After my little (com)passionate penny pinching breakdown last week, I started thinking . . . how much “stuff” is enough? How much pasta is enough pasta? How many shampoos do we really need stockpiled? And, am I going a little over the edge if I have thirty-two boxes of cereal? (It's been a long time since I've had that much, but it did feel good for the few days it lasted!)
I've struggled with this one (and maybe you have too), because I want enough, but I don't want so much that my “stuff” makes me crazy. I hate opening my pantry doors only to be hit in the head with a box of crackers (yes it's been know to happen around here), closing my freezer door at times has been a feet of vast proportions, and really, I just don't have that much space just for stockpiling mass amounts of foods. (My kids and hubby take up too much space in my house, and kicking them out to add room for my stockpile just isn't an option. . . .)
So, here are a few guidelines to help determine how much is enough:
- Will this item go on sale again? The very first time that I paid $.12 a bag for Chex Mix, I went a little nuts. I think I might have bought 22 bags of Chex Mix . . . at least? (I can't even remember how I got all those coupons!) These days I know that Chex Mix goes on sale pretty frequently, so six bags are usually plenty at our house.
- How much of this item will my family really eat? Cereal is something we eat a lot of, so it's not uncommon for me to purchase six to eight boxes at a time. But things like instant potatoes, bread crumbs, or even macaroni and cheese doesn't get eaten quite as much around here, so I'll purchase a few when they're super cheap but rarely more than three or four boxes.
- Can I freeze it? This is huge. There are loads of items that I purchase at a great price and freeze . . . my all-time favorite being shredded cheese! (I have twelve bags in my freezer right now!) If I can freeze it and we eat a lot of it, I try to grab as many as I can when it's at it's best price.
- Is this item at my stock up price? Many times I find good deals on items, however they great deals. If an item is at my stock-up price, I'll purchase as many as I have enough room for in our family's weekly grocery budget, but if it's just an okay deal, I try to pass on it and wait to find it at the best price available. (However if it's an item we need I will grab one or two.)
- Is it free? If I can get something for free and have oodles of coupons for it, I'll usually grab as many as I can of that item. If I get home from the store and my pantry's overflowing, I can always add it to the donation bin!
And, in case you're wondering, this is an idea of how much I like to keep in our pantry . . . although right now I'm low on just about everything as we've been clearing things out for those who need them more than we do . . .
- 12+ boxes of cereal (we go through a box almost every 2-3 days, so that's not all that much!)
- 10+ cans of tomatoes/tomato pastes/tomato sauce
- 4+ jars of peanut butter
- 6+ boxes of popcorn
- 1o+ boxes of pasta
- 3+ bottles of ketchup
- 4+ packs of juice boxes
- 4+ tubes of toothpaste
- 4+ deodorants
- 6+ bottles of cleaning supplies
- 10+ cans of veggies
- 10+ bars of soap
- 5+ shampoos/conditioners (I'm down to my last one . . . ouch!)
- 4+ rolls of paper towels (we don't use those all that much around here)
Know that what our family of five goes through may be very different than what your family needs, this is just an example of how much I like to keep in stock in our home.
So here are my questions for you: How big is your family? How do you determine what deals to stock up on? How much do you keep in your stockpile? And do you have a huge stockpile “as seen on TLC”, or is it a little more moderate? I'd love to hear how you all handle your stash! 🙂