Welcome to Spend It Wisely, a regular Monday feature at My Kansas Life! Every Monday, we’ll discuss ways to spend less and save more.
Usually, Spend It Wisely will focus on price comparisons to help you stretch your grocery dollars by recognizing a good deal when you find it. But, before we get into cost comparisons, I feel we should explore the wisdom of stocking up on grocery and household items. Today, we’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of stocking up, and next week we’ll get into some tips for maximizing your stockpile.
Should you stock up on a product when you find it at a good price? Or, will having a lot of product on hand just get in the way? Consider the advantages to stocking up…
- Spend Less By Buying at a Low Price. For most families, this is probably the primary reason for stocking up on groceries and other household products. Simply put, if you buy something while it’s at a low price, you won’t have to buy it when the price goes up.
- No Last-Minute Runs to the Store. This one is especially important for me since I live 15-20 miles from the nearest regular grocery store, which means I can’t leave dinner cooking on the stove while I hustle down the street to pick up something I forgot at the store. I do have great neighbors I can borrow from in a pinch, but why not just keep enough on hand that I don’t have to run next door for a cup of sugar?
- Increase Your Culinary Creativity. One of the ways I challenge myself in the kitchen is by purchasing things I don’t know how to cook, usually by buying something from the store’s clearance section. For example, my Walmart recently clearanced bags of rye flour. I knew it was a great price for flour, but I’ve never used rye flour before. Why not try it? Now, I have rye in my pantry ready to use when I want it. If I have all the ingredients in my pantry, I run out of excuses for why I can’t make a challenging dish.
There are some disadvantages to stocking up, too, and I recommend considering these potential problems – and how you’ll avoid them – before you begin your efforts to stock up:
- Storage Space. Many people I talk to hesitate to stock up because they don’t want to become one of “those crazy coupon people” with massive stores of toilet paper under their children’s beds or boxes of cleaning products in their bedroom closet. Though stocking up doesn’t necessarily mean you have to turn your house into a live-in warehouse, it does require some storage space. Of course, you can also limit your stock so it doesn’t overrun your home.
- Expiration Dates. Food rarely becomes inedible once it’s past its expiration date, but I’m not sure I want to eat a ten-year-old can of soup, either. If your stock becomes unmanageable, you could end up wasting more money than you save.
- What Will the Neighbors Think? I’m pretty proud of my stock now, but it wasn’t always that way. I remember wondering if my neighbors (or parents or friends or my husband) might think I was nuts for having a five-gallon bucket of rice in my basement. Ultimately, I decided it didn’t matter what they thought because I decided taking care of my family was more important, and this was something I needed for my family. Of course, I don’t have my stock items out and about in everyone’s face either…unless they happen to look in my bathroom closet where I have about three years’ worth of body wash. (Hey, it was free!)
Come back next Monday for some stock-up tips!
How do you feel about stocking up?