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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Can you be frugal and stock up at the same time?

Practicing frugality is becoming more and more necessary for consumers as income remains stagnant or decreases and prices continue to rise. If the thought of stockpiling your groceries and other household needs seems to be a step in the wrong direction, consider the following......

At first glance, the concept of stocking up appears to be at odds with the concept of frugality. After all, by definition frugality means that one should practice economical strategies in the purchase and use of resources, natural and man made. Doesn’t the idea of stocking up seem to be contrary to this concept? Perhaps it does, but nonetheless, if practiced carefully, stocking up can be quite an economical strategy that leads to exceptional frugality. Using the strategy of stocking up on various products can lead to quite a savings on resources and finances.
Stocking up on certain types of household, car, garden, personal needs, and other types of supplies or needs is something that should be thought out carefully. It begins with a knowledge of what you need on a regular basis, where you can store these items, and what price range makes it worthwhile to purchase in bulk. Following certain guidelines when making your purchases will circumvent potential problems while maximizing your savings.

Know the Amount of Storage Space You Have
Before stocking up on any type of product whatsoever, it is essential that you know how much space you have available for storing it. Where you keep your items is almost as important as whether or not you have a true need for it. After all, if you store your stockpile items in some out-of-the-way location, you might forget that you have them. If this happens, then the item can go to waste if it has a specific shelf life and you can end up spending even more money than you would have if you hadn’t done any stocking up.
The best place to store your extra items is in a place that is easily accessible. A spare shelf in a closet, a built in or stand alone pantry, or even a back room can be used to store your stockpiled items. Plus, you should always store your items in the same location so that you remember where they are. The easier these items are to get to, the more likely it is that you will remember to use them.

Categorize Your Stockpile
One of the easiest strategies that you can use to stay aware of what you have in your stockpile is to categorize your purchases. Place similar items in the same area. Not only does this allow you to find them easily, but also, it decreases the amount of time needed to search through your stockpile when updating your needs. For example, if you are stocking up on personal hygiene needs such as body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant, they should all be stored in the same general area. Perhaps you can clear a shelf in the linen closet to make room for your stockpile. For food items, a stand alone pantry or a few shelves in the kitchen should be sufficient to hold your stockpile. Again, place similar items together.

Create a List of Needed Items
Whether you store the list in your head or you write it down, you need to maintain a list of items that you are running low on. If you maintain a list of items that need to be replenished, then you don’t miss out on an opportunity to stock up on something that you are running low on. It is too easy to bypass a good sale simply because you think that you don’t need an item. After all, buying too much of a good thing can easily turn into a bad thing if the shelf life of the item isn’t sufficient enough for your use of the product. Take this strategy a bit further and take into consideration the possibility of family gatherings or parties that might necessitate purchases on a slightly larger scale.

Stockpile When the Price is Unbeatable
If you want the best return for your money, paying attention to the price variations on any type of product is essential. If you monitor store sales for several weeks or months, you will be able to get a handle on the price fluctuations so that you know just how low a price might go. Manufacturers like to vary their prices according to their marketing schemes and therefore, different times of the month or year will bring about lower prices. Therefore, if you pay attention to these fluctuations on the market, you can plan your stockpiling strategies more efficiently.
Resist the urge to purchase large quantities of items when the price is lower than usual but not a great deal lower. The best time to stockpile is when the price is as low as it is likely to get. The shopping lists provided at PinchingYourPennies.com are a key element in knowing when to stock up an item. Using our shopping lists, you can quickly spot 4 and 5 star deals. 5 star deals on the shopping lists are rock-bottom, stock-up prices. Our deal finders and listmakers have years of experience tracking sales and item prices.
If you can avoid becoming brand conscious, then you can take advantage of clearance sales on discontinued brands and products. The savings on clearance items is often as much as 50% to 75% of the original purchase price. For example, after most holiday seasons end, most stores place their holiday items on sale. Even though you might not want any more Christmas candy, the stores often reduce the prices of products that they have overstocked including baking items, canned and candied fruits or nuts, spices, baking pans, and more. This fact makes after holiday sales a perfect time to stockpile a few items.

Don’t Worry about Stockpiling Everything All at Once
It is important to remember that you don’t need to do all of your stockpiling all at once either. If you need something and it isn’t on sale for a good price, then simply purchase one of the item or the quantity that you need. Otherwise, don’t purchase anything that you don’t need until you can obtain it for a good price.
After a few months of shopping with a stockpiling strategy, you will discover that you rarely run out of any of the items that you typically stockpile. Your purchasing habits will become cyclical as they begin to follow the cycles of sales that occur on a consistent basis. Additionally, you will begin to see a savings in your monthly expenditure as you reap the benefits of not ever having to purchase any of these items at full price.

Avoid Stockpiling Items That You Won’t Use
As you begin to look for bargains to stockpile, you will come across great deals on items that you have no real use for or need of. It is so easy to get caught up in the terrific savings that someone would get if they purchased these items. However, there’s no bargain if you purchase something that you aren’t ever going to need simply because it is on sale for 90% off of the original price. For example, quite often seasonal items will go on sale at drastically reduced prices. However, if these items are products that you will never use, then you would waste money with a purchase of them. Buying something because it is ten cents is pointless if you are never going to use the item. However, if you are looking for a charitable donation, you can always purchase such items and donate them to a local shelter or food pantry that can use them.

Avoid Stockpiling Perishable Items
Perishable items such as produce, bakery items, and other items with a short shelf life are not good items to stockpile. Chances are that these items will go bad before you ever get to use all of them should you decide to stockpile them. For items with an expiration date, you can calculate how many you would be able to use before the expiration date arrives and purchase that quantity. In fact, check the expiration dates on a number of the product as this will probably vary by as much as several months. Purchase the ones that have the expiration date that offers the longest shelf life.

Maintain Your Stockpile
Once you set up a place to store your stockpile, you need to remember to maintain it. Since many of the items will have expiration dates on them, you need to rotate your purchase so that the earliest expiration dates remain in the front of the stockpile. This strategy pertains to both perishable and nonperishable items. One of the strategies that you can use is to take a black marker and label the items in large numbers with their expiration dates on them.

Have Realistic Expectations
One of the most important facets about stocking up that one needs to understand is that the financial benefits are not seen immediately. After all, it is quite possible that initially you will be spending slightly more money than usual. However, after several weeks, you will begin to see savings as you spend less because you already have the item at home. At the very least, you will be able to keep up with the rise in cost as you continue stocking up when the items are on sale.

8 comments:

Candi said...

Terrific post - loved it - thank you!

Hestermania! said...

that is a beautiful pantry...

RWhite said...

I really like your shelves...what kind are they?

Natalie said...

I like your shelves too! (And the post!) Where did you get them? Price?

Karin and Shelley said...

The picture/pantry belongs to a PYP member. I'll see if I can find out what kind of shelves she has and where she got them. (I was thinking they were homemade though?)

Tightwad Mom said...

Thanks for the post! I'm teaching a class next month on saving money on groceries. Is it okay to add this blog to my handouts? You have explained it better than I could.

Karin and Shelley said...

No problem Tightwad Mom! :)

Tightwad Mom said...

Thank you!!!!!

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