Have you ever watched Extreme Couponing and wondered if the people on that show are crazy?
Does it seem weird that these people need a 1,000 bottles of Aspirin or 400 tubes of toothpaste?
Yes, they get it for free, but does that mean that they absolutely need to get it?
I personally cringe every time I see things in excess, but that does not mean that I don’t believe in stockpiling and smart shopping.
While spending 10 hours a week may be excessive for most, learning your sales cycles and keeping coupons handy for products that you normally use is just smart.
I want to point out that there is a key difference between crazy hoarding and stockpiling things that you normally use.
Why you need a stockpile?
Saving money. Yes, it saves you money, but only if you spend your money on things that you were going to buy anyway. That is the biggest difference.
Say for example that your favorite shampoo is on sale for 60% off, pick 5 or so and you’re set for a few months to a year (depending on how much hair you have), and you just saved yourself money, but say you see a type of juice for sale for 70% off, but you don’t drink juice. Well, in that case you just wasted money.
Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean that it’s a smart investment.
Less time in the stores. OK, so this is not as clear so I’ll explain. Initially you spend a ton of time starting your stockpile, but once you have all the basics, you don’t need to make last minute trips thus cutting down on your shopping time.
You are prepared for emergencies. If an emergency ever comes up (and not just a natural disaster, like a hurricane or something of that nature, but job loss or severe sickness), you don’t have to worry about grocery shopping because you will already have the majority of what you need in your stockpile.
You may need to purchase a few things, like fresh produce, eggs and milk, but other than that, you should be set for a while if you’ve stockpiled enough to hold you over.
How much do you really need?
This is the toughest question to answer. If you’re single, you can make things last a lot longer than if you have a family.
I see people get carried away all the time. They buy way more than they will ever use and eventually get sick of making the same thing.
Stockpilling food is an art and a science, and finding the balance is key.
How to get started?
Figure out how long you need your stockpile to last. This could range anywhere from 3 months to 12 months.
Start by watching the sales at your local grocery stores. If you see any fantastic sales (not just “good” sales, but “fantastic” sales!), stock up on those items and add them to your stockpile.
Remember to only stockpile what you will be able to use before the expiration date.
Find coupons to help reduce the costs even more. While you won’t be able to use them on everything, finding the right products that you can use them on can make a huge difference.
Make sure you set a budget for how much you can spend on stockpiling. This is very important. I recommend $5-$20 per week for stockpiling (more, if you can afford it). Don’t go over this budgeted amount. If you do, your savings will go up in smoke.
If you don’t use all of your “stockpile allowance” in one week, carry it over to the next week. Some weeks are better than others for great sales.
Where to store your stockpile?
Storage seems to be the biggest issue, especially if you live in a small apartment. But, with a little creativity you can house your stockpile neatly and hidden from view.
Closet. If you have a closet that is getting little to no use, you can store your stockpile items in there. Sure, you may not be able to store too much (unless you have a big walk-in closet), but even a small stockpile is better than no stockpile at all.
Basement or garage. These are ideal places to store your stockpile, but keep in mind the varying temperatures, and don’t store anything that needs to be kept at room temperature in the garage especially if you get snow in the winter.
Anywhere you can find room. Some people keep stuff under their beds, in a hallway closet, in their children’s rooms etc. I personally don’t need/want any of my guests seeing that, so I keep my stockpile in discreet locations.
Having a stockpile is great, but not if it impedes your way of living.
Everyone can create a stockpile and save money, it’s the smart thing to do, but you don’t need to go crazy with coupons to do that.
Do you have additional tips for using coupons and buying in bulk for building a stockpile?