Every time you run to the store for that one little thing you’re out of, don’t you always come out with a few more items that weren’t on the list?
I find that if I plan my shopping trips for just one day a week (to pick up fresh produce and ingredients for upcoming meals), my spending is easier to keep within budget. The more I go to the market: the more I spend. The key to keeping away from the cash register is to always have a supply of “essentials” in the home. If you focus on things that have a long shelf life and stick with brands you know and like, there isn’t any worry about waste.
Here are some basic supplies to stockpile that I’ve found to really cut back on the store trips:
Cleaners/Soap: Laundry, Dishwasher & Dish Detergent, Household Cleaning Products
Personal Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothpaste, Deodorant, Soap, Feminine Napkins, Toilet Paper
Beauty Essentials: (1 extra of each) Mascara, Blush, Lipstick, Foundation
These are products that no matter how much you stockpile, you’ll always use eventually. Because there’s never any waste, it’s truly a successful frugal method. That can be harder to accomplish with food items (watching expiry dates).
Know your prices and when something’s a good deal, plan on buying 10 or 12 of them. This is where maintaining a pricebook comes in handy so you can be confident of making a big splurge when something’s 50% off or more.
It’s super easy to go a year before buying more dish detergent and shampoo but once a big stash has been established, I still like to replenish as things are on sale. For example, I may have 6 big tubes of toothpaste in my stock tub, but if I spot a sale on a favorite brand for $1 a large tube, I’ll pick up another 6 even though I don’t need them right this minute.
The problem with building up supplies is storage space. Finding a place to stash a few months worth of toilet paper can be tricky, but get creative and make room. Stack toilet paper under beds. Get yourself a big rubbermaid tub and fill it with deodorants and toothpaste and stick it in a closet. Fill a crate with liquid dish detergent and set it on a laundry room shelf.
One thing to watch: Expiry dates. Even though we’re mainly focusing on necessities with long shelf-life, you’ll still want to rotate stock to keep waste levels at 0. Simply do just what the stores do: Bring forward close dated items, and place new purchases at the back. This way you’re grabbing the soonest expired products first.
Stockpiling staples like these when they’re on sale saves you money two ways: by purchasing necessities at the reduced price as well as cutting down on quick jaunts to the store when you run out.
The other added benefit: Your monthly grocery bill is lower so you have the extra to continue stockpiling other items that are on sale. That’s always nice ;). True you’ve already paid for it with a big purchase initially, but it pays off a few months in and you’ll find yourself continuously well supplied in the products you need on a regular basis.