Friday, May 11, 2012
Stock Up Prices: Part I
When I first began couponing (like really couponing...not just couponing...you know what I mean), I wasn't super clear on what was a stock up price. At first, any discount felt like a deal. Oh I was such a beginner!
Over time, I have learned a few things.
First, my stock up price is not necessarily your stock up price.
So don't feel like you have to compare blog prices. I use blog prices as a guide but not an end all, be all. Prices tend to run higher here than in say, the south. And until recently, double coupons was a very rare treat for me. You also have to consider supply. Supply of stores. For example, there is only one Walgreens in my area. Sometimes I visit a second store (like twice a year) when I have a meeting in that area. And my store is always out of everything. And supply of products. As I said, my Walgreens is out of everything. My Rite Aid however, does an awesome job of keeping things stocked. At least for the first few days. My two main grocery stores, Price Chopper and eventually Shop Rite, both double coupons up to $0.99. And both offer their own coupons that can be stacked with manufacturer coupons. Not everyone has this luxury. And trust me, I feel your pain. This is a recent (and joyful) change for my area!
Second, your stock up price tends to adjust down as you become a better couponer.
In the beginning, I was overjoyed to pay $1 for a tube of $4 toothpaste. Now I only buy it for free or better. But at first, saving 75% felt amazing. And it was! But the more I learned, the more frequently (like every other week) I found it for free. Same goes for deodorant. And body wash. And shaving cream.
Third, just because something hits a stock up price, does not mean you need to buy it.
I have 1-2 years worth of laundry detergent. Because at first, just as I noted with the toothpaste example, I thought 50% was an awesome deal. And again, it totally was! But over time, I realized I could get detergent for even less. My stock up price now is $0.03-0.05 per load. And I've found several deals lately. But I am refraining from buying. Because I already have soooo much in my stockpile. While detergents do have a long shelf life, the are not indefinite. I have plenty for myself and to share and I won't buy more until I really work through my stock.
Fourth, there will always be another sale.
Sometimes when new products debut, you can get them for free. OK, so that might not roll around again. But beyond that, everything else will be on sale again. In 6-12 weeks. I personally have very minimal space to use for storage. I simply cannot store a year's worth of anything (other than laundry detergent- ha). So if I find something is a super stock up price, I might buy a few month's worth. Because I know there will eventually be another sale.
Fifth, there are seasons for every item in your grocery store.
Everything from oatmeal to cleaning supplies to ketchup to ice cream to pencils has an "in season." That's the month when things are at the most rock bottom prices. So while everything does go on sale regularly, there is a short period of time each year when you can typically get items even lower. In season groceries are always the least expensive, healthiest, and often local.