You may have noticed that I haven’t posted a Staples deal since last year.
You may have noticed that I actually took on more debt instead of paying off student loans.
You may have noticed that I haven’t snagged any free batteries in the entire time that this blog has been live. What?!?!
Although I continue to love getting free stuff at Staples, my life has changed significantly over the past year. With an infant, a preschooler, and a new (to me) house, I haven’t had the time to stop at Staples for a few minutes and grab free paper. Truthfully, I didn’t have the need for more free paper — we already had a case in the stockpile that was going unused.
With our preschooler quickly reaching kindergarten age, we felt the pressure to get him into the right school district from the very start of his free public school education. That meant searching and moving into a home in a great school district. I haven’t had a lot of time to stop off at the drugstores and pick up more freebies (and no desire to pack them up for a move).
And finally, sadly, Staples stopped offering the free batteries deals. They used to offer them so frequently that I didn’t even take them up on it all the time. I even gave away a lot of my 16-packs of batteries to friends because I had so many and was so confident that Staples would give away more soon. Yet, in the entire time that this blog has been live (a year and a half!), Staples didn’t offer them for free.
All of these circumstances have combined to make my tagline, “Digging out of debt with frugal living and free batteries,” seem fairly silly. I’m neither digging out of debt nor getting free batteries.
I do continue to strive for a frugal life. Despite the enormous mortgage we’ll be paying each month, I don’t plan on changing our lifestyle. Moreover, everything in our new town is more expensive — from green apples at the grocery store ($0.29 per pound more!) to daycare for Baby Stapler ($400 per month more!) — which makes it even more important that we live frugally by enjoying and valuing the free things in life.
Given that I don’t make any money on this blog aside from the occasional $10 credit on ThredUp, I can hardly call it successful in the business sense. It’s more like a hobby. But one metric of a successful business is that it is agile enough to respond to changes in the marketplace. Authors of the Lean Startup call this pivoting.
To pivot is to be brave enough to call it quits when something isn’t working. To be honest, my weekly Staples posts are not working out for me. I used to gleefully find matchups and be thrilled to share them with you all, but eventually the gleeful aspect of this exercise dried up and it became a chore. I don’t get nearly as many responses to those posts as my frugal living posts. No other type of post on this blog feels like a chore. And who would continue doing a hobby that didn’t make them happy?
This is all a long-winded way of saying that I will no longer post weekly Staples deals. But I will continue to post great deals — including Staples deals — to Twitter and Facebook (although, admittedly, I’m not great at posting to Facebook lately).
What would bring me blogosphere joy? Finding a way to turn the Staples deals into something that can help bring school supplies to struggling schools. I have heard of schools that ask parents to bring in copy paper, and my heart hurts when I think about that case of paper in my basement that I haven’t used in a year.
To that end, I would like to start some sort of project that channels the great freebies at Staples to schools who need them. If anyone has suggestions for making this a reality or has a PTA interested in pioneering the project, please leave a note in the comments below or shoot me an email at email@example.com.
I hope you will stick around and see what’s in store during the next chapter of Stapler Confessions.
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