A Stockpile Doesn’t Have to be Extreme

This post may contain affiliate links.

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

Bathroom Stockpile
 Did you notice the lovely green on the cabinet? I still haven’t gotten around to painting.
I also have a few packages of Cottonelle under the sink that will last us a couple of months.

Diaper Stockpile
I didn’t take pic of the wipes, but I have 4 refills packs on the bottom of Little One’s bookcase. 

miscellaneous kitchen stockpile (in the laundry room)
Cereal and Apple Juice Stockpile
Pasta 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
, 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.


  1. Love love love it! You are a strong voice of reason in this flurry of extremity regarding couponing. Have you noticed your shopping/couponing/spending habits have changed since you began your frugal journey? Mine seem to get modified as time goes on.

  2. Also, you may have jumpstarted me to reorganize my stockpile stuff. :)

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post. It seems like last week I got to caught up in deals and your post helped me realize that it’s time for a little break! Love your site, thanks for your dedication to helping people save money.

  4. Great post and thought provoking. Thanks so much!

  5. Love reading your stockpile! That is how a true stockpile should be made!!! Thanks!

  6. tHank you everyone for the sincere remarks about my stockpile and this post. it’s intimiDating to not be what people expect me to be when they Hear i write a blog and have couponed for about fifteen years. i appreciate your encouragement and knowing that my posts are encouraging you too. and 4 the record pary, yes i did tidy up each of my little areas before snapping those pics. are you going to show us all your closet soon? :-)

  7. Ummmm….Sure…
    I was already thinking I would do a similar post with a slightly different spin. We will see…what we shall see… :) Maybe you should throw it open to all your coupon ladies and have a little show and tell. Blog hop anyone?

  8. Anonymous says:

    No letters…

  9. Great article-thanks for linking up to the Planning Your Coupon Shopping Trip blog hop! I love sharing different ways of doing things since not everyone does them the same. It helps to have different ideas to find what works for you.