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Use What You Already Have to Save Money

use what you already have

DOGGONE IT! I moved the large jar of peanut butter and found two jars of Kalamata olives. I had just purchased two more. Behind the two “found” jars of Kalamata olives, I found more peanut butter. Are you kidding me? Since the lockdown, I work from home and for some reason, I always think I know exactly what I have in the cupboards without looking. I’m learning that proximity is not a superpower but there are days I would rather eat a bug than move things around on my shelves to make a shopping list.

Wasting Money on Food

The first winter that we were here in North Carolina, there was a snowstorm. The forecast was for twelve to fourteen inches overnight and we had just driven home from Pennsylvania that afternoon and I was tired. Besides, for us that was a baby storm; I’ll go to the store in the morning, I said. I woke up to an extra bright room and I knew what that meant. The sun was reflecting off of the snow. My husband looked out the window and said, “uh-oh.” Not very encouraging.  We got thirty-four inches, we couldn’t see our car and all the grocery stores were closed. We only had veal, popcorn and hot chocolate  in the house and since then, I have been obsessed about the items in my cupboards. That is until COVID. Lax is a complete understatement…I’ve been downright lazy. I’ve been spending money on items we already had because I didn’t feel like moving cans around to see what was behind them. My thriftiness suddenly outweighed my laziness because I hate wasting money, and can’t really afford to waste it either.

I know the last thing anybody wants is another rule/idea/suggestion about what they should do with their lives, which is why I’m only going to tell you what I do. You’re off the hook.

If I can’t see it, how will I know it’s there?

I used to shove short cans way in the back on tall shelves just to get them out of the way. Not brilliant. Then I’d pile egg noodles or pasta on top of the short cans in the back…but I had clean counters. Let me tell you, three-year-old pasta tastes funny.  Every time a recipe called for nutmeg, it was easier to just buy it—so what if I had three jars of nutmeg, each minus only 1/8 tsp? Expired food is a waste of money.  I learned this very helpful hint from a television show. Instead of tediously cataloguing my shelves, take a couple of pics so I know what I have, and same for the fridge.  Voilá. I can roll to the store without a lot of delays.

Use What You Already Have

I recently discovered that square plastic bowls (without the lids) keep everything neat in my freezer. The bacon, bags of cheese and flatbread stand up nicely on their edges, instead of flat and sliding all over the place, and I can see everything easily. Maybe I’m late to the party, but using things I already have to organize stuff I need has opened up a whole new money saving world to me.  We have a bazillion wires for everything that we need to charge the bazillion devices that we own, so I got a 100 piece package of bright colored velcro ties for five dollars and had a ball one afternoon neatly wrapping up all the crazy wires in the house.

As long as we have to stay indoors, get creative. Make a list of the things that aren’t working for you and then figure out ways to solve them. Use what you already have first -- if you save money in the process, all the better!

The team at CESI is committed to helping you make wise financial decisions and to helping you understand how to get out, and stay out of debt.  For a free debt analysis, contact us and find out how we can help.


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