Extreme Couponing: Taking Stock of your Stockpile


This week I realized another reason why I love to coupon!

It’s beyond the vast amount of money I save or the lessons I’m teaching my kids about budgeting. This week, I fell in love with couponing all over again when we were putting together bags for our kids’ school food drive and our church’s food drive. I felt like Santa as I stood in front of our shelves filling bags full of lotions, shampoos, toothpastes, canned fruit and vegetables, jell-o, cocoa, cereal, oatmeal, and more. All those times this last year when I stocked up on these items were finally paying off in the best way possible—helping people in need! Being generous is something important to me and couponing has allowed me the chance to be generous beyond what I normally can give.

Did I mention how much I love couponing?!

Previously, I’ve talked about stocking up, given tips on how to do it, and explained why it is important in the whole scheme of couponing. But this time of year, it becomes a vital part of our couponing lifestyle. While we all like to be generous, but it isn’t always the easiest thing to pull off after buying gifts, hosting parties, and sending Christmas cards.

Yet, if you have done due diligence on stocking items throughout the year when prices are rock-bottom and you use coupons on top of that, you should have plenty of things to share. We didn’t hesitate to through in a few extra tubes of toothpaste or body soap since we had bought them for free. (Hmm, that sounds weird—buying something for free? It’s possible with couponing!)


Erin Turner "bought" this toothpaste for free!

Another added benefit of sharing your cornucopia of consumables is the opportunity to take inventory of your stockpile. My husband and I did a great job this year of creating our stockpile and using it throughout the year but we haven’t taken time lately to rotate items or inventory which items need replenishing. As I filled the food drive bags, it dawned on me this was the perfect time to re-evaluate and take inventory.

Knowing the manufacturers would begin their yearly sale/coupon cycles in January, I felt good about almost depleting some of our stockpile yet still keeping enough so I won’t have to pay full price for that item. I also took this opportunity to shift items around in our pantry making it more efficient and items more visible. Another great tip is to date all your items and make sure you rotate them so you are consuming the oldest first. If you notice some items which are nearing the expiration date, be sure to use them up soon or, better yet, donate them!

After taking stock of my stockpile, I now have a list of items which I need to replenish in the next couple of months. It’s nice to know what I’m looking for but not having the pressure of needing it right now. I’ll wait until there is a killer sale matched with a killer coupon. Then I’ll begin the cycle all over: Stock up, deplete, and stock up again!

If you’ve been couponing and stocking up this year, take time this week before Christmas to evaluate your stockpile and donate the extras. Charities in Missoula are being hit hard this year with a great number of people in need so they are grateful for all contributions. Once you have made your donations, evaluate what items were used and what items you need to replenish.


Erin's 2012 replenishment list.

Ultimately, this evaluation also helps you know what items your family consumes, how fast they consume it, and how much they consume. This information is critical and will save you lots of money. It helps so you don’t end up, for example, buying 25 cans of okra only to realize your family only eats 3 cans a year. (Okra?! I’m a native Montanan—we consume 0 cans!) But if you do have 22 cans of okra left sitting on your shelf, you can donate them.

With Christmas drawing very near, I can’t help but feel grateful for our couponing lifestyle. It has given so much to our family! I love couponing for so many reasons, but this week, I love it because of its impact on more than just my family. Because of our stocking up, it will also hopefully brighten other families’ Christmas this year.

I am also grateful for a wonderful group of faithful blog readers each week. Thank you for being another reason why I love couponing! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, my coupon friends!

Why do you love couponing? What has it done for your family?


Erin’s got tons of tips for saving money, couponing, and sticking to a budget in her previous posts: Holiday Entertaining on a Budget, Learn How to Save with a Couponing Class, andTeaching Money to Kids and Teens. Be sure to check out the Missoula Save it Club.

   Visit the Coupon Queen’s “Save It” archive.


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 her family.