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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Stockpiling to Save Money

Stockpiling can be a way to save a great deal of money.  It allows you to shop from your own shelves and also to wait for sales on products you do use.  I know we've all seen the couponing shows and the mountains of groceries some of them amass.  That's not really what stockpiling is about.  Instead it's about buying items when they are the lowest possible price and being able to keep enough on hand to get you through until the next sale cycle.   This keeps your costs down so that you're not running to the store to buy something and end up paying a premium price.  It's also about buying the things that you know you will use/eat and having them on hand so that you're not making numerous trips to the store. 

Above is a photo of my own personal stockpile.  I also have two much smaller stockpiles.  One is in the bathroom containing shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, bath soap, and other toiletries.  The other is the laundry room and has cleaning products, laundry soap, fabric softener, and paper towels.  No, it's not mountains of stuff.  Just 2-3 of a particular item stored so that they're convenient to use when I need them. 

I do not buy items I don't use or that we won't eat just for the sake of buying.  I rotate out what we have.  I also watch for sales on items that we do use and buy as many as I can and put them in my stockpile so that we can make it through to the next great sale. My goal is also to buy things that will keep and can be used in recipes. 

This stockpile has gotten us through some tough and busy times.  Last year, we used our stockpile from the middle of November until mid-January.  We didn't have an economic reason for doing so.  We were just busy!  We still had to grab a few perishables like loaves of bread, fresh milk, veggies, and the occasional odd ingredient, but for the most part we didn't have to go to stores and deal with crowds. Had we had a job layoff or a decrease in work income, we could have used items from our stockpile to save money.

Another thing about stockpiling is that I've been able to help people.  I've taken bags of groceries to someone who has lost their job.  I've been able to donate to food pantries, and I'm always the person that someone calls and says, "Do you have any....?"  I can usually answer yes. 

If you are interested in stockpiling, start with one or two things.  When you find a great sale on something you use, buy 2-3 extra.  Stick them on a shelf where they're readily usable.  Keep doing this, and you will end up with a decent stockpile.  You don't have to get a lot of items.  Start small.  When you have more of an idea of what works for you, then you can add to it.  Watch sales cycles, and buy accordingly.  Many items go in 4-6 week sales cycles.  Use that  as a guide on what to buy.  If you use 2 cans of tomatoes per week and there's a sale, you will need to buy 8-12 cans to get you through to the  next sale cycle.  Stock up accordingly.  

Other items go on sale seasonaly, and it's great to know what those items will be so that you can stock up for a longer period of time.  For example, holidays are an excellent time to buy baking supplies.  Flour, cake mixes, sugar, pie filling, chocolate chips, and spices go on sale.  Most items can be stored in a deep freeze or air-tight containers and will keep for a year this way.  Soups and canned vegetables also go on sale more in the winter than the summer.  In the summertime, you will find your best deals on things like paper plates and cups, paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, barbecue sauce, canned beans, and charcoal.  

By watching what is on sale, tracking sales cycles, and then buying enough to get your family through, you can save money by only purchasing what's on sale and waiting until the next sales cycle.  It saves money, time, and gas by cutting down on trips to the store, and it might possibly save your sanity by not having to worry about what's for dinner tonight! 

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