And it’s not surprising that it can get confusing sometimes as to when they should purchase short term or long term supply of many items.
I know I get confused. And so do other stockpilers.
I’m more at ease when I’m ahead by a month’s supply in many non-perishable items. But sometimes the savings are greater when we don’t supersize everything.
That being said, good stockpiles are built over a longer period of time, through strategic shopping using couponing techniques, loss leader shopping, clearance sales, etc.
If you’re purchasing items for your stockpile at full price, it defeats the purpose.
To get started, first things first...
How to Unit Price
In order to understand when a good deal really is a good deal, we have to have a way to compare two similar products even when the size is not the same.
This requires a breakdown of sorts, with variations based on the product in question. To determine this you need a basic understanding of how to unit price:
Break down the weight or volume of a product into a cost per piece/weight or volume measurement.
For example, if I wanted to compare two different packages of toilet paper, I would calculate cost per roll: divide the cost by the count per package. In this way, I can compare what size package I should buy for value, IF the two are of similar quality.
Or with milk, determining the cost per litre will tell me whether the large jug or the smaller carton would be more cost effective.
One store that frequently displays this information on their shelf pricing is Costco, which is very handy because not everything at that store is priced lower per unit than other retailers.
Reasons To Stockpile
People have different reasons for creating a stockpile of non-perishable necessities for their household:
- Some do it for emergency preparation,
- Others because of remote location, and
- There are those like me who do it to regulate pricing.
By acquiring a supply of something for a set price, you can insulate yourself against cost fluctuations for however long the supply of that item lasts your household.
If, on one of my couponing trips, I’m able to secure 15 boxes of pasta for 25 cents each, then I’m saving my family not only on food money, but the transportation cost of multiple trips.
When not to stick to lower unit price?
One instance where a lower unit price may not be the best deal is in regards to quality. Where this is concerned, you may opt for the higher price of a longer lasting or better product.
That really comes down to personal preference.
I almost never go for a generic brand of toilet paper or personal care products over a larger brand name. Because I’m a couponer I simply wait for a good opportunity to save as much as I can and stockpile a supply.
Related: Buy Off–Season To Save Money
How To Manage Your Stockpile
Once you start accumulating large amounts of products in your stockpile, you may run into a problem with proper storage.
- You may choose to set aside a small room or area in your home to serve as a stockroom, or...
- If you are blessed with ample cupboards and closets, you may decide to split it all up and store out of sight.
There are advantages to both systems.
Two advantages of turning a small room into your stockroom:
- It keeps everything easily accessible for inventory purposes, and with everything laid neatly before you in one area…
- You can monitor when supplies of certain items are getting low. Putting things away and rotating stock to avoid product expiry is also more simple.
The two downsides?
- You’d need to invest in an adequate amount of shelving if you can’t obtain it for free, and...
- You’d be giving up a larger amount of space in your home for this purpose.
Storing in cupboards and closets
Separating your stockpile into different areas can keep you from losing a lot of room in your home…
But it may make managing more difficult. And so you’ll need to be extra vigilant if doing this to avoid losing product that can expire - and to avoid running out of items.
Minimize your losses
Once you have begun to accumulate a good sized stockpile, you must take measures to ensure you are not allowing product to go to waste for items with an expiry date.
- Rotation is key, and...
- Be sure that storage is adequate with regards to temperature and humidity.
When snagging a deal on perishable items, remember not to purchase more than your household can make use of in a short amount of time.
Dairy and produce can spoil rather quickly, and you know that you aren’t saving money if you are throwing anything out. So check the expiry date before purchase, as it’s common for supermarkets to deeply discount these items as the expiry looms near.
Only stockpile items that your household actually uses. For example, if your children won’t eat a particular brand of cereal normally, that is not likely to change just because you purchased it for next to nothing or have gotten it for free.
Keeping Track Of Your Costs
As you’re bringing items into your home, keep track of your costs for future reference. Over the long run, you’ll be able to recognize good purchasing opportunities. Some info to write down would be:
- Item description,
- Amount and cost per unit,
- Date (which will highlight your rising costs over a longer period of time)
Keeping track of dates can be a good indicator for times when you may need to switch brands or types of products you buy for less expensive options.
One final pointer if you decide to get started on stockpiling:
Set a specific dollar amount within your grocery budget for stockpiling items.
Why? Because it can be easy to get carried away with good deals…So easy that you may accidentally leave yourself short on funds for the other necessities your household uses.
Setting an amount aside will give you some room to get your supply started. Then after you’ve gathered a good amount of items, you can divert a larger dollar amount of your grocery budget into your stockpiling reserve…
Treating this reserve like a separate account will ensure that you won’t allow yourself to go overboard. Keep this reserve separate in your purse or wallet. And try to make stockpile purchases as separate transactions at the register.