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Reader Mail: More Stockpile Flack from You-Know-Who

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

If you've been following my column, you know that stockpiling

groceries is an extremely effective way to beat the pricing game and

stock up when items are inexpensive. It's true that this is an entirely

different way to approach shopping, but when we learn to shop on

a price-based basis versus a needs-based basis, we spend less and

save more!

But what do you do when your significant other isn't entirely

on board with the idea of having a large stash of groceries on hand

at any given time? I've addressed the issue of spousal resistance in a

previous column, when a wife asked for help explaining her

stockpile strategy to her husband. This week, we hear from a

husband.

Q: "My wife and a few of her girlfriends really enjoy your

column, but I don't appreciate that you don't give the full picture of

this stockpiling and foolish spending. You mention a 12-week cycle

but you should also point out that items that are on sale will be on

sale again, and there is no need to stockpile those items beyond 12

weeks. Just today, my wife was moving groceries around and found

items in our closet with an expiration date of March 2005! This is

due to stockpiling so much that one can become obsessed with the

sale and not think clearly how often [an item] will be used. It's true

that paper products and other items that move fast in a home are

good to stock up on, but please address readers who don't rotate or

use the old before the new and then have to throw things out since

they are outdated."

A: I'm often asked how big my stockpile is and what kinds of

things I stockpile the most. It's true that almost every product does

enjoy a price drop in a regular, predictable way and a good portion

of the items I have in my stockpile are in quantities that our family

can use during the next 12 weeks. During that time, we're eating

and using those items and they're things we don't have to run back

to the store to purchase. When we run low on a particular item, I'm

already looking for the next sale on it to replenish the stockpile.

Shoppers definitely need to be conscious of expiration dates

on food. It's a good rule of thumb not to buy more than you can

eat or use before the expiration dates. But the other side of this

issue is that sometimes you'll come across a fantastic sale on an

item that's offered at an even lower price than the normal 12-week

low. Knowing that you will likely not see that deal again any time

soon, this can be a great opportunity to stock up on that item for

the long-term.

Just this past week I bought four bottles of name-brand

laundry detergent for 79 cents each during a great sale. I already

have five other bottles at home, but that's a low price that I will

likely not see again soon, even 12 weeks from now. Detergent

doesn't have an expiration date. And, with our family of five, it will

certainly get used at some point! Buying more than we need of this

item because the price is incredibly low isn't "foolish spending," but

paying $7.99 a bottle when we're out of detergent and we actually

do need it would be foolish in my book. As long as I don't mind

storing those bottles in the meantime, I've saved $28.80 on this item

alone. I think that's smart shopping!

If you feel that your home stockpile is really getting out of

control, here's another great way to prune it down to a manageable

size. Once a month, take a look through your items and see if

anything will expire within the next month. If you find some and

you don't think your household will use them in the next 30 days,

consider donating them to a local food bank or food pantry. Your

donations are usually tax-deductible and you'll also help people

within your community, too. I bring groceries to our local food

pantry regularly, and I've seen first-hand how hard it has been hit in

the current economy. Sharing your excess stockpile items is

definitely a win-win!

CTW Features

Jill Cataldo, a coupon-workshop instructor, writer and mother of

three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about couponing at

her Web site, www.super-couponing.com. E-mail your couponing

coups and questions to jill@ctwfeatures.com.