Search VTCouponer: Search Google:

Extreme Couponing 104 - Stockpiling

Now we delve into the Stockpiling aspects of Extreme Couponing.  It means changing the way you think about shopping for your needs, but it soooo pays off in the long run!  There is only two sections here:

Section 18 - Stockpiling 101
Section 19 - Stockpiling 102-Super Stockpiling

All these write ups are courtesy of the wonderful people over at, specifically MrCoupon on the Stockpiling articles.  

Section 18 - Stockpiling 101

Why Stockpile? Why stockpile is a great question that I get all the time in coupon classes. Why in the world would you buy 20 of something?? Well it’s simple, when I buy a years supply of something that is FREE, I take it off my grocery list for a year!! As my stockpile grows I am able to remove stockpiled items from my weekly grocery list. This in turn saves me hundreds of dollars every week!!

What is a stockpile? A stockpile is a reserve of items you use on a weekly or monthly basis. Generally, stockpiles are built over time, they just don’t magically appear! They are built by buying free items or items that are deeply discounted with coupons. I started my stockpile with 3 bottles of shampoo and oatmeal! Each week I added to my stockpile and now, many of my friends think I have a store!!

So how do you get started? First I would say, make sure to read some of the basic couponing articles found in Extreme Couponing 101 through 103 and the forums over at If you master basic couponing techniques, you're on your way to have a garage full of stuff!! 

If I buy more, won’t my grocery bill go UP not down? The entire stockpiling concept is built on saving money! Almost every week I spend around the same amount of money on groceries, and my stockpile grows! Some weeks I spend a little more, some a little less. BUT building a stockpile should NOT negatively affect your budget. If soup is on sale for $.25 per can, I check the expiration date, estimate how many I will use and buy appropriately. I don’t go out and say, “I want 500 cans because it’s cheap!” Be practical!! Don’t spend your entire grocery budget on stockpiling two items that you won’t use all that often. Another important stockpiling tip, buy the free stuff in mass!! If it’s free, stockup until your heart's content! If soup is free, buy as many as you can! If you don’t use it all, give it away to friends, neighbors or the food bank!!

It takes time Hardcore stockpilers will tell you flat out, it takes at least 6 months or longer of dedication to build a good size stockpile. Each week the sales change, which means that something new is free or extremely cheap. After stockpiling for months on end, your stockpile will be diverse, but not perfect! You may also run out of something. Give it time, and learn your own habits!

My family is destroying my stockpile!! I hear this a lot. Imagine eating generic captain crunch for years on end and then one day, mommy brings home the real stuff! Kids just love the shine of the new box, and because mommy bought not just one box but TEN, the kids and husband tear into 6 boxes in the first week! This is a common problem, but know that it will pass! After a while that new novelty will wear off to just another cereal.

How much should I stockpile?
When you find an item that is free or extremely cheap when using a coupon, the inevitable question arises, how much should I buy? To begin, you need to figure out how large of a supply you need! We recommend having at least a minimum of 3 months on hand, but 6 months is preferable. This will allow you to take that item off your grocery list for six months. Sales are cyclical, which means that eventually that item that you are purchasing today, will eventually go on sale down the road again. How much of a particular item you need depends on your family and their usage. A family with 4 teenagers is going to use a lot more deodorant than a family with a newborn and a toddler. Determine how much your family needs by estimating how much they use in a given week or month.

Stockpiling is Ongoing
Just because you got 10 boxes of cereal for free doesn't mean you will pass up the next cereal sale. You are never "finished" with a stockpile. Sales and cycles are happening constantly. If cereal is free again don’t hesitate to buy more! As soon as you get a full supply of one item, you will run low on another. Each week is different and after 4 months of not buying cereal ,you may be running low!

Stockpiling is stupid, I just go to Costco or Sams. Well go right ahead and spend hundreds of dollars! Buying in bulk isn’t stockpiling, it's wasting money. Sams is expensive! Let me say that again, Sams is very expensive! 90% of the time, purchasing in bulk at a warehouse store is not cheap! I have friends that brag about their warehouse purchases and I just smile on the inside. That item they were bragging about was FREE three weeks ago and I have hundreds of them in my basement! I discourage stockpiling items that you actually have to pay for UNLESS you can’t get a good deal on a regular basis. Even then, don't buy at stockpile levels, simply buy enough to last until you DO find the super deal elsewhere.
Remember, at warehouse stores, items may be cheaper in bulk, but most are never stockpile-worthy.

Issues that arise Some stockpilers HATE paying for anything! Sometimes that leads to small problems down the road. For example, I hate paying for mac and cheese. I rarely have a supply of it because I can’t ever seem to get it entirely free. Luckily we don’t eat it much, but when I want it, sometimes I have to run and pay full price for one box at the convenient store (A horrible thing).
Brand loyalty is another issue when stockpiling. Most couponers have thrown brand loyalty out the door, but some people only use Dawn. If you find that item on sale and you have a coupon, it may be worth overbuying by normal standards if you know it's the only brand that you will use and it doesn't often go on sale.
Coupon shortages are a common problem with stockpiliers! If you want to buy 30 of something you are going to need the coupons to do it. Ebay and clipping services are your friend! Buying multiple papers will also help. Get the coupons any way you can. You will even find people like me who will even dumpster dive for them!! 

Controlling your Ever Growing Stockpile

Organization & Space “Ummm honey, where should I put the 200 canisters of oatmeal you bought at Wal-mart? There isn’t any more room in the closet!!” Space is a constant struggle as your stockpile grows. My stockpile started on a shelf in the garage and has literally taken over then ENTIRE garage. I built shelves because my stockpile took over! Being organized is really important.

Expiration Dates A deal isn't a deal unless you are actually going to use the item before it spoils. ALWAYS check items before stocking up! Even water has an expiration date. Determine realistically how much your family will use and then buy the appropriate amount.
We hope that you understand the basics of why to stockpile with this article. Stockpiling is a great way to reduce your grocery list every week. By stocking up on an item for a year, you no longer have to buy it every week. If you can get that item for FREE, imagine how much money you will save EVERY WEEK. Stockpiling affects your bottom line and I believe it is the key to literally saving THOUSANDS every year on your grocery bill! 

Section 19 - Stockpiling 102-Super Stockpiling

Have you ever gone into the grocery store and instead of buying toilet paper for two weeks, you buy an entire pallet of toilet paper that will last you two years? All the while spending around $10 for the pallet of toilet paper? Welcome to Super Stockpiling! If you understand the basic principles of stockpiling, then you can probably guess that Super Stockpilers are taking it to the extreme and saving thousands of dollars by doing so every year. 

Super Stockpiling is a way of life and it isn’t easy, but the financial rewards are worth the trouble in my opinion. I am a self admitted Super Stockpiler. When I go to the store, I buy hundreds of items! I get stares and questions, but in the end, I spend almost nothing! 

So How Do You Start? Like anything, Super Stockpiling takes time to learn. My stockpile started out with around 5 items and now I have around 5,000 items in my basement and garage. It takes time and a personal commitment to maintain and grow your stockpile! I started slow, buying around 10 to 20 of an item I found for FREE. This was easy because it did not affect my grocery budget each week and I generally could get my hands on that many coupons by spending time on Saturdays looking in dumpsters! After months of doing this, I actually ran out of a stockpiled item that I purchased for FREE, and I had to pay for it at the grocery store! I was upset because I should have purchased more when they were FREE, so I started buying more! Each week I would buy as many FREE items as I could and I started buying around 20-30 of a given product each week. Slowly I started to build my stockpile! 

Methods on How Much Should You Buy? This question is a little misleading. I used that title intentionally because I am asked this question a lot! The question really isn’t how much you should buy, but how much CAN you buy! If an item is FREE, you need to buy as much of it as possible. Super Stockpilers don’t look at what they need, they look at the amount of product they can obtain FREE! I personally don’t care if I’m going to use it or not, if it’s FREE, it doesn’t affect my grocery budget for that week!

Most Super Stockpilers have a minimum of a year’s supply of a particular product on hand. If a product doesn’t have an expiration date, then I buy as much of that item as I possibly can! Shampoo, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels etc., all of them never expire. So if you can find them for FREE...…BUY, BUY, BUY! When you stockpile these items, you can take them off your grocery list for years to come! Not having to be at the mercy of a store and their price does an amazing thing to your wallet!

With products that expire, I buy as many as I think I will use plus 20. A good example was Kraft Mayo which was on sale for FREE at a local store, but it was only good for 7 months. My family uses around 2-3 bottles of mayo a month. So I purchased 20 bottles for myself, and then added 20 more just to be safe! That cushion allows you to be extremely generous with your stockpile! If family or friends are in need, you are able to provide items to them!

Stores and Stockpiling Often times I get strange looks when I put 20 relishes, 30 hand soaps and 25 blocks of cheese in my cart, but I simply explain that I’m getting them all for FREE, so why not!! Here is something that I have learned by Super Stockpiling, I have 150 coupons for the hand soap, but I would not buy all 150 at a single store. I split it up into smaller more manageable transactions at different stores. Why do I do this? Well first, I wouldn’t want to walk into a store and take everything off their shelves! Shelf clearing is bad because it hurts the store and couponers. Management gets upset because someone who wants to buy just one item can’t! So not only does the management get mad, so does other customers! Another good reason to limit your purchases is to 'fly under the radar.' We all hate a hassle and whether you are buying 2 or 20, sometimes this inevitably comes with an unfriendly cashier. Remember, as long as you’re using your coupons correctly, you are doing nothing wrong! 

Obtaining Coupons So where do you get all these coupons? We all know that if you want to purchase hundreds of items you must have hundreds of coupons! I generally purchase the coupons on eBay or use a coupon clipping service. In the past, I looked in dumpsters but now I purchase hundreds of products every week and dumpster diving was killing my Saturdays! Buying coupons is an art and please be aware of what you are doing. I always find a seller that combines shipping, and buy multiple sets of coupons from that seller. If you get the sales ad on Sunday and then order your coupons, they might not come until Thursday or Friday! You may only have 2 or 3 days to purchase hundreds of items. Know where your coupons are coming from before you order hundreds of them, if you are worried about the coupons arriving on time, make sure to go to the store, and if they are out, get rainchecks!

Another way to get tons of coupons is to buy tons of papers. I don’t feel this is an effective solution, but part of Super Stockpiling is finding out what works for you!!

What Do You Do With All This stuff? When you become a Super Stockpiler, you will quickly realize you won’t be able to use all the items you purchase. You don’t want the products to go to waste, you really have one option:

Give it Away Before you became a stockpiler, you probably had the heart to give, but your wallet was resisting. You’d be able to give here and there, but not really like you wanted to. Well, get ready! Stockpiling is not only a financial winner for you, but a blessing to so many others. You are able to help family and friends in these hard economic times. You are able to give to food banks and charities that desperately need the contributions! Super Stockpiling is an amazing way to help others around you!

Super Stockpiling isn’t for everyone. You must have space and a commitment to really save money! In the end Super Stockpiling is one of the most effective ways to save money with coupons!! If you are curious or would like to know more, please check out the super stockpilers section on!!