At the beginning of this year we didn’t have much in terms of food storage or a stockpile of toiletry items. And I swore we didn’t have much room for such things living in an already cramped apartment that lacked a garage, basement, storage shed and pantry.
While I have couponed (see THIS post and THIS post), I hadn’t done a ton of stockpiling because I didn’t believe we had room for a stockpile in our apartment. But, little did I know that I was wrong. And little did I know how great stockpiling could be.
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Build a Stockpile in an Apartment – Make and Find Room
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As we cleaned out our third bedroom to make room for a crib and changing table for our new addition, we rearranged a lot around our house, including closet space. We somehow ended up with a bookcase that didn’t have a home and decided to put it into our small laundry room in order to create a pantry of sorts.
At first it didn’t have much on it, but now, six months later, it has a lot! And it’s not the only place we’ve managed to put food and toiletry items in our apartment.
Since our bedroom is off limits to our children when we are not in there with them, and we have our own bathroom (and most of the toiletry needs), we started storing items on top of our dresser. It certainly isn’t pretty, but it’s functional. However, our big three year olds can step up on the dresser and reach some things (like the pink nail polish that I still need to remove some of off the carpet…). So, we make sure to push it back as far as we can.
We also store things under sinks. We have our cleaning supplies – paper towels, toilet bowl cleaner, trash bags, disinfecting wipes, glass cleaner, etc – under our kitchen sink, locked with a childproof device. In our downstairs/guest bathroom we have our medicine cabinet, also locked with our favorite magnetic childproof lock. We still have stockpiling potential in the other bathroom upstairs (the girls’ bathroom) but aren’t using it right now.
See this post full of 23 places you can stockpile in an apartment.
Build a Stockpile the Cheap Way: Make a “Buy Price” List
Finding room for a stockpile is one thing, but buying it is another. Anyone can go a store and buy an cartload of items and be stocked up for a long while, but that isn’t smart because it isn’t easy on the wallet. And like most people, we want to score a killer deal because we are all tight on cash.
In order to build a stockpile cheaply, you need to first know what a good price is! After all, the point of having a stockpile is to avoid paying full price for something when you suddenly run out of it!
If you are new to couponing and sales, I would suggest asking people locally what they consider good prices for various items.
Then check it out yourself and compile a “Buy Price” list.
I created my list in an Excel document for easy reference and easy editing. I made columns titled Product, Cost Per Unit, With Coupons, At Sam’s Club, and On Amazon.
I also wanted to know how this ideal buy price came about: was it a regular, on-going great price found at my local Sam’s Club warehouse, or an online special price for Amazon Family members (like for diapers and wipes)? Or did I get that awesome buy price using coupons, or was it just from great store sales or discounts?
The “Buy Price” list is especially helpful when I am comparison shopping my local grocery store to a warehouse store like Sam’s Club. I break down the numbers between what I could get an item for at the local grocery store when on sale and using any applicable coupons versus what the bulk warehouse prices are.
The warehouse bulk prices don’t always win out, as the warehouse stores don’t typically allow coupons, unless specifically given to you from the store and have that paid tiered membership. Warehouse stores also don’t typically run frequent or awesome sales, at least not on everyday items, but when they do, and it can make for some incredible savings.
Ideally I would carry this buy-price list around with me so that when I am out shopping I would easily be able to do a little math (thank you cell phone calculator), and figure out if it at or below my buy-price so I know whether or not to stock up!
Build Your Apartment Stockpile with Coupons
I have become something of a couponer. I don’t consider myself an extreme couponer as I have never paid only $5 for $100 worth of stuff: that’s extreme. Nor do I run around from store to store or do ad price matching.
But, this year I have saved more than $551 with coupons alone. Add that to Kroger Plus Savings and other discounts, and the savings are even greater. I’ve saved us some real money this year. (See this post as to why we prefer shopping at Kroger).
One of the best ways to use coupons is stacked on top of awesome sales. This is the only (smart) way to stockpile foods and toiletries and other goods for your apartment home.
I have scored numerous things for free – like toothpaste and shave gel – and many things for under a dollar or two. For items that are more expensive, you want to be on the hunt for those killer sales and pair them with great coupons, so have that Buy Price list ready! Cause you want to buy when the price is right!
I also use several money saving apps on my smart phone that save me even more!
I am proud of our family’s little stockpiles. We have started slow, figuring out those buy prices, waiting to buy a lot of an item until the time was right.
Recently Kroger had some great sales and some great coupons (plus double fuel points for shopping on the weekends) so we stocked up on a lot of our toiletry items. We ended up paying quite a bit of money that day at the store, but we after the sale price and coupons we saved more than a third of our total bill! We also are stocked for a long time. This means we won’t be spending as much each month on groceries and toiletries, being able to wait until future incredible sales to replenish our stock pile, instead of forgetting we’re running low on something and have to pay full price because we need it now.
And that’s the beauty of stockpiling in an apartment the smart way.
Katie Clark says
Great tips! I always love having a nice stock pile of items on hand (especially diapers!)
Yes! You always need diapers on hand! I hate it when I forget them and have to pay way too much when I run out.
These are good tips! I have one large closet in our current house that I use to stockpile and I love it! I shop the sales at CVS and Rite-Aid for shampoo and toothpaste type things then stock up at the market whenever there are good prices.
I haven’t shopped much at CVS and other pharmacies, but I know that some people get great deals at them. I may have to start looking into them.
Brenna @ Life After Laundry says
These are great tips. I always see people who have rooms and closets devoted to it and I just dismissed stock piling cause I knew I didn’t have that kind of room.
I learned a tip that I hadn’t though of and it doesn’t need a coupon. One day while at big lots getting something else I walked by the “clearance” cart. That day I got all the mac and cheese I could carry for 10 cents a box. Now if I am in the area I always stop in and check the clearance cart found quite a few gems in there that I don’t normally allow myself to buy or I buy all the time at a huge discount. Nothing is out of date either.
Just me says
These are great tips on just finding a place to do it. Pretty or not as long as it is functional.
I have to disagree that the point of stockpiling is so you don’t have to buy things at full price though. There is several reasons people stock pile. I stock pile because I have a lot of health problems and simple grocery shopping can be a hassle. The less I have to go the better. I also stock pile so when disaster strikes I am not running to the store with every one else getting the essentials.
Katelyn Fagan says
You make a great point! Stockpiling is great for those reasons too!
I love the idea of stockpiling. It makes sense, financially and in case of family illness, natural disaster etc. I would definitely recommend having a system to keep track of what you have and expiration dates. I live in a country area and have a large family so I always try to stock up on pharmaceutical basics when around the cheaper city chemists. I noticed in one of the pictures the paper towels under the sink, I would not recommend this, it is a high mosture area. Great post, TFS 🙂
Katelyn Fagan says
Yes! I totally need a good pantry list and stuff. And keeping necessities like pharmaceuticals is a great idea.
Those are some really great tips! Thanks for sharing! I love learning how others build a stockpile for their emergencies, security and savings!