Monday, October 12, 2015

~ The No Purchasing Paper Products Challenge ~

I'm sure you know the old song lyrics, "You can't always get what you want but sometimes you can get what you need."  

I kinda don't agree.  I believe that, most of the time, if you're willing to do what it takes, you can find a way to get the stuff you want.

A couple of years ago, I really desperately wanted a CD that I simply could not afford.  It wasn't just expensive; it was *Expensive* (at least according to my thinking).  $75.  That was just not happening because, you know, bills to pay.  

Moaning wasn't gonna help, so I decided to do battle with the budget and I came up with the No Purchasing Paper Products Challenge.  The idea made me laugh, so I just had to follow through.  For two months, I did not buy household paper products.  And I got that CD--not the $75 Limited version from Japan; instead I waited for a later release date from Taiwan and got the Regular version for $27.  Win!

Now, how did I manage a No Purchasing Paper Products Challenge?  Creative thinking.

Here's what got me started:  A friend cleans offices for a living.  At one place, the building owner tells her to change the toilet paper rolls every time she cleans.  Doesn't matter if half a roll is left, he says throw it out and replace it with a full roll.  My friend was horrified at the waste so she asked and the boss said he didn't care what she did with the trash.....then she brought bags of those partial rolls to my house.  Brilliant!  Free TP.

Paper towels.  That's something it's super-easy to get careless about because we use them mindlessly for everything.  And when I thought about that, I realized that most of those uses could be easily taken care of with a sustainable alternative:  I already had a pile of fabric napkins that I bought at yard sales for pennies.  And I had a bag full of old towel rags in the laundry room.  That stuff is washable and re-usable.  Really, the only thing I need paper towels for is when it's necessary to throw rags away:  like wiping up greasy stuff or (pardon me) cleaning up cat puke.  By using paper towels for only really messy events, I discovered that I could make a single roll last a couple of months.

Kleenex.  Our great-grandmas did just fine with cotton hankies.  They are soft, washable, endlessly re-usable.  And some of them have pretty embroidery or printed flowers on them.  I had a stack of old hankies that I had been saving just for the charm factor, so I pressed them into service.  Much nicer than tissue and easy to toss into the washer with towels.

Did this really work?  And is it worth it?

Yes, and yes.  I figured that my usual purchases of paper products would add up to about $20-25 a month at the dollar store, and that's where I get the lowest prices on reasonable quality stuff.  It's very little trouble to change a couple of habits.  The free TP isn't always available but I'm grateful for it when it is.  

The Arashi "Love" CD is one of my most favorite ever, and I still listen to it often.  Totally worth the effort, and the effort was kinda fun because it was a funny challenge that actually made it not-so-hard to wait those extra weeks.

.....There's a new CD coming out this month, so there's no doubt that I'll be plotting my next strategem soon.  

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