Sunday, April 17, 2011

Couponing tips -- Sockpile and meal planners!

I've gotten organized, shopped, now what? I've got 10 tubes of toothpaste and three bottles of conditioner but how am I suppose to feed my family?

Welcome to the stockpile! Now you need to be realistic about your stockpile. There are a couple of things you need to think about when you start your stockpile. First coupons and sales normally follow a three month pattern. For example, pasta might be on sale during this cycle. That could mean that you won't see a decent pasta sale again for three months. If it is a pasta cycle you should buy a three month supply. The second thing you need to think about is how much space do you have for a stockpile? I've lived in places that didn't have a lot of storage so I couldn't have a three month supply on hand. I was lucky to have a week supply of food. If space it tight I would suggest trying to be a little creative about making more storage for your food. We have had to use a collapsible bakers rack that seemed to always be in the way. Third think you need to think about is will I ever really use this product? Once again just because something is a great price or even free if it gets thrown away that was space that could have been used for something better, not to mention the money. When I first started couponing I would get a decent stockpile started but then I would get busy and not take the time to go to the store for several weeks before I knew it I was back to not having any food in the house again.

Stockpiles take time to grow generally you need to have nine months to really have a fully stocked stockpile (because of the three month cycles). Once you have a full stockpile that is when the fun really begins because that is when you can really pick and choose the sales and that is when you can achieve the crazy savings that you have seen on TV. Is your family suppose to starve while you are building your stockpile, No. Meal Planning will make it a lot easier for you to build your stockpile and have food for your family to eat. Like I mentioned before some grocery stores have free meal planning, or you can search meal planning there are several sites that are free and some that you pay for. I personally used a site called E-MEALZ.com the meals are very simple and easy to prepare for the most part. There were several meals that were really weren't sure about but tasted pretty good. There were some that were just alright. I can only think of one meal that we ended up throwing out but that was because I miss read the directions and we never tried it again. If you select a meal for a specific store it generally tries to coordinate the weekly sales with the meals. The biggest down fall of e-mealz is that it is only for dinner and sometimes there wasn't enough leftovers for lunch the next day and doesn't account for breakfast. What I did was set my weekly budget for 75 a week. I know that is  a lot of money but I would use about 50 for the weekly meals then 25 to build my stockpile. After a couple of months I was able to drop it to about half and use more of the money towards the stockpile. Now that I'm only feeding my stockpile I've dropped my weekly bill to about 20 a week. I still use meal planning because it saves time.
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