Building a stockpile is not something you should rush. It takes months, and sometimes years, to build up a good (and workable) stockpile for your family. You need to first determine the what, where and how of stockpiling: what types of items are you going to stockpile, where are you going to keep your stockpile, and how long do you need your stockpile to last. Figuring out the answers to these questions is a great first step towards building a great stockpile.
What - Make a list of items that your family uses regularly. It is very important to know what your family uses on a regular basis and how long the product lasts for in your house. Make sure to stock up on what you use. Your family might go through lots of cereal, toilet paper, shampoo, diapers, etc. Keeping track of items used daily is a great way to figure this out.
Where - Before you grow and expand your stockpile, you need to figure out where all this stuff will be stored. Organization is key! There is nothing worse than finding a few tubes of toothpaste under your bed with an expiry date from 4 years ago. Make sure you have designated spot or spots. You can store it on shelving units in a spare room, the garage or the basement, in storage containers under your bed, or in designated areas where they will be used (shampoo in the bathroom and food in the kitchen). I keep my stockpile on sturdy plastic shelves in the basement. I keep all of my items together by category: food is stored together on a separate shelving unit; cleaning supplies have a designated shelf, and toiletries have their own section. Whenever I purchase new products I always make sure to stock them behind the existing older products to use the older products first before the expiration date.
How - One of the hardest things that I learned when I first began couponing and building a stockpile was how much stuff to purchase versus how much stuff was used or needed. I found myself buying too much of a product or buying items that we rarely used just because I had a coupon for it. Sadly, most of these items ended up in the garbage. To avoid this from happening, make sure you know how much of an item your family uses regularly and how long you would like to stock up on. One way to figure this out is to keep track of this on a spreadsheet. Write down what date the items were opened and what date they were finished. For example, if a box of cereal gets opened on March 4th and it's all gone by March 18th, and you want a three month supply of cereal, you would need to buy 6 boxes.
Be Money Wise
While buying products to build your stockpile might be cheap per unit, it might get a bit pricey if you need to stock up on a number of month's supply of products. Which is why you need to set a budget aside for stocking up and figure out how much you would like to spend per week or per month. Sometimes even $20 is enough to buy a few products for the stockpile. And also keep in mind how much and what you need - does a family of four really need 20 tubes of toothpaste? Remember, it takes time to build the "perfect" stockpile for your family's needs. The last thing you want is to overspend or buy items you will never use - because that defeats the whole purpose of saving money!
Another thing to keep in mind is purchasing items when they are on sale. A stockpile becomes a money saver only when the items have been bought on sale or with a coupon. It is also beneficial to know of monthly and yearly sale cycles. Many stores follow these sale cycles, and knowing what items go on sale at what time of the year will help you save. For example, you will see ground meat, hot dogs, condiments and BBQ sauces on sale during the summer months while flour, pie filling, sugar, and butter will be on sale during the winter months. Knowing when items go on sale will help you save and help you purchase items at the lowest prices possible.
Do you have a stockpile in your home? What are your tips to a successful stockpile?