Common Pitfalls of Stockpiling

Buying things when they are on sale and stockpiling those items can be a great way to save money. Stockpiling can also be a problem if you don’t avoid the common pitfalls of this usually frugal practice.

The other day, I was watching an episode of Wife Swap. I’ve been ordered by my doctor to lay on the couch and do nothing for a couple of days, so there is my excuse. My eldest son was keeping me company, but I have suspicions that it wasn’t altogether altruistic. After all, the television was “on,” a somewhat rare occasion in the day.

One of the wives was a self-confessed coupon mom. Her goal was to get $90 worth of groceries for only $10. She also confessed to stockpiling goods when they were on sale and had a bunch of shelves in her basement just for such a purpose. Ah, ha, finally a family I can related to. I settled in. This mom didn’t belly dance, believe in the power of jah or clean her bathroom in high heels.

As the episode went on, I realized that this wife was even scarier than some of those others.

“Uh mom, you would never do that!” my son said. We got to see her stockpile.

The shelves and boxes were jumbled with enough products to serve an entire homeless shelter. There were large boxes of shampoo and enough toothpaste to brick a house together. The husband gleefully confessed that he used his lunch hour to buy five bottles of cough syrup on sale. “Is your son coughing?” the other wife swap mom asked. Good point.

Sometimes you can get so caught up with stockpiling that you wind up overdoing it. You have more products than you can use in a lifetime. You buy things that expire before they can be used, and you use up valuable living space with storage.

I would never buy five bottles of cough syrup for my stockpile, even if it is on sale, because we wouldn’t have a great need for it.

Products, even those without an expiration date, can change over time. Shampoo and lotions can breakdown after a while, for example. Scents and coloring can alter, and of course in the case of food, items can go bad, go stale or change consistency.

Keep these things in mind when you stockpile. And if you do buy too much, consider donating it to a worthy cause.

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About Mary Ann Romans

Mary Ann Romans is a freelance writer, online content manager, wife and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania in the middle of the woods but close enough to Target and Home Depot. The author of many magazine, newspaper and online articles, Mary Ann enjoys writing about almost any subject. "Writing gives me the opportunity to both learn interesting information, and to interact with wonderful people." Mary Ann has written more than 5,000 blogs for since she started back in December 2006. Contact her at maromans AT or visit her personal blog