Beginner Tips Continued… Stocking Up: How much and is it too much?
It’s been a while since I’ve featured a Beginners Tip! Before you continue reading, you should know that I’m not the know all of everything coupons, and I take a low-key approach to my couponing method. I try to get the max benefit for the least amount of time and effort. It’s not for everyone, but it works for my busy lifestyle.
The topic of this tip: Creating a Stock Pile, how much to buy and when to buy it.
Most coupon blogs you read will tell you that sales cycle about every 3 months (or less in the south). In other words, if your favorite laundry detergent is on sale for $.99 this week, your likely to see a similar sale on the same product in about 3 months (up to 6). So is this true? Sometimes! I’m not an extreme veteran, I’ve been couponingÂ for few years and I’m not 100% convinced of this general rule. For example, I purchased Cascade Action Packs for under $.25/bag over 2 years ago at Albertsons and haven’t seen it that cheap (locally) since (I wish I had bought more!). Products may cycle in sales every 3 months, and the release of coupons tend to follow suit, but there is no surety thatÂ both will happen at the same time and combine with a separate, outside deal (such as a Catalina promotion).Â It is usually a combination of these three events that produce an actual rock bottom price. When new products are released, manufacturers generally release higher value coupons, that occasionally drop in value as the product becomes more popular. This is not always the case, but it does happen. Another exception to the 3 month rule is applies to some products, such as toothpaste, that go on sale much more frequently. You can always count on a free or cheap price for toothpaste, probably every 2 or 3 weeks at most. So what’s my point? Well, it is true that a majority of products cycle through sales every 3 or so months (cereal is a classic and reliable example), but it’s not always the case and you can’t always count on it.
So how much should you buy? Personally, I like to be prepared. I like to have a reasonable supply of food and non-food essentials in my house at all times in case of an emergency. It’s a crazy world out there! If something horrible happened and my husband lost is job or a medical emergency sucked our savings dry, I like knowing I could live on my food supply with little supplemental costs This means a year supply of the basics and a 3 month supply of more perishable foods. Like most of you, I want to buy at the lowest price possible. If I find fabric softener for $.25 (or free), that I normally see for $.99 you better believe I’m going to pre-order and fill up my year supply.Â If I can’t get my hands on 24 bottles, or I can’t pre-order, I’ll settle for less, but a year supply would be my goal.Â If the price is $.99, a good price but not rock bottom, I might buy a few months worth, just in case.
BuyingÂ a years worthÂ during one sale saves me time! I don’t have to worry about restocking every 3 months. I can take a break from the stores if I choose. I can relax knowing our expenses would be minimal if something tragic does happen.
You don’t have to do this in one day! Stock up on one item a week, or one item a month. You will not always be able to buy a years worth during one sale, especially with more and more couponers shopping the stores, but you can build to a year over a period of a few months. The real point is, if it’s a rock bottom price on an essential, I buyÂ up to a year supply, if possible.Â OnÂ a side note, if you can’t pre-order, do be considerate of other shoppers. I don’t endorse buying 40 like items if there are only 41 on the shelf :).
*Not all products are essentials. Milano Melts are not in my year supply, but I do enjoy a bag or two at a good price. That is the beauty of using coupons. It’s not all about stocking up!
What do I consider essentials and what are my “good enough to buy a few months” prices?
- Toilet paper – under $.25 per roll
- Deodorant – free, or $.50 or less if I love the brand
- Hair Care, Body Wash – free, or $.50 or less if I love the brand
- toothpaste, Toothbrush, Floss -Â free
- Razors – under $1 for Gillette Proglide, free for any other razor
- Feminine Hygiene – pads and linersÂ free, tampons $2ishÂ for a 40 ct box Tampax
- General Cleaners/Bathroom CleanerÂ – under $1 for green, $.50 for anything else
- Laundry Detergent – $.99 – $.50
- Liquid Dish Detergent – $.25 or less
- Automatic Dish Detergent – $1 for average size pack
- Paper Towels – $.50 per roll
- Diapers – $3 for a Jumbo Pack
- Wipes – under $.02 per wipe
- Baby shampoo/wash/hair – $.50 or less
- Desitin – under $1 per 4 oz tube
Food – Food prices seems to vary more by region and there is much of it! here are a few common items, leave a comment if you have more if you want to know a specific product.
- Cereal – $1 ifÂ I love the cereal, $.75 – $.50 for anything else
- Butter – $2 or less per pound
- Granola bars – $.70 or less per box
- Cheese – $2/lb
- Oatmeal – $.50 for canister or box of single serves
- Pasta – $.50 – free
- Pasta Sauce – $1 or less (depending on brand)
- Canned Veggies – $.33 (Fred Meyer!)
- Canned fruit – $.50 or less
Any priceÂ less than in these examples, is a year supply stock up price for me!