I was watching Extreme Couponing last night (yes, even though its clearly exaggerated and cheesy I still enjoy it) and got to thinking about stockpiling. When is enough enough? When is it time for a couponing time out?
Over the past few weeks I have taken a couponing time out. Sure, I have continued to clip and use some coupons at the grocery store and such, but I am pretty well stocked on drugstore staples so I have skipped many of the CVS and Rite Aid deals over the past few weeks. Money has been really tight with car repairs and registration (hence the DMV this weekend) so I have been trying to stay out of the stores and eat what I already have. I have only gone for quick trips for staples like milk, bread, coffee, eggs, and cheese. Yes, because cheese is a staple.
The point of couponing is to save money and stock up on food and toiletries at rock bottom prices so that you don’t have to pay full price for those items later on. This stockpiling method is the same method I grew up with my mother employing where she bought a few of an item when they were on sale and kept extras stocked in the basement so we never ran out of Cheerios, ketchup, or anything else we regularly used. I continue this tradition by combining it with coupons to get even better deals. But when I’m stocked on something, the key is to stop buying it, even if it’s a great price. Why?
1. You need to use up what you have before it goes bad. Keep tabs on shelf lives, write the expiration date on the box, and refill your shelves from the back so that the oldest product is up front and gets used first.
2. Space costs you money. You don’t need a bigger house with big closets for a big stockpile. Then you are paying more money to rent and heat/cool that space. Instead just make use of the space you have and don’t cut into your living space. Paper towels aren’t that important and shouldn’t get in the way of your life.
3. Don’t be greedy. Just because I can buy it and have a coupon for it AND it’s a great price (or free) doesn’t mean I need it. If I am well stocked on something, like toothpaste for example, I will start bypassing the sales and stop buying it. If I do get it I will donate it or give it to friends. Toothpaste and coupons are not the precious.
4. Save on out-of-pocket expenses. Once you are stocked, stop shopping and you will have more money left in your account that can be used for bills, debt, or going to see a movie with your family.
5. There are more inportant things in life than couponing. Yes, Extreme Couponing last night had a woman on that was at the beach clipping coupons rather than playing in the surf with her kids and husband. I sure hope that was just exaggerated for TV. Saving money is important and clipping coupons can help you do that. But if that means you are skipping family time to run out to get Black Friday deals and ignoring your loved ones because you need to clip one…more…coupon…that is not a life well lived.
That being said I will probably do some more couponing in the coming weeks to get items I am running out of and because there will be so many freebies soon with the holiday sales. But I am trying to remember to keep it all in perspective, to not be greedy, and to give thanks for what I have.