Welcome FUSION readers!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


{Stockpile shelves from our garage}

I haven't been able to cut my grocery budget in half simply by using coupons. I cut it in half by using a shopping strategy called STOCKPILING. Until 2008, I had never even heard of this term as it relates to grocery shopping.

Here's an overview of the concept:

Coupon stockpiling is purchasing as much of an item as you can (or as much as you will use) when it is at a rock bottom price. Typically, this involves the use of coupons but not always. When you find a really good deal on an item, you should "stock up." Why? Well, if you buy enough of that item when it is at a super low price, then you won't be stuck paying full price the next time you run out. Instead, you will pull from your home stockpile during the weeks when that item is not on sale.

Let's use cereal bars as an example. My daughter likes to eat these for breakfast and a box typically lasts about a week and a half. The regular price for Kellogg's Nutri-Grain bars is $2.99 at my Kroger. Let's say I find a deal and can get them for $1.24 a box, so I buy 4 boxes. My savings is $1.75 on each box or $8.75 total. The above example would be over a 6 week period. If we stretch the same concept to a year, I will have saved over $75 on that product alone.

Another example is soda. Good gracious that stuff is expensive. It retails for $4.99 for a 12-pack and my hubby goes through 2 of those in a week. I "stock up" on his favorite flavor when it is on sale for $2.50 or less. By doing this, I save us $260 a year!

In a nutshell, you should never have to pay full retail again. Every item has a sale cycle anywhere from 6-12 weeks long, meaning the length of time between sales. After a while you will start to notice the trends but keeping a price book can come in handy. Ideally, you want to purchase enough of an item at that rock bottom price to get you through until the next big sale on the same item.

Tips for stockpiling:

  • Create some room. Clean out the fridge and pantry for sure. Use the top of the fridge if necessary. Check the garage for space or see if you can put some shelving up. You can always get small tubs to slide under beds and the sofa. Consider buying an additional small freezer to keep meats.
  • Start slowly. Concentrate on 1-2 staple items each week.
  • Plan ahead. Keep a list of items that you are getting low on. Start looking for coupons for that item and match it up with a sale.
  • Know how much you need. Guesstimating can be trial and error for a while but you will get better at it as time goes by.
  • Make a price book. The way to spot a super low price is by tracking prices for items. My price book simply has the items listed in one column. In the next column I list the lowest price I have paid for those items after sales & coupons combined.
  • Check expiration dates. Try and get the best expiration date possible. This will ensure that your product makes it until you stock up again and doesn't go to waste. Check this site for shelf life recommendations.
  • Donate. If you went overboard on purchasing or just see that you are not going to use something up before the expiration date, please consider donating it. Check with a friend, a neighbor or even an organization to see if they can use those items. I assure you they will be greatly appreciative and you will feel good.
For my veteran stockpilers, what are some of your tips and tricks? For the newbies, what are your concerns with stockpiling?