If you’ve been couponing for any length of time, you’ve heard about stockpiling but you are probably wondering what items to stockpile. Maybe you’ve seen the unrealistic show Extreme Couponing, which shows stockpiles that look like they belong on episodes of Hoarders. I’m not an extreme couponer (nor do I want to be) but I do have a stockpile. My stockpile is one of the reasons I am able to keep our grocery budget under $260 a month for our family of four.
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What is a stockpile and what should it be? Here is my humble opinion.
A stockpile is simply shopping ahead for items you use when these items are at their rock bottom prices. A stockpile should be full of items you will use – before they expire. A stockpile should be built with money inside your budget. A stockpile is built over time and customized to fit the needs of your family so it will save you money.
I have a stockpile. My stockpile is actually in the basement which is where I keep most of my pantry. I have a small gallery style kitchen with not much cupboard space. The basement is where I keep my regular pantry items as well as the items have stockpiled. In our basement, we have lined our walls with shelves like these to store my stockpile and other storage bins. Someday, I’d like to get some simple can rotation systems like these but for now, I just stack things in rows and rotate the items myself.
Let me give you an example of what is in my stockpile and how I build it. November is a great time to stock up on canned goods like cream of chicken soup. Normally, this product (which I use for delicious poppy seed chicken) costs $1.09. During Thanksgiving, by combining sales and coupons, I was able to get cans for $0.40 or less. I bought a case to last me through the year. By doing so, on this product alone, I saved at least $16.80. That’s a great savings and all I had to do was plan ahead a bit. This is the rock-bottom price list I use as my guide so I know when to stockpile the best deals.
Having a stockpile allows me to purchase items at their lowest possible prices when I plan ahead. There are certain items that I try to always have on hand. If there are no expiration dates (like on paper products and powdered laundry detergent), I will stock up as much as I have space for and can afford in my budget.
When stockpiling food items, I buy enough to get me through 6 months or a year, depending on the seasonal sale cycles. Here’s a free printable of seasonal sale cycles, if you want to know what to buy and when. I don’t buy more food than I can use before it expires. That is my policy for when I find products on sale for a really great price. This is possible to do by stacking sales and coupons. Anyone can build a stockpile.
To do so, I encourage you to think about what you use in your family. Do you have $5 a week to spend on stockpiling items? If so, here is a list of 10 items anyone can stockpile. You will find all of these items in my stockpile.
1. Paper products – toilet paper, paper towels
2. Laundry detergent
3. Personal products – shampoo, conditioner, soap
4. Canned vegetables and fruit
5. Canned soups – creamed soups as well as regular soups
6. Canned tomato products – diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, spaghetti sauce
8. Peanut butter
9. Soap – dish and hand
10. Cheese (in the freezer)
That’s a basic list of what I stockpile and what I believe could work for any family. Of course, you can and should adapt that to what is right for you. If you don’t eat a lot of pasta, don’t stockpile it. If you don’t cook with cream of chicken soups, pick something else to stockpile instead.
Here is a bonus list of stockpiling items. These are a couple of things that if you can find good deals and have the space, I believe it would be worth stockpiling. Again, stockpile these as they apply to you and your family.
2. Meat (in the freezer, obviously)
3. Condiments – salad dressing, ketchup, mustard
4. Flour and sugar
5. Chocolate chips
I have found my stockpile to be one of my greatest frugal savings because my stockpile allows me to reap the benefits of my savings throughout the year.
If you want more help in learning how to begin stockpiling, check out these how-to tips. If you have babies or little ones, be sure to learn how I stockpiled 4000 diapers for under $100.