Welcome to Part 2 of the Stockpiling Series. Last week, we learned all about how stockpile shopping works to drastically lower our weekly shopping budget. Today we will cover the ins-and-outs of formulating a shopping plan.
Focused couponing is a phrase I invented to describe my own unique method of couponing. I hear a lot of bloggers talk about feeding their family for $30 or $40 per week, and I have to say, I’m just not on board with that. I value meal time with my husband and kiddos very much, and do not want to cut corners in this area. So instead, I focus my frugal energy on saving money elsewhere. I know I can get personal care products, cleaning items and select food staples for pennies on the dollar, so that is where I spend my efforts.
Focusing on a few items has helped me avoid couponing burnout. It has kept me motivated by giving me specific and measurable goals, rather than the hit-or-miss method I was using before. If you have tried couponing in the past, only to be frustrated and overwhelmed, I strongly encourage you to give this method a try.
Play the Drug Store Game
If you’re not shopping at the drug stores, you’re missing out on some of the best freebies and cheapies you can get. In 2013, most of my stockpile shopping was done at CVS and Walgreens for this very reason.
You see, most stores have weekly sales that can be combined with manufacturer’s coupons for low prices, like this:
But drug stores also offer rewards programs and store coupons to add to the mix. The more deals you have to stack, the more potential you have to save:
With scenarios like this one, the idea is to use your rewards to buy items that produce more rewards, over and over again. When you “roll” your rewards each week, you can minimize your out-of-pocket expense and keep the savings going all year.
If you’re new to the drug store game, and not sure what all this “rewards” talk is about, you can read my Walgreens and CVS for Beginners post before proceeding. I recommend starting with one store until you learn the ropes.
Make a Plan
Once you understand the drug store game, it’s time to make a plan. Begin by making a list of items you would like to stock up on using the free printable HERE. This will be your goal list for the year, so you’ll want to keep it somewhere handy and refer back to it from time to time to update your quantities and evaluate your progress.
How Do I Know What To Include?
If you’re a couponing newbie, you may not be familiar with which products are easily snagged for free, or at rock-bottom prices. This sort of knowledge will come with experience, but for now, you can have a peek at my list below. It includes a variety of items that are pretty easy to get on-the-cheap if you keep up with the drug store deals. I have also included my target prices, but just remember that these will vary a little based on where you live.
Shampoo (target price: $0.50 or less)
Conditioner (target price: $0.50 or less)
Body Wash (target price: $0.50 or less)
Toothpaste (target price: FREE)
Toothbrushes (target price: $0.30 or less)
Mouthwash (target price: FREE)
Floss (target price: $0.50 or less)
Hand Soap (target price: $0.50 or less)
Hand Sanitizer (target price: $1 or less)
Deodorant (target price: FREE)
Razors (target price: FREE)
Feminine Care Products (target price: $1.50 or less)
Cleaning Spray (target price: $1 or less)
Toilet Paper (target price: $0.50 per double roll or less)
Laundry Detergent (target price: $0.06 per load or less)
Fabric Softener (target price: $0.06 per load or less)
Dish Liquid (target price: $0.50 or less)
Paper Towels (target price: $0.50 per roll)
Soup (target price: $0.60 or less)
Tuna (target price: $0.50 or less)
Canned or Frozen Fruit or Vegetables (target price: $0.40 or less)
Dried Pasta (target price: $0.60 or less)
Pasta Sauce (target price: $0.50 or less)
Peanut Butter (target price: $1.50 or less)
Jelly (target price: $1 or less)
Ketchup (target price: $0.50 or less)
Mustard (target price: $0.50 or less)
Mayo (target price: $2 or less)
Salad Dressing (target price: $1 or less)
BBQ Sauce (target price: $0.50 or less)
Set a Quantity Goal
Comb through this list and select the products your family uses most often. Then estimate how many you would need for a period of 6-12 months and add them to your list. For example, if you use one bottle of shampoo each month, your goal would be to have 6-12 in your stockpile.
Set a Budget & Stick To It!
In my opinion, the real savings comes when you challenge yourself to stick to a specific dollar amount every week. This will help you stay on track financially, and it will force you to be creative in your spending. I recommend starting with a budget of $5-$10 per week if you’re new to couponing. You can opt to spend your budget every week, or save it up for one big couponing trip each month. You’ll be surprised how far you can stretch it!
Tomorrow I will tell you how to find the the best stock-up prices each week without spending hours clipping coupons and pouring through sale ads! (Update: find it HERE).
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- Check out my haul from 2013 on a budget of $10/week
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