New Series: Stockpiling on $10 Per Week

This week we begin a new series called Stockpiling on $10 Per Week. I have received so many emails from folks who are discouraged because they haven’t had success in growing their stockpiles.  Often they have a tight weekly budget, and don’t see any wiggle room for buying extra items when they are at their lowest prices.  So we will be venturing out with $10 each week to see what we can accomplish.

First off, the basics for those of you who are new.

What is a Stockpile?
Stockpiling is the most essential strategy of effective couponing.  In a nutshell, you stock up on items when they are at their lowest prices, using coupons to lower the price even further.  For example, if you usually pay $3 for shampoo, but can get it for $0.50 with a sale & a coupon, you would buy several and stock up so you can realize this savings for months. The ideal would be to have enough shampoo in your stockpile to get you through until the prices are at their lowest again and you can replenish them with the same (or similar) discounts.  Overall you are setting up a system that gets you free and cheap products indefinitely.

The problem is, we couponers are an ambitious bunch. If shampoo is $0.50, we might snag 10 of them. Then we might find deodorant on sale and decide to get a cartful. You can see how this enthusiasm for long-term savings could be a stress for someone whose week-to-week budget is tight.  We will be sticking to a $10 per week stockpiling budget so folks can see how much can be accomplished with it.  We will also be following a few rules to keep us on track.


  1. We will only be stockpiling essentials.  No cosmetics.  No candy.  No home fragrance items.  The only exception to this will be in cases when purchasing them will lead to a profit which can be used to purchase more items on our list.  We won’t be turning away free money.
  2. We will not be stockpiling items that will tempt our children (and us!) to overeat.  When I have 20 boxes of cereal in the house, my kids eat it twice as fast if I’m not careful.  So chips, candy, snack foods and cereal are out.  We will still be buying these things as part of our regular weekly budget, but we will not be using our $10 stockpiling fund on them.  For our family, it’s just not a good idea to have a excess of these items.
  3. For our personal stockpile, we will only be shopping at Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS and Dollar Tree because those are the stores in our area.
  4. We will assume we are starting with a zero stockpile.  Nothing at all stashed away.  Then we will measure how closely we can get to our goal amounts in a year.
  5. We will never spend more than $10.  If we have a week where the pickin’s are slim and we aren’t able to spend the entire $10, we will allow it to roll into the next week.  For example, if we spend $8.50, we will add $1.50 to our stockpiling budget for the following week.

Follow Along With Us & Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!
If you’d like to grow your stockpile, you can snag the deals we are snagging each week, or use your $10 for items on your own list. We can do this together! As a standing rule for the next 12 months whenever you share a photo along with list of your $10 Stockpile purchases and we use it on the blog, you will be entered for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card.  Just send your pics to momsbyheart at gmail dot com.  One winner will be chosen each month.

What if I Don’t Have $10 Extra Per Week?
Technically, you don’t have to. If I wasn’t using this money to stockpile, I would use it to purchase my immediate needs for toothpaste, laundry detergent or other essentials. Instead I am using it strategically to buy more quantities of the products I need.  Sticking to a $10 limit and purchasing items you need anyway should limit or eliminate any extra out-of-pocket expense.

Our List of Essentials for Stockpiling (and how we decided on them)
We wanted our $10 per week to go toward items that would save us the most money in the long run. So we started by eliminating items that would get overused if we had extras. Next we wrote down all the personal care and household items we use on a regular basis and approximated how many we go through in a month to arrive at a 12 month goal.

Remember we have a big family so you might need considerably less!

Shampoo – 2 regular size bottles per month = 24
Conditioner – 1.5 regular size bottle per month = 18
Body Wash – 2 regular size bottles per month = 24
Toothpaste – 2 regular size tubes per month = 24
Toothbrushes – 7 per month = 84
Floss – 1 pack per month = 12
Mouthwash – 1 regular size bottle per month = 12
Deodorant – 2 per month = 24
Hand Soap – 3 regular bottles per month = 36
Hand Sanitizer – 2 bottles per month = 24

Laundry Detergent – 14 loads per week = 728 loads
Dryer Sheets – 7 sheets per week (I cut them in half) = 364 sheets
Dishwasher Detergent – 14 loads per week = 728 loads
Dish Detergent – 1 regular bottle per month = 12
Toilet Paper – 7 double rolls per week = 364 double rolls
All Purpose Cleaner – 1 regular bottle per month = 12
Furniture Spray – 2 regular bottles per month = 24

Next we identified our families top 10 non-perishable food items and calculated how many we would need. For this category our goal is to have 6 MONTHS WORTH on hand:

Soup – 1 can per week = 26
Ketchup – 1 regular size bottle per month = 6
Mustard – 1 regular size bottle per month = 6
Mayo – 1 regular size jar per month = 6
Diced Tomatoes – 1 large cans per week = 26
Canned Pumpkin – 1 regular size can per month = 6
Tuna – 2 cans per week = 52
Dried Pasta – 2 packages per month = 12
Peanut Butter – 1 jar per month = 6
Jam – 2 jars per month = 12
Salsa – 2 jars per month = 24

The weekly/monthly needs listed here are an estimate only. Since we will be using these items as the year goes on, they will need constant replenishing in order to keep the desired number on hand. Our goal in this experiment is to arrive at December 31st with all of these items in our pantry in the quantity above.  Our hope is that these post will provide encouragement for newbies and seasoned couponers to build their stockpiles and slash their spending in 2013.

Tomorrow we will share our first shopping trip. Subscribe to Moms by Heart so you don’t miss a thing!

UPDATE: See our purchases on our Pinterest Stockpiling Board.


  1. Thanks for doing this! I’m excited to follow along!

  2. I am so excited about this series. I recently began couponing heavily again, and I am so excited to be sticking to it this time and seeing the fruits of my time and energy in the savings at the register and each month when I construct my budget.

    Stockpiling is amazing. I began my first stockpile in 2010, and I ran out of stockpiled items at the beginning of 2012. It was several months after I had taken a year and half break from extreme couponing.

    Now that I am back on the bandwagon I am starting a small stockpile. My stockpile items are generally cleaners, body care, mouth care, hair care, some freezer items, and some household items when I can get them for such a cheap deal.

    Thank you for sharing your series with us; I am very excited to play along.
    Gabrielle from Denton, TX

  3. Can’t wait to start !!

  4. I am interested in couponing but get so confused by the use this and then you can use that… I am excited to see you explain this out and have it be something we can follow along with- thanks for taking the time to do it!

    • Hey Crystal,
      I used to have a hard time, but what makes it much easier is that blogs like this one put together a coupon match-up shopping list for you each week.
      Each week I pick up 2 local news papers with ads/coupon inserts. After clipping the coupons I know that I’ll use, I organize them. I keep all my coupons organized by grocery types (Baby, Pet, Body Care, Mouth Care, Paper Goods, Cleaners, Medicine, Target, etc.) in an old wipes container. I cut little portfolio folders and keep them from falling all over the place in that. Then I print off a list, either from Moms by Heart or Common Sense with Money a day or two before a shopping trip. I circle the items that I want to buy with my coupons for each list (Walgreens, CVS, Target, and Dollar Tree). I generally only go to 2 stores in 1 week unless there is a GREAT deal somewhere that I can’t pass up, then I might go to 3. I pull the coupons and put them in envelopes for that particular store. I also make a short list of needs for the week (usually consists of eggs, bread, milk, etc). For these items I try to scour weekly ads to find the best deal and do price match at Walmart.
      Today I went to Walgreens and spent $11.25. You can see my coupon deal at my blog.
      Tomorrow I will go to Walmart to purchase my need items that I didn’t find with my coupons elsewhere and hopefully price match a few items.
      It takes a little while to learn everything so you have to start small and be organized. It doesn’t work if you don’t stay organized. I like to shop at nighttime when I’m price matching because there are fewer people around to wait on me. I shop at Walgreens and/or CVS during my lunch break once per week.
      MomsbyHeart is a great place to learn how to coupon the right way :) you’ll see the savings immediately!

  5. Woohoo! I just got 5 cans of progressive soup. 2 Pantene prov shampoos (full size), sauve kids shampoo & 8 rolls of angel soft for $5.03. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  6. my weeks 2 grab with an extra 10 bucks- not as huge as last week, but some good items so we were happy about it!

  7. I just wanted to thank you for this series! I love the way you have broken it down and put specific guidelines to follow which has simplified it and made it just click for me. I tweaked the list to fit my own families needs but have kept it simple and need based just like yours. I love your price match ups and knowing which stores take coupons and which ones have store coupons to double up on. In the past week I have gotten hair dye (unfortunately that is a need of mine! Haha) from Walgreens clearanced out for $3 each for 2 then used a $3/2 manufacturers coupon and combined it with a $4/2 store coupon ending up with $1 overage to use and then stumbled upon shredded wheat at dollar tree and had 2 $1/1 coupons for them which made them COMPLETLY free. I would not have known that I could do either one of those things prior to reading up on this series and reading your price matches each week. It has given me a lot of confidence and it really feels good to know that I have saved some of our family budget! Thanks again!

  8. I love the idea! & I am going to try to start doing it this week. :) I went crazy the last couple months seeing other people’s stockpiles & got close to digging us into a hole. :S & with a little one on the way… We can’t afford to do that again. I love this idea! & can’t wait to see it grow more & more as it goes. :D