THE BASICS OF COUPONING
BUILDING YOUR GROCERY STOCKPILE
One of the key factors to being a successful couponer is to build a sufficient stockpile. This is done over time, and can take a few months. But once you have your stockpile built, you will seldom have to buy anything because you need it. You will already have what you need, except, of course, your perishables like milk, bread, fruit, and produce. However, the money that you save on other things will leave more money in your budget for those things.
I recommend one or two normal shopping trips, buying what you need, and at the same time, buying the sale items that you will need in the future, using as many coupons as possible. Most items go on sale every 6-8 weeks, but if you follow the sales at more than one store, you may see that each store has it on sale, but at different times. For instance, if you know that you cook spaghetti once a week, and the store has it on a BOGO sale, buy enough to last about 6 weeks. There are almost always printable coupons for pasta, which often makes it free. If it goes on sale again before you run out, and you have/can get more coupons, then replenish your stockpile. Do not wait until you run out, as it may not be on sale then.
Any non-perishable item can be stockpiled, though some may need to be rotated to keep the dates current. A good price is not a good price if you end up throwing it out because it went out of date. But most items have a pretty lengthy shelf-life. I find that salad dressing is probably the main thing that I have to keep a close watch on. Canned veggies seem to last forever, as do jellies and that kind of thing. I stockpile all sauces, condiments, pasta sauces, canned soups, side dishes, canned meats and veggies, and box dinner mixes. In my freezer, I have frozen dinners, veggies, meatballs, frozen breads, ice cream, breakfast items, and the list goes on.
I NEVER pay full price for any meat. Ground beef is on sale somewhere almost every week, as are chicken breasts. I prefer buying boneless meat, so when there is a good price, I buy enough for about a month, divide it into meal-sized packages and freeze it. Boneless chicken breasts and steaks are wrapped serarately, and then put into larger bags. This way, I only have to defrost what I need for whatever I am cooking. I buy roasts that are on sale and cut them my self for stew meat. I buy a whole pork loin when they are on sale and have the butcher at the store slice it into chops. I usually get about 18 boneless chops from one pork loin, and can usually buy them for less than $2 a pound. I have never seen them pre-sliced for this price, and the store does not charge you to slice it.
I take advantage of all "sale with coupons" on staples such as sugar, flour, cornbread mix, and canned milk. Once you learn how often each of your necessities goes on sale, you will be better able to determine how much you need to buy. For instance, I use a lot of canned, evaporated milk. It sells for 98¢-1.25, depending on the brand that you buy. Publix recently had it BOGO at 1.23 each, making them 62¢, which is a good price. However, I also had coupons, which brought the price down to 12¢ each, over 90% off of the original price. I bought as many as I had coupons, because I know that it does not go on sale that cheap very often.
It is always good to have a designated area in your home for your stockpile, and to keep it organized. When I first started couponing, I was "forced" to clean out and rearrange my kitchen cabinets, just to have space for the food. You may even have to make a small investment for shelves or boxes, but it will be well worth it. Your stockpile will grow a little with each shopping trip. You should never do without something that you need just because it's not on sale or you don't have a coupon. However, once your stockpile starts growing, you will soon have almost anything you need at any given time. When you start getting low on something, you will start looking for a good price.
BUILDING YOUR STOCPILE
HEALTH & BEAUTY AND HOUSEHOLD ITEMS