Thursday, May 29, 2008

Miscellaneous Stockpiling

Do you stock up on items you use on a regular basis? Trent at The Simple Dollar does. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't.

For much of the past decade I've lived in small spaces with inadequate storage. As a result, I haven't always stockpiled items. And, sometimes when I've done so, I've regretted it. I don't need 10 bottles each of shampoo and conditioner (especially when you consider that only my hubby uses conditioner and he has short hair). I didn't realize conditioner could go bad until it did!

Then there were the times when I wasn't buying extra of anything (like when we staged our condo for sale). It sold the first day but until the subjects came off I was running out of toilet paper and having to dash to the store to buy yet another small package.

Perhaps the most memorable stockpiling I did was prior to Y2K. My best friend's hubby's job was to fix code in advance of Y2K and he was convinced things were going to turn out badly. So I stocked up and I'm actually glad I did.

No, the world as we know it didn't crash and burn when we left the 1900's behind but I had some personal circumstances that left me pretty tight for money relatively soon thereafter and I ate my way through my stored food for months. Doing that really enabled me to reduce my expenses.

I'm thinking of doing some stockpiling again over the next several months, buying multiples of items we use when they're on sale. What sorts of things will I stock up on?

Food Products
Tea (I drink decaf English Breakfast and Earl Grey teas)
Tuna (we go through a tin per week on average)
Spaghetti (whole grain pastas)
Single serving noodle soups (ramen type and, yes, I know they aren't the best thing from a health viewpoint)
Tomato sauce
Tetra paks of a couple of soups we like
Tetra paks of Almond Breeze (non-dairy almond milk)
Bottled water

Non-Food Products
Shabbos candles (for Friday nights)
Yahrzeit candles (burn 24 hours plus)
Tea lights (100/pkg from IKEA)
Toilet paper
Stir sticks
Dental floss
Shower gel

Why? I have a variety of reasons. Let's look at them.

Short term emergency. Government agencies (at all levels) regularly recommend that every household keep food, water, medications, first aid kit and other essentials sufficient for at least 72 hours in case of an emergency such as flooding, earthquake, etc.

Economic downturn. Whether the downturn is societal or only at your own house (i.e. serious illness, job loss, maternity leave, etc.) a stocked pantry and household essentials cupboard will help see you through lean times.

Keep basics on hand. It's easy to throw together a quick meal when we have a busy day or week or when somebody gets the flu if there are the basics for a few favourites always on hand.

Save money. Who doesn't like to save money? If these items are only purchased on sale then it protects you in two ways. First, it means fewer last minute drives to the store to pick up a forgotten item at full price. Second, when the price goes up (which it will, sooner or later) a household with a 3 month supply will be affected that much later.

If you buy a reasonable amount of product to last for a specified time frame, purchased on sale when there is an adequate supply I consider that to be storing. Hoarding, on the other hand, I would define as buying as much product as possible at any price when the item is already in short supply. Additionally, the products may be obtained with the intention of reselling them at a later date for a profit. I believe that storing is prudent, ethical and frugal, while hoarding is not.

Stored goods should be used on a "first in, first out" basis and restocked regularly. If you aren't using items by their "best before" date you're buying too much!

What are your thoughts? Do you stock up and, if so, what do you buy?

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