Sunday, March 27, 2011

is it a stockpile, or should I call hoarders? Tips & tricks to creating your stockpile

Lately, I've had a lot of people comment on my "stockpile", and joke that they may call to get me on hoarders.  All jokes aside, I know that I have more than I need at any given time, but I also know that if we are ever in a hard financial pinch, I have a friend or neighbor in need, or we really do go through 20 cans of soup in any given month...we'll be ok.  The point, in my opinion, to stockpiling isn't going out and getting a whole bunch of stuff you don't need just because it's free...don't do is a waste of your time and money (yes the item was free, but the gas it took you to go to 3 different Walgreens certainly wasn't).  To me stockpiling is getting the items you and your family already use for free, or as close there too as you can.  If you see a deal for some free loot and you know you won't use it, if you want...get it and give it to your local food bank, church, neighbor in need, DON'T BECOME A HOARDER!  So....with that said here is some (hopefully) helpful advise to get you on your way to becoming a master stockpiler...

What is a Stockpile?
* What? A stockpile is a pile or storage location for bulk materials. In this case meaning groceries, personal care or household products.
* Why Stockpile? To save money!  If you stockpile your groceries by strategically using coupons, you will never pay full price or retail for your groceries. If you stockpile successfully you will save hundreds every month = thousands a year!  Last year I saved $3600.00 from my families budget by stockpiling!
* When do I stockpile? Stockpiling is a strategic game. The objective is to “match” grocery sale prices to your coupons to take advantage of when your groceries are at the very lowest price or what we call “rock bottom”. This is when you stockpile.
* How do I stockpile? You compare the coupon policies at the stores you have available to you as well as any incentives they offer you to shop there. Finally “match” your coupons to the sales ads and purchase when you find a deal that is at rock bottom.  Stockpile when the price is free or close to free (70% off). You purchase in a quantity to last your family until the item can be purchased again at rock bottom. This is tricky because some products like cereal cycle every six weeks however some products like baking goods or BBQ sauce only cycles at rock bottom once a year.
In order to successfully stockpile you are going to need to purchase or obtain multiple papers or purchase your coupons/inserts from a clipping service.  You need to stockpile the quantity necessary to last your family until the next cycle. Once you are shopping from your stockpile weekly instead of from the grocery store, this is when you are going to see the savings! It takes on average 3 months to build a stockpile. Normally the first month you will see an increase in spending and by the end 2nd and 3rd you will begin to see a savings. By your 4th month you should be saving hundreds of dollars a month!
I'm going to try to continue to post more about how to stockpile, and what to do once you've started your stockpile. go along with your fav thing to do: Monthly Menu Planning!!!
I suggest if you stockpile that you use a monthly menu plan.  I suggest creating one or two menu’s for spring/summer and one or two for fall/winter.  If you use a monthly menu plan then you will know what ingredients you need to shop for and what you need to stockpile.  If you use a monthly menu plan be sure to include one family favorite meal each week and include a leftovers night.  If it is in your budget you can include dining out.
I began doing monthly menu planning about 6 months ago and found it very useful.  I was able to have flexibility in my menu by flipping the days if necessary or if something comes up in the week.  I find that we rarely go out to eat when I menu plan because I know what is for dinner and by menu planning I save money because I know what I need to stockpile.
Be sure to include a variety of foods.  I like to include one food from every food group.  I center my meal plan on the protein (this can also be beans) and build from that.  Include a variety of textures, shapes, colors and temperatures.
Start by writing down all of the meals that you know how to prepare and your family likes to eat.  Then it is easy to fill up the calendar with what you know how to cook.  Next, you can look for frugal recipes to add to your menu.  We offer frugal recipes on our site as well as weekly menu plans.
Another idea is to consider bulk cooking and freezing meals.  It will save you time and is especially helpful if you work outside of the home or have a busy schedule.  Helpful tip: Do not freeze meals with mayonnaise or sour cream.  They don’t freeze well.

Also- I know I've been totally slacking with the Make it at Home Series...sorry!  Life has been, interesting these last few weeks, to say the least.  But life seems to be returning to a more normal state so I am hoping to sit down tomorrow and put up another post for you all!  Anywho, if you have stockpiling questions, household items that you would love to try and make yourself, a great deal you scored with a coupon, let me know, I'd love to hear from you!

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