Stockpiling Saturday – Reader Question

I had a reader e-mail me a couple weeks ago to ask me, “How?”  Just how exactly did I get started stockpiling?  With money already tight (long-time readers know this blog was born during a financially difficult time we were having a few years ago) how did I find the funds to “buy extra?”

Here is my response to her:

The very first thing I did when I decided to start couponing was to “clean out”.  I took inventory of everything I had in my pantry, fridge and freezer and planned meals around what I had.  For two weeks I only bought milk, fresh fruits and vegetables and spent about $25 on meat.  That money I save in those two weeks helped give a little “cushion” in my grocery budget – a little extra to get me started on the deals.

I was spending between $600-$700 a month on groceries (this included diapers and formula at the time).  In the first three months, I whittled it down to $450 a month.  Then eventually $400.  And now, I’m between $300 and $350 each month – but it’s been an 18 month journey.  It doesn’t happen overnight.

When you tell people to “stockpile” they immediately think it costs a lot of extra money to do that.  For example, to stockpile cereal at $4-$5 a box is crazy!  So you wouldn’t walk into a store tomorrow and buy 4 boxes – that would be $20!  But say that next week, Winn-Dixie had it on sale and after discounts and coupons it was $1.50 a box – you WOULD buy 4 boxes and it would cost you $6.  Which isn’t much more than what ONE costs at regular price.  Guess what?  You just stockpiled!  :)

Stockpiling with coupons is buying the MOST you can get at the LOWEST price possible.  You’ll find that you can go in a store and spend as much as you used to but leave with MORE stuff!  Now, this means you will have to plan your meals around what’s on sale. My husband has adapted very well.  He knows that he’ll get a steak when I can get NY Strips for $5.99/lb.  If we haven’t had steak in a while he knows it’s because it hasn’t been on sale and I won’t pay $9.99/lb for it.  Same goes for snacks – when I can get a good deal on Pringles, he can eat all the Pringles he wants.  But if the most recent deal was on Doritos, well, he’ll eat those too, until I can get cheap Pringles again.  I never pay full price for anything.  Sales are cyclical – they always come back around.  So when something is at it’s lowest price buy enough to last you until the next sale comes around (this is why it’s important to get multiple copies of the Sunday paper – so you have enough coupons to get several of an item when it goes on sale.)

Stockpiling is hard a first.  And you may find there are just some things you must get to get you by until you build up your stockpile.  But if you take inventory of what you have and then start watching the sales and utilizing your coupons you begin to see a difference.

I’m always here to answer questions, so ask away!  (If you ever leave me a question in the comments section, be sure to leave your e-mail so I can e-mail you my answer!)

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