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Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Art of Stockpiling

Who wouldn't want to pay less for the everyday items you need?

Creating a stockpile of those everyday 'necessities' when prices are at the all-time lowest price is a great way to ensure that you won't ever have to full price again.

If you're an avid couponer, you probably already have the art of stockpiling down to a science.

If you are just beginning your couponing journey, follow along as we discover the basics behind stockpiling...


What is 'Stockpiling'? Stockpiling refers to building up a large supply of non-perishable products, preferably when the prices are at their lowest and matched with coupons.

Why should I stockpile? Think about when you are down to your last drop of toothpaste, you need it at that point and you are less likely to care about finding the best deal. You may even run out at a time when there isn't any on sale -- so you end up paying $3.99. But, if you are a bargain stockpiler, you probably already have several tubes of toothpaste in your cupboard that you previously bought for under 25-cents each (many you probably got for free). There are so many opportunities out there to get staple items (name brand) for very, very cheap or even free. Taking advantage of these deals creates a cheap stockpile so you won't have to pay full price when you suddenly run out.

Whether you are stockpiling deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, cereal or pasta, the key here is to get the absolute cheapest price.

Thinking Ahead --Waiting until you are out of an item is a sure-fire way to guarantee that you'll pay almost full price, but thinking ahead and keeping your eyes out for bargains or freebies will let you create a stockpile without costing you anything more than you would normally spend.

  • Create a list of of your most used items: toiletries, paper towels, toilet paper, food items, pet supplies, etc.
  • Take special note when these items are on sale (CVS and Walgreens are excellent resources for stockpiling), and especially when these items can earn you ECB or RR.

  • Look for a matching coupon: If you find a matching coupon for this item, you can actually get the item for free or make money off of it.
Know your Price Points -- Make a list or mental note of the average, non-sale prices of your list of items. This way you'll know what a truly good deal is. Set a limit for yourself. For example, I won't pay more than .25 for deodorant. I know that I can still get name brand products (reg. priced at $4.00) for less than a quarter, so why pay full price when I can use that extra $3.75 towards my organic produce budget.

Organize your Stockpile -- It wasn't until I went through and organized our stockpile pantry that I realized we have 17 toothpastes, 9 deodorants, 12 razors, 24 shampoos/conditioners, etc. (I am pleased to say I got most of it for FREE.) Now that I have a clear picture of what we have or what we need, there is no pressure to keep an eye on those sales. If, though, I happen to see something that would be completely free out-of-pocket I will still pick it up. I plan on donating ALOT to the shelters this year! Having everything organized makes it accessible and gives you a clear picture of what you could use more of.

Give Up Being Brand Loyal -- I'll admit, I'm a "brand-snob" when it comes to a few things, but I've learned that it's OK to branch out and try a new brand. Since I've been able to try new brands for barely any money out-of-pocket, I've discovered that there isn't always a big difference in the products... sometimes there is, but a lot of times the only real difference is the price. If you can get it for cheap or free, branch out a little and give it a try.

Invest in a Second Freezer -- Recently I was able to get bags/boxes of frozen veggies for less than .25 a piece. Stocking up on these was a no-brainer and thank goodness for my extra freezer space! Not only is it a great investment, you can use the extra freezer space to store freezer meals. Often times I'll make a double-batch of mini pancakes and freeze them - no need to purchase boxes of frozen pancakes made with white flour. Since many items freeze well and for several months, this extra space is a perfect way to stockpile more perishable things.

Rotate your Stockpile - It's important to move fresh, new items to the back of the pantry so you can use up what will be the first to expire. It won't do you any good to stockpile if you let the items go bad.

Cook from your Stockpile - When stockpiling food make sure you use it. This will ensure that nothing goes bad and you will save that money on groceries.

Use the Seasonal Sales to your Advantage -- Stockpiling becomes an art when you are savvy about when you buy the items. Throughout the year you'll notice that stores promote certain items to make room for new items.

Here are just a few examples of seasonal sales you can be taking advantage of:

  • January - Christmas items are on clearance as well as Superbowl promotions, which includes chips, soda, etc. (you know, all that bad stuff). It's also New Year's, which means exercise equipment might be at it's lowest price (New Year's resolutions). This month is also a good time to get winter clothes and other "White Sales" will offer great deals on bedding, etc.
  • February - Valentine's Day candy and houseware items seem to be at their lowest prices. Look for major winter clothes clearance and think about stocking up on winter clothes for the kids in next year's sizes.
  • March - The beginning of Spring brings good deals on gardening supplies and spring apparel. March is also National Frozen Food month so you'll find steals in the frozen aisle at your grocery store.
  • April - Easter brings grocery deals on ham, eggs, beans, etc. "Easter" apparel is also on sale just before and after this holiday.
  • May - As the seasons shift, many people head outdoors for BBQs. Expect to find a lot of grilling items on sale through July 4th. Around Cinco de Mayo you'll find Mexican-related food items on sale. Also, spring cleaning items will be a good bargain.
  • June - Summer clothes are coming in so watch for bargains there. Also, June is National Dairy Month so expect to see milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream for rock-bottom prices.
  • July - Fourth of July sales, back-to-school sales, and summer fun all hits the ads this month.
  • August - Back-to-school sales are huge this month... lots of lunchbox-friendly food items. Keep an eye on the summer, outdoor items because these will likely be on clearance.
  • September - A good time to buy office and school supplies... most will be on clearance. Baby items seem to be on sale in Sept. as well as Labor Day food items.
  • October - With Halloween, comes decent deals on candy and costumes. Waiting until you are closer to the end of the month will bring the best deals.
  • November - Thanksgiving food items and baking items will be on sale this month. Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) offers the "biggest" advertised deals of the deals.
  • December - Lots of good sales in December... baking items, toys, gifts, outerwear, party supplies, etc. And don't forget the day after Christmas sale when you can stock up on wrapping paper and gifts for next year.

To learn more about stockpiling, visit these great resources:



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