Outsaving the Joneses…..

Sharing is caring!

When it comes to frugality, we do love getting great deals. We actually tend to search out those deals and do it with a passion. But what happens when we take it too far? When we start feeling like we just need to keep up with the frugal “Joneses” that seem to get all the deals, all the time?

This has been something that I have struggled with since I started on my frugal excursion. I was so gung-ho to get every single deal, online and in stores, that I started to burn out pretty quickly. It didn’t help that once I saw someone post a great deal that they had gotten, I felt like I just HAD to duplicate it. If they made the effort, why couldn’t I? Because of this attitude, I started to have mixed feelings about frugal shopping. This lasted for months, and got worse when I started to see newer frugal shoppers getting even better deals than I could even imagine as an “experienced” shopper. I just had to keep up, no matter what.

What did this new, although misguided, motivation yield me? Lots of stockpiled items that I couldn’t and wouldn’t use, and even a few that I couldn’t even give away. This is not what a frugal shopper also looking to cut down on waste is out to accomplish. Something had to change.

1. I had to realize that my family was different than everyone else’s. Yes, getting 50 of something for free or even being paid to take it is great, but not using it is even worse. As much as I love to look at the stockpile pictures on blogs, that doesn’t mean that we need 20 packages of adult diapers here. Some items just aren’t necessary to take all the way to your home, especially if the family living there just will not use them.

2. Although I do shop for extended family, I can’t hold on to everything for them. It’s nice and cool and honkey dorey to invite friends and family over to your “store” to shop, but once they do it every couple of months, do you still have a ridiculous amount of items in your home? Thought so. Then you will have to let go of some future deals. It will hurt and you will want to kick yourself, but you need to. Fifty bottles of body wash when it’s only two of you in your house is a bit much. Unless you are certain the apocolyspe is coming.

3. I had to think of others….that shop at my stores. Now don’t get me wrong. I love a good money-maker deal. Buy 20 of something, use 10 coupons, and get back 10 or 20 bucks. Awesome! But what if these are expensive, hard to find or hard to buy items? Glucose meters and soy joy bars are not ordinary things that everyone buys, but if you have diabetes or can only eat soy, these are items that are a must in your house. It’s not fair to you that I stock up on these things just to make some extra dollars. I had to stop being selfish and think about the results my shopping actions may cause.

4. If I see something sitting, I have to pass it on. After stockpiling something that I truly regret and start seeing it just sitting, I have to pass it on to someone. ANYONE! These items are taking up prime real estate. Even if I have all the room in the world, that doesn’t give me the excuse to attain 65 tubes of toothpaste that I don’t even like. “Real estate” in the home needs to be seen as dollars being wasted when you fill it up with items you know you won’t get to. This is the start of a stockpiler’s nightmare and a hoarder’s dream. Be very careful what you fill up with.

5. Understand that although they may have a giant stockpile, maybe they don’t realize how much they are wasting. Being frugal is a big life-change and frugal shopping can be a great, inexpensive hobby. BUT…..some people do go overboard. And like any hobby or habit, it can turn into an addiction. If you see a frugalite with 36 boxes of cereal but they live alone, that might be a red flag. Be smart enough to know that although we are masters at saving money, our new hobby can still get us into trouble. Wasting time and energy is just as bad as wasting money. Some just can’t stop getting the deals, no matter what the cost. I try not to feel bad that I can’t keep up. If someone never takes a break, then there is no way I’ll reach their amounts. It’s just not attainable.

After going through these steps, I started to understand the role I play in my house as the frugal shopper. It’s hard to pass up great deals when “everyone” is doing them, but a real frugal shopper knows when to go for it and when just to say “no.” I can’t outsave everyone, but outsaving myself from 2 years ago is still pretty fun.

Have any of you felt like you needed to “outsave the Joneses?” Do you have a multiple amount of something in your house that you wish you hadn’t wasted time attaining?”

About Amiyrah

My name is Amiyrah and I'm an an African American fashion & lifestyle blogger based in Ohio.

Plan Your Year Now!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 8.20.09
    Lucky said:

    This is a great post — thanks. You’ve posted a lot of what I’ve been thinking about lately. It’s hard to strike a balance but I remind myself that even if I only paid $.25 on something it’s still money wasted if I have to throw it out.

  2. 8.20.09

    Amazing post! I can understand and relate to each point.
    I can see the need to strike a balance – though I understand about being envious of someone else’s stockpile, deal/bargain, savings, etc.
    As for freebies – with some many people in need – it’s easy for me to find a taker for the item, especially in this economy.

  3. 8.20.09
    sabrina said:

    enjoyed the post! I would love to se a post with some steps on how you coupon, is there one on here?

  4. 8.20.09
    Amiyrah said:

    we must be thinking alike lately! glad you enjoyed it

    sixteen?! wow! so proud of you that you are starting off at such a young age. good for you. and please continue your hospitality. I have a post coming up about stewardship so I hope you’ll enjoy that one too

    thanks for your support! yes, freebies given to those that are in need is wonderful. I still do it. I was mostly talking about those people that SAY they buy all these things to give away to friends, family, and those in need, but show us a very very large stockpile of items that you know they can give to someone who can’t afford them. Saying and doing are two different things.

    funny you should say that! I was just thinking a few days ago that I need to show my version of coupon organizing and shopping. So many other sites have shared theirs but I haven’t sat down to do so. Now you’ve challenged me! lol

  5. 8.20.09
    Melissa said:

    THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS!! Omgshhhhh soooo true!! When I was unemployed it was like an addiction and I couldn’t understand how people still worked, took care of their house/kids, plus HOUNDED. It seriously took up every hour of my day, it was like a full time job.

    I went back to work and it all dropped off for me. I do not have enough time to take care of my family, house, work, and hound. It just is not happening. For Christmas I gave away reuseable grocery bags filled with the products I had gotten cheap/free/paid for but still almost a year later there are products I have not touched yet. I will use them eventually but if I hounded more it would be useless to me.

    I have heard/noticed that people with huge stockpiles are donating a good amount of these goods which is an awesome thing to do. But yes, I had to take a step back and will only hound for items I need. Now I start making mental notes and once I see a good sale I pounce and stock up again.

  6. 8.20.09
    tashima said:

    Great Post!
    However, once I get something for 100% free, and am planning to go to Shoprite, CVS, or another store anyway, I will pass that item onto my church/shelter. I don’t have pets, but recently have been getting pet food for free. Therefore, I pass it onto the animals who need it! I’m only sixteen, yet I believe I should continue this hospitality toward others. Just my thoughts.

    P.S. Thanks for all the Shoprite deal posts! Love it.

  7. 8.20.09
    Pilar said:

    Best post ever! Sure, some say they get the stuff to donate and that is truly virtuous. But, in my mind, self control is a virtue, as well. Getting stuff to just get stuff seems so greedy. I’m to the point that I get uncomfortable looking at the stockpile pictures. Mental health issues come to mind. Sometimes, I wonder why the piles are so immense when so many say they are donating…then why have entire rooms and cubbies of “real estate” (great term) devoted to things that should be going out quickly? I wonder how much the hounders’ family lives and work relationships could be improved if all that planning and strategizing time went into actual meaningful interactions? Love your blog and your outlook.

  8. 8.21.09
    Ashley said:

    4hats.. awesome post.. really great.. I’ve been going crazy trying to save money that I have spent money on sales of things I don’t really need. This was a check back to reality Thanks!!

  9. 8.21.09
    Anonymous said:

    Interesting post. I read several “frugal” blogs and am surprised at some people’s stockpiles. One lady had a pic of 83 body washes (this didn’t include hand soap and bath soap) for just her and her husband. I think she is good for the end times!

    I’m lucky growing up I saw my granddad paying cash for everything he bought except his farm and my mother buying everything using the “dollar down dollar a week plan.” Thanks to granddad I’ve always lived below my means and paid cash for all purchases except homes and one car.

    I can be a bit OCD so I watch it when trying to save money so I don’t go crazy and end up with a gazillion diapers because they only cost a dime when I have no kids. I donate my extra HBA items to my community’s outreach group to cut down on the real estate taken up by my “deals.”


  10. 8.21.09
    Anonymous said:

    Hi Amiyrah!!

    Some great food for thought. As with all things, you can get too much of a good thing. People who buy just to buy, without a purpose, are eventually going to end up with products puking over in their homes.

    Stockpile pictures, at any point in time, however, do not tell the whole story. You never really know what people “show” vs what they will keep. Every time I make a run to the food pantry (probably 4-5 times a year) I reduce my stockpiles of health and beauty items, food items, etc. The before and after pictures of my stockpiles often are quite a bit different.

    Each person is different in how, when, and why they bought the products that they have. I think the “why” is the most important question. When you purchase for the wrong reasons, the results will often be negative. I hope your post leads everyone that reads it to truthfully answer the “why” for themselves.

  11. 8.21.09
    bugsi033 said:

    You hit the nail on the head. This is exactly how I’ve been feeling. I’ve cut back dramatically on doing the “deals”. I have very little space and it was taking over my home. Now if I do get items for free that I won’t or cannot use, I find someone to pass them along to right away. I don’t wait until I have bags & bags full to divy out. Also, it was taking way too much of my time, so just cutting it back a bit has been the best thing I could do. You made great points on the items that some people really need. Great post!

  12. 8.21.09
    Helene said:

    In the beginning last year I felt like I had to get every deal. It was great practice and others benefitted from the excess. But now I let deals pass by. It always comes around again even when it feels like it won’t.

  13. 8.21.09
    Alex M said:

    OMG — we have had a similar revelation and just about the same time! I’ve adjusted my mentality. Now my approach is to “Buy what you need, not what you want.” Repeating this when I’m faced with a good bargain helps me decide if I should buy or not. These days, I am generally not buying. It’s also part of the reason I changed the approach of my blog.

    Granted, I am now running out of some things, but Feng Shui teaches that hording or stockpiling is your way of telling the universe that you don’t believe more good things will come your way. When you free yourself from having to acquire, you are opening yourself up to the infinite possibility that life will always yield something good.

  14. 8.21.09
    FelixHyl said:

    This really is a great post. I think this a something that alot of us struggle with. I’ve had to step back a bit from hounding because I didn’t want to stock up on things that I won’t use and I my husband was complaining that I spent all my free time looking for deals and organizing my q’s.

    It makes me feel alot better that others are wresting with the same or similar issues. I’m still hounding, it’s now just a part of how I shop, but I’m not obsessing about it anymore.

  15. 8.21.09
    melissar said:

    I can’t even begin to thank you for this post. I have been struggling with what is enough. Thank you for being a calming source for me…

  16. 8.21.09
    Katmotley said:

    Good post! This is something I try to tell newbies. It’s ok to pass up some deals if you can’t use it or don’t know anyone who can use it. And it’s ok to take breaks. The deals are always coming around! I shop for a large family, so when I’m showing someone how to coupon, I make sure they understand they don’t have to have as large a stockpile as mine.
    Of course, we go through ours so fast, it’s not always that big. 😉

  17. 8.22.09
    Heather said:

    WOW! This is so perfect. I started couponing about 2 months ago. It takes a lot of work to get going and really understand how to make it work for your situation.

    I am a single person and try to stick to healthy natural diets. I see all these posts of great deal and it is hard to pass them up. You feel like you are missing something. Yet I know as a single person, I can never get every deal and use it up! And being new to couponing and not having been through a full year, I always think to myself “What if these types of deals are only seasonal? I need to stock up for a whole year.”

    Glad to see I am not the only one with these struggles.

  18. 8.22.09
    Anonymous said:

    This is a wonderful post and I appreciate you putting it out there. I only hope that it is seen by the right people. I’ve been into couponing for the last year and have been able to save a lot for my family of 3. I don’t blog but like to look at others’ blogs and have always thought there is a fine line between stockpiling and hoarding. While the pictures are interesting, I always wonder why women who are childless or live alone feel the need to have years and years worth of children’s products or men’s items! Personally we stock toiletries for 6 months and I donate anything I won’t use in that time, otherwise I just don’t buy it if we are well stocked in that item. I am always disgusted by the pictures of a person’s stockpile and then the pictures of what they donate … and then the donation only has 1/100 of what they have bought in the pile! I hope your post hits home for some and helps them reform their actions. Nothing more frustrating then trying to get an item you want discounted at the store only to discover it’s been cleaned out by the local hoarder!

  19. 8.22.09
    Anonymous said:

    Thank you for this. It CAN get out of hand. It is good to know one is not alone.

  20. 8.22.09
    Aleda said:

    Amiyrah, this is an awesome post! I’m trying to learn how to concentrate on meal planning/ with coupons & sales and to waste less time on the computer reading about everyone else’s deals. Our budget is really tight right now and even “free” stuff costs tax. I have to focus on what we need, not what sounds like a deal. Thank you so much for sharing.

  21. 8.22.09

    It is SO hard not to compare my savings with what other folks are able to do…I finally had to realize that I’m shopping for a household of 5- my savings probably aren’t ever going to look as massive next to a person who is shopping for a family of only 2 or 3 people. I have managed to cut my spending by about $50 per week over the past year, I get at least 5 free items a week and I now have a decent stockpile of items that we use on a regular basis…so I’ve definitely made progress. I may never walk out of a store with a receipt showing 50% total savings or higher, but at least I’m making progress and I continue to find ways to save just a little bit more. I am a much smarter shopper than I used to be and hopefully that knowledge will continue to grow and multiply my savings over time. It’s hard not to get frustrated sometimes when I see the deals and savings some folks post, but it keeps me motivated!

  22. 8.23.09
    Rosanne said:

    Great post! But I have to say that when I see those stockpile pics, I never feel jealous. I feel sad for the people who spend huge amounts of time and energy to clutter up their homes and lives. I get a certain feeling of comfort with a nice stash of well chosen products, but it is good to practice moderation and really focus on those few super deals on stuff you would normally buy anyway. Some of those pictures could just as easily go on a hoarders website.

  23. 8.28.09
    Anonymous said:

    Oh, I needed to hear this today! While I feel like I’ve managed to keep our stockpile modest and appropriate for our needs, I have been wondering if I’m missing out by not stocking up on the “moneymakers” for products I don’t need. You’ve reinforced my #1 rule – if we will not use it, it is not a bargain. Thank you!

  24. 9.4.09
    Fern said:

    Here is another thing – money that is tied up in inventory is money that is not available for other important things, or even for an emergency.

  25. 9.12.09
    Anonymous said:

    Thank you for showing moderation in all things!

  26. 11.15.09

    So true… I have had to re-think my couponing lately too and was thinking the same way you have written so well about.

    Right now, I am really “Burnt to a Crisp” on couponing and trying to get back in the swing of it. I had the flu and did nothing for awhile and it was kind of a relief. I have refocused my attention on balanced stockpiling of items we use all the time, instead of just getting 10 of something because I could get them them free or get paid for taking them home ! Thank you so much !!!

  27. 8.25.10
    Precious said:


    I was going to do a post on this and you beat me to it! You said exactly and so much better than I could, how I feel about stockpiling. if it isn’t going to get used, it is not going in my house. I hate clutter and I really hate waste! Kudos for such a great post! How is that beautiful daughter of yours doing? Are you getting any sleep?

  28. 3.26.11
    Anonymous said:

    We have a mid sized family. I generally purchase about 10 of every item when it is really cheap and or free this amount on almost everything last me until the next sale.
    Find your number and stick with it! I try to collect 10 coupons for the sales if I get less coupons I get less of the item. There will always be another sale!