We have all seen those TV shows, you know the ones I’m talking about. The ones where the people are showing off their 50 packages of diapers, 40 bags of cat food and 60 boxes of cat litter. They tell the host how much money they saved and how great the deal was as they show off the overflowing shelves.
Then in a funny little twist, they admit they don’t have kids or cats. They bought the stuff only because they stacked multiple coupons and combined them with sales. The items were free or really cheap. Alrighty then… Umm, how about we learn to stockpile in a sane and sensible manner and try to avoid the hoarding?
Many people don’t understand the difference between hoarding and stockpiling. They may seem similar, but the intent or purpose are what sets them apart.
A great definition for hoarding is “keeping or collecting something beyond a reasonably expected use”. The example above with the diapers and cat stuff would fit this category as these people won’t be using the items. Buying and storing 60 bottles of ketchup is another such scenario. Aside from an upcoming party or hosting 30 or 40 BBQs this summer, why do you need all that ketchup?
On the other hand, stockpiling is simply setting yourself up with enough goods and supplies (whether it be food, shampoo or cat litter..) to get you by until the next time your preferred goods go on sale for those rock-bottom prices. (This is where that price book comes in handy..)
Another definition would be collecting supplies and goods in anticipation of an event or occasion. Thanksgiving dinner or a large party would be an example of this scenario. It’s very easy to learn to stockpile goods and not become a hoarder.
A couple of days ago we discussed sales cycles. The free printables in that article list what items are usually on sale at what times. It is a handy tool to help you plan your buying and stockpiling trips.
Learn to stockpile
Starting your stockpile is really easier than it sounds. Below is a simple scenario to get you going.
You use a lot of canned beans and need to buy some of your favorite Brand X beans. You have determined that you use approximately 6 or 7 cans per month.
By following the sales cycles and referring to your price book, you know that Brand X goes on sale for its lowest price of $1/can about every other month or every 8 weeks.
In order to have enough to last until the next rock-bottom sales price in about 8 weeks, you would need to buy at least 12-14 cans for $1 each.
If you can match that sale with coupons or rebates, it’s a bonus!
That is the heart of stockpiling – you are collecting goods or supplies for a reasonably expected use. You expect to use those 12-14 cans of beans in approximately 8 weeks.
A key to stockpiling is to always use your oldest goods first. Rotating the products is the way to keep your stock from expiring. As you learn to stockpile, you’ll want to adopt the same practices that are used at the market when you buy your goods. Products expiring the soonest are the ones they want to sell and get off the shelves the quickest.
On your shelf, you always want to have the oldest item up front and your newest products go in behind them. I like to use my sharpie and I write the expiration date on top of cans (or on the side – wherever it is most visible to me). This means my oldest products are always the first to be consumed.
the other side of stockpiling
There is another side of stockpiling in regards to disaster or emergency preparation. While I am a firm believer and participant in this practice to a point, I won’t get into that at the moment. Down the road, we’ll delve deeper into this subject as it is a good idea to be prepared for any emergency – whether it be caused by nature or humans.
But for now, we’re going to leave you to learn to stockpile from a couponer’s perspective and save money while you’re doing it. (If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.)
Join us tomorrow for the next installment in our 31 Days to Super Savings.