I’ve had multiple readers ask to see my stockpile. Several people that are new to couponing or have recently discovered that I coupon, have asked if I have an entire room or garage devoted to my stockpile. The prevailing theory seems to be that since the couponers on TLC’s Extreme Couponing show have massive stockpiles that everyone must have the same practice. I’d like to show you a few pictures of a more normal, modest stockpile.
Here’s my main stockpile area, holding mostly canned goods. My
remaining supply of green beans and creamed soups, plus pork and beans
from recent fillers at Walgreens is at the bottom right. These shelves
are actually broom closets about 6 inches deep that I asked my husband
to put small shelves into. I couldn’t be happier with the results.
|Canned Goods Stockpile|
|miscellaneous kitchen stockpile (in the laundry room)|
|Cereal and Apple Juice Stockpile|
So you can see that while I have a stockpile, it’s spread throughout the house in areas close to where the items are needed. I don’t want to spend time going all the way to a stockpile room everytime that I need something, so I tend to keep each item stockpiled right in my cabinets so that I know when I’m out. I have only a month or two of most items, but you can see that there are also many items I don’t stockpile at all. The few items that I do have multiple months’ worth on hand (beans, pediasure, and ragu) don’t take up a massive amount of room. I do have a stockpile of office supplies, but those are still buried somewhere in moving boxes in the office/guest bedroom.
If you don’t have a good stockpile closet or extra kitchen cabinet
space, try under the bed boxes, or a couple of small boxes in your
laundry room. Many items can be stored in boxes on closet floors too. A little space goes a long way, especially with toiletries!
My philosophy on couponing/stockpiling is somewhat similar to the theory of dieting/exercise. There comes a point that exercising alone won’t help you lose anymore weight. You can exercise all you want and will make progress, but you haven’t fixed the other part of the problem (in most cases)-intake. Exercise must be accompanied by a diet change to be lasting. Notice that I said with a diet change? Being frugal is twofold. You can use coupons and save lots of money, but if you’re still going through a roll of paper towels every day you’re still sustaining the problem of intake. The more you use unnecessarily, the more you have to spend time to buy.
You can put 40 hours a week into watching the blogs for deals, organizing coupons, making lists etc. and save a massive amount of money, but at what emotional cost to your family? Yes, the folks on Biggest Loser drop a lot of weight, but they have
literally traded their jobs and livelihoods for diet and exercise. With
a diet change and just 1 hour of exercise (geared toward their body
type) daily, they can also make a lot of improvement in their weight
without it consuming them. Couponing should be combined with a change in lifestyle to use and consume less. You may be able to save $30,000 a year by couponing for 40 hours a week. I save nearly $15,000 by couponing for 5 hours a less a week. I’ll chose family time and $15,000 wouldn’t you?
Find a system that works for you and saves your family a good amount of money without taking away from your livelihood. When you’re just starting out maybe try to spend 10 hours a week. As you start to consume less, recognize deals better, find sites that cater to the deals you are interested in, and get your coupon organizational system down, that time will diminish rapidly. I spend no more than 4 or 5 hours* a week to organize, scope out my deals for my shopping, and do my actual shopping. I’ve found that spending more time doesn’t equate with enough extra savings to justify the time away from my family. Just like a budget though, you should do what works for your family, not mine.
*My blogging time is completely separate. This counts the time it takes me to go to my matchups or those of another site and make my shopping list, gather my coupons, and do my shopping.