First of all, I’d like to apologize for not having a new Trim Your Grocery Bill post up last Friday! Last week threw a couple of unexpected speed bumps my way and I was unable to find time to devote to writing the article! So far this week is going well, so you get a new post!
Today I’d like to share a bit on Stockpiling, or the Buying Ahead Principle. Or another way of terming it, “Buy lots when it’s on sale, so you never pay full price for the things you need”. This is my favourite way to save grocery money in the long run!
Chicken breasts were on sale at one of our local grocery stores a few weeks ago for $3.99 a pound. I bought 6 packages (about 6 breasts in each) knowing that would be enough to last us until the next good sale. Because there’s no way I’m paying almost $7 a pound if I don’t have to! Once I get home with the chicken, I separate the chicken into freezer bags, two in each bag. Perfect for meals for the two of us.
Chicken isn’t the only thing I stock up on if it’s on sale. If an item I regularly use is listed at a rock-bottom price, I will purchase as many items as I can afford, (within my grocery budget) to tide me over until the next sale. I think the only things I buy on a weekly basis at full price are fresh fruits & vegetables and dairy products.
Let’s look at an example of how much paying retail vs. buying ahead will cost you over the year:
Say your family uses 10 sticks of deodorant a year and the regular retail price is $3.50 each. You’ll be paying $35.00 a year for deodorant.
But, say, you practiced the Buy Ahead Principle, and you saved all your $2 off deodorant coupons and waited until it went on sale for $1.99. You could then buy all 10 sticks of deodorant for free! Saving yourself $35 for the year! Even if you don’t use coupons you’re still saving $15.10 a year on deodorant alone.
Here are some of my tips to help you build a stockpile:
Start slow – Please don’t go out today and spend $300 to build your stock pile if you’re new to the concept of buying ahead. Building takes time. Instead, devote a small portion of your weekly grocery budget to stockpiling. If you happen upon a week with poor stockpiling sales? Save your stockpile money for the next week.
Know your family’s needs and preferences – My husband is a cereal addict. He can hardly go a day without at least one bowl of the stuff. (thankfully he likes the “healthy” kinds!) When I see cereal he likes on sale, I buy quite a few boxes, knowing that he’ll eat them up in no time. It makes sense for me to build a large stockpile of cereal because I would hate to pay full price for something that costs a lot even when it’s on sale! Your household may have other needs and preferences, so you would stockpile different groceries.
Of course, keep in mind to only stockpile items proven to be useful and liked by your family. Stockpiling an item without having tried it first, could end up being a big waste of money if no one likes the item!
Set aside an area(s) in your home to store your stockpile - We live in a condo. Space can be limited, so I have a couple of areas in my home for stockpiling. Our utility closet holds my stockpiled food items and a shelf in our bathroom holds my toiletries. We even have a big freezer, which helps hold all the chicken I like to buy.
In most homes, there are plenty of nooks and crannies that could be used to store a stockpile. Under a bed, a shelf in a hall closet, maybe a TV stand? Or perhaps you need to clear out some items you no longer need to make room. Be creative, you’ll find space somewhere!
Know when enough is enough- It can be extremely cost effective to use the Buy Ahead Principle but, it’s important to know when enough is enough. If you have purchased enough deodorant to last you two years, you probably don’t have to go out and buy another year’s worth just because it’s on sale. For one thing deodorant, and many other items, have an expiry date. My recommendation is to buy only what you need until the next sale comes along, or what you can use in the time before it expires.
Another thing I’d like to touch on is courtesy. Just because you have enough coupons or money in your “stockpile budget” to clear the shelves, don’t do it. Leave some items on the shelf for others to purchase or ask a manager if there’s more in the back so others aren’t disappointed when they can’t get a deal due to supply.
If you decide to start stockpiling by using the Buy Ahead Principle I can guarantee you will see huge savings in your grocery bill! Do you stockpile? I’d love your comments!
Missed the last posts in the series? Here they are:
- Trim your Grocery Bill – Commit to Make a Change
- Trim your Grocery Bill – Sneaky Ways Grocery Stores get you to Spend More
- Trim your Grocery Bill – You Need a Grocery Budget
- Trim your Grocery Bill – Menu Planning will Save your Budget and your Sanity
- Trim your Grocery Bill – Tips for Successful Menu Planning, Part 1
- Trim your Grocery Bill – Tips for Successful Menu Planning, Part 2