Monday, October 10, 2011

To Stockpile or Not To Stockpile

A recent decision I made has made me think an article about stockpiling. With the recent attention due to a certain tv show, there are a lot of negative perceptions about stockpiling floating around. Plus there are space issues, and of course upkeep to take into account. With all this some people debate the wisdom of a stockpile, and this article is to show how important even a small stockpile can be.
I have been couponing for about 9 months, and since day one I have diligently been building my stockpile. I took a corner of a room we underutilized and added my shelves, cleared out some cabinets (all they really had was stuff I didn't want to deal with), and added a small shelf to my bathroom. Now, while I have used the items in there on a pretty regualr basis, that is it's point after all, I had not every had to live completely off of it. Until this past payday.
Due to outside circumstances I had to make the choice between paying a bill, and buying groceries. It's a disgusting feeling having to make that decision, and it wasn't one I enjoyed..... at first. Then I remembered, hey! I have a stockpile. So, I went and took an inventory of everything I'd managed to stock, and realized that we could safely live off our stockpile for two weeks. Heck, if I had a freezer and could stockpile more meat we could've lived off of it even longer! So, while I made the decision to not buy groceries, and pay our bills instead. I DID NOT have to make the decision between EATING and paying my bills. That is a big difference in decisions.
Hopefully by now you are starting to see how a stockpile makes sense, and can truly be blessing for you and your family. The next step is to go over the basics of stockpiling. First is to look around your house for the space you need. Americans are space happy, we never think we have enough rooms, and are programmed to think we need large homes to fill our space needs. Really though, it's not about how much space you have, but how you use the space you DO have. Chances are if you look around you will find space. Maybe you don't have the room for a Krazy Coupon Lady stockpile, but you have room for YOUR stockpile. Do you have an empty space in your bathroom for a small shelf? Maybe a corner of a room that currently holds a piece of furniture that you really don't use, an unused dresser, closet, well you get the idea.
Got a guest bedroom? Well how often is anyone really in it? Add some shelves, and if you don't want your guests to see you toilet paper as they fall asleep buy some pretty clearence fabric, and attach it with velcro strips to the shelves. This hides their contents, and can be an added design feature of your room. Look in your kitchen cabinets and I'll bet you'll see that what's in there only goes to about half the height of the cabinet. This is where cabinet, or closet, organizers really come in handy. They help you utilize every inch of the space, and make it work for you. In the world of stockpiling, dead space is a no no.
Next is knowing what to stockpile. This goes hand and hand with your space availability. If you don't have a lot of room, make a list of what you use the most, and what your pay the most for. Health and Beauty products are some of the most expensive items to buy. Have a small stockpile of cheap (or free) toothepaste, bodywash, etc. on hand and you will save yourself a lot of money right there. Then look at the food staples you consistently use and need, and go from there. Of course you also have to know at what price you should stockpile.
The rule is 75% off retail price then stockpile at least 3 months worth of that product. If the savings are more than that, or free, then feel free to stockpile for 6 months or so. Remember, if you don't use everything and it was dirt cheap, you can always donate to your local food banks, and churches. My exception to this is meat and produce. Because you almost never see coupons for these items, 25%-50% savings off retail are when you should stockpile and freeze these items.
Now you have seen the benefits of having a stockpile, and know some of the basics. Your last step is to build your stockpile up. Use your coupons and sales to get those rock bottom prices, and that will come. If the recent economic crisis has taught us anything it's that the line between doing well financially, and suddenly taking a huge hit financially is a very thin one. This way if you ever have to make the decisions between buying groceries, and paying bills; you can make it with peace of mind.

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