December 17, 2014

Stockpiling 101: How to Build a Stockpile to Save Money

Feb 1, 2011

If you build a stockpile and carefully maintain it you can save a lot of money and always have your favorite products on hand! These are realistic tips and strategies for stockpiling to save money.


For many, the word “stockpiling” means buying lots of bottled water, batteries, and canned food in preparation for a snow storm or natural disaster. For couponers, it means never having to pay full price again.

stock·pile – A supply stored for future use, usually carefully accrued and maintained.

A stockpile is simply buying more than what you need for immediate use when prices are extremely low, so that you do not have to pay full price in the future. A stockpile can be a key part of saving money!

Here are my tips for stockpiling:

Buy Multiples

To start a stockpile you will need multiple coupons. In order to get multiple coupons, you will need to buy multiple Sunday newspapers, or collect coupons from your friends and family. Four of each coupon is a good place to start, but you can do more in the beginning when building your stockpile.

Wait for Sales

When items go on sale at a deep discount, that is when you want to use all your coupons. Say, for instance, that pasta has gone on sale for $1 and you have a $0.25 coupon and your store will triple coupons. That makes the pasta just $0.25, which is a great price. So, if you have four $0.25 coupons then you could buy four boxes and pay just $0.25 per box! Of course, you may not need all four boxes this week or even next week, but if you eat pasta regularly then you will use them eventually. This way, you get to pay a rock bottom price for pasta and you won’t have to pay full price for it the next time you need it. You have enough to last you until the next time it goes on sale.

Sales Cycles

Stores run sales in cycles. Everything typically goes on sale about every 8 – 12 weeks. If you buy 8 – 12 weeks worth of everything when it goes on sale, then you will have enough to last you until the next time it goes on sale. If your family eats one box of cereal per week, then go ahead and buy several boxes. If your family only eats one box a month, then maybe just buy a couple boxes.

Buy Only What You Like

It is very important that you only stockpile foods and products that you know your family will actually use. Don’t buy 10 boxes of cereal that your family has never tried before or it may never get eaten. If your husband does not like a certain brand of deodorant, don’t stockpile that brand, even if it’s FREE. Yes, I just told you not to get something if it’s free. If you won’t use it, what’s the point? By buying it you are just preventing someone who could actually use it from buying it and taking up valuable storage space in your home.

Watch Expiration Dates

You have to keep an eye on expiration dates when you stockpile. It is very important to rotate your stockpile. That means you need to put the new items you purchase at the back and keep the oldest products at the front where you can get to them. Keep in mind that even toothpaste expires! It takes a long time, but if you look at the tube, there actually is an expiration date on there!

Don’t Go Overboard

It’s very tempting to buy tons and tons of products – especially when they’re free. Please remember the 8 – 12 week sales cycle. It WILL go on sale again! You don’t have to buy 50 tubes of toothpaste right now. Buy a few now, then buy a few again the next time it goes on sale. If you realize you’ve accumulated too many tubes, skip a few sales. Save your gas, energy, space, and time instead.

If you build a stockpile and carefully maintain it you can save a lot of money and always have your favorite products on hand! No more running to the store at 10 pm because you’ve run out of diapers!

Do you stockpile?

Photo Credit


Comments

  1. May I suggest that the items that you get for free that you won’t use, such as cereal or deodorant, donate it to your local food bank, etc.? You’re helping someone yet not having to worry about where to put your stockpile.

    • @Stacy, Absolutely! I did not mention this in the post though because I wanted to focus specifically on building a stockpile to save money.

    • @Stacy,

      By not buying products and letting others buy them on sale you are helping others. Don’t hoard for the sake of donating.

      • I don’t hoard by any means. I just get the free products because otherwise my money for the papers has gone to waste and I would rather other people that can’t afford these products much less a subscription to many sets of newspapers to benefit from the products that I don’t use but can get for free. I have been able to donate to local food banks as well as to others that have been affected by flooding, etc.

        Stephanie, I didn’t mean to start up a controversy. I just wanted to mention a different option for the items that are free but you don’t use.

        Thanks for your posts. I look at them religiously and have benefitted a lot from them!

        • @Stacy,
          Donating can also be a great way to unload stuff that you have stockpiled, but then realized you (or your kids) don’t like it. That’s how it is with my family. My husband for example bought a ton of cereal, most of which we won’t go through in a 2mo. time span, so we gave away about 5 boxes to the church pantry. We still have a ton, and we have a lot to learn yet, but we will get there. :)

        • @Stacy, No worries, Stacy! I feel now like I should have addressed your point in the post, but the past is the past and there’s no changing it now!

  2. Overall, I absolutely agree with this post. However, if couponers are able to get free items that they personally won’t use, it’s really beneficial to donate these items to the local food bank. There is an entire blog dedicated to this exact purpose at

    http://www.pennyexperiment.com

    • @Courtney, I agree, I think donating is a wonderful thing to do. However, I wanted to focus specifically on building a stockpile to save money and I don’t consider buying items you won’t use as a way to build a stockpile or save money. I think writing a post about donating is in my future. :)

  3. I just started stockpiling at the beginning of the year and I’ve already decided I can stop for now. I only bought cereals we like, lots of pasta (since we eat it at least once a week) and lots of paper/plastic products. It’s such a wonderful feeling to know I have all that stuff in my pantry! Plus, I’m already saving on my weekly grocery shopping because I don’t need to buy many of the items I’ve already stockpiled at low, low prices!

    • @Anne, That’s great!! I sometimes have to stop stockpiling for months at a time so that we can eat up some of our stash; we just don’t have that much storage space! It really helps to keep our weekly budget low too!

  4. I am stockpiling all my free health and beauty stuff to give to my sister and aunt for their birthdays. They live on limited incomes so a big box in the mail full of name brand products they wouldn’t be able to get themselves and that they’re guaranteed to use should make for a happy birthday.

  5. I’ve started stockpiling, and it’s been great this winter, since it’s been such a harsh one. Sometimes, I just don’t want to go to the grocery store, so I just head off to the basement! We call it the Apocalypse Room – since that’s what we seem to be set for ;)

  6. I don’t how you ladies do it. NONE of the stores in my area double coupons let alone triple them and I can only use a limited amount of printed coupons as well. We use coupons when we can and get some deals but normally those are limited (5 per person and such). What cities/states do you all live in? (Lakeland, FL) here.

    • @Steve, I would recommend taking a look at http://www.iheartpublix.com/ for deals and such. I don’t live there so I don’t have experience with this store myself, but i took a look @ the website and you can get some good tips on sales that are coming up. Blessings…

    • @Steve, I am in NE Tx and I know it’s hard when stores don’t double. You can still benefit from drug store shopping though and you might also benefit from bulk shopping at club stores.

    • lakeland florida here also. no doubling that I have found here either, just have to follow the store deal. I did do 50% at walmart and cvs and walgreens and winn dixie, that was a good day but long.

  7. Ok can I just say that I am drooling over the photo of the pantry? How cool is that thing? Mine is just a tiny linen closet type thing (like 4 far apart shelves).

  8. Any suggestions for storage of your stockpile. I love to buy multiples of stuff that we use alot, or will be using before expiration. Unfortunately, we have very little storage in our house…no pantry, no laundry room, no linen closet. On more than one occassion have I gone out and paid full price for something only to later find the free one that I had gotten awhile back. Any suggestions for storage or organization of stockpiles when you have little to no room?

    • @Paige,

      Under the bed boxes! Or add another shelf to your closet. I seriously recommend the container store for anyone living without storage, they will really help you get organized and find space. They are having a 30% off sale until Feb. 15th. I live in 1000 sqft (in Texas thats teeny!) and I have sooo much storage now.
      I also bought a stand alone cabinet for our bathroom that has shelves covered by a glass door on top, and a cabinet covered by a solid door on bottom. Stockpile on top, towels below, its working out great.

    • @Paige, I second the under bed storage boxes. Also over the door shoe organizers are AWESOME for storing a ton of different things… bottles of hair products, brushes, candles, hand towels, etc in the bathroom; pouch mixes, condiments, snacks, etc in the kitchen, etc. And if you have the room for it, they have small pantry cabinets. I have 2 of them in my workout room to store stuff since there are no closets. They are not like wardrobes, they are much more narrow and not as deep (or tall) so it may work for you (and they come in other colors in store, I have it in birch): http://www.target.com/ClosetMaid-Pantry-Cabinet-Alder/dp/B002IPG48M/ref=sc_qi_detaillink

    • I had my husband cut me some 6 x 6 boards out of some scrap plywood he had. I use it to put between layers on deoderant, shaving cream, and other items that don’t stack well. I have 4 layers of 8 sticks of deoderant in a 6 x 6 area under my bathroom sink!

  9. Great post, and so appropriate considering the weather you’ve had this week to shut schools and the airport down :-)

  10. I have just started stockpiling in the last few months and am very happy that I did. My husband has been laid off since the middle of dec. and We have been able to use the stockpile and keep adding to it with just change that I saved from my stock piling efforts. I do get at least one freebie even if I don’t whether I am going to like it because I refuse to pay for something I might not like. We try it the stuff that we don’t I set aside. We have a dear friend that just recently took in her brothers three kids to raise while the parents are fighting cancer making them a family of 9 on a very limited income due to this, the fact that they are from a small town and she has so many children to raise she doesn’t have time to do much shopping. When my hubby was working he often had to stay in hotels but always took his own soap ans shampoo but grabbed the small ones for me to stockpile (they were already paid for) So I have been stockpiling the freebies we don’t like and others for them. I have also been stockpiling other things like gum and mints, cough drops to send to my brother who is serving in iraq.

  11. Question.
    How much have you guys spent housing your stockpile? Shelves, bins, boxes…. Whats your method, and how cheap have you been able to make space for your stockpile?

    • @D’Ann, I personally don’t have anything extra for stockpile stuff except for one under the bed storage bin which was given to me from my dad since it was no longer being used. The rest of my stuff is in my regular storage spaces. My food is carefully stacked in the pantry and then I have a bunch of cans stacked under a small table w/ table cloth that is in a corner of a room that we use for a small Christmas tree during the holidays and just has my Kone vacuum on it during the rest of the year. Toiletries are in bathroom cabinets, medicine cabinet, and linen closet. If I didn’t have that stuff for storage, I wouldn’t mind paying in the beginning to make/buy myself some storage since it would be a one time expense. If you can have someone (or do it yourself) build simple shelves in the garage/basement/closet/etc that would be very cheap. My dad built me very basic shelves in my garage when I moved here to hold bins of Christmas decorations and yard stuff. I don’t even have them painted they are just wood and big white brackets.

  12. Another idea….
    I do not have kids but always find coupons for baby wash, diapers, wipes, destin etc…. so when it goes on sale i stock up on the stuff i have a seperate shelf of my stock pile for this kind of stuff…. then when i have a baby shower to go to i buy a cute basket and fill it up with these goodies i got for near free…. stockpiling not only saves you on groceries but on gifts to…. my latest one would have cost 40 dollars in the store i paid maybe 10 for everything in it and 2.50 for the basket at a garage sale! And it is much more useful than a ceramic piggy bank for 15 dollars :)

  13. I have been a couponer for many years but not an “extreme couponer”. Now that food prices are going up, I am very interested in becoming an extreme couponer and would like all the information I can get as to how to go about it. If I can’t use all the “stuff” my kids and grandkids can, as well as my church food pantry. Thanks.

  14. Jessi Butti says:

    I recently moved to Plano TX, just outside of Dallas, and I am not sure how I start finding stores that double coupons. We have so many different grocery stores does anyone know what stores have the best deals in this area?

    • I just did a quick Google search, and found that there are Kroger grocery stores in your area. I’m sure you can probably do a much better job than I did and do a Google search to find even more grocery stores in your area. Once you find out what stores are in your area, do a Google search for something like “Kroger coupon matchups” for each store that you find; at least one couponing site is bound to keep coming up for every store that you search. Follow that site to find out your coupon deals. Good luck!

      Laurel H.
      HarperAcademy.com
      Always learning

  15. I live in a small apartment, without much storage space. I’d like to start a stockpile of things we are constantly running out of, but I’m not sure where to store it all. Does anyone have suggestions on ways to store a small-modest stockpile that won’t involve my buying tons of plastic containers? (We have a very very tight budget right now, and don’t have much room for extras that aren’t a necessity) Thanks for any input! :o)

    • Some of the best “real estate” is under the bed. If you do not store anything there right now, that is a great place to store your stockpile. Pick up some of the boxes that grocery stores get their items in (i.e., the box that a case of 12 or 16 spaghetti jars comes in); these boxes are shallow and can slide under your bed–and they’re free! Another idea is to install a shelf just a foot or so below the ceiling in an area like your kitchen, and food can be stored there as well. I too had to become very creative once I started stockpiling.

      Laurel H.
      HarperAcademy.com
      Always learning

  16. to had an issue with storing a stockpile, soooo, I lookes around at dead space, like on the left and right side of closets where the wall covers and you have to climb in to use, well my husband put shelves in, now stores tp, soaps etc. Also bottam back lower closets, ours, we purchased narrow shelves, closet organizer with cubes and then the shoe organizer, cube one holds body soaps, shampoos, ets. Shoe organizer holds medicines etc. Now what about those toothbrushes and razors, well get a 2×3 or size to your needs of peg board find an open unused area, and voila hooks and there they are hanging up out of your way. I put a long shelf up over pantry and freezer for paper towels and plates etc. Yes my stockpile is scattered thru house but in rooms where most likely will be used. Once you start looking around house is amazing where you can find organized storage, and for those in an apartment there is room too, Top shelves of kids closets and so on. Just be creative and in no time you are amazed how organized you are. I keep a clip board with a list and quantity nearby each storage area, then when I check it ince a month can see how many I should keep on hand and make my list accordingly. Was not always this way.

  17. Betty Fernandez says:

    Hi, I just discovered your website this afternoon. This is very interesting! I stayed up last night clipping coupons which I had accumulated for about 3 months.I never made the time to clip. Of course, alot were expired! Anyway, I have a bunch and will review them to use this week at supermarket. I am from northern nj and will concentrate on Shoprite and Pathmark.I’ve got 5 kids ranging from 24-14, so you can imagine how much I spend on groceries every week! I also shop at CVS. They may be a little more expensive than Walgreens. but with the CVS card, you get extrabucks back for the next shopping trip. They also have some good sales sometimes. Bjs and costco have good prices, but sometimes the food expires in my home. So, I’m going to try couponing and see how it goes. Thanks for the website!

  18. About a month ago I bought 30 bottles of this pet cleaner for $.99 cents and I had a dollar coupon. It was on clearance. I had no use for pet cleaner so I donated these to Save A Pet. I agree… just because it’s free doesn’t mean you have to buy it, BUT if someone else or place could use it, use your talent for couponing to help others!
    I love this website by the way!

  19. I’m extremely new to couponing, and have only used a handful in stores. I print coupons off the internet, and I’ve seen on your website that you absolutely cannot copy coupons. I have subscribed to an online coupon website, and I was wondering if I print off a certain coupon, then sign off and back on and click the same coupon to print again, if I buy two of the products, can I use them both or is that considered copying coupons?

    • Hi Corey! Welcome to the couponing world! :) You should be fine to do what you mentioned above. Printable coupon limits are tracked on each computer. Usually there is a limit of 2 prints per computer. You may print as many coupons as your computer allows you to. So what you’re talking about is NOT considered copying coupons. :) Copying coupons is literally taking the couponing and making a copy of it. Hope that helps! Good luck!

  20. I have couponed on and off for a few years now. Never enough to make a real dent on anything but a few bucks. I just got back into it and already spent 11 hours in two days cutting, sorting and looking through websites to figure this out. I guess for me, I am going to really have to pile up on saving more coupons because everything I have is not what is currently on sale now!

    It frustrating to have spent so much timeon couponing and come up with zero savings :(

    Annie

  21. I have a question about using multiple coupons. I am aware that you cant typically use two coupons on the same item but I see people on tv (yeah I know) and they will buy entire pallets of stuff with a stack of coupons. How is it possible to use 100+ of the same coupon on 100+ of the same item? Dont the stores prevent this or is it out of their hands?

    I am in Philadelphia and am new to couponing but want to start a stockpile. Can I just roll up with 10 of the same coupon and apply it to 10 items? I’m just having trouble wrapping my head around this. All of the coupon policies I read (shoprite/fresh grocer, pathmark, superfresh) all seem to dislike people using massive ammounts of the same coupon. Is there a way around this?

    • Eric, technically this is “legal”. However, it’s in very very poor etiquette and is highly unrealistic. What you see on Extreme Couponing is not normal, everyday couponing. I would say 10 items with the same coupon on a sale is probably the MAX amount of items I would personally buy. I don’t believe in clearing the shelves. Couponers should help each other out and leave some on the shelf so that everybody can score the deal! :D Also, it would require a significant amount of either money or time to acquire 100+ coupons for those items. Good luck!

      • Thanks. Got a hold of 3 SS circulars so I have a small arsenal to use for my wee little stockpile (which this week will be trying to get ban fresh wipes (cause they’re free and I work in a kitchen. It would be HILARIOUS to put them in the kitchen bathroom… Everyone smelling like ladies and all) and some free tubes of fancy colgate that are also free from CVS. My next hurdle is to get a printer so I can really start to reap free match ups. Theres so many good printable coupons and I really like the fact that this site matches up the whole US. This is cool stuff!

  22. Great tips – we can all get a little carried away. When we start stockpiling stuff that we don’t need and will probably never use – it hurts us emotionally and financially.

  23. I was wondering if you had a way to help a newbie with a list of items that could be good to stock up on. I am searching for a way to keep an itemized list of what I have, what I need and what I donate for tax purposes but I am having a hard time finding a template.

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