I have a stockpile. No, I’m not an extreme couponer but I do have and maintain a stockpile. Why? A stockpile is one of the best ways to save money on a grocery bill.
Stockpiling has gotten a bad name from some extreme couponers. That’s a shame because done correctly and prudently, a stockpile will save you money. A stockpile is simply planning ahead and buying the items your family will use when they are at their lowest prices. That way, instead of running to the store the next time you are out of peanut butter and paying full price, you can simply go to your stockpile and grab a jar of peanut butter that you bought for only $1.50.
We all want to save money on our grocery bill and a stockpile allows you to do just that. It’s been years since I started stockpiling and it is one of the reasons I have been able to keep our grocery budget so low. Today, I want to share some tips for those of you who are interested in building your own grocery stockpile.
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1. Set aside a specific amount of your grocery budget to spend on building your stockpile.
I truly believe that anyone can stockpile even on a tight budget. By setting aside a specific amount each month, you are intentionally shopping for the future. You will be amazed at how far even $5 or $10 can go each month when you know it is specifically for your stockpile.
2. Take your time.
Building a stockpile doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. Be prepared to invest your time in finding good deals and be patient. As I have told many others, when you start to coupon and build a stockpile, your grocery bill might even increase slightly before it goes down. It takes time to learn how to find the best deals to save money. I promise that the more you work at it, the more your savings will increase!
3. Know your prices and watch for the best deals.
This is incredibly important! Stores often run sales that aren’t really all that great of a sale. On the other hand, every couple months a truly great sale does come along. If you know your prices, you can stock up when you see those great sales.
How do you know? Eventually, you will learn how to spot those great sales. For now, I recommend using this free printable of my stockpiling prices. When I can spot a deal at one of these prices, I will stock up. Some of these prices are achieved by combining sales and coupons but I can and do find prices this low. Scan the sale flyers for the stores nearest to you and be willing to shop at more than one store on occasion. Remember, take your time and watch for the best deals!
4. Stockpile the deals that your family will really use and donate the rest.
Start by making a list of 10 to 20 items that you know your family always uses. What is regularly on your grocery list? These are the items you want in your stockpile. Here are some of the items I always keep in my stockpile. Focus on stockpiling the items you regularly consume.
It’s also important to know when and where to be brand loyal in your stockpile. For example, I will buy a lot of generics but I only buy name brand chocolate chips. I’m not going to buy the generic ones even if they are a great deal because I know I won’t use them. I don’t want to spend my money buying a product that we won’t use.
That said, if I can get something for free – or even a quarter – I will most likely buy the product. If we won’t use it, I donate it. Food pantries are always in need of donations!
5. Keep track of what you have and what you want to have.
This is how you maintain a stockpile. If you already have 8 boxes of pasta, you can probably stockpile another item. This varies from family to family. You alone can make that decision. Is your salary tighter in some months than in others? Plan ahead and prepare your stockpile for those challenges.
Here’s my rule of thumb. With perishables and canned goods, I try to buy enough to get us to the next good sale. If things don’t expire (like toilet paper, toiletries, diapers and laundry detergent) and the sale is really good, I will buy as much as my budget allows.
Be sure to properly rotate your cans and boxes so you use them before they expire. You can store a stockpile almost anywhere – under beds, in small closets, or in the basement. Just find an unused spot and make it work for you.
6. You will have another opportunity to stock up.
Sales go in cycles that repeat every 8 to 12 weeks. There are also seasonal sales that vary. (Here’s another printable about sale cycles so you can watch for those.) If you miss a certain deal, just watch for the next one. Don’t be upset that you missed one sale. There will always be another sale and another deal.
Do you have a stockpile? If so, what would you add to this list?
For more information and tips about starting a stockpile, check out Everything You Need to Know about Stockpiles.