Friday, September 2, 2011

Stockpiling or Hoarding

Stockpiling is a term that most of us were not familiar with five years ago, let alone used it in everyday vocabulary! If you have ever watched the TLC show "Extreme Couponers" you have seen their version of a stockpile. Years and years supply of everything from toothbrushes, to cereal to mustard. Is this something that we everyday couponers and frugal minded friends should do? Is it even possible? Well I'm going to let you in on a little secret.... I have a stockpile too! Now, I do not have a garage lined with shelves full of a lifetime supply of condensed soups (truth be told, I don't even have a garage!) But, I do try to keep a good supply on hand of essentials but as far a stockpiling a years supply of anything it is mostly bathroom items such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash and razors. I only keep what will fit in my bathroom cabinets and that is sufficient for my household of three.  
 How do you build a stockpile? Well I'm glad you ask! I started out my stockpile by getting 2 (and only 2) of an item that I caught on a great sale when I could get it for free or very close to it. (see my post on beginners couponing to find out how to do this!) You do not have to clear the shelves of every bottle of body wash the store has and build your stockpile in one trip. Bath/Body items are on sale almost every week and there are coupons for these items almost every week, so you can buy small quantities of different items each week from several different stores and before you know it you have a great looking stockpile!

When do I stop buying? Again, I'm glad you asked! Stockpiling is supposed to save you time and money, if you continue to buy when you have a shelf full of shampoo then you are defeating the purpose of stockpiling in the first place. If you do the math a bottle of shampoo and conditioner typically lasts about a month, a bottle of body wash about the same (that's if one person is using it) So if you have 12 bottles of each then you have a years supply of each. That is my goal, I keep a year supply of these items on hand and only buy them after that if I can get them for free. 
You can stockpile food as well. I do not stockpile a lot of food, simply because I don't have the space for it. I have one small chest freezer plus my refrigerator/freezer. I buy things like whole chickens when they go on sale and freeze them, I also buy bread when it is on sale and freeze a couple of loaves at a time. My general rule of thumb is to stock up on meats when they go on sale, the rest is relative, if you use a lot of something, stock up on it when it goes on sale. But don't buy 10 boxes of cereal simply because it's on sale (unless you're the Duggars) chances are it will go stale before you can eat it all, and the likelihood that it will be on sale the very next week is pretty high.

I have a theory, if you have to go out and buy a new freezer, or shelving unit to support your stockpile then you are not saving money. I use the space I have and utilize it as best as I can and when that space is used up, that's it.... no more buying. Pretty simple!
By the way, yes these are pictures of my actual cabinets and pantry!

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