Time to Stockpile

By ERIN TURNER

By now you should have lots of coupons, have them somewhat organized in a binder and maybe have even scored a deal or two!  You are one step closer to being a Coupon Queen/King (thanks to my mom for pointing out that being frugal isn’t gender specific!).

So, the next step in your quest for coupon royalty is the most critical. However, it’s often the one step that people tend to avoid.  That step is called grocery “stockpiling.”  This is the act of stocking up on items when they are dirt cheap so that you are never in the position of having to pay full price for an item!  If you don’t want to stockpile, then extreme couponing isn’t for you.

Now, everyone’s stockpile will look different and have different amounts of certain things.  I know lots of single people out there think they can’t stockpile…why not?  Sure, you don’t need to stockpile 20 peanut butters but why not 3-5?  You need to develop your stockpile to what YOU personally use in a 3-6 month cycle (or 1 year depending on the item and the sale).   An important key to stockpiling as a savings tool is: ONLY buy what your household uses…do not stock up on things or buy in amounts that you won’t use!

Obviously, your grocery stockpiling items need to be shelf stable or have the ability to be canned or frozen.  If you are just starting out, the best things to stock up on are: toothpaste, toilet paper, paper towels, deodorant, cereal, pantry items (e.g. spices, olive oil, etc), shampoo, soap, and lotion.

Now my rule of thumb for stockpiling prices is any item 75% off the retail price.  You should easily be able to get your toothpaste, deodorant, and toilet paper for free.  When cereal is under a dollar, it’s time to stockpile!  As I mentioned before, just keep the 75% off rule in mind as you judge an item’s “stockpiling worthiness.”  The 75% off price will be achieved by a sale price stacked withcoupons.

My best grocery stockpiling deal was dishwasher detergent at CVS.  I bought 7 months worth of detergent and ended up making $4.75 after coupons and promotions!  Now, that’s what I call “royally” stocking up!  One of my favorite items to stockpile is fruit.  Since fruit is expensive out of season, I love it when I can score a deal and freeze or can the fruit.  Last month, Safeway had blueberries for $3.99 each and had a ‘buy 1 get 3 free’ sale!  So, I stocked up and froze 24 pints.  I also got a great deal on strawberries recently and made jam with them.

Grocery stockpiling may be completely foreign to you and it may be a tad bit scary.  Let me clarify something:  by stockpiling you are not becoming a doomsdayer or part of some cult…you are simply stocking up on items that your household uses regularly so that you never have to run out and buy it at full price.  Plus, by eliminating those “quick” runs to the store, you will not be prone to spending more than necessary on impulse items that call your name!

I grew up with parents who believed in stocking up so it’s second nature to me and just makes sense. For those of you new to it, start slow. Start with toilet paper because you know you will use it. Then graduate to toothpaste, paper towels, etc.  Pretty soon, you’ll be figuring out ways to freeze milk and eggs so you can stockpile them, too!  (You can freeze those things, but that’s another blog.)

A word of warning: in order to get your stockpiles started, you may not see a huge dip in your monthly budget.  Yet when you use your coupons and match them with sales, you will be getting more bang for your buck. Keep in mind that once you have built up a stockpile, you will see your monthly expenses plummet!

I spent January re-building my depleted stockpile and I can’t wait to tally up my February expenses because my stockpile has been providing plenty for us this month!

Now it’s your turn.  Tell me about a great stockpile deal you’ve had or what your favorite item is to stock up on.  Back to Save It blog home page and SAVE IT CLUB.

Click here to see the Coupon Queen’s “Save It”archive.

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Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian.  Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques and trying to maintain a well-run, happy and organized home for herfamily.