12 Weeks to Extreme Couponing, Part 7: Starting a stockpile

The 12 Weeks to Extreme Couponing series continues with Week 7. If you are just tuning in to the series, be sure to catch up with weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Starting a stockpile… how can I begin to explain how important this is.

I love my husband dearly, and I have asked him a million times (slight exaggeration) to tell me when he has only about two weeks left of his stuff. He uses different face wash, shampoo, deodorant (obviously), etc. He also consumes coffee, creamer, sweetener, and certain snacks that I don’t particularly like. With all of these items, I have no reason to glance at any of them in the course of my day, and so I need him to tell me when he’s running low. He doesn’t usually tell me until the day after he’s thrown it in the trash and is in need of more asap. I may even be forced to run to the store and pay $4 for one. Instead, I reach into the closet and hand him a new package of his favorite deodorant, which I got for free two months ago.

Now, balance is important in all aspects of life, especially when it comes to amassing a potentially large amount of stuff. Noone should allow their home to become like an episode of Hoarders, taking all you can get your hands on, or enough to last for the rest of your life. A good rule of thumb is to stock up on as much of an item as your family can consume until the next sale. For most items, this is 2-3 months, some less, some more.

In last week’s installment, I wrote about buying 22 bottles of Hershey’s syrup, a year’s worth for our family. This is much longer than the 2-3 months that I just gave as a guideline, but it’s exactly what I said. I bought enough for what our family will consume until the next time the deal comes, which is about a year’s time.

Now, space has to be an important consideration when starting a stockpile, because the stuff can begin to take over! We have a pretty small house for a family of 5 and I’ve had to adjust our stockpile over the years. I found space where there previously wasn’t any, and I’ve gotten a little creative, but I finally have a system that works well for us. We’re not sleeping on boxes of cereal, but we have a good stockpile and even areas for donations and for sharing with family and friends. Our needs are met, and we rarely have to be in the position of a last-minute run to the store to pay full-price for something.

If you’re early in the couponing game, most of your grocery money is going towards necessities, so you may not have much room to spend on stock-up items. Start with even one or two extra items to begin your stockpile with. It takes years to build a good stockpile, and with each extra item you buy, you’re saving money. The next time you need a tube of toothpaste, you can pull it out of the closet and spend the $3 you would have spent on the toothpaste on other stock-pile items. With each stockpile purchase, you’re freeing up money to buy more stockpile items and shortening your grocery bill.

Now, a few practical tips about stockpiles: When storing your items, try to be mindful of expiration dates, because nothing’s a bargain if you have to throw it out. Also store like-items in the same area. It’s harder to lose something in the shuffle if you don’t have to hunt through lots of other items. Look for unutilized spaces by adding shelves to the top of laundry rooms or closets. You don’t have to use up all the space you already have when you can create new space!

In conclusion, start somewhere, be prepared to adjust your stockpile many times over, and know that it takes time, but the savings are immediate and keep getting better and better!!!

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