Coupon Stockpiling, Grocery Stockpiling, Grocery Stockpiles, Pantry Stockpiling, Food Stockpiling

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Stockpiling
As we mentioned in Couponing 101 stockpiling is a necessary aspect of extreme couponing. Stockpiling is actually one of the most important parts of saving so much on grocery bills and household items by using coupons throughout the year.

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Why Stockpiling is So Important

In Couponing 101 we used the example of purchasing cookie snack packs for 2 childrens lunches over the course of a 180 day school year. If you did not read it, please go back and read "Bigger is Better" and "Stockpiling is Necessary" to understand the basic concept of how stockpiling saves so much money.

Refreshing what we learned in Couponing 101, snack pack size cookies were free when we used a coupon that did not specify a product size. Had we purchased just two bags we would have saved $1.98 but that would have left us with 358 packages left to buy at regular price to fill the childrens lunches for the rest of the year at a total cost of over $350.00.

By purchasing large amounts of the items we regularly consume while they are on sale and by adding our coupons we are able to purchase products at their lowest possible cost rather than pay regular price for them over the course of weeks, months and years.

How Much to Stockpile

How much you stockpile depends on the size of your family, how much of a product your family consumes over time as well as the shelf life of a product. Some simple math will help you determine how much of a product should be on your shelves at any given time. Let's say you have a family of 4 and each person in your family uses one stick of deodorant each month for a total of 4 sticks per month. Assuming your brand of deodorant recommends use within one year (or 12 months), your math is as follows...

4 sticks x 12 months = 48

It is reasonable for you to have up to 48 sticks of deodorant in your stockpile at any given time.

Personally I just got my last stockpile of deodorant for .07 each. Sale priced at $1.07, I had 10 coupons for .50 that doubled to $1.00. Of course I bought all 10. My grand total was 70 cents for 10 sticks of deodorant. Had I only bought what I needed at the time, or 1 deodorant, I would have paid .07 with my coupon for the first but my next 9 would have been purchased at a regular retail price of $1.27 each resulting in a grand total of $11.50.

Budgeting for your Stockpile

If you are just beginning or haven't even started yet, it is likely you have been buying items as you need them from week to week. Because you do not have a stockpile of products there are numerous items you need to purchase this week. (An example list might include; ground beef, cereal, pasta, italian sauce, tuna, lunch meat, snacks, paper towels, shaving cream, bathroom cleaner...and so on). Now let's assume your budget for grocery and household items is $200.00 per week. Stockpiling doesn't mean because cereal is on sale this week and with your coupons making it $1.00 a box you should go buy 200 boxes of cereal. Here's dinner kids, chex cereal! And we are having it all week. Dry. Because I didn't buy milk. Yum!

A stockpile is built slowly over time and then maintained. Start by giving yourself a small portion of your overall grocery budget to go towards your stockpile. Say $10.00. You will spend $190.00 shopping as you have been, from week to week and use the remaining $10.00 on building your stockpile. For example...

Week 1: Toothbrushes are on sale 2 for $3.00. You have multiple coupons for .50 that will double to $1.00 making the final cost of each toothbrush 50 cents. Staying within your $10.00 stockpile budget you can purchase 20 toothbrushes. And your stockpile is now officially started!

Week 2: That cereal we mentioned above that regulary retails for $3.50 a box is available to you for $1.00 per box. Buy 10 boxes to stay within your stockpile budget. Assuming your family eats 1 box per week you now have 10 weeks where you will not have to buy cereal again. You can now up your stockpile budget and lessen your weekly needs budget. Let's go to $15.00 for your stockpile next week.

Week 3: That deodorant I got is .07 each again with all of your coupons. Go crazy and buy 40 sticks. 40 x .07 = $2.80. You still have over $12.00 to spend on your stockpile! Potato Chips are on sale for 2 for $4.00. You have 10 coupons for .75 off making each bag $1.25 so you will purchase 10 bags. Total for your chips; $12.50. Oops we went .30 over budget. But it was worth it.

Week 4: Pasta is on sale 10 for $10.00 or $1.00 each. You have 20 coupons for .55 off making each box 45 cents. Use all 20 coupons to purchase 20 boxes for a total of $9.00. You still have $6.00 left in your stockpile budget. That cereal deal is still available and you've acquired more coupons in the past 2 weeks so go ahead and grab 6 more boxes towards maintaining your cereal stockpile.

At the end of your first month your stockpile contains the following...
20 Toothbrushes
16 Boxes of Cereal
40 Sticks of deodorant
10 Bags of Potato Chips
20 Boxes of Pasta

Not bad for just 1 month.

As your stockpile grows you can allow for more and more money towards your stockpile budget because little by little you have reduced the amount of items that are going on your weekly "need now" grocery list. It is possible that after some time, aside from maintaining your stockpile, the only items you will need to purchase weekly will be products with a very short shelf life such as produce and milk.

Storing your Stockpile

We mentioned maintaining your stockpile a couple of times in the above lessons. Clearly you and your family will be consuming the products you purchase. The products aren't in the pantry just to look pretty (although some of us would beg to differ). You will need to keep track of items you are low on, make adjustments if your family is consuming more or less than expected on specific products and always be watching for great deals.

Let's say you notice that you are getting low on cereal. You have 3 boxes left in your stockpile. With your family consuming 1 box per week you have 3 weeks to be sure you have acquired plenty of cereal coupons and are keeping an eye out for sales. Well lucky you! You already have the coupons and the sale is this week. Time to stock up again. And be sure you rotate your stock!

Yes, always rotate your stock by moving the newest purchased items to the back of your shelves so that the earlier purchased products are used first. It's a bit of extra work but if you put all the new spaghetti sauce in the front by the time you consume the last sauce it may have expired 2 years ago. It doesn't matter if it only cost 20 cents. That's 20 cents too much if you can't use it. Rotate, rotate, rotate.

To see the small shelves and large garages that house the stockpiles, big and small, of other extreme couponers, visit our stockpile pictures forum.

Know When to Say No

Oh it's so hard. It really is. There is no 12 step program for extreme couponers. There probably should be. Once you are addicted to the coupon savings you will understand just how hard it is to know when to say no. But you must. For instance, I have 4 large boxes of diapers in my closet. My baby is growing like a weed and at less than 7 months old as I write this, he is learning to walk around furniture. I had another opportunity to get 150ish diapers for around $20.00. But that is 20 bucks too much if he is in Pull-Ups before I can use the diapers. Sometimes we just have to walk away.

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