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See I told you, this would help!

Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

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What does a stockpile look like?

A big issue often discussed in “couponland” is over how much is needed and when you just have too much.  Most of this has been brought on by the helpful folks at TLC, remember the extreme couponer shows?

First do we need a stockpile? 
Yes.  Our goal to save the most money on groceries is to only buy an item when it’s on sale.  To do this you need to get enough each week of what is on sale that week to get you through until the next time it is on sale.

How much do you need?
This varies based on where you live.  In the southeast sales run on a 6 week cycle.  In other areas of the country sales run closer to a 10 week cycle.  So this mean you need enough to last the length of that cycle.

What does 6 weeks of food look like?
For most of us getting 6 weeks of something really means getting 2-3 of an item.  You aren’t going to eat the same meals week after week, so if you eat tacos two times in a 6 week window you would need 2 boxes.  For some items you need even less.  How many bottles of glass cleaner do you go through in 6 weeks?  Most of us probably wouldn’t even finish one bottle by the time it came on sale again.

For larger needs like cereal and snack foods, this is where variety helps you.  I might need 8-10 boxes of cereal to get through the next 6 weeks with my 5 girls, but thankfully not every type of cereal goes on sale at the same time. So i can grab a couple boxes of Froot Loops this week and a couple boxes of Lucky Charms in another week.  I don’t need to grab all 8 boxes right now.

It’s different for everyone.
One thing we all need to consider though before we lash out at those taking more, everyone has different needs.  My family with 5 young girls need a lot less than a family with 7 teenage boys would need.

Be considerate of those around in the store and take what your family needs, but also be considerate of those that need a little more than you.

If you need (or want) a ton, try asking your store at the beginning of the sale if they will special order more for you.  Many stores will do this and your items come in on the midweek truck ready for you to pick up before the sale ends.  This actually benefits your store in two ways:

1.  They don’t have to write rain checks because you didn’t clear a shelf.
2.  If your store sells it to you during the regular ad week they actually don’t lose money, instead it counts towards their sales and helps their store!

    • Ambertheprincess99

      A stockpile to me is 6-8 weeks (sale cycle) for MY family, a little extra for if some friends might be able to use something, and a bit to donate when I can get things I don’t need for free or for overage. I WILL NOT become one of the TLC hoarders!!! They do not ethically coupon and are making the stores tighten up their coupon policies. Some of us NEED to coupon. Also…if I can get diapers or wipes for free or extremely cheap, stockpiling those doesn’t have a limit as long as they will all fit in the top shelf of my little ones closet. =)

      • CarolynD

        The TLC Hoaders seem to get around these stores coupon policies.  They have just doubled and tripled the amount of transactions they did before the “new coupon policies. 

    • Forever_linds81

      I stockpile detergent for 6 months (6 bottles) because I have 4 teenagers and 2 little ones – I also stockpile cereal because again, teenagers can go through 4-5 boxes in a weekend, i keep 20-30 boxes and Im constantly replacing it. 3 months of school snacks/juices/chips etc. I have cleaning supplies for a year (2-3 bottles), clorox wipes that I cant ever seem to have enough of, shampoo/cond, body wash/razors etc I keep a year stock pile – when you are washing 8 heads of hair and razors are on sale during the summer I stock up but have NEVER EVER cleared a shelf or bought any more of 6 of anything at one time. I have a house that accomdates what I buy and dont have the insane basement shelving of 400 packages of pet food for a dog I dont have or pasta sauce for a party of 100 people. My pantry does look like a convenience store – but NOT a Sams Club.

      • bumblesmommy

        i think 6 bottles of detergent is very reasonable for your family! we are a family of 3.. but have 3 dogs as well  that we allow on the furniture and bed (i know.. some people object to this, but to us, they are our other 3 kids!).. so it seems like we wash blankets/our bedding and throws so much that detergent sales are greatly appreciated in our household =) 

    • Ellie Probable

      Thank you for this sensible post. A few times on that show there have been families with 7 teenagers and I find those stockpiles to be closer to reasonable. However, when I see couples with huge piles, I just don’t get it. My husband and I don’t have kids and don’t plan to so I stockpile very modestly. I remember earlier this summer, I kept running into free dish soap and ended up (over the course of 3 weeks) with 8 bottles. I stopped after that. If I had more coupons for free dish soap I left them on the shelf for someone else to get some. Given that we have a dishwasher, the soap will probably last almost a year. No reason to take more than I can reasonably use.

    • laidback racing

      Agree with those below….I stockpile for me & husband (so not alot there), get some for the church’s donation baskets, some things for the people that give me their newspaper and then for my son & grandkids…I just don’t clear a shelf…I feel it is wrong, the most I buy at one tie is 4-6.  I will make a couple of trips if it is something that works for any of the above.  You can save a lot of money and help out others WITHOUT being unethical…that stupid TLC show is well stupid! 

    • Talia Quinn

      I’m so glad you brought up the comment about not getting everything all at once. I’ve bought 2 (sometimes up to 4) of my household’s favorite brands of things like shampoo or deodorant at a time, but still have a small, what I like to call my mini-stockpile of toiletries and makeup. It doesn’t take up much room in my closet, and I know that when my boyfriend finishes a tube of his Axe deo, then we have more in the closet that I don’t have to run out and buy.

      • Angelascoupons1

        Since toiletries don’t go bad typically, I think stockpiling larger amounts is ok…particularly if you can get them for free.  As well, you can always grab stuff from there to donate to a homeless shelter when a request is made.

        • Talia Quinn

          I can’t keep too much extra right now since we’re already stuffed into a roughly 1200sf 2 br apartment at the moment. After our temporary roommate leaves within the next month or so, then I’m gonna start trying to stock up on more groceries, like cereals, dry mixes, canned goods, and things like trash bags and cleaners.The problem with what I see people stockpiling on tv and the items that WE actually use, is that theres a huge amount of coupons that come out for things that my family will never actually use.

    • Angelascoupons1

      This was tough in the beginning, as I was so excited to get good deals…I always wanted to get as many of the “deal” as possible.  Now I have more restraint and I always go through my stockpile to check expiration dates.  Anything getting close gets moved to a box that I take to the food pantry.  They will turn it around quickly and get it to someone who will also probably use it right away.

      I think the comments about WHAT you need 3 of versus 20 (I agree on cereal!) is important to note.  That is something else I’ve learned in the 7 months I’ve been doing this.

    • Triciaslauson

      So if the sales are on a 6-10 wk cycle, what would you say is the cycle for the good coupons? Maybe people are doing larger stockpiles for the high coupon items that don’t come around very often?I have only been couponing since June and haven’t seen any of the good coupons again. It seems like the mfr.s just rotate them w/diff. products. A couple that were good for me were the $3.00 of scrubbing bubbles toilet cleaner re-fill and the $8.00 Cover Girl as a couple of examples. I haven’t seen the scrubbing bubbles one again and am not sure if I ever will again. Thanks for all that you do for everybody. It is greatly appreciated!

      • Mt Cabingirl

        Mostly high value coupons are for NEW products that are just now being introduced to the market.  However, sometimes there will be a higher value coupon for a product you already know of like the Cover girl Q and the Tide Q. These type of coupons are random (my opinion). 
        Pairing a manufacture Q/store Q (if available) will certainly give your family’s grocery budget a smile. 
        Harris Teeter and other stores will also triple coupons every so often or have super doubles.  I’m sure that Southern Savers has information on their site about this.  To receive the most savings for your family, I would recommend that you learn all that you can on how each store that you shop at works.  Lots of information can be found here on this site. Hope this helps.

    • Staci_marie

      Good post…  I am still a newbie, still getting a handle on ‘couponing’.  Personally I need to come up with a good storage system before I can really stockpile.  And then it will be for 6-8 weeks worth on pantry items, longer on cleaning supplies.  (As explained in the post – cleaning supplies last longer.) 

    • Sandy

      Great commennt Jenny.  I agree. I stockpile and then share with all my neices and nephews on tolietry items.  Lots of food items go to my church’s Food Pantry!!!!  The best feeling is when you share with others!!!!!

      • Sandy

        one more thing, My stockplie consists of 2 rubbermaid containers!!!!!  LOL  Start the give aways as soon as they are full!!!

    • guest

      YES ordering ahead DOES work and beautifully!  I have to drive 30+ miles to get to my store and I have literally gone home crying/frustrated because an item was out and the coupon expired three days later so I knew I wasn’t going to get the deal.  I also get an early ad when I can for my store, so I can order my coupons earlier AND put in my store order.  They keep a little cart in the back with my name on it, and when I call to order they just stick my stuff on it.  And then when I get to the store, one of the sweet boys runs back to get it.  Full service shopping right there.  LOL…

      I do stock up (6-10) on detergents and cleaning supplies.  Am I the only one who finds it hard to leave the house even once a week to run to the store for something I’m out of?  I have never cleared a shelf and I also TAPE my extra little coupons to products on the shelf so someone else can benefit from my extras (ebay seems to only sell the coupons I want in lots of 20.. sheesh).

      I think couponing is wonderful in moderation.  The only exceptions to this “moderation”  I make are when I know I’m going to be putting holiday packages together, then I might grab 10 of something (like soaps, cool sprays, deodorants etc) for the kids or hardworking but very meager families I know.  I like to give practical gifts and couponing helps me do that.

      I love this site and I know everyone is down on that extreme coupon show, but if I hadn’t seen it and thought “I COULD DO THAT”  I would never have started.  I had to see the extreme, and yes I went crazy the first 6 months, then I would never have learned to start.  That being said… it’s time to curb that show TLC……

      • Carly11

        I agree completely that the show “sparked” my initiative for trying this out.  I am a recent college grad and in this economy getting a teaching position in my area just wasn’t in the cards…so to help out our one income family I coupon.  I donate to food drives in the schools, church, extended family members and other programs.  I also am going to show church members how they can use coupons to make their budgets stretch further when they do shopping for families they are sponsoring….I think couponing is what you make of it…

      • Savinglotsofdough

        guest, just wanted to let you know that some stores will staple your coupon to your raincheck and let you use it when you come back even if it’s expired…this is particularly true of store coupons.  I’m not sure if they just eat the cost or are still able to turn it in, but it’s worth a shot to ask. HTH

        • GTFan

          I’ve been able to get the coupons stapled to the raincheck at Publix, but not Kroger!  Good suggestion!

    • momx2

      I hate it when people stop me and ask if I am one of those “extreme” couponers on TV.  I automatically tell them NO that I only buy what my family will eat.  I will never clear a shelf.  I do give a lot of items to my neighbor who is on a limited income and also to my kids (26 and 23) who are now out on their own.  I can help these 3 people with freebies or “close to free”.  Sales will come back around.  I do not have room to stockpile items like they show on TV. 

    • Danielle

      Excellent post Jenny. I really like your style and you come across as a very gracious lady.

      I would like to add (as a couple other posters mentioned) that you can use your couponing to bless people in need (via church, food bank etc)

      Where I live in SC, I have been to the store where someone would leave a coupon tucked into an item which is a nice surprise. We all need to pay it forward I think!

      • Carly11

        I have stopped people in the store when I see they are buying an item I have a Q for but will never use.  My family calls me a coupon fairy!

        • Anonymous

          I cringed the other day at Walmart when the customer in front of me had this huge buggy of groceries with at least $10 worth of coupons he could have used to match up with products he was purchasing anyway. I only ran in for a tub stopper, so I left my coupons in the van. I could have easily pulled and handed over all those coupons I wouldn’t use before the cashier was done ringing him. I will know for next time!  I always do this for a co-worker who only shops at Walmart and makes her list first then asks me if I have coupons to match. She saves a good amount for her family of 4, she says. I try to get her to stockpile, but I can’t convince her. To each his own. 

      • Talia Quinn

        I’ve found Scrubbing Bubbles coupons before on the shelf that someone (i assume they didn’t need them, or didn’t like the price matchup lol) left them. I’ve also been lucky at finding Catalinas that people have left in the printers in the self-checkout registers. I got an awesome $3 off Glad trash bag coupon that way!

        • Anonymous

          I wondered one day after shopping at Kroger why I received a $4 off catalina for purchasing Purina. I don’t have a pet or buy pet items, so I think it was left by the previous customer. I was thankful to have it to use  towards my meat purchase.

    • sgt_H

      I have been couponing since April and do have my stockpile but not the shelving these extreme couponers have. I buy enough food for one month at a time, personal hygiene products for 3 months and this is because I have my family shop in my small stockpile. I love donating to those in need and bless others. I think new couponers now have a different mindset of managing their stockpile and it goes back to, “giving back.”

    • AD

      For me, stockpiling is as much for emergency preparedness as it is for saving money.  One never knows what might happen that could keep a person from being able to get to the grocery store for several weeks.  It’s good to keep two or three months worth of non-perishables on hand, especially if one lives in areas prone to things like earthquakes and hurricanes. 

      But, there is a line between stockpiling and hoarding.  IMHO, if one has more than they will use in 6 months or so, that’s hoarding.  It’s not like those deals aren’t going to come along again. 

    • Regina64

      I do purchase more than I need for 2 months, however the items I get more than needed for myself are given to several elderly ladies.  We have a rule…if it costs me less than $0.99 they can’t pay me back for an item…LOL….yes they ask to see the receipts.  You might see me buying over the course of a sale 10 bags of dog or cat food.  I try to keep them from having to spend very much on items such as pet food, laundry detergent, toliet paper, paper towels and the big item lately facial tissues.  I won’t clear a shelf, I am close enough to my stores to stop by several times in a week.   I am blessed to live in an area where 2 Publix, 7 Bilos and 2 Food Lions are all within 20 minutes of my home. If I really need to I have 5 large Wal-marts in the same area to do price matching at.  But I prefer to buy my groceries at a grocery store. 

    • anon

      “2.  If your store sells it to you during the regular ad week they actually don’t lose money, instead it counts towards their sales and helps their store!”

      ~As someone involved in the grocery industry, I’m not quite sure what you mean by this.  The store is actually  losing money on many of the sale items each week.  That is why they’re called “loss leaders”.  (I’m not criticizing what you said, just trying to clarify.  We know that losing on these items is part of the cost of doing business.)

      • Pittpat842001

        Being a spouse of a Store Manager (and I never shop at his store) I know first hand and have seen stores (Food Lion)  mark up their prices to run the sale (esp with BOGO) and then advertise “new lower prices” to attract more business. It’s all about marketing!

      • Julie

        I recently attended the Couponing 101 workshop and Jenny explained that the BOGO deals are actually reimbursed by the manufacturer so the store does not lose money on them. However, if the store must fulfill a rain check outside of the week the item is on sale for BOGO then the store must absorb the cost of the sale item (which is why it’s always courteous to alert your store if you want a large qty of an item rather then clearing a shelf.) While these BOGO deals DO get you into the store they aren’t really a “loss leader” in the classical sense because manufacturers are eating the cost of the “free” item, not the store itself.

    • Aunt Ruth

      This past weekend both my nieces came home from college and we went shopping in my garage. They filled up boxes of cereal, chewy bars, peanut butter (of course), rice, TP, Kleenex and household cleaning items to take back to school with them. We do this whenever they get home from school so I have time to build ‘their’ stockpile.They had a blast and I got that warm, fuzzy feeling when you do something nice for people you love–and you get it at a bargain!

    • Cerealgrl76

      I have 1  – 4 tier shelf in the basement – it holds my pet food, toiletry items and paper products I stockpile for a family of 6 ( 4 kiddos, 3 dogs and a cat )  I have another 4 tier shelf in my pantry for food items. Works out fairly well – I can see all my items so I know when I am running low – and I can also see when I have enough so I just don’t go grab something I already have enough of. That way I can just pick the best deals or be a little more picky on the brands I want to purchase – and get the best prices.

    • couponmom

       I love your comment about different families having different needs.  Using your cereal example, 6 – 8 boxes would not have lasted even 1 week at my house.  About the time my 5 children ranged in ages from 10 to 17, we started going through 10, yes 10, boxes of cereal a week, yes a week!  They always ate a small bowl of cereal with whatever else breakfast I cooked for them, a bowl as a snack after school and another bowl in the hours between dinner and bedtime. The nearest big grocery store was 35 miles away and I only shopped once every two weeks so that was 20 boxes at a time.  Boy did I get some evil looks!

      • Carlockstinger

        I was just thinking about this today.  We have 7 children ages 3-18 (5 boys!) and they do eat alot!  Everytime I shop, it looks like I am a hoarder, but the reality is that is the normal amount of food that we go through. Everyone has different circumstances, so please do not judge the ones with carts full of groceries.

        • Anonymous

          We are the same way.  I don’t have 7 children but we do have three boys.  I have 2 two year olds and a 9 year old.  My 9 year old could eat a grown man under the table and my two year olds are right behind him.  There are never left overs in our house.  It seems like if I cook more, they eat more.  Just to let everyone know, none of my children are on the hefty side.  I think their metabolism is through the roof.  I just keep thinking that it is just going to keep getting worse.  I buy more than the average person but it is hard to stockpile anything around here other than salad dressing!!!  LOL

          • couponmom

            Oh, and it does get worse!  Mine were all athletic (soccer, cross country and track) with not an ounce of fat on them.  4 of mine are boys, ages 23 to 30 now, very close in height and weight.  Throughout the year I pick up pants/jeans on sale in size 30W32L for Christmas gifts.  I don’t even wrap them, just let them decide who gets what!

      • charityhill

        I also have 7 children, ages 2 to 17 (4 boys).  I get the evil looks as well, but I have learned to ignore them.  I know what I need to feed my family and that is all that matters.  I also buy enough to give to my grandparent.  They have been blessings to me all my life, now it is time for me to be a blessing to them.
        Thanks Jenny for the great work!

      • I have a 12yr old and two 3yr olds. I try to do one large shopping trip on payday, every other week. My little trips are for milk! On my “get everything we need” trips I used to get awful looks when I would grab 6 boxes of infant cereal, etc. until I started homeschooling. Now that I tote three kids with me no one even blinks when I pick up 14 pkgs of sale chicken, or 15 boxes of sale cereal!! LOL!

      • SM42

        SOUNDS LIKE MY HOUSE 7 KIDS AGES 8-14

    • January42003

      Recently in the Birmingham News, there was a brown paper bag for filling up with food/paper products for the Jimmie Hale Mission. My daughter (who is 5) and I went to our pantry and just started pulling from our small stockpile. I explained to her that the money mommy had saved over a few months, that we were helping to feed others who may not have a lot. We placed a $20.00 bill in an envelope and she drew a picture to put in the bag. My husband took it to Jimme Hale Mission. Those in the Birmingham area that saw this in their sunday paper, I encourage you to raid your stockpiles! :) Makes you feel good to help others. :)

      • Rolltide Angel

        You did a wonderful thing to help others, but you did an even more wonderful thing for your little girl by taking the time to include the picture she drew.  Not only did she experience the joy of giving, I’m sure someone’s day was really brightened by that drawing!

        • January42003

          Thanks! :) She was so intent on getting a drawing done and making sure her Daddy sent the drawing with the bag to Jimmie Hale Missions. She drew all the items in the bag and then copied down the words Fill With Food (or something like that, that was on the side of the bag). She’s learning to read so a learning experience on top of a giving experience! Two in One! :)

    • Anonymous

      THANKS JENNY! I COULDN’T DO COUPONING WITHOUT YOU!!! SENDING MANY BLESSINGS YOUR WAY!!!

    • Dcoupons

           I’ll admit that I have some items such as hygeine items and cleaning supplies that I have accumalated to be about a 12 mth supply. I live over 30 minutes from a store and with the cost of gas I have tried to make sure I don’t have to make any emergency trips. I usually only buy 1 BOGO and the most I have ever bought was 3. I also give away items to my 4 children and their families.
           Now after saying that, I can understand why some people in this economy have a tendency to hoard. When my husband lost his job 2 years ago, there were times when I didn’t know what we would eat. It was a scary feeling and I don’t want to ever have to worry about going without food (and we did) again.
           Thanks to couponing I now have a freezer full of food I’ve bought using coupons, and also a freezer full of vegetables me and my husband have grown.We gave alot , actual truck loads, of fresh produce to people and also we have been able to help when the kids budgets get tight from what we have accumulated.
           So I guess what I’m saying is, we really don’t know what others story is or what might be behind their need to take a little bit more from the shelves then the rest of us take.

       

    • Babette711

      I live in a tourist town and work is seasonal.  So from November – March we do not make much money.  All summer you save your money, but this summer was horrible. I am getting prepared for the winter.  I do not have much, but I hope to pick up a few more things before the money runs out.  I do not get food stamps, medicaid or unemployment.  Pride makes me coupon and I make it through every year.

    • Savn2gether

      Thanks for such helpful, practical information! I’ve only been couponing about 5 months, and we have developed a good stockpile. Now, I’m trying to find a good balance so we don’t buy too much of one thing. We’re at the point where we shouldn’t have to buy quite as much. Thanks for helping us to find a balance between being stocked and having enough toothpaste for everyone I know for the next year!

    • John

      I am not a shelf clearer but I will stockpile well beyond a 6 week need for non-perishables.  I have enough ziploc bagsl, dish detergent, paper products to last me a lifetime, enough bodywash, deoderant, toothpaste to last me several years.  I do this typically for several reasons:

      1.  If it’s free (or a money maker), I’ll get a boatload.  I give away what I don’t need or can’t use before it goes bad.  Local foodbank loves me.  Since I shop at four different Publix stores and shop daily, I never need to clear a shelf.

      2. I never know what the future will bring.  I know friends who were quite well off who now have had their home foreclosed and no job.  I don’t know if I’ll always have a steady flow of income.  So knowing I will never need to buy these items again gives me reassurance that if tough times hit, I will be as prepared as I can be.

      3. With the advent of shows like Extreme Couponing, I suspect manufacturers will be more astute about the coupons they have.  I’m sure Vitamin Water and Purex will make changes if they continue seeing customers making money buying their product.  We’ve seen P&G limit to four like coupons per transaction and I’m sure that just puts a small dent in the issue.  In my worst nightmares…..I see coupons going from cents off to percentage off.  Also, stores have cracked down.  These shows can only cause the demise of moneymakers.

      So I agree, we need not clear shelves and take all the peelies and booklets but we can have a hefty stockpile to last us much longer than 6 weeks for non-perishables.

    • Rach3lbu11man

      Great post Jenny!  I completely agree with you and also with some of the posts here.  I have only just started and I think I do a pretty good job of stocking up for just 6 weeks.  I do however sometimes gather a few extras to donate to one of our church programs.  I have the philosophy that if I can get it free, or nearly, I get it or get a few extras.  That way I can donate.  Otherwise I would not be able, financially, to help others.  Makes me feel good that even on a tight budget I can pay it forward.

    • Ba

      I started couponing less than 6 months ago, and within the first few weeks I had a good size stock pile but I am not a shelf clearer at all. I limit myself to 2 items at the most. Work has picked up since and I haven’t had much time to go to the store every week to maintain my stock pile. As mentioned earlier, in Birmingham, the Jimmy Hale Mission is doing a food drive, and I want to use a stock pile for these items. However, I feel so discouraged when I go to the store after work (Publix on Greensprings) to find most shelves empty! Once, it took me three trials to get one item (I got to the store a few minutes after the store opened). So while stockpiling is good, please don’t clear the shelves! Also, please be nice to the cashier. I hadn’t said a single thing, but as soon as she (the cashier) saw me, she rolled her eyes and whispered (loudly) to her co-worker, another one of them!

    • Grocerys4us

      A WORD OF WARNING ABOUT STOCKPILING
      The product you are stockpiling may not stay fresh long. I experienced this just last night. I was cooking a dish that required cracker crumbs. Oh, Yah! I get to use some stockpiled crackers up! Wrong! Just crumbling the crackers I could smell the rank odor. I tasted one and almost became sick. I reached for another box and they also were rank. I had to throw away two boxes of crackers that were not that old.

      I also feel that anything packaged in plastic jars goes rank quickly. Especially cooking oils. The plastics break down quickly. I am making an effort to buy products in glass jars.

      Cereals and rices are prone to little teeny buggies, so storage and use of those is important. I would hesitate to store those in a garage or basement unless in an airtight container. And use quickly.

      Also, my daughter shared an article on pancake and biscuit mixes. It stated that they form an allergin that can cause an asthma attack with throat swelling etc. Especially in children. So make sure these foods are used quickly.

      Okay, off my bandwagon. I recently had the privilege to share with a family whose father had lost his job. We asked if they would like a “care package”. When we arrived at their house they were expecting a box of items. We had a trunk full of everything they needed down to the floss. I put a dent in my stockpile but I know with the cycle of sales I can replenish.

       I could never stand by and see another family in need, even if it meant  completely exhausting my supply. I have a circle of friends that would do the same for my family so I don’t worry unnecessarily about the future. Just do the best I can in the present. Which also means not freaking out the weeks I can’t even get to the store due to health restrictions.

      Too long a post – sorry! I’ll cut back on the coffee.

      • coupons4kids

        Exactly why I can’t stock pile food! Gross!  You would be amazed at how fast some of it goes bad!!!!

    • Faye Wilkerson

      Stockpiling is not new.  It is called your pantry.  Homemakers have always had food stored for future use.  Not having food in the home or a week’s supply is something new.  I’m always amazed just before a hurricane or snow storm that shevles are cleared by shoppers.  Did they not have food in house to eat?  I was also shocked to find out that people return this food to store after weather had passed.  Who returns tuna to a store?  Times have changed where we don’t need as much food storage, but there is nothing wrong with having a well stocked pantry.  It’s the smart thing to do.

    • Fowlerb1988

      To everyone that talks about clearing the shelves… as much as we try to get people to be considerate and leave some for others on the shelves it doesn’t happen. For example I was watching extreme couponing last week to see that a lady thought it was so funny to clear the shelf and that she guesses everyone should of just beat her to the store?! I do not find this amusing at all grocery shopping should not be a freakin game to try to get food to feed your family, this has gotten so out of hand.  I cant even go to the store later on in the day because theres nothing left! So ridiculous!

      • Jenni P.

        I do hope you realize that using ANY person featured on TLC’s ridiculously staged show is about the worst example to use for getting a bead on the majority of couponers.

        Also, I don’t know when in a sale week you are shopping, but I’ve learned never to go on the first day an ad is out, if I can help it. I wait until the next truck comes in, and usually have no problem getting everything on my list. 

        • Fowlerb1988

          Actually I do appreciate some people on the extreme couponing show calling ahead of time to put in a special order. If you like buying a bunch of items at once this is the way to do it also spares people from getting cleared shelves.  As for going to the store I have tried going when that second truck comes in before the sale goes off and I find getting more rainchecks for products out of stock rather than going day 1 of sale. By the time they have the product back in stock my coupon has ran out.

          • coupons4kids

            Ya but in some areas the stores don’t always restock in our area.  I have missed the sales on Sundays before and never did get the items because they didn’t restock those items.

      • coupons4kids

        I agree. I know in our area that if I dont get to the stores on Sunday when the sales start then by Monday there might not be anything left.  And then I go to a gas station and here a woman bragging on how she bought 15 bottles of a laundry soap at cvs that week and got them for .50 cents.  I needed laundry soap and would have liked just one! 

      • Carmeno825

        i agree i also watched the show and i was sooo irritated with this lady i mean really she looked super ghetto anyways…i felt bad for the guy who just wanted to get one thing and she said SORRY!! lol i have to admit i have cleared a shelf just once but it was because the store only had like 5 of the item i needed and i had a lot of coupons 1/2 also it is a hot item in our family and i was planning on sharing with my grandparents and the rest of my family who are on limited incomes right now!

        • Talia Quinn

          I’ve heard of several occasions where a scene on that show has been staged. This is one of those examples. The guy that “happend” to show up right after she loaded her cart with the energy bars, was actually a production assistant for the show. While it’s fun to watch these people get such an insane amount of products for a low price, I don’t take much from it.

        • Tat

          I, too, got irritated at her thinking it was funny to clear the shelf. She gives couponing “a bad name”.

    • Fincher Family

      Jenny, Thank you for your website.  We have four boys, ages 7 and under, and I am trying to balance keeping everyone fed with our Dave Ramsey budgeting needs.  Your post made me feel less guilty about not buying 5 or 6 of something because it is on sale. I struggle with having enough money to just get a few things so I try to prioritize. And some weeks I skip the sales entirely unless it is something I really, really need.  It is so hard to get out.  I am working on my meal planning and appreciate what you do.  Thanks for all your time. The Finchers

    • Kpashchuk

      Thanks Jenny, for all your insight into planning and saving for our families — I also appreciate your perspective on not making assumptions about shelf-clearing.  I have a family of 4, but the kids are still really little, so we don’t need much of most things to make it until the next sale and I’ve found myself frustrated/upset before at apparent shelf-clearing.  But then I realized that there are more and more couponers out there, so when my grocery store ran a sale on soup last week and the available coupon match required 3 items be purchased — it would only take 20 couponers each doing ONE deal to clear 60 cans of soup off the shelves, so who am I to assume one or two people bought everything when I can spot at least half-a-dozen other couponers in the store on a given visit.  So thank you for your grace-filled perspectives, they help me keep mine!

    • Nuismommy

      I came home from my Publix trip a bit discouraged today! I got everything on my list and spent $50 with a savings of $70 plus Upromise rebates. I thought I did pretty good and used all the coupons i could possibly find but as i was leaving the cashier said it was good but there was a lady who spent .50 on $500 worth. How does she do that? I know about overages but are there that many free+ profit available in the store? 

      • Little_qt_pie

        she might have saved that much but you dont know if she bought tons of one item because it was a moneymaker, nor do you know if she had many of the free items if your store had tons of free items. I dont have a publix but i do know that when people ask me about couponing i tell them that getting your stuff for 50% off is great. if you feel like you did good “you did” dont let what the cashier said burst your bubble.

    • Susie

      I’ve always couponed, especially for groceries.  Now that I have two boys (living away) in college, I REALLY coupon.  I buy ONE paper on Sunday unless there are some really good coupons (i.e. B1G1 Axe body wash) and then I will buy two.  Do you realize I could easily spend $40/mo for razor blades alone. 

      They both “cook” many of their meals so needless to say, I stock up on Hamburger Helper, Ragu, noodles, etc.  LOL.  They each have a credit card to buy groceries with so I learned to shop mostly for them.  (The hard way…sigh)  I don’t stockpile cereal since I’m the only one that eats it and I buy a box when I have a box open (if on sale with coupon) or do with.  I do buy tons of toothpaste, deodorant, body wash and shampoo, dental floss, lotion and toothbrushes.  I try to limit myself to $50/wk on my buys with the exception of produce and meat. 

      I too went to Publix the first day of the sale for soup since I use tons in casseroles.  They were out of COC the first day so I bought the Cream of Celery (2 cans) for another casserole and potato since one child loves it.  Walgreens often has it for $.69 or $.79 (limit 3) so I swing by two and buy 6 (with coupons of course).  I stock up on tomatoes, corn, and beans for all our winter soup as well as rice when I have coupons.

      I bought 16 bags of Eight O’Clock coffee when they had the BOGO for $6.99 since I had coupons for $1/1.  I did make two trips because I was embarassed and I barely made a dent on the shelves.  But we ALL drink coffee every day and I doubt this get us much past Christmas. 

      When I find ground chuck or round on sale, I will buy 20-25 pounds for all those hamburger helpers and ragu meals.  I never pay over $1/box for Hamburger Helper then I use coupons.  The last time Winn Dixie had those on sale, I bought 40 (again, in 4 trips because I was embarassed).  I drive by all the stores on my way home from work so I didn’t waste any gas.