How Much Is Too Much?

Before I wrote on this blog I was kinda a reality TV junkie. Don’t judge me. I really do not have much time for TV anymore. A few weeks ago I was sitting having lunch with some friends and they were raving about the new NBC show,” The Marriage Ref.” So last night while I folded laundry, because I can not stand to only do one thing at once, I watched The Marriage Ref on the web. Still not watching TV.

The show was pretty funny, but I could not stop laughing at this stockpiling episode. Maybe because I could kind of relate? So I had to share. I just know you will laugh too.

 Start this first one at 2:40 for the segment I am referring to.

Ok now you will have to finish it here. It is only a few more minutes. You can stop at 5:20.

So I want to know.

How Much Is Too Much? I am not talking just about hotel toiletries. I am talking about your stockpile. How do you know when enough is enough?


What have you learned you really need to stockpile and What do you no longer need more of?

I can never get enough yogurt it seems, my kids do through it so fast. I do not need any more toothpaste. I think I have 10 and that is plenty!


  • Sophie

    Funny you bring this up! Did you also watch Nightline the other night? They had a little special about extreme couponing. Seriously, I cringed when watching them follow the guy (cant remember his name), It seems that he coupons just to get whatever he can, regardless of whether he needs it or wants it. He garage was better stocked on personal care produts than Walgreens and Rite Aid! They said he does donate, but I still think that he is taking it too far. I think when you have to clear out rooms and garages just to hold the stuff, that is too much. I am a newer couponer, and when I am looking to buy something, I always ask myself if we will really use it? What is the expiration date and do I have room for it.

    And seriously, if you have not watched the nightline special, you should go check it out.

    • Ashlee Jo Southwick

      I watched that the other night and my thoughts about the guy were exactly the same. He makes couponers look crazy. He had way more than he could ever use and it didn’t seem that he was giving enough to food pantries, etc because his garage was packed to the brim. Maybe he should take a break instead of clearing the shelves and give other couponers a chance to get in on the deals.

      • Monica

        I did see that episode of Nightline. I felt the same as you two. I liked that lady Jill though. Her example was more realistic. Did you see that she was doing the Chill Deal?

        • Sophie

          I liked his comment on how her cart looked the cart he might have if he was shopping for his family. It definentely seemed like she coupons the right way. I wish they would have focused less on Nathan and more on her.

  • Tonya

    There’s never too much. You can always donate it. Why pass up a free cereal deal because you have 40 in your stockpile or free shampoo because you’ve got a 2 year supply. Donate it!

  • Ann Wilson

    Haha I LOVED that episode of Marriage Ref! I almost died laughing… and made my husband watch it when he got home 🙂 Stockpiling is definitely an addiction and can be taken too far lol. But I think you know when it gets to that point… sometimes you may not want to admit it though 😉

  • Pat

    Interesting. We’ve all heard the story of grandmother dying and the children finding 2 years worth of butter wrappers in fridge, or hundreds of boxes of kleenex or you name it.

    My philosophy: If I would be embarassed for someone (anyone) to see my stockpile, then I have too much and it’s time for a run to the local shelter.

    Also, in couponers defense, it takes some time to figure out how much of an item you need to have on hand. When starting out, I bought every single “free” shampoo and conditioner. I must have thought my family (4 of us) used a bottle a week. Ha! The local resuce mission ended up with a large donation of shampoo and conditioner. They were thrilled! And I felt so good! Now I make a monthly run to the mission with my overstocked items. This keeps the stock and me in check.

  • me and my gang

    I thought that was especially funny. I laughed and laughed. I think my husband is married to a squirl. Hilarious! I have donated stuff to the local soup kitchen, it feels great. But my supply isn’t that big yet so I will keep working on it! Thanks for sharing. Have a great day coupon friends.

  • Kelly

    I haven’t even looked at an H&B item in about 6 months. On the other hand, I wish I had bought 20 more boxes of the Quaker instant oatmeal at Albertsons when it was on sale a few months ago. My son has already eaten through it all, and I thought I stocked for the entire year!!

    • Amber

      I have extra oatmeal! My girls used to go through it like crazy & now are refusing to eat it! There is NO way I can go through all we have before it expires. Are you local? I’d love to give you what we won’t use!

      • Becca

        This is what I absolutely LOVE about our couponing community! Most couponers are sweet and giving people who are excited for each other and want to help each other. Way to go Amber for being such a generous person!

  • Lindsay

    I would say I never get enough yogurt, but around the time I was starting you were getting paid to buy BBQ sauce so I have at least 30 of them now over a year later I realize we only go through about 6 a year, oops. I also have too many dressings, I now watch expirations careful and decide about how much we can use in that amount of time, it is a refining art though!

  • I love The Marriage Ref, hilarious! I saw this episode and the Nightline episode. The guy on The Marriage Ref just seemed to have a weird addiction or something, kind of harmless. I love that he mentioned his kids would use it when they get older or their kids?

    The guy on Nightline frustrated me as a couponer. I know he gets good deals and free stuff and that’s great. But if he donates, it wasn’t obvious to me. You know he didn’t set up those shelving units just for the show, to show people how much you can stockpile. His stash of diabetes blood glucose meters shocked me, why has he not donated those? If he doesn’t use them, they should be donated right away. I don’t know the full story behind this guy so I can’t really judge (alright, but I am..). The story didn’t do a great job of talking about what he does with all that stuff either, to make people understand. All they asked was if he would use that much Jello and he said no, gave no idea what he was going to do with it.

    On the other hand, I really liked how the other gal was portrayed. She shopped with coupons but had a cart full of things that the average family would use and that were healthy.

    As far as our family’s stockpile, I agree that it took me awhile to figure out how much was too much after I started couponing. In the beginning, I could never pass up a deal or never pass up a promotion. I ended up buying things as part of a promo just to fill out a total and NEVER using them. I have donated a ton, which is nice to be able to do, but I have to think about our out of pocket costs also. I have significantly lowered our monthly out of pocket by shopping smarter and only buying things that our family will actually eat. I am still able to donate, but I’m not stuck with two cans of Manwich in our pantry forever that I know we will never eat. 🙂 If there is a week where we really don’t need anything, even if it’s free or cheap, I just don’t shop. It has done me a world of good to cut back on deal shopping. I still get crazy good deals, but don’t run out to every store every day!

    • Tiffany

      I did the same thing – I bought the stuff because it was part of the promo and I needed to hit a certain total or I was able to get coupons for it…well, I have learned that the sales cycle around – I don’t have to jump on every promo and I can pay .75 cents an item instead of .35 cents an item, buying the products we like and use – and it is still a great deal, LOL!! I also don’t print off every single coupon – just incase – anymore 😉 and, I’m still learning…

      • Neva

        I also did this when I first started to clip coupons, but now I know that it’s better to keep things in moderation. I have a family member who couldn’t buy his medical supplies for his diabetes because couponers cleaned out every single Walgreen’s because they wanted the RRs. That’s not prudent couponing, that’s just greedy. Cleaning a store out of things you do not need just because you want the rush of getting something for free is ridiculous. I also do not clip or print every coupon … just the ones I know I have use for.

  • Tiffany

    I’m a squirrel, haha, that was funny! I don’t think I’ve been doing this long enough to have too much of anything, I am just learning what I go through fast and what I don’t – so when the sales come around again, I’ll know if I need to really stock up and what “stock up” means. And I know what sales to “let go”.

  • Sarah H

    Oh, the art of learning the stockpile. I also have like 30 bottles of barbeque sauce, and have been slowly donating it. But I bought 24 boxes of Life cereal and probably should have bought 100. Seriously, my hubby eats it EVERY morning and so we go through at least 2 boxes a week. And does anyone else feel like when they stockpile something their family eats tons of it for a while, then stops eating it altogether? Like peanut butter. My kids had it every day (asked for it) and now they NEVER eat it. Oh well, I’ll donate it if I have a lot within 2 months of expiration.

  • Hey! I had a quick question! I have looked quite a bit at the freezer cooking link on your website, and love it. I was wanting to make a recipe I saw posted, but when I clicked on any recipe it said that the page no longer existed! Just thought I would ask if there is another way to get there, or what was up??? Thanks so much!

    • Amber

      Lindy, that is one of the glitches from the blog redesign that we ares till working through. For now, try pulling them up from the “Fabuless Cooking” drop down menu on the top of the page. If you can’t find the recipe you are looking for (they aren’t all there), just email us & we can email you a copy! Hope that helps.

  • Michelle

    I am amazed that people can buy and store 100 boxes of cereal during a deal, and then I looked at my “pantry” which is really a basement bomb shelter with a bunch of shelving. I have canning jars which I fill with fruit to last a year for my family, and dried fruits as well. I found jars which seem to do the trick on how much I can store. It has taken years to be able know how much I will use in a year and my family continues to grow, so that number changes. This couponing has really made it nice for me to be able to stock the pantry with items I wouldn’t normally buy. I’m still working on the “how much do I need” question though. There is a food bank near my childrens school and I just drop items off that I buy if I don’t have room. My rule for food storage is nothing on the floor, if it can be neat on a shelf, it’s ok. So if I have 10 bottles of shampoo and no room for tom sauce, then so be it, or I’ll donate that to the food bank. Keeps things neat, and me and my husband happily married.

  • Julie

    We have a really big pantry, and it’s not full, but we’re definitely overstocked on some items. But a lot of times I buy things specifically knowing I will donate it or give it to my mom or something, although I never, ever clear out any shelves for that. Having stuff just to have it when you won’t or can’t use it is neurotic, and it’s called hoarding. My great-grandmother’s husband was like that. He would buy anything if it was a good enough deal, and they had to buy a couple of new sheds just to house all of his stuff. When he died, she gave it all away, and we got some nice new tools and toilet paper and stuff, but what could he have done with that money if he hadn’t been using it on stuff he didn’t need? Maybe they could have gone to Tahiti or something fun like that. Even when something is “free” in Idaho, we’re still paying tax, so even those people who got 900 chimichangas still paid something like $54.00 (6% sales tax) for them. I try to keep that in mind every time I get something free or cheap because we have a tight budget, so if we don’t need it, even the money spent on tax could usually be used on something we do need.

  • Heather

    This was such a good laugh! Thanks for sharing!

  • Kelly

    Well I was a crazy one during cereal sales. I have 5 kids, and a husband who all eat cereal, even as snacks. I bought about 60 boxes, and I can guarentee it will all be gone by June or July. I buy tons of laundry soap too when on sale.

    Literally because I switched to this type of shopping when I quit a job to stay home with my children I had to make a lot of adjustments. We used to shop online and have it delivered. I was buying whatever I wanted when we needed it. Now I seriously have to plan. I do have a pantry stocked, and with various things that a “normal” shopper would wonder about, but its stuff I will use over a years worth of time. I have helped a friend in need too who cannot afford groceries at times because she is raising her two sons alone. I have also donated to my churches food closet for families in need. I feel very blessed by couponing, but I think hoarding to hoard is wrong, and in the end will stop couponing for most of us.

  • kimberly

    I never seem to stock pile enough. With four kids we go threw a ton of things. But you have to remember when you are talking of others whom you think they have to much, that they have the right to have as much as they want. We shouldn’t be telling them you have to much so donate it. It has to be a personal choice to share. Not because you feel pressured but because you truely want to. Someone might look at my cereal stash and tell me to donate it but it’s all a personal choice. So don’t judge others because someone is probably judging you and that’s not right.

    • me and my gang

      Kimberly I think we are all just saying if you have found your self with extra because you miss judged how much you were going to use try to give it away. I for one feel like I have worked really hard to provide for my family as in expensive as possiable. My husband lost his job a year ago. Thank goodness he found an other one. But things are tight. We have been blessed by coupon shopping. When I find my self with extra or stuff my family won’t use. I donate it. If you use yours up, good job. I agree it is personal.

  • All I was saying was that it doesn’t seem right to stockpile stuff that you can’t use and let it expire when it could be donated. The Nightline episode just amazed me. If his family eats all that stuff then great, but he was the first to say they had more than they could use but no mention of what he does with it. Just seemed odd to me!

    • Rosie

      I agree with you, Melody. This guy had an entire garage filled with shelving stocked with food. Hundreds of boxes of jello? Really?? It seemed to be a game to him, simply to see how much he could get for nothing, paying very little attention to what he actually needed. Clearing the shelves is also very bad coupon ettiquette. Sites like FF and others are a tremendous advantage to all of us, doing the work for us. I try to remember that many others are planning their shopping trips around these deals we see posted so I try never to clear the shelves. There will always be more “deals” around the corner. 😉

  • AS long as you aren’t letting things expire and then having to throw them away …have as much as you can NEATLY store.

    We cleaned out our garage and organized our food/stockpile area on Saturday and I don’t have too much at all. I agree with the year rule…if I have more than a years worth of anything I donate it…

    But I am always getting a little extra and donating it when there are good deals… But I also want to leave some for my fellow deal hunters. So I never clear the shelves.

  • Tina

    I have found my family goes through cheese and yogurt alot and even though I stock up on it as I can through couponing and sales we never seem to have enough of it. Same goes for several other food items that I have not even been able to stock up on. I have been couponing for years now but only seriously for the last nine months and still find myself going to the store quite a bit. I do not clear shelves but if there is just two of something left then I will take it if I absolutely need it. I do respect others and feel if you must buy in excessive ammounts then it would be wise if you can get a rain check. I also understand some sales with Catalina’s only work for a week so a rain check would not work in that case. One thing I do know is that couponing is not easy even at it’s best and we must try to remember to be respectful to others. I have even given out some coupons before in the store to others buying and not even using coupons. It just made me feel good someone else was getting to save money too.

  • Julie

    I just watched the Nighline segment, and that guy is a hoarder. He even said that he didn’t care about the tuna, mainly because he has cases of it at home already. Instead, he cleared the shelves of tuna to make himself some money. I’m pretty sure that that is not what Jesus would do. To me, part of frugality is living by the ‘waste not, want not’ maxim, and it is wasteful to have shelves and shelves of food just sitting there that apparently no one will ever eat. I also think real frugality is about finding the place where you feel secure and satisfied, and he clearly hasn’t found it. It seems like it’s compulsive for him, and he will just go on and on like this rather than reaching a balance. Most of the couponers I know don’t seem to have a mental illness, but that guy might.

    I don’t know. Now that this is all getting famous and more and more hoarders are showing up and so many people are what I would call abusing the system, and then the whole free PS3 fraud thing (I just read a guy in Rexburg was arrested for that, but he isn’t the one who started it)…I think the days of the Internet coupon are numbered, unless or someone finds some much better technology. Bar codes have apparently been both decoded by some couponers of questionable ethics and now hacked by some teenage boys, so coupon fraud is kind of escalating. There are a lot of people who don’t seem to have a strong moral compass, I guess.

    The other day I heard someone say something that struck me as completely true. There was some deal where you could get two free tacos at some fast food place, and people were lined up all around the block, and the wait for tacos was taking an hour or more. He said, “If you asked these people, would you stand out in the freezing cold for an hour for $3, they would say no way. But if you tell them it’s for something FREE, then they’ll do it.” It’s like the word “Free” makes people (temporarily?) go insane and they don’t even question their behavior.

  • I would be wonderful if Nathan could donate much of his stockpile to food banks and shelters. Or donate some of his time to teach folks how to make food stamps go further. I don’t know, seems a bit ridiculous to have cases of tuna. I think stockpiling what you NEED and will certainly use is good, the rest, if really free, could be shared with those less fortunate or IN NEED.

  • I LOVE this show!!! It is so funny!

Leave a Reply

Want to see your picture by your comment? Get your custom avatar by registering for free at Gravatar.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *