Monday, October 24, 2011

The Frugalista's Free-Stuff Frenzy

I spent an inordinate amount of time in a store today; just wandering around fondling and sniffing the merchandise, fraternizing with the clerks, coveting everything in sight.  It's much easier to be a frugalista when you just stay the hell out of stores.  On the plus side, all I needed was a greeting card and I had an ancient gift card in my wallet with a mystery balance (which turned out to be FIVE BUCKS- woot!), so I managed to pay only about three dollars for a seven dollar card (okay seven bucks for a greeting card?  Whaaat?)  So I'm calling the outing a success.

But I've found a new, dangerous outlet for my consumptive urges: free things.  Friends have been moving (another post for another day when I can write about it without dissolving into puddles of self-pitying tears) and they've been giving me things.  Big things and small things.  Like, furniture.  And hair conditioner.  And oatmeal. And olives in a great big jar shaped like a curvaceous woman's torso...

In addition to what I'm estimating at well over a hundred dollars worth of partially-used pantry and household items, over the last month we've acquired a queen-sized bed, a double bed, two corner shelves, two dining chairs, two dressers, a book-case, a tv stand and, if you go back another two months, a couch and chair set....  All free from friends.  It's stuff I like and I am so grateful for it; and it will always remind me of my three awesome girlfriends.  But...well...we didn't really get rid of anything; we just got more possessions.  And our house is pretty small. While there are some vague plans being made to discard a lumpy, stinky old bed or two, we really are just one more friend-move away from ending up on "Hoarders".

Damn!  Gotta find that balance.  The idea of not shopping had as much to do with learning to live with less as it did with not wasting money.  And here I am with no new pants (huzzah!) and ten "new" pieces of furniture I probably could have lived without (oops!).  But did I mention that we have Ovaltine now? And special Italian cheese that comes with its own built-in grater? And volumizing spray? And it was all FREE?

So blessed.  So unclear on the concept.

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