Strategic Shopping: How to Stockpile

Photo Credit:  Tammra, Source: Flickr

I’ve been working on a series entitled Strategic Shopping for awhile now.  The first part of this series was devoted to coupons:

  1. How to speak the coupon language
  2. Where to find coupons
  3. How to organize coupons
  4. How to use coupons effectively

Now we’re going to discuss stockpiling.

Wait, let me rephrase that…now we’re going to discuss realistic, sane stockpiling. We won’t be taking out insurance policies on our stock piles and we won’t infringe on our day to day living with our stockpiles.

So far, I have posted why we would want to stockpile. This article will cover how you can start a stockpile.

Where to Start?

If you are already pinching your pennies together, you might be wondering where you are going to find the funds to start adding 6 boxes of oatmeal to your pantry every week to build a stockpile. Let me tell you, you can do it.

For years, I didn’t play the drugstore game. First, I didn’t really get it. Second, I knew that I had to initially spend a bit of money to start rolling ECB’s and RR’s and honestly I just didn’t think I had it to spend!

The best place to start stockpiling is simply to begin gathering coupons. Educate yourself on how coupons work and slowly you’ll start to see your grocery bills decrease. Before  you jump for joy and immediately adjust down  your grocery budget, start using those extra funds to start a small stockpile.

Say you generally have a $150 a week budget for all groceries and household goods. With coupons, you have brought that total down to $100 a week. Eventually, you can re-adjust your weekly budget to only allot $100 for groceries and household goods,  but first let’s build up a stockpile!

Try For Free, But Remember Cheap Works Too!

When building up your stockpile, the hope is that you can fill it with as much free stuff as possible. Never pay for toothpaste! With coupons and the drugstore game, you should never need to pay for toothpaste. Chicken breast though? You’ll always have to pay for chicken breast, so just wait until the price is at rock bottom and stock up! Every week, focus on something else.

Remember that a stockpile is not made overnight. It needs to be built upon and it takes time. You don’t get stockpiles like you see on TV overnight or even in a month (unless you run yourself ragged driving all over the state!). Stockpiling is not a one time deal either, you constantly have to be watching and making sure that you are replenishing before you are depleted of an item. Remember 6-8 weeks worth of most things is more then sufficient.

We are not hoarding, we are stockpiling and there is a BIG difference.

Slowly but surely,  you’ll start to notice that you have built up a decent sized stockpile and you can start dropping your budget lower and lower. Some weeks, you might only have to go to the store to buy fresh produce and milk!

Do Not Go Overboard

Here are some things to look out for when stockpiling:

  • If your stockpile is physically impinging upon your lifestyle (meaning you open your bedroom closet and 50 boxes of cereal fall out), you’ve gone too far.
  • If you are spending more time building your stockpile then with your family, you’ve gone too far.
  • If items start expiring before you’ve used them,  you’ve gone too far.

Remember, sales cycles run 6-8 weeks…beyond that, you don’t need it! If you do purchase above your 6-8 week stockpile needs, please consider donating.

Speaking of Donations

The most fabulous thing about having a stockpile is being able to pay the fruits of your labor forward! Once you have your family well stocked, start couponing for charity! Help a family member in need by sending over some personal care items and canned food. Remember, we are saving wherever we can so we can spend wherever we want, but also so we can give freely!

I encourage you to read the first few installments of Strategic Shopping if you haven’t already. Looking for a quick how-to guide to the world of couponing? Check out my Free E-Book, Save Money In 7 Days!

Be sure to check out the ENTIRE Strategic Shopping Series today!

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Heather is the creator and owner of Family Friendly Frugality. She calls Texas home and is married to her best friend. With 2 children 22 months apart, she has her hands full. So full that she decided to start blogging as a hobby. That hobby blew up into a full time job. Now she's got the husband, the kids and the blog. We're not exactly sure what she was thinking, but she's too busy for us to ask. Find Me On Google +

6 thoughts on “Strategic Shopping: How to Stockpile”

  1. Awesome way to look at stockpiling!! I think this is very healthy and feel the same way. If you have more than a 6-8 week stockpile of something it is too much. I just cannot understand the need to stockpile more than that. Thanks for trying to educate others about this. The show Extreme Couponing has turned the use of coupons into a bad thing and I for one do not appreciate it. If everyone used coupons logically like you are suggesting then we who use coupons would not be looked down upon when in line at the supermarket.

    1. Thank you for your comment! I definitely had the urge early on to pile my house high with stockpiled goods, but luckily I nipped it in the bud quickly!

    2. I know I’m super late coming into this post, but I agree! Extreme Couponing is ruining it for those of us who coupon responsibly and the attitude towards couponers can be really mean and hurtful. My husband makes really decent money, but we’re coming off of several months of unemployment. It was a scary time for us and it caused me to realize that a wise woman builds her house with her two hands, not tears it down. I’m building a comfortable, inviting house that feeds my family and anyone else who enters. I haven’t always done that. I was so depressed when my husband was unemployed and we had no money. It was hard for me to function. I don’t want to be there again, so while we have some money…you bet I’m going to use this as an opportunity to use it wisely and continue doing so!

      1. Mandy, I love to hear this. Sometimes it takes rock bottom (or just about) to make us realize how important it is to be wise stewards of our money when we have it in abundance! So often we here about people penny pinching because they have no other choice. The truth is, from the bottom 1% to the top…we all need to have a plan and a purpose for our money!

  2. I was wondering how to get toothpaste free or makeup deeply discounted? I’m confused about stacking and multitransactions to get free items.

    1. @Janelle, the best way to get free or deeply discounted make up or toothpaste is to play the drugstore game. I have a post here on FFF that explains how to shop at CVS and Walgreens.

      I recommend subscribing to FFF by email so you can get a copy of my free ebook. I detail how to coupon at grocery stores and drugstores in the book and go into greater detail about how to set yourself up for success. You can subscribe here:

      Thanks for commenting!

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