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I am a 21 year old UAB student, writing this blog as a collection of my experiences as an undergrad.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Student’s Guide to Stockpiles: College Couponing 101

So, have you heard the word stockpile yet? In the couponing world it is where when there are really great deals couponers by a lot of the items and "stockpile" it. On extreme couponing the people featured have had stockpiles take up entire rooms or garages.

This is a stockpile room image I pulled from google:
When ever I coupon I am always asked "Do you have one of those rooms like full of food?" That is when I politely tell them that I live in a dorm as a resident assistant, and my room is smaller than those people's stockpiling rooms. That is when the idea of this blog really started. Couponing is different for college students. So this will be the first of the College Couponing 101
First of all it is incredibly rude to buy all the things off the shelves because it is a great deal! If it is a great deal to you, then it is probably to others as well! Be considerate! I have heard horror stories from people where they have seen couponers come in and buy everything off the shelves because of sales. This is not nice, and makes people resent coupon users.
You might say BUT! That salad dressing I LOVE might never go one sale again, and if it does I won't have this coupon! WRONG! The industry standard for coupon and sale cycles is 3-4 months. But most stores are shorter than that and sales have a 6-8 week circle. So, chances are in about 6 weeks you will find that dressing on sale again!
Second, as I said I live in a tiny room. Before that I lived in a larger room but lived with 5 others. SO dorm and apartment living is WAY different than the stockpiling of a Mom in a 4 bedroom house with 2 kids. This is not to say you shouldn't "stockpile" at all BUT as students we have to do it different. I am lucky and have a full fridge and a few cabinets to myself. I know that is not always the case. So, I've come up with what I see the most often among my peers:
  1. You have a full fridge but share it with multiple people and the same goes for cabinets
  2. You have a full fridge to yourself but not a lot of cabinets
  3. You have just a mini fridge and some sort of cabinet space that is your own
  4. You have a full fridge that you share with a lot of people and same goes for cabinets. However, you also have a mini-fridge.
All of these can have their own challenges. However, whether you have a lot or a little fridge or cabinet space you can still stock dry items elsewhere. My suggestion comes from the "goody box" my roommate and I had my freshman year of college. We always had chocolates and snacks we might not want to share with our 4 suite mates (sorry girls!) and it was in a lime green box under my roommate's bed. So you can always utilize some sort of space. I have a under the bed box still! But you can also use an empty drawer, tub in your closet, bottom shelf of a bookshelf, bottom desk drawer, or wherever else that will give you some extra space to store.
BUT WAIT! Am I telling you to stuff 50 boxes of cereal under you bed? No. That is utterly ridiculous. You need to get you enough of the item to last you 2 months. So this is when you have to take a step back and say "how much of an item do I use in 2 months." If you and your roommate all share food then you might use a lot more cereal in 2 months then I do eating alone. Another thing to consider is that I do not have a stove and I know that this is common in some dorms, because you might be required to have a large meal plan. So, this means your supply needs to be limited to microwave meals. That means do not use your coupon on seasonings even if you get them for a dime. You do not have room for it and you will never use it! With such a small space you have to think wisely.
Krazy Coupon Lady suggests "One method that seems to work well is this: Create a list of the 12 meals you cook most frequently, then write all the ingredients for all of those meals in one big list. Keep that list handy and as you build your stockpile, cross of the items on your list as you go."
I think as students we can break this down a little better. If you have a meal plan you might not need to stock up so much of baking items, but instead you need snacks and microwavable food. So instead write down the 20 things you eat the most of. There will be things that automatically pop in your mind (I always eat pop-tarts, I love Ramen Noodles, I need Mt. Dew), but remember the staples (milk)! Now next to those things, write how much you think you use of it in 2 months and in 6 months. These will be your buy price ( 2 month) and stock up price (6 month). Because of your limited space you really want to save your cabinets and stock up box for the things you really enjoy.
I have used a lot of websites stock-pile price point lists to help you out and those awesome blogs will be listed for you at the end of this blog. I also made a new tab where you can always have access to the list. Look for your must have items on the list. These will be the ones you will most want to stock up on because it will save you the most money. How will it save me money if I'm buying more? Think of it like this. Let's say you spend $4.00 on cereal every 2 weeks. However, with coupons and sales prices you can sometimes find cereal for $1.00. If you stockpile when you find that dollar price and get 6 boxes of cereal it will cost you $6.00 for one trip. However, although it is $6.00 instead of $4.00, it is really $6.00 versus the $24.00 you would have spent in the time it will take you to finish your stock. It is really impossible to save a lot of money couponing without stockpiling, and this can be challenging as a student. But we can do it!
As I mentioned earlier, I have compiled a list for you of things I think every college student needs. With it you will find the BUY price, this means it is a good deal, and a stock-up price. The stock up price means get enough for 6 months. However, be realistic. It might feel amazing to get a bar of soap for free. So because it's free you get 45 bars. If you are the only person who used said soap and even if you used a bar of soap a week (average is one or two bars a month depending on size and brand) you would have enough soap for almost a year. Be realistic, if you get soap for free (awesome) get about 10-15 bars, and DO NOT buy soap for a while. If you feel the need to buy the free soap because you can but you can't use it. Donate it to charity. Don't let it take up valuable space. Really it comes down to knowing yourself and knowing how much YOU use vs. the space available.
One thing a lot of sites suggest is stockpile prices on fruit and meat. The only way to really "stockpile" this is to freeze it. Remember that you do not really have freezer space (unless you are a rare student that brought a deep freeze to the dorm) that these Moms have. I suggest if you really like a certain fruit of meat buy double what you usually would and freeze half of it. If it is a mega great price and you feel you have the room to stock it, go ahead of course! Just remember it might take up room for months, and if you share your space this might really bother them. Make sure to talk to your roommates about the allotted space for your groceries and stick to it.
Also, always check your expiration dates. If you just knew you would use all of those pasta meals you got for 0.30. So you bought 40 of them and now you have 20 left with only 2 weeks to eat them. In a case like this it is great to donate your goods! They will most certainly use them in that time period and you will feel good about not wasting food or money.
If there are any questions at all please ask! My stockpile list is here, but I wanted to get this article out yet so I'll be adding more and more very soon (hopefully by the end of the week)! It will stay at the top in tabs for easy access!
Also, you can always make your own prices. If you can just not find the buy price to a certain item and you're off by 10 of 15 cents, change the price for yourself! As I promised I wanted to say thank you to the following awesome couponers for all the help I got off their amazing websites for our list. Their lists are much more extensive because I cut out things I don't think college students regularly use. If you don't see it on my list leave me a comment and I will find it or feel free to look through these awesome lists:

Krazy Coupon Lady
Southern Savers
Money Saving Mom
For the Mommas
Cuckoo for Coupon Deals
Probably the most inclusive list is the one at Coupon Connections.

Hope you enjoyed this!




1 comment:

  1. Do you have a boyfriend or girlfriend who pinches so many pennies it's pinching your last nerves? Do your romantic evenings out often include coupons? Or does your partner forgo restaurants altogether in favor of dining establishments that feature value meals? Will he or she search far and wide for the best price possible on gas or goods no matter how inconvenient it might be? Is your partner someone who could actually afford some of the finer things in life but just can't bring him or herself to part with any greenbacks without a fight? Have you had enough of this behavior and are demanding the wallet get less squeaky or you're walking?If you appear to be between the ages of 16 and 28 and have answered 'yes' anything above, MTV wants to hear your story! Write to us at and give us your name, location, phone number, picture, and a description of your relationship and situation and what you plan to do about it.

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