Loving The Northwest

Loving The Northwest

Monday, September 14, 2009

5 steps to building a better stockpile

Thank you to Thirty Northwest Mom and The Coupon Project for this great article on stock piling.

Five Steps to Building a Better Stockpile

Guest Post by a fellow blogger pal, Angela Russell from The Coupon Project! The Coupon Project is also based in the Northwest and is a fun, informative money-saving blog you'll want to check out!

Five steps to building a better stockpile

When I say “stockpiling,” what comes to mind?

A lot of work?

Something that survivors of The Great Depression did?
Something that the government wants you to do?

These are some of the things I might have thought before I started to build my own stockpile a year ago. What I’ve found is that when I stockpile items that my family uses regularly, we save time and money.

Today I’m going to share five things I’ve learned through the process of building my own stockpile.

  • Stockpile only what you use. When you start out couponing (and even sometimes when you’ve been at it awhile), it can be so tempting to want to snatch up 15 free boxes of Hamburger Helper even if it’s not something your family ever eats. If you’re like most folks, pantry and storage space is limited. Don’t clutter it up. Notice that I didn’t say don’t get the 15 Hamburger Helper boxes, I only said don’t stockpile them. If you’re able, you can give these items to a food pantry.

  • Mind your expiration dates. Sometimes stores will put items close to their expiration date on clearance or deep discount. Watch out! If you want to stockpile a year’s worth of chicken soup, make sure that the chicken soup won’t be expired before you’ve eaten it all.

  • Determine how much per item to stockpile. There are some items my family eats a lot of. Quaker Instant Oatmeal comes immediately to mind. My kids eat a fair amount of it for breakfast. If I find an oatmeal deal, I’m sure to buy a lot. But to my surprise, sometimes it’s not been enough to last me through to the next oatmeal deal. Learning how much of an item to stockpile can take a little trial and error, but if it’s an item you know you’ll use a lot, don’t hesitate to buy as much as you can reasonably use and store! Conversely, there are some items I use – but very slowly. For instance, I am a SLOW user of shampoo. I don’t wash my hair everyday, so a big bottle could last me a good 2-3 months. And because shampoo deals come frequently, there’s really no need for me to accumulate 20 bottles of shampoo.

  • Assess your stockpile on a regular basis. I go through my pantry about once a month. I rotate items forward that are about to expire, remove items for donation, and generally clean things up a bit. I have a very packed pantry, so this is a must. Last time, I found a few onions I’d forgotten about…eww! Glad I cleaned that up when I did! I also try to note items we seem to be going through quickly and that I should try to stock more of.

  • Consider stockpiling beyond groceries. My husband and I have been expanding our stockpile beyond groceries. Here are a few items I’ve stockpiled when a deal has been found: toys (for Christmas), candles (for gifts), batteries (a good time is around the holidays), gift wrap (also look for around Christmas), cold remedies/OTC medicines (but be wary of expiration dates), school & art supplies, and paper products. Whatever the item, make sure it is something you will truly use and have space to store.

    Now that I have a good stockpile in place, I don’t remember what I did before! If there’s an unexpected party, I’ve got something on hand. If there’s a snow storm and I can’t make it to the store, no worries. If my child gets ill at 2am, that’s not a problem because I have all the remedies I need on hand. Best of all, I don’t pay full price for items because I don’t wait until I need them. I “shop” from “my store” at home.

    Thanks Angela!! Great article!

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