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Coupon Mom: How to Create a Stockpile and is it Worth it? Part One
Have you ever seen photos of people’s stockpiles and wondered how they got it – or just how much they spent? Well, today I am opening up my hall closet to show you my stockpile and tell you how I got it and how much I spent; and give you instructions on how you can do this too.
The importance of a stockpile
Oftentimes when people see another’s stockpile they think that person is greedy, or cheating to get it, or a hoarder. Sometimes this may be true, but usually this person is just smart. Having a stockpile is smart for a few reasons. First, it truly saves you money. I will outline this later on. Second, it is safety. What if you lost your job, or had an emergency come up that sucked your funds dry? Those things that are in your stockpile can often sustain you – or at least cause you to not have to spend money on those necessities. Third, it just makes sense. Why would you spend thousands on things, when you can get them for hundreds instead? You could save that money and pay off your debt, or save it for a great vacation.
Where to keep your stockpile
Honestly, a garage is an ideal place to create your stockpile. It is out of the way, but usually still accessible. If you don’t have a garage, maybe you can clean out a closet. That is what I did. I do not have a garage and so when I saw the large closet upstairs I immediately designated it as my stockpile closet. You will be amazed how much you can fit into other areas when you really want a free closet. If you don’t have a closet, I know somebody who keeps hers in rolling under the bed boxes, and some dressers in the same room. If you try hard you can almost always find a space.
How to get a stockpile
The photos you have been seeing are of my own personal stockpile. This took me six months to build. It is easy, but it is not quick and it can often be time consuming. However, the trade is worth it. While I will spell out exactly what my stockpile contains and how much I saved in part two, I spent about $185 on everything you see pictured and it has a retail value of nearly two-thousand dollars. That is a huge savings in my opinion.
The first thing to do is decide which stores you want to frequent. These are ones you want to look at for yourself each week when the advertisements come out. It can be overwhelming to check every single store in your town, so choose a few. If you hear of a good deal at another store of course you can still go there. I like Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens, and CVS Pharmacy. In my opinion they have the best deals if you are willing to roll the register rewards that print out. Walgreens and CVS are great for things like toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, etc. Walgreens is often great for Cottonelle toilet paper. Target varies a little more, but is good for food, makeup, nail polish, toys, and often very random but fantastic deals. Wal-Mart is great because they have a great coupon policy (You can read about all the amazing things you can do with coupons at Wal-Mart here) and you can find all sorts of deals there.
Deciding which grocery stores to frequent vary by location, but where I lived Smiths and Albertsons were great. For that, you can type into Google your store name and the word “matchups” and you can find all the sales paired with the coupons. Some bloggers will even tell you if this is a “stockup” price or not.
Find matchups for your favorite stores by doing the same thing as for the grocery store. Type the store name and “matchups” into Google. Odds are, once you have found a blog you like they will have all of your stores listed there to get the matchups.
Once you have found the matchups for your stores, check them every week. Sales usually change on Sunday for retail stores, often on Wednesday for grocery stores. Out of those sales; look for items that you use on a regular basis. Be open to new brands, or ones you do not usually use. This is the best way to get deals. I usually Secret Scent Expressions deodorant, but when the regular Secret went on sale and only cost .25 instead of the $3.89 on the other type I decided that I am now a regular Secret user. It is the same with Floss. While I can sometimes find Reach for free, I can easily get Oral-B floss for free. I now use Oral-B floss. Little changes like that can make a huge difference in your budget.
What to do once you have found a good sale
Once you have found a great deal on an item, you need to choose how much of it you will buy. You will notice in the photos that I have a LOT of shaving cream. My husband goes through a can every 3-4 weeks. My rule of thumb is if it will stay good that long, and shaving cream will, I try to stockpile 2 years worth. If it is food or will go bad I stockpile enough to last through the expiration date. The reason I chose 2 years is that some items go on really good sale once a year. I gather two years worth, and then the next year when half of it is gone I can grab another years worth – thus keeping me in stock of the items I need at the best price. It is not too much to store, but will last me if I find myself in a tight financial situation the next year around.
More often than not, the deal will require the use of coupons. How do you get enough coupons to buy ten of an item? There are a few ways. I usually bought 4 copies of the Sunday newspaper, so I always had 4 coupons. You can ask your friends and neighbors for their extra coupons. This has worked well for me in the past. You can order them from a clipping service. Despite controversy, this is not illegal. While coupons have no value, the work it takes to cut them out, organize them, purchase the newspapers, ship them, etc. all does have a value. You do not pay exorbitant amounts for these coupons, usually a few cents each. The amount you save will easily cover the cost ten times over. If you Google for “Coupon Clipping Service” you will find a number of places to order coupons.
Now it is time to go shopping. Remember a few things though: Do not clear the shelves. If you have to make several trips over the week, do it. Also remember that most coupons have a limit to how many of that exact same coupon you can use in one shopping trip. Usually it is 4; sometimes it is one or two. Often food coupons have no limit. A shopping trip to most stores ends when you walk out the doors of the store.
Once you get your items home
The organization part is very specific to each person. You have to organize your stockpile in a way that you and your family can find what they need, when they need it. My shelves are organized by need. My husbands’ specific products are all together. Cleaning/Laundry/paper goods are together. Toiletries are together. Feminine Hygiene is together. Food is in one area. You get the idea. Set up a system and see if it works. If not, reorganize. I reorganized my stockpile closet about three times before I found a system I think I can work with.
Now that you know how to get a stockpile, see my stockpile in part two where I lay out proof that you can do this, and for a fraction of the price.