Stockpiling: What is it, why should I do it?
The best way to save money on groceries is to stockpile. Stockpiling is buying a larger quantity of an item than you normally would because you are getting it at rock-bottom prices, sometimes even free! Stockpiling can mean different things to different people. It often depends on your individual circumstances, such as storage space or your grocery budget that week.
An example of stockpiling:
If I see that toothpaste is on sale for $1 and I have a $1 coupon, then the toothpaste would be free.
If I have 10 coupons for it, why not buy 10 toothpastes? It won't go bad and you can eliminate toothpaste from the budget for quite awhile.
Laundry detergent is on sale for $4.00 each. You have a coupon for $2.50 off. That makes the detergent only $1.50 each! Great price, especially when normally it is $6.00. You can buy 4 of them on sale with coupons for the same price as you'd normally pay for 1, so why not?
What do I stockpile?
There are many items that are great for stockpiling. Here is a list of some of things I keep a stockpile of:
Toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, mouth wash, shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, body washes, soap, razors, shaving cream, cough drops, bandaids, papertowels, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, dishwashing detergent, laundry detergent, fabric softener, handsoap, canned goods, pasta, cereals, jello & pudding mixes, cake mixes, muffin mixes, and the list goes on.
For most health & beauty, pharmacy, and cleaning supplies, the shelf life is going to be at least 1 year. So you can stock up on 1 years worth of these items without worries. For food items, I typically don't stockpile items with less than 6 months of a shelf life. I always check the products at the store for dates. Sometimes to cans or 2 boxes of cereal sitting side by side can vary on their use-by dates by several months or more.
Doesn't it cost more to buy 10 things?
If you just focus on 1 thing at a time & not try to rush out & get all of the deals possible, then stockpiling is a very viable option without increasing your grocery budget. Obviously if 5 items you'd like to stockpile are all on sale and you have coupons to make for a great price, if you bought 10 of each, you would still be paying quite a bit up front for all of those items. If that is in your budget, great! If not, don't worry or get discouraged. Sales happen frequently. If you are able to eliminate one thing from your budget at a time, you can free up cash for the next item to stockpile and reduce your expenses. After just a few months, I bet you'll notice a difference in both your budget and your shopping habits.
Some sales also happen in cycles.
If you are brand loyal, stockpiling can be harder because when the particular product you use is on a killer sale, that particular brand may not go on sale again for awhile. If you aren't brand loyal on things, it is a bit easier.
Also, sales are seasonal. In the first of the year and in the spring, cleaning and pharmacy items go on sale a lot. In the summer, the bbq sauces, seasoning, condiments, and other summery items are on sale, in the fall/winter baking items and soups/chilis are often on sale. That is why it is great to stock up for a year during those time frames.