One goal of couponing is to build up a personal stockpile of items to use. Having a stockpile means that you always have what you need on hand. No more midnight trips out for TP! A stockpile could also be a huge blessing in case of an unexpected layoff or wage cut.
When getting ready to start your stockpile, keep a few things in mind:
- Have adequate storage space. Ideally, a closet or pantry makes the best storage place. But if you are limited on space, don’t worry. Underbed boxes are a great way to store items out of sight. Get creative 🙂
- Organization is key. Keep items organized by type to make it easier to know when you are running low.
- Watch sales and buy at the lowest price possible. Usually this means combining sales with coupons to get items for free, or even to make money on them! If you know of a good sale coming up, oftentimes you can buy additional coupons on eBay for a few cents each. And store managers can put in a special order for you so that you get all the items you need. Just ask 🙂
- Only buy what you can use within a reasonable amount of time. 1-2 years worth of products on hand is a good rule.
- FIFO – First in, First out. Rotating your stock when you get new items will ensure that nothing goes to waste.
- If you wont be able to use an item before it goes bad, donate it! There are thousands of places that would gladly welcome your donations.
- Be willing to try new brands.
I keep most of my items on a 4-shelf unit in my garage. The bottom shelf is for laundry & cleaning products, the 2nd shelf is for health & beauty items, the 3rd shelf is for household items (candles, kleenex, foil, etc), and the top shelf is for toilet paper & paper towels (because they can stack so high).
When there is a good sale on an item, I try to buy what my family needs for 1 year. If I already have some items on hand, I take that into consideration & only get what I need. Sometimes I will buy extra items to make up gift baskets or for donating. The key here is to not go to every store in a 50 mile radius and clear out all the shelves just because you can. Not only will that make everyone around you upset that the deals are gone, its just exhausting to keep up with so much stuff!!
And be willing to try out new brands. If you can combine sales/coupons to get an item for free, give it a try. Who knows – it might become your new favorite product. That was the manufacturer’s goal when they sent out the coupons & sales in the first place 🙂 And if you really dont like it, you can always donate it. Also, be careful of the sales you take advantage of at first. Its tempting to see your favorite shampoo at 50% off and buy a year’s worth, but two months later it could be free with coupons & sales. A good rule of thumb is $1/item or less.
When I bring items home, I try to sort them & rotate into the stock on hand. If something wont get used before the expiration date, I make sure to donate it quickly so that it can be used. Make sure to get receipts for donation & keep your purchase receipts too – you can write off the full retail value of the items, not what you paid after coupons.
To learn more about stockpiling, check out the threads at A Full Cup.
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