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Couponing 101: Saving with a Stockpile

January 2nd, 2014 10:31 am by Amanda Arnold-Drinnon

Couponing 101:  Saving with a Stockpile

A stockpile can be a great tool to help save money over time. As you start couponing a stockpile will naturally develop. This happens because sometimes it is cheaper to buy six of an item than it is to buy one. For example, look at the following scenario:

Body wash is on sale for $5 per bottle, you have three buy one,get one free coupons, and the manufacturer has a $10 rebate if you spend $30. So, you buy 6 bottles (and don’t buy soap for a few more months), use your three coupons, pay $15, and get a $10 rebate back. Most rebates count the price before coupons so your coupons actually count as cash. In the end, six bottles cost five dollars which was the original price for just one.  This is a typical deal for P&G products.  Thus, you end up with a stockpile.  So, what are the benefits of having a stockpile?

•  No more running to the store because you are out of something.

•  Some weeks you will only shop the perimeter of the store for fresh items.

•  You will save money because you will only buy at the lowest price.

For many, the word “stockpile” is a dirty word. Many people visualize entire rooms dedicated to the stockpile.  That’s not very realistic.  Most of us don’t have an extra room on hand, or the hours to organize that much stuff.  Can a stockpile save you money? Yes! Does it need to take up every spare inch in your house? No! Remember, most sale cycles run 8-12 weeks.  A stockpile should only contain enough items to last your family until the next sale cycle.  

For couponers a stockpile can mean never having to pay full price again on many items.

Here are a few tips for saving with a stockpile:

1. Start to recognize stock-up prices.

This takes a while to learn.  Couponers have a whole different set of price ranges than the typical shopper.  For example, here are a few of my stock up prices:

Tooth paste:  FREE-.25 cents per tube

Deodorant:  FREE-.50 cents per item

Toilet Paper:  .25 cents per roll

Paper Towels:  .50 cents per roll (.70 for Viva)

Cereal:  $1.50 per box (The lowest that I have paid is .19 cents) 

Next week, we will explore stock up prices a little more.

Typically, when you coupon, it is cheaper to buy name brands because they have higher value coupons, and are more likely to have stackable deals with SavingStar, Ibotta, and rebates.

2.  Make a price list.

Start keeping a list of the things that your family uses, how much your family uses per month, and the lowest price. Remember, even if it’s free you will still have to pay sales tax on it.  Only buy what your family will use.

There are some items that are seasonal and the time to stock up on those items is at the end of the season.  The next two weeks will be an awesome time to stock up on wrapping paper, ribbons, and decorations for next year.  Also, it’s one less thing to do next year!

3.  Collect multiple copies of coupons.

In order to get the most out of your stockpile you will need multiple coupons.  This makes it possible to buy enough items at the lowest price to last until the next sale cycle.  You will need to buy multiple Sunday newspapers, collect coupons from your friends, family, or a swap group, and load eCoupons. Four of each coupon is a good place to start.  After a few months it will be easier to estimate how much of a product that your family uses between sale cycles.

4.  Rotate your stock pile and watch the expiration dates.

You have to keep an eye on expiration dates and rotate the stockpile. Put new items at the back and keep the oldest products at the front.  Don’t overstock the stockpile.  Wasted items do not save money. 

5.  Remember that there will be another sale.

In the beginning it is very tempting to buy tons of products – especially when they’re free. Remember that in 8 – 12 weeks it will go on sale again! Buy a little now, then buy a few more the next time it goes on sale. If you realize you’ve accumulated too much of an item, skip a few sales.

Remember, it’s not all or nothing.  Find what works for you and your schedule.  Any savings are better than none.  Next week, we will look at stock up prices.

Please send all questions, comments, and/or tips to aarnold@timesnews.net.  I look forward to hearing from you!


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