Organized Pack-rattery

 Posted by on August 27, 2008  Add comments  Tagged with: ,
Aug 272008

Sometimes you have to spend money to save money.

I know this sounds counterintuitive, but it really is true.

Whenever I find something on clearance that I know I’ll need in the future, I buy it, even though I don’t have an immediate need for it. This is an example of what I call “organized pack-rattery.”

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I’m not a pack rat by any means. However, there are four categories of items that I stockpile when they’re cheap – groceries, kid clothing and shoes, gifts, and now, school supplies. Bulk-purchased groceries are stored on my laundry room shelves, clothing and shoes in my used clothing filing system, and gifts and school supplies in these two labeled boxes in my basement:

The key to successful organized pack-rattery is to anticipate needs and set limits. For example, I wouldn’t buy 50 bottles of glue, or 100 boxes of crayons, or every single Disney princess item I can find. School supplies go on clearance every year, and Bee will soon outgrow her Disney princess phase, so I try to be realistic, and buy only what I think we will need and use.

School supplies are dirt cheap right now, so I took the advice of one of my readers (thanks Juliana!) and printed our school’s 1st grade supply list off their web site. I was able to get everything that Bee will need for next year, plus some extras in case she needs replacement items during the year. Here are some of the bargains I found:

School supply boxes: 4 for $1 – originally .97 each (I use these for household storage as well)
Glittery pink folders: 4 @ .35 – originally $1.97 each
Super cute bugs and butterflies folders: 4 @ .25 – originally .84 each
Purple thermos: $2.50 – was $4.88
Disney Princess insulated lunch bag: $3 – was $6.34
Tinkerbell zippered pencil pouch: .75 – was $3.88
Elmer’s large glue sticks: (4) 3-packs @ .70 – originally $2.88 each (Note to scrapbooking moms…these are acid free. I actually bought most of them for myself!)
24-count Crayolas: 5 for $1 – originally .22 each
Cute, candy-themed, wide-ruled notebooks: 3 @ .25 – originally $2.24 each
Plain, black, not-so-cute notebooks: 5 @ .05 – originally .35 each (I bought these for household use).
Elmer’s white school glue, 4-ounce bottles: 10 for $1 – originally .22 each
Pencil sharpeners: 2 for $1 – originally .97 each
Kid’s safety scissors: 2 @ .51 – originally .74 each
Stretchable book covers: 6 @ .48 – originally .89 each

Total original cost: $55.69
I paid: $20.25
I saved: $35.44 (67 percent)

I started my Gift Box because I would often find clearance-priced treasures that I knew my kids would like for Christmas or birthdays, and I needed a place to store them. When Bee started preschool, the birthday party invitations started arriving in the mail, and each time I would have to make a special trip to the store to buy a gift. I soon tired of this, and began stockpiling sale-purchased toys that were priced under my $10 limit. I find that Polly Pocket playsets are a good all-purpose birthday gift that most little girls Bee’s age enjoy, so I currently have 3 sets that I purchased on clearance for $7 each (originally $9.96). I also have these treasures for my own kids:

Crayola sidewalk chalk (for Easter baskets): 2 @ $1.42 – originally $2.93 each
Hannah Montana sleeping bag and tote (Bee is very interested in sleepovers lately): $5 – was $19.96
Barbie Mariposa doll: $9 – was $12.96
Barbie “Will you marry me?” groom doll (Bee is obsessed with weddings): $9 – was $12.96
Ballerina tutu: $4.50 – was $9.87
My Little Pony Pinkie Pie with book and CD: $3 – was $9.96
Strawberry Shortcake doll with DVD: $5 – was $9.96
Disney Princess Crayola Cutter set: $6 – was $24.97
Disney Princess Bella Dancerella set: $6 – was $19.96

Total original cost: $126.46
I paid: $50.34
I saved: $76.12 (60 percent)

I believe that part of my duty as a home manager is to be a good steward with the money that my husband works so hard to earn. However, I also want to provide my children not only with things they need, but also with things that make them happy. Organized pack-rattery helps me accomplish these goals.