I got out my debit card and typed my address and card number in all the boxes. My cursor hovered over the "submit order" button. I looked over my order one last time. To buy or not to buy? Buy or not to buy?
If you follow any of the popular health/wellness blogs, you've probably heard about Grove Collaborative's new customer offer. The offer is: if you place an order of $20.00 or more, they will send you a free cleaning caddy, free orange oil, free glass cleaning bottle, and free walnut scrubbie. You also get free shipping on your first two monthly orders.
My eyes got big at the sight of those beautiful, high-value freebies. All I had to do was sign up and buy $20.00 worth of stuff. I figured that the freebies alone were probably worth $20.00, so what the heck. I could order cleaning tools that would last a long time instead of buying consumables. It would be an investment. Plus free shipping! I could pick out my items, buy them, and then cancel after the first month. Well, I signed up with my email. I picked out $21.00 (as close as I could get to $20.00) worth of pretty cleaning tools, which amounted to three scrubbing brushes. Then I asked myself, do I really need this? Between the free and purchased goods, the average price per item was $3.00. I asked myself if I would buy it at a regular store for $3.00.
a) Cleaning caddy. While it was nice, I knew I could get a similar caddy at the thrift store for $0.50. I already have a cleaning cart that I use for storing cleaning supplies, anyway.
b) Orange oil. I already have orange oil.
c) Glass spray bottle. Although I think this would be cool, I already have plastic cleaning bottles. I can understand the health benefit of using glass bottles for drinks, but you don't drink cleaning fluid. There are no advantages to using a glass bottle, especially if you re-use plastic bottles like I already do. In fact, there is a DISADVANTAGE to glass cleaning bottles, and that is that they are breakable. Plastic bottles won't break if you drop them on the tile.
d) Walnut scrubbie. I already have scrubbies that I never use.
e) Dish brush. All of the brushes I picked out had pretty bamboo handles with some kind of all-natural bristles. That aside, I already have a dish brush. The white plastic one I have is easy to clean, unlike the wood would be. Plus I can buy a replacement at Walmart for at or under $3.00.
f) Tile brush. Again, I could probably buy one of these at Walmart for at or under $3.00. I've actually never used a tile brush and don't have one. But the fact that I've never bought one might hint that I would never use one.
g) Glass cleaning brush. I thought this was cool, and I might be able to make my own replacement head instead of buying it from Grove when the first one got old. However, then I remembered that using newspaper actually works very well for me, and newspaper costs $0.00.
After I went through each item, I still tried to justify myself in buying it. Even if I had no reason to buy the stuff for myself, certainly I could give it as a gift! But then I remembered that I could buy almost everything at Walmart for half the price. For the number of items, it would be a very pricey gift. After looking over my order, thinking, and rethinking, I finally decided to not buy.
In the end, I saved myself $21.00 on (albeit pretty) things I did not need. Sometimes the free stuff is worth it, and sometimes it's not. If you like all-natural products and buy them anyway, Grove's offer is open until Tuesday, January 17th. If you like that sort of thing, it really is a good deal. I just didn't need any of it.
Sidetracked By.... Everything
If you are trying to save money for a goal, it's important to stay focused. When EVERYTHING is a priority, nothing is a true priority. I see this a lot with food (I want healthy, I want local, I want cheap, etc. etc.), but it can happen with anything. The cleaning supplies are a great example. I like nice stuff just as much as anyone, but having paraben-free candles or eco-friendly cleaning supplies is not all that important to me.
Every $20.00 (or every $5.00 or $10.00, for that matter) that I spend on non-priorities is $20.00 that I will never get back to spend on things that are important and/or fun for me. I don't hate all-natural products, but if I had to choose between organic cleaner or generic cleaner PLUS $3.00 to spend on thrift store books, or ebooks, avocados or herbal tea, I would pick the generic cleaner every time. YOU TOO have a choice about how you spend every dollar.
If you're not focused, you can get sidetracked into spending money on things that are not important to you. People will start pushing their own priorities on you (probably unintentionally) and you will lose track of YOUR goal. Pretty cleaning supplies are not a priority to me, but looking at the beautiful pictures and high-value free items made me think otherwise. "This will be a good way to upgrade my home supplies," "It will make cleaning more fun," "I deserve to have nicer stuff than Walmart," "My bottle brush is getting squished on one side, so I need a replacement," "It's so hard to reach the corner of the windows with my crumpled newspaper," "We can afford it," and a million other voices told me to get the freebies. I had seen this particular offer on several blogs and Instagram feeds that I love, and those messages had been working on me for the past week. "All the cool people are doing it" was the last message I got.
What happens when I spend $20.00 every week on "upgrades" that are not part of my goals? Nicer clothing, newer books, a magazine here and there, another herbal supplement. Organic rice, another animal for my hobby farm, new organizers for the stuff I have. There are a million things I can think of that would be fun to buy. Sometimes I buy this stuff, but every purchase should be a legitimate investment and wise use of money according to what I value. It would be nice to wear brand new clothing, but when push comes to shove, I don't really care. $1000+ per year can make a HUGE difference in your life if spent wisely. Just $20.00 per week can have that big of an impact. Can you think of a $1000.00 item that you would like to have? Cut out $20.00 of non-priorities per week (that includes grocery items, people) and you will have it at the end of a year. Do you truly care about the stuff that you are buying? Remember, YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Every time you buy a "meh" product that you don't need, you are sacrificing a "wow!" product that would truly make your life more enjoyable.
Thoughts for the day.
*Once again, I don't mean to bash all-natural stuff or Grove Collaborative. I think they are offering a great deal to people that regularly use those kind of products. Some day, I might stock my cabinets with all-natural cleaners and diapers and paper plates. That being said, I thought I would share and document my "no-buy" moment and reason behind doing so.