Welcome to part five of my year-long series on how to reduce your grocery bill. If you missed earlier parts you can find them here:
For part five I am going to focus on stockpiling. I know that this is a term which sometimes scares people away, however, know right from the start that stockpiling is not hoarding. The definition of stockpiling is a large supply of some food, etc., gathered and held in reserve for use during a shortage or during a period of higher prices.
The benefit to stockpiling is just as the definition explains, it saves you money in the long run.
When making the decision to stockpile an item there are few things that you need to consider:
First off, don’t clear shelves. If you are going to buy a large amount of a product ask the manager if they have stock in the back that you can take directly from there. This prevents the store from having to restock the shelf and it also makes it easier for you to take the product home. Other options are to do multiple trips over a few days if the store is nearby or to go on the last day of the sale when it is likely that the store will have restocked and have lots of items left.
Secondly, check the expiration dates. If the product you are buying is a perishable one be sure to check the best before date and do the math so that you know you will use them before they expire.
Thirdly, make sure that the products you are going to stockpile are ones that you will use. The point of stockpiling is to save money and that will only occur if it is a product you normally use. Part of this as well is to make sure that you are not over stockpiling as that will not save you money in the long run.
Fourth, once you have bought the items make sure to store them properly. If the product spoils or spills etc then there is no money saved in the long run.
Finally, know sale cycles. This ties into #3 above as you should only be stockpiling enough to cover you until the next time the items goes on sale. Knowing if the sale cycle is the common 12 weeks or if it is 6 months will affect how much you will buy.
Here are some recent real life examples of stockpiling from our family:
Last month we were able to purchase hams for $2.80 each. This is a fantastic price for hams as they usually sell for $10 or even more. This means that we saved $7.20 per ham and since we bought 3 of them this means that we saved a total of $21.60. Ham is not a food that we eat very often so we decided just to get three as that would last us about 6 months without taking up too much room in our freezer.
We were able to purchase eggs at $1.60/dozen back in March and so we bought 12 dozen of them. The regular price for these eggs would have been at least $2.50 per dozen as they were large brown ones. That means that we saved $0.90 per dozen for a total of $10.80. We go through almost 2 dozen eggs a week so this gave us about a 6 week supply which is the max space we had in our fridge for storing them.
Last November tuna went on sale for $0.69 each and we bought 100 of them! Each can typically costs over a $1 so that equals $0.31 of savings per can. Overall, it was $31 in savings. We use about 12 cans a month but sometimes more as my husband will take them to work with him. These ones did not expire until 2017 and they typically only go on sale for this price about 2 times a year. I went into the store planning to buy 50 but the manager said that they had so many left over I was welcome to take more. We still have a good stock of these in our pantry.
We also stockpile non-perishable items such as toothpaste and deodorant when they are rock bottom prices or even sometimes free with coupons. These help to keep the non-edible part of our grocery bill down. We bought the huge pile of toilet paper below when it was on sale for $0.99/$1 per pack back in November of 2013. They were on sale at two different stores and we made a few trips each. This pile just ran out 2 months ago. That’s over 2 year without having to buy any toilet paper!
One last benefit of stockpiling is that it allows you to share what you have with others. If you have a pantry full of tuna that you know you got a good price on I find it is easier to donate more cans or pass some on to friends or family having a hard time instead of looking at that sticker price at the store and knowing that while you want to be generous you are also limited in how much you can spend due to your budget.
So tell me, do you stockpile? What types of items do you buy? Or what was your best stockpiling story?