One year ago, I challenged myself to build up a stockpile of personal care, cleaning products and select food items with a budget of $10 per week. My strategy would be to hit the drug stores and take advantage of rock-bottom prices, roll rewards and use coupons to get the biggest bang for my buck. Well the year has come and gone, and I have learned so much!
Lesson #1: Follow a List
Couponing can be overwhelming. Especially when we set our expectations high, hoping for savings of 80% or more on every single shopping trip. After a while, we can get burned out and just plain give up. But by focusing our efforts on a small list of select products we use most often, we are able to see some real savings in our budget, without all the stress.
Create a list of frequently used personal care, cleaning and shelf-stable food items you would like to stock up on. Then focus your couponing efforts on these things ONLY! You can hit the drug stores, Walmart and Target to snag them at their rock-bottom prices throughout the year.
Lesson #2: Weekly Coupon Shopping is Not Necessary
Last year was about shopping with a $10 weekly budget. But there were plenty of weeks where the deals were thin, or I was just too busy. Conversely, there were other weeks where the deals were plentiful and I would have benefited from a larger budget. So the next time, I will give myself a budget of $43 per month, and shop only on the best weeks.
Lesson #3: Specific Goals are Important
My stockpile shopping list not only told me what to buy, it also gave me a quantity goal. This goal was an estimate of how much my family would need for a 6-12 month period. Having a quantity in mind helped me stay on track, and guided my purchase decisions so I knew what to focus on, and when I had enough.
Lesson #4: Avoid Stockpiling Junk Food, Cereal and Beverages
Some of you might disagree with this, and that is fine! Your stockpile list should suit YOUR family! But for us, I found that my kids would have an extra bowl of cereal, and an extra handful of chips if they knew we had plenty left in the pantry. It just didn’t save us any money to have these things in my stockpile.
Lesson #5: Give Yourself Grace
When it comes time to plan your meals and buy your groceries, you can rest a little easier with a fully stocked pantry. In time, you’ll see your overall spending decrease because of the work you’re doing on building your stockpile and you’ll have a little wiggle room to buy what you need to feed your family nutritious, healthful and enjoyable meals.
So, How Did I Do?
With my $10 weekly budget, I was able to buy enough products to get my family of 7 through all of 2013, AND set aside the following quantities for 2014. I estimate my savings at $23/week over what I would pay if I had to buy these items at regular price. That’s a savings of $100 per month!
Shampoo – 20
Conditioner – 19
Body Wash – 19
Toothpaste – 19
Toothbrushes – 20
Floss – 6
Mouthwash – 5
Deodorant – 12
Hand Soap – 41
Hand Sanitizer – 10
Dryer Sheets – 351
Dish Detergent – 11
Toilet Paper – 221 double rolls
Soup – 14
Ketchup – 2
Mustard – 7
Mayo – 1
Diced Tomatoes – 17
Canned Pumpkin – 8
Dried Pasta – 8
Peanut Butter – 13
Jam – 11
Would You Like to Join Us?
If you’ve been wanting to improve your spending, but have grown tired of couponing, then join me over the next several days as I share a tutorial for successful stockpile shopping, including some free printables! If you decide to participate, we’ll have some giveaways and contests as added incentive!