Friday, January 30, 2009

Frugal Friday Linkage and a Word on Stockpiling

Though I'm not always faithful to the principles or as disciplined as I'd like to be, I'm a real fan of frugality. It's thrilling to me to find a stellar deal, and I honestly feel more excited about saving money than spending it (though the two often go hand in hand -- you know the saying, "you've got to spend money to save money.").

My kids are at a stage in life where they love chewing gum, and having their very own pack makes them feel much older than they are. Also, The Biggest Loser is on in full force, and Bob and Jillian always tout the wonders of calorie savings by gum chewing -- more specifically, by chewing Extra Sugar Free gum. At Tom Thumb this week, I found Extra Sugar Free gum on clearance for 25 cents a pack. I bought all they had -- 25 packs. When I got home, James quipped, "You spent $6.25 on gum?" Since the packs are normally $1.25 each, I replied, "No, I saved $25.00 on gum!"

While I don't normally buy gum in bulk, I am a fan of stockpiling. If I find a good deal on a type of product we use all the time, I'll often buy the whole lot (provided we'll use it all before it expires. Throwing away unused food cuts into your overall savings dramatically!). If I find an unfamiliar clearance product that looks interesting, like an ethnic ingredient or an unusual brand, I might buy one or two, then search the ingredient database at for ideas on how to use it with things we have on hand.

I even stockpiled when we lived in a small apartment. A coat closet that would have otherwise been filled with clutter held two narrow bookshelves full of canned and boxed goods. I kept the shelves very organized, storing types of items together for easy reference (i.e. canned fruit here, pasta there, etc.). That left our small (also organized) kitchen pantry free to be filled with the things we used on a constant basis. I always "shopped" my stockpile before heading to the store, and keeping my stockpile so well organized helped me to easily see what I should be on the lookout for.

For savings on perishables, we bought a small upright freezer at Sears for around $150 and kept it in an odd corner in our master bedroom closet, filling it with meats and cheeses, prepared meals, and frozen goods on clearance. My mom even took advantage of the space under a bench on her outdoor patio by storing stockpiled canned goods in shallow lidded bins. My friend Karen recently saved $63.00 by stockpiling 18 bottles of her family's favorite salad dressing.

When you stockpile, it's important to manage the goods you have as a grocery store does. First, I suggest a system of organization, or those on-sale items will not do you any good. I use baskets and bins found inexpensively at garage sales and thrift stores to store hard to stack items like beans, pasta, etc. I store other like items all together in specific areas of my pantry: canned veggies and fruits stacked in groups, soups and chilis stacked in groups, canned meats and fish stacked in groups, etc. Cereals live on one shelf, snack goods on another. You get the idea.

Next, as you bring in more goods, it's important to stock it like a grocery store. Move the older items to the front for faster use and restock to the back. Otherwise, you may keep using up the new stuff while the stuff you've had longer could potentially be wasted.

Finally, review your stockpile from time to time. If there are things you find yourself overlooking over and over again, ask yourself if you'll ever really use it. If you think you will, try to use it right away, or at least make a tangible plan for it. If you're sure you won't use it or not sure how you can, donate it to a food pantry or share it with a friend who might enjoy it more. Also, swapping from stockpiles can be fun if you've found you're overrun with items you're tired of. Connect with a friend and trade a few things -- then you both get fresh, new things without spending any money. This is an especially good idea if you have a friend who gardens and is overrun with fresh produce, but maybe doesn't have a supply of non-perishables. That's a win-win situation all around.

Do you find stockpiling to be useful for your family? Why or why not?

How the Stimulus Plan Will Benefit Consumers :: Yahoo Finance

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget ::

Saving on Generic Brand Items :: CNN Video

Have a Baby in 2008? Get $300 from Uncle Sam. :: Sense to Save

Saving Money on Kid's Activities :: Getting Ahead Blog

Money Saving Habits from Money Making Mommy :: # 1, # 2, # 3

Facebook ID Theft Targets Friends :: The Red Tape Chronicles

Problem Gambling May Rise as Economy Falls ::


  • Randi

    We stockpile too although I have certain limits. Once the containers that hold certain items are completely full (like the basket that holds shampoo or soap), I'll only buy the product again if I'm getting it for an insane price (like less than fifty cents or for free). I also try to maintain a sense of reality about things (like you said) - if no one's eating it, it's not a good deal.

  • taralynn819

    I scored boxes of 40 ct tampons at Shoppers yesterday for $1 each! On the shelf they sell for more than $6!

    My favorite stockpile item is cereal. I don't eat much (though I like the variety when the random craving or necessity of convenience hits). We normally prefer healthier cereals like Life and Honey Bunches of Oats, but my poor husband was eating boxes upon boxes of High School Musical cereal for weeks! (I otherwise don't recommend purchasing unless a deal of a deal - kind of blah!)

    The main issue I have with stockpiling cereal, though, is that the more we have the more gets eaten. Like, bigger and more frequent helpings. So the stockpile can kind of backfire sometimes. I can't hide anything from my cereal lover!

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