Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Stockpile Story

One of the things that I like to do when I go grocery shopping, is to buy items that will be stockpiled. For example, if sugar is on sale for $1.88 for a 2 kg bag (like it is this week at Food Basics), I will buy enough bags to replenish my stash until the next sale cycle comes along.

When I first tried the stockpiling method, this type of sale would have caused me to head back to the same store daily, purchasing the 'family limit' of four 2 kg bags until I had 20 or 30 of them. Which probably would have been OK, if I lived in a three floor house. But we live in a 3 bedroom apartment, so space is at a premium around here. I have to balance the stockpiling savings with the limited amount of space I have available to store the stuff till we use it up.

A couple of years ago, I wrote out a stockpile list, and tried my darnedest to purchase a year's worth of non-perishable goods. There were plastic wrapped monstrosities of toilet paper and paper towels everywhere (like under my daughter's bed). We made a pyramid in the linen closet with the small hoard of toothpaste that I purchased on sale. One shelf held approximately 25 containers each of body, shampoo, and conditioner. There were about 40 bottles of dish soap under the kitchen sink.  There were stockpiles of deodorant, toothbrushes, cotton swabs, bags of sugar, bags of rice, bags of flour, canisters of coffee and more cans of foodstuffs than my kitchen cupboards could hold. It looked like I had everything.

The first problem was I had so much stuff, I had trouble finding things that weren't on the stockpile list. If I knew I needed a can of sliced mushrooms for a recipe (not one of the stockpile items because we eat them so rarely), I had to take down 32 cans of kidney beans and 45 cans of diced tomatoes to find what I was looking for.

The second problem I had was that I was running out of room to store all this crap. Shortly after I bought 30 tubes of toothpaste at regular retail price, one local store had a sale on Colgate for 59 cents per tube. What a deal! I ran to the store to buy 20 more. But there was no where left to put them.

Which led to my third problem. I hadn't kept a running list of what we had, and where it was, so I never knew if I had already bought the tea bags that were on the stockpile list or not. I'd end up buying the same things over and over again, and again have no where to put them. I had to stop the madness.

I purged a lot of the things that we had too much of, and gave away most of it to family who could use it, and a large portion going to the local food bank. I organised the cupboards so I knew how much I had of any given item, and where it was exactly. I left just enough in our home stockpile to last us until the next sale cycle. I also had to learn that buying too much of a thing was not really saving me any money. Before I went 'stockpile insane' I used to buy about $3 per week on diced tomatoes. Buying $25 worth of diced tomatoes didn't  'save' me any money. In all likelihood, I ended up spending more during that time than I had saved.

Considering my bank account balances never changed, I truly never 'saved' anything. I have just changed my spending patterns.

Stay tuned tomorrow for 'my' method for keeping my home well stocked with our essentials.


  1. I've always struggled with stockpiling and how much of it is a good idea. I have recently tried following CVS sales and such and picking up toothpaste/deodorant/shampoo when I can. I have nowhere near a "stockpile," but it has prevented us from emergency runs to keep us from stinking up the place! Interesting post. I look forward to tomorrow's!


  2. I find it hard to know how much to stockpile at one time. I really don't stockpile because I find it to be kind of confusing and I hate having that much stuff around. If something is on sale, I will buy extra but try not to go overboard. Finding the balance is always the hard thing.

  3. Wow, I have NEVER stockpiled like that. If something is on for a good price, we'll buy 3 or 4 of them, but that's it...like today at the grocery store, Post cereals were on sale (food basics) so I bought 4 boxes of Honey bunches because that's my favourite cereal and Big M likes it too, as does my stepson.

    I like to keep 2 bins of dry goods in the basement to sustain us for a few weeks during a local or global crisis. Once a year I bring the box up and rotate out the older products and replace with newer products. That's the extend of my stockpiling.

  4. So NOT a stockpiler. I live in a condo and just don't have the space. Besides it always seems like you never run out of things to stockpile so it ends up costing a lot more.
    The only item I bought extra of recently was extra virgin olive oil when No Frills had it on sale for about 1/3 of the regular price. That was a great deal!

  5. This reminds me of my stockpiling Playtex tampons many, many years ago when I found them marked way down. I got quite a look at the checkout counter and from hubby :)

    Never did that (to that extreme) again, as now we're limited in space even if we had extra money. Probably a good thing in many ways!