Do you remember the TLC show Extreme Couponing from a couple of years ago? I remember watching mesmerized by the lengths that people went to in order to build a stockpile. They dove into dumpsters and stole their neighbors newspapers — all for the sake of a deal and a coupon.
I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t take all that and you can absolutely create an attainable, modest stockpile with just $10 a week. My sister actually gave me the idea after we were talking about couponing and finding a recent sale.
I more or less accepted her challenge of creating a stockpile of household items for my family for what it costs to buy Starbucks for a week or less than it costs for two adult movie tickets.
So what exactly is a stockpile? It’s when you purchase items in multiples through the use of coupons or low price deals. For example, say your family uses hand soap like crazy and it’s on sale at your local supermarket for 76 cents for a 7.5 oz bottle when normally it costs $1.67. It’s a deal so you buy 4 or 6. True story, by the way.
Disclaimer: So before I go any further I should probably note that if you want to build an extreme stockpile like for an apocalypse then you might as well stop reading.
I for one don’t have the space to house 80 tubes of toothpaste nor do I have the time to gather coupons and track deals for 80 tubes of toothpaste. So that being said, I really just want to explain how I attain my mini stockpile of items my family uses pretty regularly.
So keep reading if you want to know how I do it.
Create a list.
I honestly have a running list in my head of items we use on the regular like toothpaste, hand soap, laundry detergent, and bathroom tissue. I’ve focused for now on stockpiling non-perishable items that are NOT food.
So if you have household items or food that your family uses a lot of then you may want to add it to the list. If I were stocking up on food items then I would include eggs, bread, cheese, sugar, rice, grits, etc.
I don’t have a goal of what or how many items I buy in a single week, just what’s on sale, what I have space for and when I’ve reached my $10 limit.
Check for deals, rebates, coupons.
After I’ve made a list of items I intend to purchase I check my Flipp app to survey all of the store circulars for a sale. I search Food Lion, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart, Family Dollar, Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Aldi because those are the stores in my town. It would take me so much time to individually search all of the store sale papers. I’m a mom on the go and using the Flipp app allows me to check it while on the elevator at work or waiting for my morning coffee to brew or in the parking lot before I shop. You get the picture.
Then I search coupons.com (also available via app) or the Krazy Coupon Lady.com (also available via app) to see if there are any savings. The Krazy Coupon Lady actually tells me in which inserts I can find a coupon. So I trust that if there is one out there, she’s already made note of it. Love her.
I then check the Ibotta app to see if there are rebate opportunities. The app has select store and any brand items that once you purchase it can net you 25 cents up to a couple of dollars on a rebate. So for instance, the first week I signed up I received a rebate for any brand of bread, eggs and milk. You check off the items you think you might buy and link your store card and once it’s processed you get your rebate. New items and brands are added each week. I’ve chosen to let my rebates stack up instead of cashing them in.
By the way, if you think you want to sign up for Ibotta use my referral code and we can be teammates. When I shop you can earn bonuses and vice versa.
Spend just $10
It’s really not that hard to build your household stockpile. Store sales come in cycles (usually six weeks) so you can build your supply in a short amount of time. I buy enough now in order to last me until the next sale. This way I won’t ever have to pay full price for that particular item again.
Say you only want to pile away three bottles of Dawn dish detergent because you really don’t have space. If your total cost doesn’t reach $10 then either add it to the next week or add it to the cost of an extra item like soap or paper towels.
I kind of already know what the average cost of my regular stockpile items are so this isn’t a huge effort on my part, but if you’re new to stockpiling then you may want to track prices of items you intend to buy a lot of so that you know if it’s really a deal when it’s on sale.
There are some items I just refuse to buy because it doesn’t fit my $10 a week budget. Two weeks ago Tide laundry detergent was on sale at Walgreens and the coupon I had would’ve taken off a $1, but I still would’ve paid about $5 for it so I waited. I bought dish soap instead that week and knew that another brand of laundry detergent would be cheaper the following week.
The Flipp app really helps me track and compare prices. Some circulars offer a preview on the app before the current week is expired so then I know if I should wait to buy or go ahead and purchase.
Best time to buy
While some stores may offer sales on cycles, some items are just better if bought during a certain time of the year. Now this may blow your $10 a week budget, but at least you’ll know when items are on sale and can plan your shopping trips. For example, Christmas decorations are always on sale the days following Christmas and even in January, in some stores.
Food items like condiments, hot dogs or buns are almost always on sale around holidays like Memorial Day or July 4th.
Bonus: Big ticket items like furniture is best bought in January because companies typically release new products in February and August. So the best deals will be in January to make room for the new releases in February.
Drug stores have hidden gems
Don’t sleep on drug stores because they have a plethora of hidden gems aka deals upon deals upon deals. I buy all of my laundry detergent, dish soap and hair care products from either Walgreens, CVS or Rite Aid. I wait for a sale and match that with a manufacturer’s couple for an even better deal. For example, I recently bought Oxi Clean laundry detergent that was $3.99 (regularly priced around $7). I found an online coupon for $3.
Now when I shop at Walgreens I always scan my Balance Rewards card because I get points and bonus points for buying certain items. Most stores these days have some type of reward cards. I also load any coupons to my card so that once it’s scanned the coupon automatically is used. Walgreens points are in the 1,000 increments. So 1,000 points is equal to $1. Once I’ve accumulated points I can also use those during a shopping trip at the store to reduce my price.
Say I have 10,000 bonus points and my total is $12.99 then I can apply my bonus points, which again would be $1 per 1,000. I could use the $10 toward my $12.99 bill and walk out of the store only spending $2.99.
Walgreens also has a coupon savings booklet at the front of the store next to the weekly circular. I always browse the booklet to see if there are coupons that I can apply to a product.
CVS also has a reward system and coupons available on its app. I haven’t found very much luck getting the app to work in my favor, but I’m going to keep at it.
I also recently lucked up by clipping a manufacturer coupon for $2 off any L’Oreal face product and I read the fine print that just said any face product. I asked the clerk if that applied to mascara and she said it did not. I asked her if she would indulge me and scan it anyway. It worked. I bought a Voluminous Lash mascara in carbon black (my favorite) that was originally around $8 and I got a rebate because it was on the Ibotta app.
If you, like me just want to save a little extra cash, find a good deal and store up some household products then I challenge you to try my $10 a week stockpile. Go ahead. I dare you. Set aside just $10 a week and watch your stockpile grow.