Stockpiling: The Benefits, Burden, and Blessings

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If you’ve tuned in to any episodes of TLC’s Extreme Couponing, then you’ve seen the overwhelming stockpiles the shoppers have built!  Certainly in comparison, theirs puts my meager stockpiles, if you could call it that, to shame!

Coupon Queen Laci stockpilingThank you, Coupon Queen Laci

The benefits of couponing are maximized when one learns to stockpile, without a doubt.  Buying items at their lowest sales price, and stocking up on said item, certainly saves money in the long run.  It is an amazing way to ensure that you are not overpaying for items; nor that you’ll have to run out and pay too much for an item, simply because you didn’t have it in stock when it’s needed.

Obviously, non-perishable items are super-easy on which to stock up.  Creating a seemingly endless supply of toilet paper, toothpaste and toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products, cleaning materials, and Spam (because would you really know if meat in a can has gone bad?) is the way to go, and a great way to start a stockpile.  But with careful planning and attention to detail, you can expand your stockpile to edibles, including frozen foods and pantry items.

Over time, and with a bit of effort put forth, your stockpile can offer a sense of security.  Living paycheck to paycheck can be tough; and in this economy, the uncertainty of one’s job security these days is rather stressful.  But knowing that you can still feed and care for your family with the material you’ve accumulated in your stockpile offers a sense of security that cannot be shaken!

Tammilee's Tips stockpilingKudos, Tammilee’s Tips
on a  stock well-piled! 

The burden of stockpiling may be quite apparent: it requires time, effort, and -most importantly- space.  My meager stockpile consists only of items that can fit in their designated spaces: toothpaste, shampoo, razor blades, feminine hygiene products, etc. must be able to fit in my bathroom cabinets.  Pantry items must be able to fit in the pantry.  Laundry items must be able to fit in -you guessed it!- the laundry room.

Stockpiling becomes a burden and a bit of a nuisance when it takes over other areas of your home.  Again, on Extreme Couponing, I’ve seen TP stockpiled under a child’s bed, nightstands crammed full of items, garages converted to stockpile rooms, and so forth.  To me, the insurance and security that comes from a stockpile can be undercut when it prevents you and your family from using and enjoying the space in your house in its intended fashion.  Stockpiling should not CONSUME your home.

Further, I have witnessed a few frugal blogger friends display fits of anxiety when their stockpiles drop to levels they deem unacceptable.  I’m sorry, but ten 12-packs of toilet paper seem to be pretty darn impressive for a family of four!  You “only” have 20 bottles of laundry detergent left, and declare it a crisis?  (Honey, go read about how to stretch your laundry detergent!!)  Stockpiling should offer a sense of security, not an added dimension of stress and anxiety to our already stressful lives!

In my humble opinion, if you become anxious because a group of items in your stockpile is running low, you need to re-prioritize.  Sales will always cycle back, and that item(s) in question can be replenished over time.

Finally, the burden continues with feeling compelled to buy multiple copies of the paper, just for the coupons.  If you have a large family, I can see the justification in this; however, for the typical family of -say- four, why on earth would you want to spend hours upon hours sorting, organizing, clipping, and storing coupons?  Are you really, truly saving that much?


Klippin Krazy stockpiling
Ingenious re-purposing,
Klippin Krazy!
We have a regular subscription to the AJC, and my parents save their Sunday coupons for me. Lately, I’ve been investing in the purchase of a Sunday paper on Saturday, but that’s in my attempt to get the deals to you sooner.  Furthermore, I’ve been extremely fortunate enough to get a slightly varied, condensed copy of the Smart Source coupons in the mail on Tuesdays.  And when I see my dear sweet MIL, I end up with an additional set of coupons, usually at least two weeks’ worth.  Therefore, I have more than enough sets of coupons each week, anywhere between two and five.   This is more than enough for my family of three (soon to be four).  I have a small network of friends with whom I can tap, should I see a good coupon that fits my family’s needs; and I’m happy to offer them ones for them in exchange.

I digress.  I call in to question the benefits of BUYING multiple copies of the paper, just for the sake of having multiple coupons.  I’m speaking mostly about paying money for ten or more copies — at what point do the coupons pay for themselves??  Additionally, many coupons are also available in print form these days; that’s FREE, as long as you have access to a printer. AND you can typically get TWO copies of each printable coupon.  Why take on the burden of paying money, all with the chance (not guarantee) of saving more money than you’ve invested.


Freetail Therapy stockpiling
Thanks, Freetail Therapy!!

The blessings of a well-fed stockpile can be counted in the securities it may provide, in knowing that, even if you find yourself without an income, or on a drastically reduced income, you can still provide for your family with little to no impact on your day-to-day living.  (…and isn’t that the purpose behind stockpiling….?)  All those hours of carefully planning shopping trips, matching coupons, and vigilantly watching sales cycles pay off.

But beyond your own life, charitable donations you can make with any extras you may have on hand within your stockpile are assuredly a blessing in itself.  Whether you share a few items with a neighbor in need, or sizable donations to a homeless shelter or other charity in need, you need not look further than your well-endowed stockpile.  Being able to share your fantastic savings with those in need ensures that others can help meet their basic needs, while you reep karmic the benefits of paying it forward.

All in all, I think we must each strike a balance between letting our stockpile(s) consume us and overtake our lives, with the pragmatic benefits of stretching your dollar while also being able to extend a helping hand to those in need.

***I share with you my thoughts and observations on stockpiling, but please heed this disclaimer: I am not bashing nor ridiculing those who create big stockpiles.  I have made some great blogger friends over the last few months, who have been gracious enough to share their stockpile pics with me (and thus, with you) and they’re pictured here — check them each out; they’re great ladies with great blogs.***

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

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