Learning To Coupon Series
Using Coupons to Stockpile
Your Own Personal Store!
If you are just starting to stockpile purchase, you will most likely spend more money up front, so prepare yourself for that. If you are starting to use coupons to save money, I do NOT suggest trying to stockpile purchase until you’re more able, financially. Stockpile purchasing is great for saving money long term, but can be devastating to your household budget in the short term if you don’t keep yourself under control. It’s easy to purchase like mad when you’re getting great deals. I think there is a little bit of addiction that can set in if you aren’t careful. Remember the cardinal rule: Just because there is a coupon for an item doesn’t mean you have to buy it.
If you’re wanting to purchase stockpile quantities, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Sales & Coupon Cycles
Coupons have availability cycles, just like stores have sales cycles. Often they match up well because manufacturers tend to put out coupons for items when they think consumers are more likely to buy them, or when they’re trying to boost sales on products. For example, you’ll start seeing more office/school supply coupons at some point in July, and continuing until September. During the same time period, stores will begin highlighting common school supply items in their weekly ads and in their “seasonal” merchandising areas.
So for the couponer, paying attention to these sales and coupon cycles is important. Don’t expect to find a coupon for everything you use in your house every week. That’s when it becomes smart to purchase things in larger quantities when they are on sale and when there are coupons available for them. For example, I happened to catch a sale on Libby’s canned vegetables for $0.50 per can several months ago at Dollar General.
At the same time, there was a coupon available for $1/4. I had inserts from Insert Insanity, which had that coupon, but didn’t want to buy more sets of inserts for just that coupon. So I ordered extra coupons from WizClipz. That scored me canned vegetables for only $0.25 per can. These are regularly $0.85 at Dollar General. Of course, my Dollar General didn’t have enough for me to truly stock up without wiping out the shelves. So I did what any thoughtful couponer would do, and came up with a Plan B. I price matched the ad at Walmart. Between my insert coupons, the extra clipped coupons I ordered, and the printable coupons, I was able to purchase around 300 cans of vegetables. Needless to say, we haven’t needed to buy canned veggies, since! The money we would have used for canned vegetables throughout the rest of the year is now cleared up to spend elsewhere or save.
Clearance Prices Are Your Friend
Clearance sales can be a huge find for couponers. Using coupons on clearance items means increased possibility of free items! That’s one way
that I used to stock up on shampoo and conditioner. My local Walmart had Pantene shampoo and conditioner on clearance for $2 each. I had coupons for $3/2, making them only $0.50 per bottle. I scored big time. The week after that, I had found Pantene on clearance at Kmart for $1.50 per bottle. Using the same coupons, I was able to get a bunch more for free!
Pay attention to what you use and how often you have to replenish it. That will show you how many you’ll need each week or month for your house and you can figure out what your stockpile quantity is from there. If you only use something once a month, do you really need 40 of them at one time? Probably not. Does it make sense to buy something that you’re never going to use just because you have a coupon? Definitely not. The exception to this is if you are getting an amazing deal or it works out to be free, and it’s an item that you can donate to a church, shelter, food bank, or other local charity organization. The purpose of couponing is to save money, not spend money on things that are unnecessary or that will go to waste.
Once you have your stockpile quantities figured out, stock up to the level you need when the sales cycle and coupon cycles match up well.
Organizing Your Stockpile
When you are stockpile buying, pay special attention to expiration dates and use the same system that stores use. First in, first out. Meaning use the items expiring sooner, first. And stock your shelves at home the same way. Earlier expiration dates near the front, longer expiration dates in the back. Yes, this means you’ll need to put newly purchased items in the back, most of the time. Keeping your stockpile organized and arranged by expiration date keeps you from wasting items that will be thrown out. If you find that a food item is getting close to the expiration date and you know you won’t use it in time, donate it quickly to a local food pantry so they can immediately distribute it. We are wasteful enough in the United States, no since adding to that by letting your stockpile items expire and be thrown away.
When Is Enough, Enough?
Once you’ve reached a good stockpile level on the things you are able to, you should re-evaluate your coupon purchasing and decide whether to scale back a little and just replenish the stockpile. This is the point we’re at in my house, at the moment. I’m not buying anything in stockpile quantities right now unless it’s to re-fill what we’ve been using from our stockpile and the price is great matched with my coupons. Now, if there is a good overage to be had on an item, I’ll stockpile purchase just so I can use the overage for other things like meats, bread, etc. If it’s an item we don’t/can’t use, then I’ll donate it.
If you continue to purchase large quantities of products that you already have and you aren’t using them fast enough, they could expire. Paper products and things that don’t expire could really be purchased regularly in stockpile quantities, but you’ll see better cash flow in your budget if you cut back on those at some point, too.
So there’s your overview on stockpiling with coupons. Which items, how many of each item, and best price are all specific to your household.
This post is part of the Learning To Coupon series. Be sure to check them all out! The purpose of these posts will be to teach you about couponing, give you some of my personal insights and tips, but mostly to encourage you. Be sure to stay tuned, and never be afraid to ask me for advice or help.
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