The stockpile. A couponer’s badge of honor. Now, I get it. You just want to save some money, not start a convenience store in your spare bedroom. I felt the same way. And for the most part, I still do. But it’s nice to know that when we run out of toothpaste, I can grab a tube that was free instead of having to run to the store and pay $4 for it. My stockpile is small, but it’s perfect for our family of 3.
Couponing is all about buying when the price is right so that you don’t have to pay more when you need the items. My husband may disagree, but I try to be selective so that I don’t accumulate too many of the same type of item. There is almost always a great deal on toothpaste, so it’s easy to end up with a lifetime supply if you aren’t careful.
Start by creating a list of the items you use regularly. Things like toothpaste, diapers, razors, paper towels, toilet paper, laundry detergent, and cleaning supplies are great for stocking up because they have a long shelf life. There’s no point in If you are particular about the brands you use, you may have to purchase more items at a time since it may be awhile before your preferred brand is available again at the right price. Stores often rotate the brands they put on sale. If you are only willing to use Cottonelle, you will likely need to buy 3-6 months worth at a time to make sure you don’t run out before the next great deal comes along.
Once you know what you need to buy, you have to decide what you’re willing to pay for each item. This will be your “stock-up price”. When you first start working on your stockpile, you may be willing to pay a slightly higher price. You can be pickier about prices once you’ve built up a decent stash. Knowing what is and isn’t a good deal is still one of the more difficult parts of couponing for me. There are several good online resources for suggested stock-up prices. Chances are, your favorite couponing site will have a list that covers the most common items. Krazy Coupon Lady has a great list that specifies both 3 and 6 month stock up prices. For example, when I first started couponing, I might have paid $0.50-$0.99 for a tube of toothpaste. Now that I have plenty in my stockpile, I prefer it to be free.
Wait a second! Why would the store give me free toothpaste? It typically looks something like this:
Colgate Toothpaste retails for $4.99 per tube and is on sale for $3.50 at Rite Aid.
You have a manufacturer’s coupon in the paper for $1.00 bringing your total down to $2.50.
You pay $2.50 for the toothpaste (hopefully using +UP Rewards from the previous week).
You earn $2.50 in +UP Rewards to use on your next purchase.
Voila! Free toothpaste!
Now that you’re well on your way to having a stockpile of great deals, you just have to figure out how to display everything!
Love the idea of couponing but don’t know where to start?! Read Coupon Basics: Part 1 to get the lowdown!