Couponing Basics: How to Build a Stockpile

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The key to building a stockpile is to match a coupon with a sale to purchase items at a “rock bottom” price (or the lowest price.)  You need to purchase as many of the product as you will need to hold you over until the next sale which will likely be about every 6 weeks.

*Note:  I said to purchase enough to hold you over until the next sale; not the next 3 years.

Why should you stockpile?
  • Reduce your grocery budget (spending $0.24 on toothpaste vs $2.99 really adds up!)
  • Saves time and gas, you could occasionally skip grocery shopping
  • Prepare for the unexpected (sickness, weather, job loss)

What can you stockpile?
You can stockpile non-perishables (such as canned goods, dried beans, pastas, etc), cleaning supplies, detergents, personal hygiene products, feminine care, toilet paper, and etc.  You can also utilize your freezer to stockpile meat, bread, produce for cooking, prepared meals, and much more.

How do you start a stockpile?

Determine usage: Determine approximately how much your family will use of each item in 6 weeks which is when you will likely see another sale.

Stay within your budget: If you are just starting out, you may not have additional funds to work with. I routinely spent my entire budget when I started building my stockpile.  If your budget is already tight, try to allow a few dollars every week just for stockpiling.  Even $5 could make a huge difference in the long run.

Make a price book or list: The most effective way to know when an item is at the lowest price is to know your local prices.  I have a list of my Goal Prices and my Goal Prices for Meat.

Be patient: Building your stockpile will take time!  You need to wait for the sale cycles to come around and reside yourself to the fact that your stockpile won’t be complete in a week (or 5!)

Try not to be brand specific: We all have our preferences, but you’ll be able to make the most out of the store deals if you’re not loyal to particular brands.  I really don’t care what canned tomatoes or cereal I buy.  However, we can only use Tide and All free and clear laundry detergents.  Over time, you’ll learn what is important to your family.

Get multiple coupons: You need to be able to buy multiple of each item when they are at a “rock bottom” price in order to build a stockpile.   If I have 4 coupons to match up with a fantastic sale, that’s 4 products that I don’t need to buy later.  You may want to get extra coupons for products that you use frequently.

Shop multiple stores: Split your time between multiple drug stores and grocery stores.  I shop at CVS, WAGS, Farm Fresh, Harris Teeter and occasionally Kroger and Target.  I DO NOT shop at all the stores every week!  I simply don’t have the time or energy.  I pick the best deals from each store and get to as many of those stores as I can.

Limit quantities:  Think about what your family can realistically use or donate.  It’s not a deal if it gets thrown away.  Also, don’t clear the shelves.  Remember to be respectful of other shoppers.

You’re shopping trips will look lopsided: Eventually you should already have most of the items you need each week, so when shopping you’ll be rounding out your menu plan and stocking up on the best deals.  I recently had a trip where I bought granola bars, sweet moments, miracle whip and a few other things.  Nice combination right?

Don’t overdo it: Your time is money and your first priority is your sanity and family.  It is very tempting to run around to every store week after week trying to super size your stockpile (been there, done that!)  I quickly learned that I wasn’t doing myself or my kids any good.  I stepped back and realized that there will always be another deal.

A few of my stockpiled items:
Toothpaste = 14
Men’s Deodorant = 16
Women’s Deodorant = 6
Pasta = 20
Cereal = 15
Ketchup = 4
Dish Soap = 9
What are your tips for building a stockpile?



  1. Julie says

    It pays to shop around when stockpiling. I used to only go to store x and y. Now I will go where the deal is. Why pay $.50 for pasta at one store when you can pay. $.03 at a different one. Just like being brand flexible helps, being store flexible makes all the difference too.

  2. Janay says

    I probably would save more money if I spread my shopping trips amongst more stores. I tend to shop at Food Lion most because, well, I work there. It's convenient. But I know that if I'm not buying something on sale, then I'm not getting a good deal.

    I agree with being brand flexible. Many times the store brand is very similar to the name brand. Other times the ingredients are exactly the same if you take the time to read them.

    Thanks for this post!

    Best regards

  3. Kat says

    Thank you for the post. Harris Teeter has now gone to a 3 per same item limit and 20 couons per day. I’m sure it’s frustrating for the coupon moms, but I hate to show up on a Thursday and have nothing left in stock, wish they would add more. Saturday they restock but it’s gone again! LOL I did the ball park franks and got 22 packs and paid all of $15 for all 16 packs for named bran, really can’t beat it…20 cents for pack of Simply Hashbrowns (which I make potato salad out of) only 4 packs left in 3 stores near me, lol!!!!!! Yikes……. Did everyone take my potato salad recipe!!!


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