Stocking Up

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Stocking Upsource: jjkbach

Our apartment is about the size of a bird cage, and yet we’re meticulous about stocking up on bargains. Why? Because running out and paying full price the minute you need something is a tremendous time and money waster.

Instead, we buy in quantity as we come across a bargain.

For instance, when cat food was on sale, we bought ten big bags.  I kept them in our basement storage room and we used them up over a period of 8 months. Yes, it was a large initial outlay of cash, but it was also a large savings.

We buy clothes the same way.  Because we live in the Middle East, local clothes are both expensive and poorly made.  Therefore, when I went to the US this summer, I came home with boxes full shirts, pants, night gowns, underwear and socks…enough to last till my next visit.

What are some other ways we stock up?

  • When we make a trip to the local farmer’s market, we don’t just buy fruits and vegetables.  We also check out the prices for less perishable items and take those home too.
  • When the library had novels on sale for 4/$1, stacks of new books showed up on our shelves. We knew that even if we didn’t read the books for a year, it’s was still worth it to buy them.
  • When the grocery store has cases of tuna on sale, we buy enough to last close to a year. My husband only likes expensive white tuna, so good sale prices are vital to us.
  • When I found a source of inexpensive scrapbooking supplies, I bought a complete selection of papers and embellishments. Years later, I don’t do much scrapbooking, but I still use the supplies for packages, greeting cards and art journaling.
  • When a neighborhood store was running a 50% off sale last month, I bought small boxes for food gifts at rock bottom prices. I bought enough for several years, because I use these boxes a lot, and I knew I would never find prices like that again.

Here’s a story about what happens when we don’t stock up!

Years ago, we purchased a dozen Staples brand mouse pads for a buck each. We had so many stored up, we didn’t think to keep an eye out for other bargains. Today, when my last mouse pad was ruined, my husband had to make an emergency run to the office supply store.  Instead of costing $1.00, the new mouse pad cost $7.50, because we didn’t shop ahead. So much for careful planning!

7627955892_65033c60f0_zsource: Travis Juntara

Tips for stocking up

  • Don’t buy a lot of something you’ve never tried. 12 boxes of cereal, that your family decides they hate, is a complete waste of money no matter how cheap they were.
  • Make sure the last of the purchase will be used up before the expiration date. A friend once offered me a fantastic deal on potatoes, but most of them spoiled before we were able to use them.
  • Remember, quality does matter. The enormous case of tissues at the warehouse store isn’t such a bargain, if the rolls are only one ply instead of your usual two ply.
  • Do your math to make sure the super cheap price is actually a bargain. I once bought a half dozen large boxes of Mike and Ike for what I thought was an amazing price, and then found them cheaper at the dollar store.
  • Designate storage space before making a large purchase. Under the bed, inside the sleep sofa, down in the basement and up in the attic are all good if at first you don’t appear to have room.
  • Review your budget. Be sure stocking up isn’t going to stop you from having enough money for the rest of your expenses. Unless you know you will have enough money for food and bills, consider passing even on a great bargain.
  • Don’t limit your bulk purchases to just food and clothes. When my kids were young, I bought birthday gifts at great prices throughout the year. I stored them in my car trunk till they were needed.

A Word Of Warning

Though stocking up can save you loads of money, do be careful. I have made some major. I’m going to share three, so you don’t repeat my bad experiences.

1) I once bought enough discounted price printer ink to last for 5-6 years. The sale was amazing, so I figured, why not? Six months later, the printer broke and was impossible to repair. We wound up giving the ink away.

2) Last year I stocked up on enough cheap frozen broccoli to last for years. I figured if it was kept in the freezer, it would be fine even if it passed the expiration date. I was very, very wrong. Now, only a year later, the broccoli is freezer burnt and unusable.

3) When my daughter was twelve, I once stocked up on about $60 worth of good quality used clothes at the thrift store. The clothes was beautiful and identical to the styles I always bought her. However, when I got the clothes home, she decided she hated every piece and for now on wanted to pick out her own clothes.

Did I leave anything out? Please hare your best tips, mistakes, or stories by adding a comment below!

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