Unexpected Abundance and Clutter

When I was in high school, my parents wound up with a bunch of cases of Dial soap that they got for free. They filled part of a room with all of the soap and we used it for years. I actually took one of the last multi-packs of it to college with me three years later.

A couple years ago, a neighbor bought an entire cow (that had been packaged at a local meat locker) for an insanely low price. It was more meat than the family had anticipated, so they were actually selling packages of meat out of their freezer so that they could fit everything they had in there before it went bad.

Last year, I was able to get some free toilet paper, but only if I was willing to take 288 jumbo rolls at once.

Over the last week, we’ve been harvesting oregano by the pound from our lower garden. Something about the current climate has made it thrive and we have far more oregano than we can ever use ourselves.

Sometimes, when you live frugally and chase bargains, you wind up with an enormous quantity of some item, more than you can ever use in a reasonable time frame. You find a deal where you can buy bottles of shampoo for a nickel each if you buy 300 at once, or you have something go haywire in your garden and deliver far more food than you eat.

I don’t like to see such opportunities go to waste. I keep my ears open and whenever such an opportunity comes along, I jump on board.

Of course, these kinds of opportunities can present storage difficulties, of course, and you often have to do a bit of extra planning to figure out how to handle them.

Pass on the savings to friends and family. If you’re able to get a large quantity of an item at a very low cost, prorate that cost and sell it to your friends and family to recoup some of your own expense.

For example, let’s say you were able to get 500 rolls of paper towels for $20 due to some crazy going out of business sale. This is going to fill up your storage areas, so you’re going to have to get rid of them. You paid four cents per paper towel roll, so start selling some to friends for four cents each. Soon, you’ll be down to a manageable amount.

You can even feel okay turning a bit of a profit on it. Sell the rolls for a dime each and after 200 of them are gone, you’ll have your $20 back. You essentially got 300 rolls for free, and any rolls you sell beyond that are profit. You’re certainly not scamming your friends and family selling rolls at a dime a piece, either.

Give some away. You don’t have to re-sell the items, either. Give a few items away to your friends and family and they’ll be appreciative. It’s a perfect way to get rid of the stuff you’re going to have to store while also cementing a friendship.

Most of the time, if you have a big bargain on a bulk buy, it’s still a pretty good bargain even after giving items away. With that bulk paper towel buy, for example, if you give away 100 of the rolls, you’re still only spending $0.05 per roll for the remaining 400 rolls.

Sell it. Put some of that abundance you’ve purchased out at your next yard sale. There’s nothing saying you can’t sell, say, a roll of paper towels for a quarter the next time you have a yard sale, and all you’d have to sell is about 80 rolls to make the initial money back on that paper towel example.

I have friends who actually buy things that they consider highly underpriced largely for the purpose of selling them again at their own yard sales and incurring a profit.

Preserve (and shrink) it. This is a great tactic if you have an abundance of things that can easily be preserved. Can it be dried? Can it be reduced in size in any way?

We are using this tactic with our abundance of oregano. We’re drying it, chopping it, and storing it in smaller bags for later use.

Have a party. When my father was younger, he caught several hundred pounds of fish in one day. His solution? Have a big party and invite everyone to bring a side dish.

All he did was invite a few close friends to come over earlier and they set up an assembly line to cook a large quantity of fish. A lot of people showed up bringing side dishes of all kinds and it ended up being an enormous dinner party with more than a hundred people having fun.

The cost for my parents was virtually nothing, but they were able to provide an evening of entertainment for a lot of people, which led to better friendships and lots of invites to other parties. That’s a wonderful return for very little cost.

If you find yourself lucky enough to acquire something in abundance at an amazingly low cost or little effort, don’t miss out on it. There are many things you can do to maximize the value you’re getting.

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8 thoughts on “Unexpected Abundance and Clutter

  1. Johanna says:

    Where does one find these crazy going out of business sales?

  2. marta says:

    In Iowa, land of the many green beans picking jobs and where life is just wonderful.

  3. Tamara says:

    I can’t imagine asking any of my friends or family if they’d like to buy a roll of paper towels off me for a dime. That just sounds tacky.

  4. Lysander says:

    Extreme couponing must really be paying off for Trent given the direction the site has taken of late.

  5. Jessica says:

    Please explain how to get 288 free rolls of tp.

  6. Johanna says:

    @Tamara: You could offer to trade for some “oregano” from their garden.

  7. Kate says:

    Why do I feel like most of the situations are made up lately?

  8. Kate says:

    like the writer has gotten lazy?

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