Friday, June 11, 2010

Stockpiling 101

I thought I would post some of my stockpile pictures for you guys to see.

Some of you may be wondering what a stockpile is exactly....well, A stockpile is, in its most basic form, having a backup for every item that you use on a regular basis. It's not something that you go out and buy all at once, and say "Voila! I have a stockpile!" OK, technically, yeah. You could do it that way, but where are the savings? A stockpile is built one item at a time, not bought.

There is no reason that you need to start stockpiling flat-out, no holds barred. If you have budget constraints, start out by designating $20.00 a month toward your stockpile. When that's gone, you only go after the things that you can get for free.

I personally have been couponing long enough now that I know price points pretty well now. Although, some price points have gone up in the past year, I still know what I will pay for laundry detergent for example. (Price Points could well be another whole post!)

You may be asking " How do I know how much of something to stockpile?"

You need to begin by thinking about how much stuff your family uses. To begin with, figure out how large a supply you want to have on hand-- 3 months? 6 months? A year? Then, determine how much of a given item your family uses each week or month. EX: Family goes through 2 boxes of cereal each week. You want a 6 month cereal supply on hand. Six months = 26 weeks x 2 boxes/week= 52 boxes of cereal. Unless is is a spectacular deal (like free), you will not buy all 52 boxes in one week! Build up to 52. Ten one week, and 15 the next time there is a cereal deal. Things go on sale at regular intervals, which helps you to determine how much of any given item to have on hand. If you shop at the same store regularly you will begin to notice a pattern in sales cycles. Publix is an easy one, things cycle regularly there. If you can't store a year's worth of cereal at one time, figure out how many boxes it will take to hold you over until the next time there will be fantastic sale!
Buying from Sam's in bulk is not stockpiling!! 90% of the time, purchasing in bulk at a warehouse store is not the least expensive option. A few things are really inexpensive there, but quite a few things are just "cheaper than regular price" and are just tide-you-over buys, and are not stockpile-worthy.

Keep control of your stockpile! There are several reasons to keep a handle on the ol' stockpile.

1. Space: Don't let your stockpile take over. Sacrificing the comfort of your family and making daily life difficult is not the goal of a stockpile. If things get uncomfortable, you have probably bought too much.
2. Safety and Expiration Dates: A deal isn't a deal unless you are actually going to use the item before it spoils. Ask yourself how much of a product your family can reasonably use in a given time frame, and STOP when you have that amount.

There's always "a sale", but that doesn't get you significant savings. Stockpiling is about stockpiling the savings. So if Ragu is on sale for $2 a jar and you have a 20 cent coupon, just buy for an emergency. If it's on sale for $1 and you have multiple $1 coupons, buy as many as you can for FREE. Deep sales cycles on items are approximately 3 months at any given store. So if you can pass up the barely-reduced prices and wait it out for a great price, stock up, then use what you have until other great sale comes along, you start seeing the savings. It takes 3 - 6 months, even longer, to build up a significant stockpile. But once you have filled your pantry for free, you can "shop" out of your own pantry for your week's meals, and use the store for free or nearly free, and perishable items.

Thanks to HCW for some of the basic information on stockpiling!

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