore advertising and even word-of-mouth “deals” more proactively.

    It is amazing how powerful advertising is, or how the word “free” can compel people to spend a lot of time or money doing something they would otherwise consider a waste of time or money. I feel like I have a guard up against advertising and am very proactive about clutter and not buying–but even then, I’ve found myself looking into my shopping cart (sometimes an online cart) and wondering why in the world I just put that in there! :)

    On a similar note (and something I started writing a draft post about), I think, especially with kid’s toys, there is a tendency to think if we can get a high quality object for less, then we should get as many as possible. But you can have toy rooms full of only Melissa and Doug toys or Waldorf toys, and still overwhelm yourself and your child with too much stuff.

    But back to your article–I think this is the message the majority of us need to hear. At the same time, an overreaction to materialism can swing the pendulum toward asceticism and arrogance in our own simplicity. I don’t think this is as much of a problem as our frenetic affluence and collecting of clutter, but I do think we have to be careful of this reaction, as well.

    Some people may have space to collect items and know they’ll have a specific use down the road. Or that they can resell it at cost or more.

    For me, I also need to balance my newfound clutter hatred with the fact that one of my girls loves crafts and holidays…which sometimes means me being willing to bring in a few decorations or craft supplies here and there.

    • I agree about toys. Even a good toy can be over done. As far as swinging to the other side, I totally agree. I don’t think I’m to the point where I have to be too nervous about that, but I’m sure I could get there.
      I love holidays and I love making them special for my family. In the past, though, I would tend to just pick up random things that would end up getting thrown away. Since I dislike clutter now, I tend to be more thoughtful which is better anyhow. I get them things that I really want them to have anyway (quality books that they’ll be able to give their own children some day), toys that they will really play with for a long time, or consumables (art supplies or special craft things).

      As to the crafts—I never know where to put it all and it seems that no matter how many times I clean it up and arrange it, it looks like a disaster… sigh. But they’re creative so I’m not complaining. :)

      • What I meant by that is that I feel like I’m still battling the inner struggle of keeping thins or bringing things into the house that I later regret. Just clarifying. 😉

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