now you have an idea of what goes into your stockpile… but how much of each item do you need? again, a personal decision based on your budget, your family and your storage space. if you want me to come visit you for a few days to help you figure it – with kids in tow – that will cost you BIG! 🙂
the most important thing is that you stockpile cost effectively… do not overspend as this totally defeats the purpose! also, don’t force your family to eat the same meals over and over again just because the fixins’ are sitting on the shelf – unless they like it! try to buy just enough so you will not get tired of the product and it will also not go to waste.
it’s important to determine your buy price for items that you want to stockpile. while some items can be free (coupons, sales, price matching, etc), you will need to pay for some of the brand specific products you enjoy. to learn your buy price, shop around for a few weeks and watch coupons and ads closely. you will probably discover, like i did, that that no single store ALWAYS has the lowest prices. over the course of a month, i typically hit marc’s for coffee, rice, noodles and peanut butter (or price match if they put the items in an ad), kroger for dairy and produce, and finally meijer for almost everything else. sometimes CVS and target offer rewards so if the price is the same there as the other stores or cheaper PLUS i am getting bucks or a gift card back, i will buy random things at these two places. otherwise, target is addictive and off limits!
once you determine buy prices for the items, i would recommend purchasing what you think is around 3-4 months worth of them to get started (or more if you have many coupons and the storage space) then wait and see how long the items last. put the item on your *watch-list* when you only have a few remaining so you give yourself time to find the best deal. if you’re about to run out, think about buying 1-2 to give yourself a little more time to find a great deal. you’ll kick yourself if you stock up at full price then they go on sale a week later.
also, pay attention when you’re checking out ads and in stores. i have noticed some stores have cycles around sales for different product categories. for example, target appears to have a 6 week cycle between proctor & gamble sales on laundry detergent, toilet paper and paper towels.
a little trick i tried when i wanted to know how long it took for the family to go through a certain product: i wrote down when we opened the package on the box and did the quick math when we threw the box away. by doing this, i learned that we go through one box of laundry detergent in approximately 7 weeks. as a result, i typically stock up with 2-3 boxes when a) we are almost into or working through our last box, AND b) the price is less than $11 per box.
a few people have asked and no, i don’t keep a price book. somehow my brain is absorbing these details. i suppose i will find out later what i lost to make space.