Monday, January 11, 2010

Basic Couponing 101: Step 1 - Stockpiling

This is step 1 in a series of Basic Couponing 101:  Stockpiling - What and Why?

Stockpiling probably brings a visual to your mind of military arms in a bunker.  But we're not talking about military supplies or weapons, we're talking about food and household items each family uses everyday.

Stockpiling is buying a product at it's lowest price.  Usually when it's on sale and if possible, utilizing a coupon.

This is a pretty simple concept, but something I had never implemented before learning how to coupon properly.

Why should someone stockpile?  It might be best if I illustrate it this way:

First, it's important to note that most stores work on a 6-8 week cycle.  Meaning products go on sale or their price will reduce once every 6-8 weeks.  Sometimes a product goes on sale every other week, sometimes we won't see it on sale for 6 months.  This is usually the case for seasonal items like evaporated milk.  We see it on sale during holiday seasons when people are baking and cooking more often than other months of the year.  However, most everyday products like cereal and pasta or rice are on the 6-8 week cycle.

When a particular product goes on sale and you are able to purchase it at it's lowest price (and utilize a coupon), you will want to purchase enough of that product to get your family through to the next cycle.

For this example we'll talk about cereal:

I love Special K Blueberry Cereal.  The Publix Supermarket in our area sells a box for $3.99 each.  Publix regularly has BOGO sales -- Buy One Get One FREE sales.  When they put Special K Blueberry on BOGO, it will ring up for $1.99 each (This is not the case in Florida.  There you buy one at $3.99 and the second one will actually ring up at $.00.)  Then the manufacturer releases a coupon for Special K Blueberry, either on the internet or in the coupon inserts from the Sunday newspaper, for $1.00 off the purchase of 1 box; further reducing the cost of the cereal to $.99 each, after the coupon AND the sale.  Instead of buying a box of cereal for $3.99 each, you'll only be spending $.99 each box when the cereal goes on sale.  That's a savings of 75%.  And that's why we stockpile.

You will notice there is a brand of cereal on sale every week.  General Mills Cheerios one week, Post Selects a second week and then perhaps Kellogg's Special K varieties.  Once you see the pattern at your local store, you'll know how many boxes to stockpile for your family.  I wouldn't necessarily stockpile 6-8 boxes of Special K Blueberry cereal.  I would probably buy 2-4 of one brand and then wait to see what's on sale the next week (this would depend greatly on the number of coupons I am able to obtain for the particular cereal on sale).  Sometimes you can get a feel for what's going to be on sale at the store, by checking out what's in your coupon inserts from the Sunday newspaper.  You will notice the manufacturer's coincide their coupons with store sales.

You might also have preferences for a particular brand (we'll talk more about that later on).  If that's the case, you might be willing to pay a little more than $1.00 for a box of cereal.  We don't have any food allergies or special needs so I try not to spend any more than $1.00 for a box of cereal.  As you establish your routine, you will begin to know what's a reasonable price to pay in your area.

With that being said, please remember the products will be on sale again in a few weeks (hence, the 6-8 week cycle).  There is not need to horde up 20 boxes of Uncle Ben's Rice in your buggy when it will be on sale again in a month or so.  Remember, Uncle Ben might be on sale this week, but Knorr/Lipton will be on sale in a week or so after that.  So you'll have plenty of opportunity to stockpile 4-6 boxes or pouches of each brand within 2 months.  And then it cycles around again.

You can see the wisdom of stockpiling and buying a reasonable quantity at the time of the sale.


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Leslie said...

I just started doing this a couple of months ago and it has made such a difference in our budget (we spend far less but buy more and name brands now) and peace of mind. Thanks for sharing! Hopefully others will be inspired to try it.

Mom2fur said...

I've been couponing and stockpiling for a few years now. So much nicer to reach for a 99 cent jar of mayo in my pantry than to run out and pay $4 for a jar, LOL! I always try to have at least one unopened version of a frequently used item in my pantry.
I would suggest doing inventories on a regular basis, though. This way, you don't end up with 8 cans of pineapple chunks and no tomato sauce, LOL! (BTW, I recently read a blog where a woman paid almost $17 for 4 boxes of cereal. That kind of thing makes me cringe!)

Candi said...

There are people out there who still need to learn these tips. I just ran into a lady at Publix yesterday who was buying the $1.79 can of green beans when the smaller can was on BOGO for $.65. When I asked her if she knew the smaller one was on sale and she could get more for her money, she had no idea it was on sale. I told her about the sites I visit for the deals and hope she was able to visit and save some money. The economy is rough and we all need the help.

lorre said...

Stockpiling just make cost too much, why pay full price when you need it most. Thanks Candi. Im looking forward to learning some store courtesy tips. there some poeple out there that really need it... (not me..)


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