Friday, August 6, 2010

Stockpiling 101 - Build Up: How Do I Create a Stockpile? - Part Three

For the past two days we have been talking about the importance of Stockpiling. First we talked about What is Stockpiling? Yesterday we talked about Why Stockpiling is Important. (If you have not read the first two posts of the series you may want to start HERE)

Today I am going to talk about Building Up: How to Create a Stockpile? This is pretty much the heart of the whole Stockpiling series.

I will discuss the most efficient ways to build a stockpile, how long it takes to build one, how much is enough and how much is too much.

First of all it is a good idea to have a good understanding of using coupons and sales, in order to start building your stockpile. You can read The Coupon Strategy for greater details to the art of Couponing, but I will touch on the topic just a tad in this post. 

To create a stockpile you want to buy a lot of items that are on sale with coupons. By using coupons with sale prices you are able decrease your Out Of Pocket (oop) expenses even further, then just buying items on sale or using coupons exclusively outside a sale (though at times you can get good deals). 

I consider a good price for an item worth stockpiling to be priced at least 75% off or more the original price. 
As a side note: there are certain items that are hard/very rare to find priced at 75% or more off (let's refer to those as High Ticketed Items). High Ticketed Items (HTI) may be considered stockpile worthy at 40% or more off. HTIs include: Meat, Toilet Paper, Paper Towels, Laundry Detergent, Peanuts, OTC Medicines). If I come across HTI that are priced 75% or more off I will let you know immediately, as they are most certainly worth stocking up on when they are priced this low.

 When items are priced 75% or more it is important to try and stock up on as many of those items as possible. Granted this is dependent upon the number of coupons you can get and/or if the store limits the number of items you are allowed to purchase. But you want to try and get as many you can.

For the most part most Internet Printable (IP) coupons allow you to print at least twice per computer. Every now and then you get the rare ones that let you print more, and some will only allow one per computer. I would guess that 95% of the time you will find you can print at least twice per computer. This means if you have more than one computer in your house, or you can use friends or family computers (if they don't coupon), then you can print off more than two.

It's also important to point out that not only are the number prints per computer limited but most coupons, especially ones directly from the manufacturer's (MF) website are limited to a total number of prints overall, especially if the MF releases a High Value Coupon.  Having said that it is strongly urged that you go and print those coupons off quickly in case the limit is reached quickly, and you miss out on a great savings. Usually I (and other good savings bloggers) will let you know if it is a coupon that should be printed immediately.

Build An Efficient Stockpile
An efficient Stockpile is one that will last you and your family at least 2-3 months, though I personally aim for at least 4 months worth. This is important for all the reason discussed in Part Two of this Series, "Why Is Stockpiling Important?". It's also important to point out that stores cycle their sales. And every item is cycled through at different times and rates. Some products cycle through ever 4-8 wks, while others cycle every 9-12wks. I would say on average most items cycle ever two to three months, however there are a few that can cycle through every 4-6 months. 

Obviously, items that take longer to cycle through sales you will want to stock up more on, unless of course it has a short shelf life, such as produce. By stocking up more on this particular item you should have enough to last you and your family long enough until the next great sale. 

Time It Takes To Build A Stockpile
Every family is different, depending on size and budget. I would say the average size family with an average income of around $40-50,000 a year should be able to build their stockpile within about 6 months time. 

When you start out you will/should start saving at least 40% off your grocery bill, and as high as 50%. It takes time and practice to get The Coupon Strategy down.  But, as I have stated over and over, in the beginning your Needs List will be high, as you begin to build your Stockpile, your Needs list will go down, thus your grocery bill will go down. 

If you have a larger grocery budget then most you may be able to build your Stockpile quicker than some, it just means your grocery bill will actually go up a bit, until you have a sufficient stockpile. But, you will see serious savings in a shorter amount of time. I believe that in the end whether you build quickly or at an average rate it all balances out in the end. 

How Much Is Enough
I don't want to encourage any of you start hoarding :). Please don't turn into hoarders and start buying everything on sale, that's a waste of time, money, and resources. Here's how I see it, ask yourself these questions before Stockpiling on products: 
Do you use this item regularly? If you answer Yes, then stock up enough to last at least 2 months worth, if possible. If you answer No, then ask:  Do you use this item on occasions? If you answer Yes- then buy a few, especially if it is marked at a great price, but don't go overboard. If No, ask: Is it something you or your family are willing to try? If Yes, then get a couple and give them a try. If No, finally ask this: Is this something my friend, family, or community could use? If Yes - then grab a couple and give them away. If No - then pass this item/product up, don't bother buying any. 
There is no reason to buy things just to buy them at a great price. I have to say that since using coupons I now use things I didn't use before coupons, for a few reasons. It may have been an item that did not seem worth paying such an outrageous price for but with sales and coupons I can now afford to. Also, I have been more open minded about trying new products and found some that I like, and some that I don't. At least if I find I don't like a product I haven't wasted a ton of money.

On Monday I will post about Stockpile Price Points: How do I know the right price to Stockpile an Item? I will be giving you a list of prices for items, especially High Ticket Items, that I consider stockpile worthy prices, not just a percentage. Having been a couponer for almost a year now I know that there are certain items that I refuse to pay any money OOP for, as I know I can get plenty of these for free.  Because at some point these items will become free due to great sales and great coupons. And then there are other items I just know in my head a price point for specific items and what the highest is I am willing to pay for. .

On Tuesday I will finish this series on Stockpiling with Clear Out and Make Room: Where Do I Put My Stockpile?

Please if you have any questions feel free to email me or leave a comment on this post and I will be more than happy to answer any questions about Stockpiling as I can. 

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