This is a very touchy topic because there’s a lot of gray area. So I know some may not agree, that’s ok. Stockpiling is a necessity of creative savings in the sense that you buy what your family needs to last you between the next sale. It will take a couple months before you find that magic number where you know exactly the right quantity that fits your families’ needs.
For the Jerry ohana, well that number is 4. Our household consists of 3 adults, 1 child, our 4 legged pal, and 5 fishes. When it comes to toiletries, household items, etc I stock no more than 4 of any given item. Sales run in 4-6 week cycle. So you never really need more than 1 1/2 months worth of items, we can even round that up to 2 months to be fair.
Now I’m not talking about 4 rolls of toilet paper, I mean 4 multipacks (I usually have 4 – 12pks available). With canned goods I do stretch that number to 6 because sometimes recipes call for more than 1 can of a specific item, for instance evaporated milk. I usually try to keep 6 at all times.
This number might not apply to a family of 2 adults and 3 children though. You need to find what fits your families needs. My Grandpa Yara used to date his products and I always wondered why. Makes sense now. Date the items with a permanent marker when you open it, so you get an idea how long it lasts in your household. This will give you the best measurement of how many of any given item you would need to keep your family well stocked between sales.
The Gray Area of Stockpiling vs Hoarding
Ok so here’s where it gets sticky. When items are free or close to free people seem to throw that rule out. A lot of people cry the D excuse, “donate.” I firmly believe in donating, maybe grab a couple more of any given item to put in the donation pile. In a month you can put together an amazing box to bring to your favorite charity.
The boundary that gets blurred is when people start grabbing 100 mustard because it’s free, or clears the shelf of 40 toothbrushes. It’s recommended you switch your toothbrush out every 3 months or when you get sick, even if you had a family of 5 adults, and you got sick twice that’s still over a years worth of toothbrushes. Really? There won’t be sale in a year?
Now I’m not saying you can’t buy 40 toothbrushes, because you might be shopping for a family of 10. I’m just saying if it’s not what your family needs to last you until the next sale or promotion then it’s ok to grab less.
The reason I’m writing this, is there are still a lot of families who don’t use coupons. As a couponer you get frustrated at cleared shelves, well think about those who don’t at all. I saw an elderly couple at a local store not too long ago, and the wife wanted to grab a few $1.00 toothbrushes, she had no coupons she just knew that was what they could afford. The shelf was cleared out. They didn’t grab any because the rest were not on sale. Two things went wrong that day. The store didn’t stock appropriately for a sale, and someone cleared the shelves. On the way to their car we stopped them to let them know they dropped their bag and walked away. We couldn’t let them leave with no toothbrushes, full price or not, they were going to get them.
We are not the only shoppers in the store looking to save. We have our kupuna and keiki that we are responsible for. Not just those we are blood related too, but as a family under God, we have to be respectful. So I ask all of you please help each other coupon with ethics at all times. Treat others how you want your family treated. If there are three bottles of All Detergent left on the shelf and someone walks by looking for one, leave them one; I promise there will be another sale.
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