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This is the sixth baby step to Shopping with Coupons: A Beginner's Guide to Saving. This snack focuses on Stockpiling.

Many of the tips in Stockpiling are part of the basics to couponing. I have a snack discussing Stockpiling in my Top 5 Tips To Build Your Stockpile. Please review that snack to get more colorful commentary and detailed advice on Stockpiling.

Now, we know that Planning your Purchases is especially important to shop and save in general. But, I follow something I call Penny Planning, where I plan each trip to the penny in order to get the most savings possible! With Penny Planning, you will be doing multiple transactions at those stores that do not double unlimited coupons (i.e., our local Meijer) in an attempt to Stockpile for maximum savings.

Here are some steps I take with Penny Planning to ensure doing multiple transactions for purposes of Stockpiling is organized, efficient, and the saves you the most pennies:

Place all the coupons you will be using for each store in an envelope or folder. This was discussed in detail in Planning your Purchases.

Review your list and coupons to see if you will have this multiple coupon limitation for the stores that have a coupon doubling limitation.

Separate coupons for that store into transactions that will be scanned together. I simply paper clip all the coupons that will be used in the same transaction together so I know they go with each other.

Refer to your paper clipped coupons and pull the grocery items out and scan them during U-Scan check out (or regular check out, whatever your preference). There really is no need to organize your cart if you have your coupons paper clipped together in the transactions they should follow.

Rinse and Repeat at U-Scan until your small transactions are complete.

Finish up the larger part of your shopping order using the friendly cashier. You can, of course, stay at the U-Scan too, whatever your preference.

There are a few times when following this multiple transaction method is NOT financially better. Here are a few I can think of:

Buy 10 get the 11th FREE store promotions. You need to buy 10 items and end up getting that 11th item for FREE. But, those items are usually priced at $1. When that happens, if the doubling you would lose by doing the transaction together is greater than $1, then I would still go with doing multiple transactions.

$ off $$ Store Coupon/Catalina. Meijer will often times offer a $10 off $75 Store Coupon or Catalina. If I know I could meet that $75 limit but my coupons won't double, I just look at those coupons I'm losing doubling on and see what benefit is greater. For this one, it does require Planning your Purchases to the penny. I do that with my savings/planning spreadsheet.

Catalina or Store Promotions. This is one of those where you receive a Catalina (versus using one as the bullet above). An example of one that has run before is Buy 3 Land O Lakes products receive a $2 Catalina. You need to meet that minimum to receive the Catalina. Which one is going to give you a greater benefit. In this case the $.35 doubling that I lost was less than that $2 Catalina, so purchased all of the items in one transaction.

Do you see why I called it Penny Planning? This level of planning truly takes your couponing efforts to the “extreme” level. You are planning and analyzing your pennies even more since you are purchasing large quantities of items. Since coupon doubling is important (remember step four, Focus on One Store), sometimes doing multiple transactions is a strategic move for those stores that limit coupons that double (i.e., my local Meijer). I try to ensure that every penny that can be saved is saved – planning is at the core of doing this!

Once you establish your Stockpile, you will begin to live on less but be blessed with more, and your dollars will be stretched even farther! A Stockpile is truly a blessing for your family. You will find that you are able to provide for your own family and have the ability to give to others too. That is truly the best part in Stockpiling!

Read all of the steps in the Beginners Guide to Saving.

About Andrea Deckard

Andrea Deckard is a personal finance expert and speaker. She lives by the following motto, "save on what you need so you can spend on what you want." She started Savings Lifestyle in 2008, and long-time readers remember the site as Mommy Snacks. Andrea is a go-to resource on frugal living for local news outlets such as WDTN, WGRR, and as well as national outlets like Good Morning America. She has also been featured in multiple national publications.


  1. Anonymous on October 27, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Great guide!

  2. kari on October 27, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    there is so much good stuff here.. i think i need to go back and re-read! thanks for putting all your time into this – it’s such a blessing!

  3. Tara on October 27, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    This is a fabulous series, Andrea. Keep up the great work!

    Tara @ Deal Seeking Mom

  4. Sonshine on October 28, 2008 at 1:15 am

    great series, Andrea!

    Earlier today I was planning out my Meijer trip because there are some Mealbox coupons that I want to use in multiples–something my Meijer is not allowing now in just one transaction. So I was getting my transactions set up, because I am now just seeing how doing multiple transactions can work to my benefit.

    Thanks for stopping by and for the birthday wishes. :)

  5. mary on October 28, 2008 at 1:38 am

    I’ve been stalking your blog for a while now, so I thought I’d take a moment to say thanks soo much for all of your wonderful posts, especially those geared to help us newbies. I’m going shopping tomorrow, so I’ll let you know how I did. Also, would you mind if I posted a link to your blog from mine? Thanks again for all your help!! Wish me luck!!

  6. Andrea @ Mommy Snacks on October 28, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Mary – good luck on your shopping!! By all means, you can link this on your blog!

    Thanks to all for the kind comments. It’s helpful just getting this out of my head and into an organized manner for all newer couponers!

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