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 be following a few rules to keep us on track.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 next 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.