I'm going to be honest with you, when I first started seriously couponing and got peeks at some peoples stockpiles- I thought they were nuts. Really, who needs that much stuff? Of course, as I got more and more into it and realized how much I was getting for free or close to free, it began to make sense. Why not buy extras when they're priced this low and then not have to buy them at a higher price?
Of course, there are some obstacles...like finding enough room for all your extras, it takes a while to establish a decent stockpile of items without going over budget, and it can be hard to tell what price really is *rock bottom* when you first get started. The benefits are wonderful though. I don't have to run to the store when we realize we just ran out of something, I can skip a week of shopping and eat from the stockpile, we've got added variety to the menu, and I've cut my spending like crazy! Another bonus to the stockpile is the ability to gift it. One of my sister's friends recently had a baby and we were able to throw together a nice box of food to take over for her. You could do the same with a family you know going through a rough time or someone who needs just a bit of help. It's neat to see how excited people can be for something as simple as that.
Now that you know why I stockpile, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Focus on the free at first- starting out your stockpile with extra freebies will allow you to stay within budget while expanding your pantry
- Don't buy more that you can store- getting 50 free somethings is great, but not if you don't have anywhere to put it.
- Keep an eye out for deals on things you use all the time or things you wish you could afford to have all the time- I recently bought 10 bottles of vegetable oil because I love baking and was tired of searching for deals and paying full price all the time.
- Don't be shy- Remember all that free pasta salad? I had a conversation with a lady in front of piles of boxes, she was super excited to see it on sale for $1 a box because it was her favorite food. I politely told her they'd be free if she'd buy 2 or 10 boxes instead of just one. She was not interested because it was just her and she'd look silly. Thing is, the cashier doesn't know how many people you're feeding. If you feel really ridiculous, you could always make a comment about the amazing price and your excitement to donate it.
- Don't buy it just because it's free- if you don't like it, won't use it, or can't donate it then you don't have to buy it. You don't even need to buy it to donate it (I just like to when I can). It's really easy to go overboard with free and cheap things, so try to keep yourself in check.
- Not sure how much to buy? Be sure to look at expiration dates, and try to imagine how much of that item your family will use/consume before that date is up. Keep in mind that sales cycle through (on an 8 week basis generally) and you'll probably have an opportunity to get more in that time.