MY Pack Rat Tendencies Are Saving Me Money

Remember how I’ve said a few times that I’m a pack rat? It’s come in handy a few times having these tendencies.  For instance, I save my AT&T bills until the next month is paid for-this means I normally have two AT&T bills floating around my “desk” (my part of the kitchen table).  But it saved me from having to pay $125ish (could have been $100 but I don’t remember the exact number) in a service fee that wasn’t mine.  I had paid the actual service fee two cycles back.  I still had that bill (was actually in the process of throwing it out when I looked) and was able to call (after much frustration) and get that reversed.  Plus, they cut my bill in half for the next year.

The other thing it’s helped is with containers.  I hate throwing out containers but at some point it is necessary so I give myself a week from the time it is emptied and cleaned to find some REAL (important word right there) use for it. Something that really has bothered me is the coffee containers (we buy a big Folgers one for about $10 at Wal-Mart every month) and what to do with them when they are empty.   Currently I haven’t thrown out many-2 of them go into my cupboards to hold random snacks (which helps me to see just how low we are on things), 2 of them actually hold veggies that I don’t mind not being in the fridge and I use one of them as a cookie jar.  It beats going to the store and buying a container when I’m already buying something that can be used as one once it’s emptied.  Part of it is to have an excuse to be a pack rat and the other part is trying to save money wherever I can.

I’ve also used an empty container of kitty litter (after it was washed out) to store cat food.  I’ve dropped the bags before in my 5:45 in the morning daze of feeding the hungry beast and made a huge mess.  With it being in a container, I now just open up the top, scoop and don’t worry about it.  It also holds the freshness for much longer—my cat is picky.

But I only have a week to find a use.  Otherwise, knowing myself, I’ll put it in a closet and tell myself I’ll find a use for it “someday”.  And then when I move, I’ll find all of these storage containers and have no clue as to why I have them.  But will inevitably keep them “in case”.   So I put a time limit on it and so far it’s working.  I have some holding my change collection until I get it turned in.

Am I the only who does this? And by this I mean make excuses for pack rat tendencies? And as for saving me money, it does–just not a lot!

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22 Comments on “MY Pack Rat Tendencies Are Saving Me Money”

  1. Michelle says:

    HAha I used to be just like this but the boy makes me throw EVERYTHING away now. It kind of makes me sad.

    • bogofdebt says:

      Hahaha–yeah, living with people who don’t understand pack rat tendencies is bad 🙂 (It’s partially why I only have a week to find a use-I was going to give me two weeks!)

  2. Re-using containers is actually more frugal than pack rat 🙂

    As for myself.. I love to throw/give things away.. It actually brings me joy to lighten my load.. WE have gotten rid of a ton of stuff already this year, but I would still love to own about 50% of the things that we do right now

    • bogofdebt says:

      It’s more frugal if you actually use them but when you have a billion (slight exageration) just sitting around doing nothing…that’s pack rattish 😉

      I try to go through stuff so I don’t have the whole “um why is this in my closet” faces but I’m not really good about that. A few years ago I saved every bill for a year. I don’t know why either. Thankfully I”m not doing that still (no hoarding for me!)

  3. I definitely do this! I’ve kept a big container that used to store kitty litter and used it as a sealable container for almost anything. I keep ice cream containers to store leftovers, I keep shoe boxes and use them to store odds and ends. I think keeping stuff like that is a great money saver.

    I’m not so good with paper receipts though. I keep certain things that I think are going to be relevant, like car repair receipts, but everything else gets junked.

    • bogofdebt says:

      Shoe boxes are great-I’ve decorated them and used them as my “momento” box when I was in high school. Paper reciepts….those go on a table and wait for me to file them. Um, and by file I mean, I look at them about a week or two (or ten) later and throw out most of them. Unless it’s the bills-ever since AT&T and now my latest water bill, I hold on to those.

  4. We save containers all of the time. The Styrofoam mushroom trays work great for starting seeds in the spring. Our protein powder containers double for popcorn seeds later. I love the resuing.

    • bogofdebt says:

      I remember using egg trays for the starting seeds-I hadn’t thought about the mushroom trays. I will also use the containers lunch meat comes in (well some kinds of them) for lunch containers.

  5. I reuse some containers for things like makeup organization, utility drawer, etc. But mostly I loathe clutter and I’m much more apt to get rid of stuff. I can’t breath if things are cluttered. Funny how we are all very different! 🙂

    • bogofdebt says:

      True-I try not to clutter up the main areas. So as long as you stick to my kitchen, bathroom, living room well you *should* be fine but there is no guarentees 🙂 You know, in case you are ever in the area 🙂

  6. UHM I am so the opposite of this, just reading that you leave that stuff around makes me a little nutso!

    • bogofdebt says:

      It’s in closets/cupboards if that makes you feel better? And like I told Budget and Beach, if you are ever in my area, stay to the main rooms-they aren’t cluttered 🙂

  7. I wonder if women have more pack rat tendencies then men? Whatcha think!? Sam

    • bogofdebt says:

      That could be extremely possible. My fiance is all about getting rid of stuff and I’m all about saving it. My mom was the same way-she’d hold on to stuff and my dad would go throw it out.

  8. Sue Woods says:

    I could easily become a packrat but I have people here who constantly ask “why do you have this” “What is this for?” And then after watching several episodes of “Hoarding” on cable tv I realize I am not like that (too much). I do love to keep containers and things and your idea of waiting a week to see what it can be used for is a great idea! I used to save ALL my receipts and then after a year go through them and then shred them. Boy what a job! I usually do it monthly now. I am constantly trying to declutter and keep reminding myself that less is more. I’ve read several financial books and love the snowball effect of reducing debt and I work hard at it. I have a seasonal job (off all summer) so the bills only get paid minimal amounts until the regular money rolls back in but I always pay more than the minimum.

  9. Rachel says:

    I save all my phone bills and utility bills. They go in a bin to be filed and then about every 6 months I organize the files and throw away old papers. I used to hold onto a lot of extra stuff for crafts and storage, but with limited space in my apartment, I like to purge and keep my stuff simple. I do have areas of clutter though.

    • bogofdebt says:

      It’s so easy to get cluttered! We clean every week which is why I have that 1 week limit. It helps keep our house much less cluttered. It’s fairly tiny with very little storage space so a little clutter shows as a LOT of clutter.

  10. I definitely do this as well! With an apartment it kind of forces you to pick and choose things to keep because you just run out of space. We are closing on a house in a month and when we move in I can guarantee you we will make good use of the space. I’d say there is a fine line between being a hoarder and being resourceful, but if you can make use of things instead of chucking them in the trash it’s a win.

    • bogofdebt says:

      I don’t think I’ve gotten to the hoarder definition yet. I try not to be bad about this. Mostly I just have a hard time throwing out things that I know I should.(wait isn’t that the defintion….) But if they are useful I’ll keep them. The next rental we go to, we’re looking at storage space for sure-that’s the hardest part about this place.

  11. I thought I was a quasi-minimalist … until I moved a few months ago. Now, I think I am a hoarder/pack rat who was delusional. I am finally finding a better home for my stash of clothes, the 2 sleeping bags I haven’t used, my soccer cleats from 3 years ago, and my 3 blankets (which I only need 1). Like I said, I was delusional 🙂

    • bogofdebt says:

      lol I’ve known people like that! I was helping someone move and found a bunch of stuff they had buried in a closet. They had told me they were a die hard minimalist. Which was true until I found their extra plates/glasses, blankets, etc. We had a good laugh.


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