One of the ways I save on my grocery budget is by “stockpiling”. Ok, I know what immediately comes to mind- “that show” and the shelves of mustard and shopping carts FULL of toothpaste. That my friends is not real reality. Let me give you a few tips on how to succeed at realistic stockpiling.
So how would I define stockpiling?
And the best way to do this of course is to take advantage of store sales and coupons. Here are a few tips to help you get started on your stockpiling journey
1. Know Your Stock Up Price: The foundation of stockpiling is buying when an item is at a rock bottom price. This is how you get the most savings for your purchase. But you have to know what those low prices are! Obviously FREE is always a stock up price, and I pick up free items whenever they are available. But here are a few other prices to watch for:
- Pasta- $0.50 (used to be Free or $0.25)
- Milk- Under $2 (yes you can stock up! See how to freeze milk)
- Toilet Paper- $0.01 per sq foot (read the TP Stock Up Standard for a super easy way to calculate this price!)
- Check out my list of stock up prices! This list is obviously based on Midwest (Ohio) pricing and fluctuates with the economy.
2. Know How to Get The Lowest Price: The way to get the lowest price is by matching weekly sale and clearance prices with coupons, store promotions and rebate apps. Wow, that sounds like a lot of work right? Well thankfully you have come to the right place! On Facebook, I often share my “grocery hauls” and let you know just how to score those deals. You also should look for a blogger who provides coupon matchups for stores in your area. If you are a Kroger shopper, check out my friend Katie at Kroger Krazy for ALLL the Kroger deals. Shop at another store, ask me in the Mission Savers Group and I will hook you up with the right coupon matchup blogger (to do the work for you!)
3. Know Where to Put It All: Organizing your stockpile is very important. Obviously you need to be able to see what you have plenty of and what needs restocked. Basements are really great- cool and often provide extra space. But not everyone has room in their basement. I actually split up my stockpile. Paper products, household cleaning and pantry items are in my garage. And personal care items are in a closet near the bedrooms/bathrooms. It may take some trial and error to find just the right place for it all, but it is important to keep trying until it “works”. Shelving is also important. Check garage sales and Craigslist to see if you can find inexpensive bookcases or shelves. Dollar store baskets work well for the toiletry items too. And don’t forget, the best bins are the free ones- so think about how to repurpose old containers.
Another item you may want to invest in is a freezer. Once again, Craigslist or scratch and dent might be a great way to save on one. We actually got ours as a “hand-me-down” and yes it is avocado green – but it works! March is frozen food month and you can often find great items to stock up on for the coming months. And as I mentioned before with milk, there are lots of items you can freeze (cheese, fruit, produce- my kids love frozen bananas). Having extra freezer space is also good when you find those manager’s special meat prices. I know many people who also buy whole cows to save. I haven’t gone there yet, but it does sound intriguing to this red-meat family.
4. Know When Enough is Enough: This is the realistic part of stockpiling. No single family needs 100 bottles of mustard! First of all, how long would it take to use it all (and would you really want to use 3 year old mustard!)? Second, sales run in cycles, so remind yourself- this will come back around. Don’t feel like you have to buy enough items to last a lifetime. I like to think about buying enough for 3 months. That is a realistic size. Also, extreme stockpiling usually entails buying multiple newspapers to get enough coupons to get 10+ of an item. I usually have 2 sets of newspaper inserts (in addition to using printable coupon sites) and that’s it. If there is a really hot deal via an insert coupon, I may buy/hunt down more. For instance, ask to coupon swap with a family member or neighbor to get multiples.
Also, don’t buy it if you aren’t going to use it (or know for sure you are donating it). There is no reason for me to buy that $0.10 cat food. We don’t have a cat or know anyone who does. Just because you have a coupon for it- does not mean you “need” it. Classic example on “that show” was a woman who had been “stockpiling” diapers for 3 years and she was not married or had kids. And she wasn’t sharing either, she said it was for “if” she ever had kids. Not saving your money or your sanity there!
5. Know How to Use Your Stockpile for Good: FREE is always worth stocking up on! And even if I personally don’t use the item I will donate it! This is one of my favorite things about couponing; knowing I am being able to stretch my donation budget too! I also keep gift baskets in mind when stockpiling items. Bath, beauty and household items can make great gift baskets for grads, teens and newlyweds.
So do you Stockpile? I would love to hear some of your tips! If not, what holds you back? Let’s encourage one another on this savings Mission!
Check out my segment on Good Day Columbus for some more grocery savings tips, along with Realistic Stockpiling!
You can also se a Facebook “LIVE” tour (so to speak) of my Stockpiles in the video below…