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Many of you have probably seen the television shows about hoarders. When they get done, they find that they have 87 tubes of toothpaste, 120 rolls of toilet paper and 24 toothbrushes. I will admit that in my house you will find 8 tubes of toothpaste, 30 rolls of toilet paper and 5 toothbrushes (other than those we are using). I have even more than that, but I won’t bore you with the full list.

Stockpiling isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. It’s good to plan for the unexpected — a job loss, natural disasters, fluctuating gas and food prices. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to create your own stockpile.

1. What Is Considered a Good Deal?

If I can get my item for at least 75% off or more, then that qualifies as a stock-up deal for me.

For exampled, a while back, I found toothbrushes on clearance at a drug store chain for only $1.09. I happened to have several $1.00-off coupons. So, I picked up 9 toothbrushes for only $0.81 or $0.09 each! I didn’t sacrifice the brand I wanted to use — these were the toothbrushes we use regularly.

I actually stockpile when I can get household items and toiletries for $1.00 or less each. When I find toothpaste marked down, and through coupons and deals I can get it for free – or close to it – I’ll pick up several at a time.

2. Where Is the Best Place to Shop for a Stockpile?

Many times you can find toothpaste and other toiletries for free, or nearly free, when you shop at drug store chains like CVS or Walgreens. Yes – your local drug store can be less expensive than even big box stores when all is said and done. How? Through certain rewards programs they offer that provide coupons to save you money on your next purchase. You can, of course, find great deals at your local grocery store or retail chain stores; just always keep your eyes peeled.

3. How Much Is a Good Amount to Have on Hand?

Obviously you can’t stockpile items that will expire soon. However, you can stockpile canned and boxed goods, toiletries, laundry needs, paper supplies, cleaning supplies and anything else that won’t “go bad.” You can even stockpile meat products — as long as you have the freezer space. The quantity of items to keep on hand varies from person to person, but for me anything that is non-food related I like to have at least two years and food items anywhere from six months to one year.

4. Doesn’t This Take Up a Lot of Space?

It can — if you try to buy everything under the sun. You have to determine what space you have to give up to your stockpile. Obviously, if you live in an apartment, what you stockpile will probably be less than someone in a large home.

5. Does Stockpiling Include Travel-Size Items?

It sure does! Many times, you can get travel-size items free with a coupon (unless the coupon specifically excludes that size). So, you can pick up several and have paid absolutely nothing for them. They may be smaller sizes, but they are still free. And, in my book – free is free!

One of the most wonderful aspects of a stock pile (besides saving money, of course), is not having to run right to the store when you are out of something. For us, it seems that my kids eat toilet paper as I am forever changing the roll.  It is great to have it on hand when we need it. Otherwise, it means a trip to the store (where we may not get the best deal).

It also helps with meal planning. I almost always have something to throw together for a great meal as I have a completely stocked pantry. Then, when I plan my weekly shopping list (based upon menus created from my stash), I rarely need many items to actually cook my meals. My list is made up of incidentals and items to add to the pantry.

With a little planning ahead, you can start to create a little bit of a stock pile yourself – and ensure you are paying the price you want for the things you need.

You can find more tips on saving money in your day-to-day life here. You can also keep track of how your spending choices are affecting your credit score by looking at your free credit report card, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.

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Image: Louis-Paul St-Onge

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