Saturday, January 7, 2012

Building a Stockpile, How Much is Enough?

What exactly is stockpiling? Buying enough of something to last you until the next sales cycle, or to get you through a period of limited income, such as someone with a seasonal difference in salary, like a contractor in an area with harsh winters. There are no specific rules for stockpiling, but I have come up with some general guidelines that may be helpful.

1. Don't stockpile items that will expire quickly. The best items to stockpile are health and beauty items, cleaning supplies, boxed and canned foods, and paper products. If you have the above items on hand, your shopping will only consist of meats, breads, fruits, veggies, and dairy!

2. Find the price point that works for you. When you are first building a stockpile, spending 1 dollar on shaving cream and toothpaste may be a great deal for you. After 3 months, you may have enough stock to only buy them at 50 cents or less.  You may also decide to spend more money on your favorite brand, buy buy other brands when they are free or close to free.

3. Donate when necessary. There was a HUGE covergirl moneymaker last year, and I ended up with over 30 concealers and blushes. I would not have bought all of it if it was only free, but I made about 20 dollars from my purchases. After sharing with friends and family, I created Christmas beauty baskets for a local women's shelter. It feels great to help out others when you can!

4. Utilize the storage you have. We do not have a full basement, so I use a few closed decorative shelving units for storage. We keep cleaning wipes, air fresheners, tissues, and toilet paper in the drawers and out of sight. You do not need to line your walls ceiling to floor to have an adequate stockpile!

5. Rotate your stock. Put your newer items in the back, so you are always using the stock closest to its expiration.

6. If you are buying and storing items you find you are not using, or if you run out of space in your cabinet, it is time to get rid of some stock. You can invite neighbors or family to take what they need, or donate. I try to send my parents home with items they need every time they visit, and I'll get extra stock of things they use a lot, like excedrin and chex cereal.

A stockpile is one of the best ways to keep your grocery bill lower. What do you like to keep in your stockpile?

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