5 Tips to Build Your Stockpile

How to Build a Grocery Stockpile

Another way we are able to be successful in achieving our grocery budget is by having items we frequently used stocked up. These items are referred to as our stockpile. Having a stockpile eliminates the need to rush out and purchase the item for full price, and also using your time and gas to do that too!

Our stockpile is respectable now but it has taken me a while to get there. That is a good reminder: Building a stockpile will take you time! You can't have this surplus overnight and purchasing it all at once would probably mean you went over your grocery budget to achieve that, which is against the premise of stockpiling to begin with.

Here are a few things I personally have done to achieve our stockpile. My 5 Tips to Build Your Stockpile will help you achieve success in lowering your grocery bill one item at a time:

{1} Determine what your stockpile needs are.  What are the items that you find your family uses on a frequent basis? Those are the items that you will want to begin to stockpile. An example is something everyone needs (I hope) – toothpaste and shampoo. There are opportunities to get these items FREE or with a very low OOP that it makes sense to stock up or even replenish your current supply when the sales are on.

When I first started to build our stockpile, I set aside a small portion of our budget each week to focus on stockpiling. This helped to make it important, yet it didn't get me running after every “amazing” sale thinking it will never come back! There were also weeks that no great sale opportunities were available. So, I just saved that money for the next week when something did come up, and it always did!

{2} Wait for the Sale!  This one is like a no brainer, but the point in this tip is to wait for the sale that is the lowest it will go. I generally wait to stockpile until I can get an item at a value of 50% off or greater. This value is also taking into consideration any coupons I am using too (don't forget, buying coupons is a great way to achieve this % too). Here's an example:

Salad Dressing is on sale for $1.50 and I use a $.50 coupon (that doubles to $1), I pay $.50 for that dressing. This represents a savings of 75% which would mean it's a price I would pay to stockpile this item.

Now, various products may always have a higher %, and others (like meats) will be at a lower % when you find they are priced to stock up. I also started keeping a price book of items that were a really good price. I haven't updated it in a while because now I'm going more on memory of what I paid for something. Yes, when you're a couponer, knowing those things are like knowing your child's birthday or SSN – they are second nature! I'm not embarrassed, I've saved a ton!

{3} Determine the comfortable stocked amount for your family. This one is strictly individual. While most foods have a long shelf life, there are expiration dates and storage recommendations that should be followed. It's not wise to stockpile foods that will outlast your needs for that time period. You may have to dispose of it because it's expired and that isn't a smart use of your family's budget.

I personally keep at least 3 months of health and beauty items such as toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorants in our stockpile. But, if something is FREE in a sale with my coupons, I will purchase additional stock to replenish. If it's not FREE, I'll wait until that sale comes along that I am willing to spend my stockpile budget on.

{4} Be Knowledgable on your Store's Coupon Policies.  Some stores will double all coupons (our local Kroger), while others will only double two of the same coupon (our local Meijer). The deal isn't as sweet if you can only get two items at 75% off, but the others are still at 30% off.

CVS and Walgreens do not double. But, since they have their own programs, the savings there are awesome period. The only downfall is that often times the limits on sale items may prohibit the ability to build the stockpile.

Also, if you live in a Land of No Doubles (LOND), then watching for that sale is even more imperative.Another point is that stores can have their own policies when it comes to accepting certain coupons. There is a complete list of internet printed grocery coupons here to help you save even more if your store accepts them.

{5} Where will you stock everything?  OK, I'll confess. We just now got to stocking all of our stuff in a place in our basement. But, that place does need replaced because I would love nice shelves – kind of like our own mini-mart! But, it's important to know where you will put everything.

It is also important to know the proper way to store items. And, back to point #3, certain products have storage recommendations that need to be followed with expiration dates. I adopt FIFO (first in first out) so when I replenish, I move the newer items to the back. Pretty standard, but it's important when you are stocking.

I always, always, always consider the value of my dollar versus the value of what's in my stockpile. I apply the opportunity-cost theory I learned in Economics 101. Are you truly better off letting the money sit in your account and gain interest rather than buying those items that you may not use up before they expire?

Sometimes it is smarter to pass on the sale for another day. I guarantee that sale will come back when your current stock is low. Now, if it's FREE, well, hey you can stock up! But, even with the FREEbies, if you aren't going to use the items before they expire, then passing it on to someone else who will is a great reward!

What other Stockpiling Tips do you have?
Please share in the comments below!

by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on May 23, 2008


  • Sarah @ Fiddledeedee - May 24, 2008 @ 2:27 am

    These are such great tips! Stockpiling has been such a blessing to our family, but it’s nice to have a refresher as to how TO do it and how NOT to do it!

  • Angela - May 24, 2008 @ 3:17 am

    I’ve been couponing for awhile but just really started working on my stockpile so its always great to get a few good tips like these.

  • Carlie Faulk - May 24, 2008 @ 3:34 am

    You can build a stockpile of chips with those Qs – hehehe!! I have mine all save in a garbage bag!!

    Ok – the .55 off 2 is a great deal because it comes out to 1.10/4.

    I still have 30 more 1.00/4 Qs. they expire on 6/06 so I’ll one or two more times and be set for the summer. My kids are over the moon!!

  • Andrea - May 24, 2008 @ 3:54 am

    sarah – it is such a blessing, isn’t it! I thought it was a good time to share how it’s worked for me!

    angela – I hope you find these tips useful too! They really have been how I’ve been able to get the stockpile we have.

    Carlie – girl, I gave you your own post on the chip deal. I thought I had uncovered a goldmine this one!! You Rock! I don’t think our region got those coupons so I had no clue they even existed and I hadn’t read it on any message board – this really is a good one!!! I might purchase myself some more too!

  • The Frugal Homemaker - June 06, 2008 @ 3:40 am

    I love this post so much I put it as a permanent link in my resources section of my blog. Your blog is top notch!

  • Andrea - June 06, 2008 @ 9:58 pm

    TFH – thanks so much!

  • Davey - June 19, 2008 @ 12:37 pm

    Since so many people are interested in saving a few dollars these days (especially due to high summer gas prices), WearIt.com has a new coupon site http://www.wearit.com/coupons that is 100% focused on coupons from leading fashion and lifestyle companies. I know that this can help out more than a few people; plus, by buying online, you can avoid all of the associated hassle of clipping coupons (unless they are for your local grocery store, of course).


    P.S. Really love your blog and the advice that it gives.

  • Lydia @ The Thrifty Frugal Mom - May 04, 2014 @ 5:37 pm

    These are great tips! Stockpiling is something that so many people find hard to understand it seems and you help make it look easy (which it is).

    I would add this to #1: Don’t limit stockpiling JUST to items that you regularly use. For instance, just recently I could get enchilada sauce for $0.19 a can by using coupons. I’ve never used enchilada sauce in my life but I knew that I could easily find delicious recipes using it and so I got as many cans as I had coupons for (which was 4). I frequently do that kind of thing. If it’s incredibly cheap or free and it’s something I know that I could use, even though I don’t normally purchase that item, I’ll buy it. It’s amazing how much that helps stretch our small budget even farther!

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