Stockpiling Tips & Tricks
Cereal was getting low in my stockpile (read: my children were tired of eating plain Cheerios and Raisin Bran) and when I saw Fred Meyer had Honey Bunches of Oats on sale for $1 each after Catalina, I stocked up. I went to three stores and did three transactions at each store. No shelves were cleared and for the most part we survived the outing! Here are a few tips for stockpiling.
Set a budget
Just as you set a budget for your groceries each week or each month, set a budget for what you will spend on your stockpile. I currently allocate 10-20% of my monthly budget for stockpiling. When you first start to stockpile, this percentage might be higher, but will decrease over time.
Multiple stores and transactions
Clearing the shelves is not nice and quite frustrating for those who just want to purchase a few of the items on sale. By shopping at a number of stores, others still have the opportunity to purchase the items on sale. Most stores will also allow you to do multiple transactions in one trip. Two exceptions are Safeway and Rite Aid. Safeway is an exception when using the double coupon as it clearly states one transaction per household per week. Rite Aid’s +UP Rewards are not valid the same day printed. In those cases, shop multiple stores and/or multiple days. For other stores, I am most comfortable with two to three transactions back to back.
Shop sales early
A store’s stock will be high at the beginning of the sale cycle, giving you the highest probability that the product will be available and in larger quantity. Shopping mid-morning is also great as lines are low and most cashiers don’t mind doing multiple transactions.
Keep an inventory
Keep track of your stockpile and know when something is getting low. Once you get down to less than a month’s worth of product, begin looking for those items on sale to replenish your stockpile.
Mind expiration dates
When buying multiples of one item, make sure the expiration date is far enough in advance that you have time to consume the product before it goes bad. Throwing away expired food does not save you money in the long run.
Know your numbers
Know how many boxes of cereal your family will consume in three months or how many razors your husband needs to last until the next big sale. Ten boxes of cereal may be the stockpile for you and your husband, while a family of five with three growing boys may consume that amount in less than a month! Focus on your numbers when looking at the sales and purchase only what your family will consume.
Pay attention to sale cycles
Sales occur in cycles. Some items are at their lowest price only once a year (school and office supplies in the summer, baking items in November), while others occur every three to four months (cereal, cheese, crackers, salad dressing, meat). We make it easy here at Frugal Living NW and only post the best deals. If the item is a “buy now or wait until next year,” we let you know!
Make sure you have enough coupons
In order to do multiple deals, you need multiple coupons. One of the BEST ways to do this is to get your hands on more than one set of Sunday newspaper insert coupons. We have an exclusive deal with the Oregonian for folks in the Portland Metro area (Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Yamhill, and Columbia counties). If you’d like to get up to 5 Sunday papers delivered for less than 1 in the store, check out one of our upcoming couponing web classes. They are FREE, take about 30 minutes, and it’s the only way to get in on this awesome deal! Go here for more info and to register for an upcoming class.
Make sure you also check out our post, 7 ways to build a stockpile on a budget!
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