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Stockpiling 101: Tips for Moms to Build a Grocery Stockpile

All stockpiling moms follow these tips to build a grocery stockpile! Stockpiling food and buying at rock bottom prices is a big way to save on your grocery budget!

All stockpiling moms follow these tips to build a grocery stockpile! Stockpiling food and buying at rock bottom prices is a big way to save on your grocery budget!

We are able to achieve our grocery budget by having items we frequently used on hand at all times. 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!

Building a stockpile will take you time! I used to see pictures of other frugal bloggers’ stockpiles and wonder how they had accumulated so much. Well, it takes time! You won’t have a surplus overnight, and purchasing it all at once would probably mean you went over your grocery budget to achieve that. Going over budget goes against the whole purpose of stockpiling!

I have done a few things to build our stockpile over the years. I hope these tips will help you achieve success in lowering your grocery bill one item at a time!

Stockpiling 101 Tips for Moms to Build a Grocery Stockpile

{1} Determine your stockpile needs.

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.

For example, everyone needs and uses toothpaste and shampoo. There are opportunities to get these items FREE, or with a very low out of pocket several times a month. It makes sense to stock up or replenish your current supply when the sales are live.

{2} Set a stockpile budget.

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 stockpiling important, but it didn’t get me running after every “amazing” sale thinking it will never come back!

There will always be weeks where no great stockpiling sale opportunities are available. During those weeks, save your stockpile budget for the next week when a great stockpile opportunity comes available. It always will!

Sale Shopping

{3} Wait for the Sale!  

Not just for when an item goes on sale, but the point 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. Don’t forget that you can use coupon clipping services to acquire additional coupons when a grocery stockpiling sale opportunity happens!

Here’s an example of a great stockpile sale:

$1.50 Salad Dressing
minus $0.50 coupon (doubling to $1)
Net Price: $0.50
Total Savings: 75% – great stockpile price!

Of course, various products may have a higher savings % and others (like meats) will always have a lower savings %. It helps to keep a price book of stockpile prices so you know when the best time to buy various items *for you* is. Eventually this becomes second nature, but a price book can help in the beginning!

Buying Coupons on Ebay and Clipping Services

{4} 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. You may have to dispose of it because it’s expired and that isn’t a smart use of your family’s budget or your time to go to the store and purchase those items.

I personally keep at least 3 months of health and beauty items such as toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorants in our stockpile. However, 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.

How to Save Hundreds by Shopping at the Drugstores

{5} Be Knowledgable on your Store’s Coupon Policies.  

Some stores will double your coupons, 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. Stores also have their own policies when it comes to accepting certain types of coupons. There is a complete list of internet printed grocery coupons here to help you save even more if your store accepts them.

Sites with Printable Coupons to Save on Groceries

{6} Where and how will you stock everything?

This is my bonus tip to help with organization. When you start to purchase this surplus for your stockpile, it’s important to know where you will put everything. It is also important to know the proper way to store items.

Again, certain products have storage recommendations that need to be followed with expiration dates. I adopt FIFO (first in first out). When I replenish, I move the newer items to the back of our shelf. 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! However, if you aren’t going to use the free items before they expire, then passing it on to someone else who will is a great reward!

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Any Stockpiling Tips for Moms to Share?
Please leave a comment below!

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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. Sarah @ Fiddledeedee on May 24, 2008 at 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!

  2. Angela on May 24, 2008 at 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.

  3. Carlie Faulk on May 24, 2008 at 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!!

  4. Andrea on May 24, 2008 at 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!

  5. The Frugal Homemaker on June 6, 2008 at 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!

  6. Andrea on June 6, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    TFH – thanks so much!

  7. Davey on June 19, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Since so many people are interested in saving a few dollars these days (especially due to high summer gas prices), has a new coupon site 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.

  8. Lydia @ The Thrifty Frugal Mom on May 4, 2014 at 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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