31 Weeks to a Better Grocery Budget Video Series: Set Limits and Know When Enough is Enough

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  1. Jennifer says

    So true! I am a “newbie” but could see myelf getting carried away. I always love your tips, keep them coming!

  2. Crystal says

    I’ve been having to remind myself of this lately. The good deals and freebies can be addicting, for sure! I think it’s great to note that freebies can be donated. I do sometimes pick up free things at the drugstores that we’d never use and give them to friends I know will use them or drop them off at the local pantry. Thank you so much for this video series – it’s excellent!

  3. Karen says

    Thanks for the great series! I keep a budget for stocking up, it’s not a set budget but I do set limits. I will spend more to stock up on cheese and meat than on say boxed meals or cereals. The deals on meat and cheese don’t happen as often for us as the deals on other items do. I did “let go” of Walgreens, but after looking through my stockpile this last weekend I have decided to get back in the game. As far as the donating goes, our church has a donation box that helps the local crisis center. We take our extras or items we get free/cheap in and drop them off on Sundays. Good luck on your book!

  4. says

    I have designated spots for stockpiling items and when I can’t fit any more on the drawer/shelf, then I know that that’s enough for now! Our church also has a donation box, so we often take things to church to put in the box! In fact, I forgot to take things this Sunday and my oldest asked me about it after we got to church! I also read that some people have a bin at home that they put stuff in and tell people that come over that they are welcome to take things from the bin! I also send some stuff to work with my husband to give away as well as giving it to family members!

    • Natalie says

      Carolyn–I do the same thing, in that I have clear shoe box bins and once they are full, I take that product off my radar. We don’t have a church home, but I was thinking that if my children’s school principal is up for it, maybe I can set up a box in the teacher’s lounge for the teachers/staff to pick from. Body wash, razors, deodorant, etc. might be fun and helpful to them.

      Thanks Crystal for all the time and energy you put into your videos. The information is useful and motivating. Keep up the good work and best of luck to you on your book—how exciting :-)!!!!

      • Honey Smith says

        I took things to our school and the teachers loved it. Everything was gone in a few minutes.

  5. says

    That’s something that I teach the students in my coupon classes….There will always be more sales and there will always be more coupons!
    Often I take a break from couponing. (usually once a month) I may purposely go an entire week without looking at store ads and coupons and trying to find deals. It’s nice to take a break and have those 2 hours (or so) that I would normally be viewing ads, coupons, making my shopping list and going out and shopping!

  6. Mel says

    I think it is crazy to talk about only buying things that you will use, while you show 30 plus tubes of toothpaste. You then say, you won’t be buying any more, unless” it is right there”. Practice what you preach.

    • Adriane says

      Ouch. I’m pretty sure she didn’t pay for any of the toothpaste (maybe even got overage for something she DID need). We should also keep in mind that toothpaste isn’t like cereal & dairy…it doesn’t have a (legitimate) expiration date, and can be used or donated pretty much any time. Crystal is encouraging us to “set limits” – not necessarily telling us what those limits should be or that the same limits would work for everyone.

    • jenna says

      If you would have listened closer, Crystal said she wouldn’t go out of her way to buy any more toothpaste, unless it was right there. Which I took to mean she wasn’t going to the store specifically for toothpaste, and she did say she donates things also. Plus, toothpaste has a really long shelf life, so she probably will use it all.

      • Susan says

        When I was first starting to coupon I made lots of purchasing mistakes (learning curve), like buying Pepperidge Farm frozen cake for .50. We NEVER eat the stuff, so 2 years later I still have that frozen cake. I think that is what Crystal means by buying stuff you will use.

    • Anonymous says

      I know Crystal is open to the thoughts and opinions of her readers, but this could have been said in a much nicer way. I love this blog because of how positive and encouraging it is. Thank you, Crystal for all of your hard work and helpful tips. Please be encouraged that you are helping so many of us!

    • April says

      Certainly 30 tubes of toothpaste all in one place looks like a lot… I’m going to choose to believe the curtness of your response was due to shock and not just a poor upbringing. However, the bottom line is… it’s not waste until it hits the trashcan. Right now all that toothpaste represents a great asset to Crystal’s family’s teeth and the potential to bless others as she so chooses and feels led to do so. It’s up to her — and us– to monitor our expiration dates and to make the effort to give to others BEFORE something is only good for the trashcan. That’s stewardship. Grabbing deals to throw away later is hoarding. Insinuating someone does not know what they are talking about when apparently you are the one who really doesn’t know what you are talking about… is just plain embarrassing. Think through what she is saying before you are so quick to criticize… you might learn something like the rest of us who follow this blog.

    • says

      Yes, it could seem like an oxymoron to some. For me, I was okay with buying a lot of toothpaste because we will probably use almost all of it, I got it for free, I didn’t clear the shelves (there were at least 200 tubes left!), I have space to store it, it didn’t take me any extra time or effort to buy 30 tubes versus three tubes and now I don’t have to worry about buying toothpaste for a long time. Plus, toothpaste is a great thing to donate, so when I find somewhere or someone needing toothpaste in the next two years, I’ll be able to help out with that need. :)

      What I was referring to in only buying things you will use (and probably didn’t do the best job of communicating! I’m still learning how to communicate on video and often get nervous the words just spill out every which crazy way!) was to not buy 50 bottles of aftershave if you don’t even use aftershave in the first place and so forth. If you don’t use the product (or have a place to donate it to), don’t spend a great deal of time and effort and money to buy it.

      It’s easy to get caught up in the bargain-shopping-fever and not step back and make sure we’re using our time and effort and money wisely. Just because something’s a good deal, doesn’t mean it’s a good deal for you if it will just sit in your cupboard unused!

      My apologies that I wasn’t clear in the video and I’ll try to do a better job in the future to communicate. Thanks for your constructive criticism!

      • Rebecca says

        Crystal, what you do with your blog is such a blessing and please don’t be disheartened by the comment above. Those who follow your blog religiously and are encouraged by you knew what you meant.

        Thanks so much for all you do! Your website has allowed me to resign from teaching to stay home with my boys for a whole year now and counting! My family is doing marvelous on our budget and we feel more richly blessed than ever!

        THANK YOU THANK YOU!

        • says

          Thank you so much for your kind encouragement and that’s so wonderful and exciting to hear that you have been able to be a stay-at-home mom for a year! Woohoo!

      • anonymous says

        Very well said, Crystal. I think it is much better stewardship of one’s money to get those 30 tubes for free rather than run out and have to pay full price or nearly full price. I myself have probably close to 30 tubes, and a ton of shampoo which we will eventually use. It is so nice not to have to buy toothpaste or shampoo! And not to have to get even the cheap deals—not to have to spend any money at all on it!

    • Anonymous says

      Wow. Perhaps your opinion could have been communicated more tactfully? I actually probably have close to that much toothpaste as it is one of the best items to donate in my opinion and I love sharing with others…everyone needs toothpaste! I have a separate box labeled “operation Christmas child” and I immediately toss my extra in there as my goal this year is to flll 25 boxes, last year I did 12, and I put toothpaste in every one. Also, as a former dental assistant, I have become well aware that toothpaste often has a much longer shelf life than noted on its expiration date…just an FYI.

  7. Anna says

    Thank you for this video. I have been “redoing” my stock pile and reducing it some and reconsidering what I buy. I liked how your stock pile looked in the last video–uncluttered but available and not too much. Your stock pile in the last video looked “minimal” for a stock pile :) and readers even commented on the “extra space” in your stock pile. I have looked at pictures of other “mom blogs” and surprized that they did not have a giant stock pile either but more like the one you had. The idea that a family buy only what they use is really, really important. I learned that principle as well as maybe only stock piling on things that I really use a lot of–not things like sugar that I use sparingly. I personally would like to discuss “setting limits” regarding stock piling. I think I need some more lessons. Bargains are a blessing but I find that I the larger the stock pile the more time and energy it take to manage and I am still trying to find my magic amount I need.

    PS I think you are optimistic if you think that toothpaste will last a year or two :) :) We am a family of five. We would go through toothpaste like wild fire. We would go through that tooth paste in less than a year I am sure. With 4 kids, particularly some close to teen years, toothpaste gets lost or left behind at family and/or friends or just disappears! Not funny but funny! I get blank looks when I ask what happened to the new tube of toothpaste!

    • lalalalala says

      LOL!!! :)

      I use a lot of toothpaste too, even though it’s just my husband and I using it right now. I have to reload my brush several times… wasteful, probably, but it’s like this obsessive compulsive thing. I just can’t feel clean unless I do it four times back to back lol. We probably have fifteen tubes right now that I got for free or were paid to pick up, might last us a year lol (like Crystal, i only pick them up when they are right there in my way right now… isn’t that the whole point of a stockpile? Not having to work to remember/buy something because you’ve got a nice cache at home to use up? But if it’s right in front of your face, and it’s free, wouldn’t it make sense to keep up the hard work you initially put into that stockpile and add the quickie freebie?).

      • says

        hopefully a helpful side note: be careful of too much brushing, My DIL has actually damaged her teeth with the obsession.

        • lalalalala says

          Yeah, I don’t think I’m doing any favors to them. The enamel is wearing down on my front teeth. Some people smoke, I overbrush. What’s life without vice? lol

  8. Debbie in PA says

    I wish I could get a big stockpile of toothpaste! LOL! Actually, it’s great to pack in Operation Christmas Child boxes, and great to donate to shelters or food banks. I don’t think that food stamps can be used for toiletries, so it would be a wonderful item to have too much of to be able to donate.

    • anonymous says

      No, they can’t be used for toiletries. I volunteer at a local food pantry and one thing that probably most food pantries rarely have enough of are personal care items such as shampoo and toothpaste, laundry detergent, and cleaning supplies. (As well as healthier food options!!) If you like to donate to pantries, and can afford to do so, why not pick up some cheap laundry detergent or personal care items and add them in with your donations? I am sure any pantry would much appreciate it.

  9. mary says

    This is my favorite video in this series so far! I am pretty new to the couponing/stockpiling thing and I have to admit that it is addictive! This is such a great message. I was just searching online for ideas of how to organize a stockpile and some of the pictures on other sites are shocking. They look like they picked up the entire drugstore and put it in their basement! I started using coupons and following blogs like yours to save money on the things that we would buy anyway and to have a more efficient home. I absolutely love your site. I am so inspired at the overall message that you share, that you can live frugally and simply but still provide your family with everything they need! I love your recipes and tips about buying food in bulk (grains, meat, etc.). As a young mom of 2, (3year old son, and 5month old daughter) I find your site so encouraging and uplifting and I will continue to read it as long as you continue to write it! Thank you for sharing your life with your readers. ps. and you better belive i’m gonna buy your book!

  10. says

    What a refreshing perspective! With a great deal of blogs (Food on the Table’s included) dedicated to time-sensitive deals and coupons with expiration dates right around the corner, it sometimes makes more sense to just say “no” to the discounts. Knowing when enough is enough is a key ingredient for saving money in the long run. More shoppers need to remember that the stockpile should only include what’s absolutely necessary. Overspending on items, regardless of the amazing deal you scored on those items, still counts as overspending. Thanks for the wonderful video blog!

  11. Sandra Lee says

    I will trade with other couponers by putting together a medium flat rate postal box of items I get through working the deals. Recently, I put together a box filled with all sorts of HABAS (Health And Beauty Aides) and a number of them where higher valued items. The entire box’s content was valued at over $150.00. I had gotten all of the items for free or at a profit, and while they were all quality products (Olay, Neutrogena, L’Oreal, ROC, John Frieda, Playtex, and Burt Bee’s to name a few), I considered whatever I received in trade as bonus. The person who traded with me paid $12 for the flat rate box with delivery confirmation and sent me a $50 gift card to Target in exchange for the box. She received the Target gift card in a contest winning and doesn’t have a Target near her home, so she couldn’t use it and to pay $12 for $150.00+ in products she does use was a great bargain for her. Plus, she didn’t have to shop…it was delivered to her front door!

  12. says

    I was actually talking with someone about this today at the store! My Kroger had the free Ronzoni pasta deal this week and I was stocking up on a TON of free pasta. I had a bunch of extra coupons so I was handing them out to people in the store and a lady asked me very rudely what I was going to do with 40 boxes of pasta. I told her I would be keeping enough to last me a year and donating the rest to the food pantry or to friends/family members that are struggling right now. She couldn’t apologize fast enough when she found out I wasn’t keeping them all for myself. I figure if you can donate your time and frugal mindset to get the item for free, people at the food bank are going to enjoy the meal just as much as they would if you paid for it. Way to go on suggesting donations!

    • anonymous says

      40 boxes of pasta? Heavens, that wouldn’t last my family of eight all that long at all!! LOL. I remember last summer all six of my children needed shoes so we all went to Target. I bought them each one pair. We were in the checkout lane and the person behind me rather snidely commented, “That’s a lot of shoes.” Well—but what am I going to do? Make someone go without shoes because six pairs is too much for one person to buy? p.s. With rising food prices I would stock up for free/cheap on any food deals I could get right now!!

      • lalalalala says

        Why do people always feel the need to comment on others purchases?

        Sure, think it’s weird in your head, but to actually say it out loud? My brain just doesn’t see what others put in their cart – some of that stuff you can’t unsee, you know what I’m saying? I don’t even understand how they notice.

        And I kind of find it funny they had a snide comment about shoes for gripes sake. Yes, because you are going to hoard shoes for a sinister purpose. I think you like to purchase them, and then throw them out the window on the car ride home for the thrill of it. :P

        • anonymous says

          Haha that is just too funny!! Yes, I am trying to create a worldwide shortage of shoes. My diabolical plot has been uncovered.

          • MaryAnn says

            Wow. That is so funny! I am reading the comments and just bust up laughing. My husband just peeks out of the bathroom while brushing his teeth staring at me wondering why I am laughing. LOL!

      • says

        I am a family of one…so 40 boxes is a lot for just me, but I figure someone else can benefit from it! Thanks for making me feel better about my 40 boxes of pasta!

    • says

      What is it with people. It was none of her business what you were doing with it. Forty boxes would last us a year probably since we eat a lot of pasta. Personally, I am jealous and wish we had a Kroger near us!

      • Mary C says

        I got 80 boxes of free pasta. the expiration says a little longer than 2 years. So if I see the product will not be consumed within a few months of expiration, I donate items to my church family. Someone is always grateful to receive FREE food or toiletries.

        I got into the bargain hunting and bought stuff we wouldn’t eat or use such as : ear wax removal LOL we don’t have that problem but it was free (of course that’s what I was thinking at the time) and 15 bottles of Tabisco sauce. We love our hot sauce but rarely ever use tobasco.

        • Mary C says

          OH I meant to add about the 80 boxes of pasta, you wouldn’t believe the stares I received. But I dont’ care. I watched them pay full price for products I paid pennies for the week before. They should be embarrassed not me.

    • Erin says

      oh I wish I could get free pasta! We could go through 40 boxes in about 3 months and there are only 2 of us. My grocery store doesn’t double coupons though, so it’s pretty much impossible :(

  13. Ana says

    I LOVE this post… especially with that obnoxious coupon show airing soon. It is so very important for all people to understand how to properly stockpile!

    Like the two people above, I have a set area for my stockpile items. For ex: once the clear shoebox of deodorant is full, or the 1 row of bodywash on the shelf is filled, I don’t buy anymore (even if it is free… because nothing is ever free with our 9.5% tax). If it’s a MM and I’m going to the store anyway, I will pick it up and donate it.

    It took me some time when I first started couponing a few years ago to realize that I didn’t HAVE to go out and get every freebie, and that the tax was killing me on items I wouldn’t have purchased anyway. Sometimes it’s a hard lesson to learn… but I’m just glad I learned it! Thank you again for the post!

    • Heather says

      Thank you for mentioning sales tax. VA taxes on food and non-food, so even freebies aren’t really free.

    • Chris J. says

      Finally, a post that mentions the tax! I was going to mention it myself, but I see I’m not the only one who thought of it. This last week with all the Walgreens RR deals for example. Sure, the $10 bottle of vitamins or $10 Tena pads SEEM free when you get the $10RR back, but in my area I am actually paying 65 cents for each item in tax. Might not seem like a lot, but if you get ‘addicted’ to free items it can add up! We don’t have any tax on grocery items thankfully, so free really means free, but on the other items I always try to keep that in mind.

    • says

      I was curious about Crystal’s and other people’s opinions about super couponers. Some have huge stockpiles. They know the system well and have stores with double and triple coupons so they can get things for next to nothing. On one hand, it could be looked at as hoarding, but on the other hand there is at least one blog that is dedicated to donating thousands of dollars worth of items to a local food pantry. This persons helps so many others, using their knowledge of couponing to give. I personally don’t even have that kind of option since we live in a small town and rarely get coupons, and I don’t enjoy shopping with coupons even though I can get great deals when I do use them because it is such a hassle checking out. I still use coupons when I can get them for good deals, but it comes at a cost. But, I am grateful for others who do so much good with their knowledge of couponing. It was kind of funny reading people’s comments as they argued back and forth about toothpaste. I don’t understand why people care so much what others do. As long as they are happy with what they are doing, why does it matter?

      • says

        I think that balance is good and being wise stewards is important, but it’s our place to focus on our own hearts and families. So I’d prefer that we not have a conversation here about what is right and wrong when it comes to stockpiling, because it won’t be the same as we’re all in different situations with different families and circumstances. Do what works for your family, be a wise steward of your resources, energy and time and enjoy the process! :)

        • says

          I teach coupon classes and this is always a touchy subject. I pretty much say what Crystal just said above and that’s that! :)

        • says

          I apologize for asking your opinion about that. I didn’t mean to change the subject. I was just responding to the comment above where they mentioned that those couponers were obnoxious. I personally agree with you on setting a limit with your personal stockpile. We try to keep 3-6 months. I just don’t like to hear others bash what someone else does because they could be doing it to help others.

  14. Kara says

    This was the perfect post for me to see today! Thank you for sharing all your wisdom in this area with us. I am new to couponing, and have just begun to work on my stockpile. I am struggling a little with learning what is truly a good deal and what is not, and spending a little too much money to grab things when I think they are a good deal. I like the idea some of the readers shared about just setting a certain amount of space and once that is filled that is all you stockpile of that particular item. I also think I will start practicing the idea of setting aside only a certain amount in our budget for stockpiling. That way it keeps me in check with what I’m spending, and it will also force me to be more creative about what deals I take advantage of (waiting for the ones where I can get the most for my budgeted money). Congrats on the book; I can’t wait to read it! God bless!

  15. Shanna says

    I do have a stockpile that I go thru every few months & will donate from it. I continue to buy things that I get overage on or for free & then I donate to our local church that has a food pantry for the unemployed & underemployed. My family & I love to donate to help ppl. :) I most always clip all cps because you never know what will be free or for pennies & it makes a great donation. I think more ppl should do this.

  16. Amanda says

    I began seriously coupling about a year ago. There were some amazing deals on razors at that time. We just organized last night and we still have probably 2 years or more of razors and cartridges in there. My husband was a little shocked, but after I explained most of them were free or under$.50, he was happy to have them. This is one of those things that won’t expire and has saved us so much in the long run!

    • says

      If your husband shaves like mine, then it will be gone before you know it. My husband ONLY uses Gillette, so whenever there is a promotion going on, I stockpile like crazy and even then, it never seems enough. Thankfully, PG gives us a steady supply of coupons between that and the drugstore deals, he always has enough. I keep on buying though because just when I think we have enough to last x amount of time, it runs out and the last thing I want to buy at reg. price is gillette shaving products.

      • Melissa says

        My hubby, too!! He’s rather picky with his razors. :) I think he goes through stuff much faster than I do! It makes me laugh. :)

        • says

          LOL! Once it comes to personal care, he only uses certain things. I shop accordingly. If I buy anything else, I know it’s going straight into the donation pile. I shouldn’t even bother asking him. Lately though, I can tell when he’s using something else, cos his skin looks a little rough, definitely amusing. :-D

  17. kristi says

    Excellent video! I love stock up on things we will use, but since it is jsut me and my husband I have to be careful about getting too much because we don’t go through things very quickly.

  18. says

    I have one upstairs closet where we store our tp, tissues and H&BA. When the spot for a particular category of items is full (say, shampoo), then I bring those items into work as we have a twice a year collection for domestic violence shelters. I rotate my stock this way as well. Each collection I’ve been able to fill at least 3 copy paper boxes full of toiletries for women and children, sometimes as many as ten boxes, depending on how much couponing I’ve done.

    For food, I also have a stockpile storage area and when it gets full, we donate to the food pantry run by the church where our children go to childcare. We also participate in Operation Feed.

    In addition to all this, I give boxes of food to my parents who are unemployed and I’ve given food and toiletries to other family members and friends who are also down and out.

    The time/effort I put into it doesn’t take any more time than my regular shopping trips. And since I currently work full time (that will soon be changing- yay!), freelance from home part time, have two little kids, a husband and two cats… I don’t have tons of time to dedicate to the stockpiling cause.

    It allows us to give to others on a budget and I’m able to stay (mostly) organized this way.

  19. Deborah says

    This series is so helpful. Is it possible to provide a link to a text version for deaf or hard of hearing?

  20. Darlene says

    Crystal love your video but I can’t watch it, you make me dizzy rocking back and forth.

      • Ruth S says

        I usually listen to the video while reading the comments, they are always fun to read :)

      • lalalalala says

        It’s okay! I’m really fidgety too. I probably would have started to do a little dance number if I had to stand in one spot that long. Or doing some weird “Walk Like an Egyptian” thing with my arms or something. :P

  21. says

    Very true…sometimes it’s easy to go a little crazy with the coupon thing! We keep an inventory of our downstairs “pantry” food items upstairs inside our kitchen cupboard, and that is great in helping me plan menus, know when we’re low on an item, etc. I have not yet done something similar for paper products and beauty items, but it certainly could be done easily.
    Here’s the post I did on our pantry inventory: http://www.frugalouis.com/2010/10/13/running-a-frugal-household-part-2-inventory-and-label/

  22. Elaine says

    Thank you for including this topic in the video series. This issue on setting limits for our stockpiles (along with having a set budget limit for goceries/toiletries) is probably the one thing that has made the most difference in our overall grocery budget. I love a great bargain just like everyone else, but I realized soon after I began couponing a few years ago that managing the stockpile takes time and effort that could be used for more important tasks. Setting limits has given me such freedom and allowed me to be a better steward of not only finances but also my time. You are correct when you mentioned there will be deals next week, next month and next year. Once I embraced that truth, my shopping took on a completely different look.

    Your blog is such an encouragement to me. I love how it provides me opportunities to find great deals, but more importantly it addresses the overall mission of stewardship in every aspect of my life. Congratulations on your book!!! I will definitely purchase a copy and look forward to reading every page!

  23. says

    You are soo right! Last week, I opened the pantry that I had recently reorganized after last week’s video and while I was searching for something all the way at the back, a the the glass jars of an Indian sauce I had found on clearance fell down and shattered!

    I knew the pantry was officially too full. I also knew it was time to give more of the food away. The thing is, I am constantly giving away care packages as I shop, in fact, some of the groceries I buy never even make it into the pantry, as I give it away right after shopping.

    It may be time for me to take a few weeks off shopping completely!

    The other problem with my stockpile is that I keep giving away the nice personal care products and then one day I realize I am completely out! It’s kind of funny to me. Same thing this past week, I was completely out of shower gel except for free samples and maybe the ones for men! Thankfully, they came on sale this week at the drugstore and I could stock up again. Inventory is definitely the way to go. I will be more diligent.

    • anonymous says

      You could try separating them. I had that problem with my daughter wanting to give away the nice, expensive stuff that we got for free/cheap and leave the less nicer stuff for us. What I did was clear a shelf in one of the bathrooms. That is where things I am willing to donate go, so whenever the school is collecting donations, she knows right where to go!

        • Jana says

          I was going to leave a comment on this! Thats what we do. I set aside stuff for us in our bathroom, and then in our other bathroom I have a donate cabinet. So I keep like 4 or 5 toothpastes for us and anything else I get goes downstairs. Makes it easy to find things to donate without cleaning out my personal stash! Great minds think alike! ;)

  24. says

    What a great and much needed post! I think, especially for newbies, it can be difficult to not “go a little crazy” on the deals. One thing I’ve learned over the past four years is that its OK to not hit every store and pick up every deal. I also think that with the new shows on “super couponers” this was an important reminder that most people don’t need 100+ boxes of cereal ;)

  25. says

    Thank you for all you do, Crystal! I am on your blog everyday trying to learn how to live a more simple life and how to spend the least amount of money! You are such an encouragement, and I look forward to seeing your face and hearing your teaching every week! You are such an inspiration! Thanks!

  26. Jen says

    Our church recently was “the” designated church to refill the local mission’s shelves. They had each adult pick a slip of paper that had an item to buy, e.g. we picked 12 boxes of pasta and 12 cans of green beans. I was able to buy coupons for pasta on eBay for $2.00 and then pick up 17 boxes of free pasta to donate.
    We didn’t end up with this one, but I also purchased Starkist coupons on eBay and ended up donating 28 pouches of Starkist tuna to the mission. It cost me the time to purchase the coupons online and a few trips to the store (which I mostly did as I was on my way to pick up my two-year-old from daycare).
    I felt good about being able to provide good wholesome products to our local mission without ‘breaking’ our bank. I plan to continue to do this even after our church’s turn has ended.

  27. Heather says

    Thank you Crystal – it really is all about balance, isn’t it?! Something we all struggle with and need to learn. Having only started this “coupon” thing a few months ago, I was getting to the point where I was driving myself crazy if I thought I missed a deal or a coupon. Thank goodness for insightful blogs like your blog that reminded me early on to just let it go! :-)

    We were the family that was always running out of food, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, shampoo – I don’t really like shopping and I only bought a little bit at a time. It’s nice now that we don’t really run out of things like we always did. Certainly, because I still hate shopping and I hate clutter even more, we don’t have a ton but we have a little extra.

    What has been most rewarding is being able to help out others in need – weekly donations to a woman’s rescue shelter, weekly donations to the Misson where my mother-in-law lives, bags of stuff for the local Boy Scouts can drive, helping out the different “drives” our local Girl Scouts Troops support, and even putting together personal bags for families going through hard times or in need.

  28. Rachael says

    Does anyone have any advice for how to handle stockpiling when preparing for a move? We are thinking of moving several hundred miles away, so I’m trying to use up our stockpile so we don’t have to move it. But, I’ll be lost without it at first when we get to our new location.

    • lalalalala says

      You also have to remember that it costs money to move a stockpile too.

      When I was in the middle of a move, I stopped couponing/stockpiling about two months before we moved (which actually ended up being more like five months, since the move was delayed by my husband’s work the first two times) and worked diligently on finishing up our supplies so we wouldn’t have to worry about moving them.

      It did end up costing me money when we finally moved and I had to buy some items at full price in the interim, but it was worth it to me not to have to worry about moving the stockpile nor couponing during this very hectic and busy time in our lives. Then when I moved, I took stock of what I had left and went back to couponing and stockpiling.

    • Julie says

      If you are using a moving company, try to use up liquids first, because they are not allowed in the truck usually. In my last move, we had a smallish car packed full of me, my husband, my son, our cat, and boxes and boxes of shampoo, etc because the movers wouldn’t allow it! Next try to use up the heavier stuff, because it will cost about $1 a pound for a moving company to move stuff – it is all done by weight. Though smaller, a box of soap would cost way more than a box of cotton balls to move. One idea would be to try to hold a garage sale and sell some of your stockpile, saving the money for building your stockpile back up on the other side of your move. You will also want to consider what would happen should an item get really cold or hot in the truck or if it spilled, would your favorite couch get ruined? When we moved, we packed our spices (some did spill, but the mess wasn’t too bad) and like I said, took a bunch of toiletries in our car, and used up/gave away the rest. Money was tight at first for food because we were starting over on the stockpile, but in no time we had our budget back down again.

    • says

      This was my dilemma last summer. I gave away what I was really afraid wouldn’t make it, and wrapped some things with bubble wrap and boxed it. They survived just fine. However, those few boxes took up precious cargo space in our moving truck, and we ended up spending $400 renting a U-Haul trailer to put really important stuff into. If I could do it over again, I would have just donated the stockpile! I spent almost $100 after the move buying the basics. It’s okay to have to spend a little extra every now and then to allow for life to happen – whatever you choose, give yourself the grace to allow for some wiggle room!

  29. Emily says

    Thanks for this. If I was to pinpoint one problem I have had since I started couponing it is this desire to chase all the deals and overstockpile. I do donate, but even “free” items cost me something in terms of tax and the cost of the coupon itself (newspaper, clipping service, etc.). I caught myself this year buying detergent for no real reason–already had plenty, wasn’t that great of a deal. Sometimes you just need some perspective. Go and stare at your stockpile. Absorb how much you have! It’s so hard sometimes but I know that is why I have struggled with my budget the last six months or so. I’ve lost perspective.

  30. Mary says

    When I first started couponing, I really overdid, and I have the items to prove it. You showed us your freezer one day and that struck me, you had plenty for your family, but not in excess. It reminded me of the verse, Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds! They don’t worry about what to eat-they don’t reap or store up food-for your Heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are. Crystal, thank you for the inspiration. I guess when I first started I thought there would never be a good deal or the coupon was going to expire. I’ve eased considerably since then.

  31. says

    Thanks for the video! I did a video a while back on the average coupon users stockpile. I find that so many people start off using coupons and want to get all they can and build this huge stockpile, and then they get burnt out and quit because it took too much of their time. Balance is key in couponing, knowing when enough is enough is right! There will always be a great deal going on, but learning how to say no is key. Thanks Crystal for your balanced approach, I totally agree with you!!!

  32. Jennifer says

    Thanks for this series Crystal! I’ve been doing this stuff for a long time now, but I always love to hear good, helpful reminders. I’ve learned so much from you and I’m sure I’ll learn more in the future!

  33. Michelle says

    Thanks for another great video. I have taken a pretty big break to bargain hunting and using coupons lately and it is such a relief. I was a newbie at it this past summer and I really went crazy and stock piled a ton. I now have scaled back a lot. It doesn’t take very much to come up with a stock pile for a family of 3.

  34. Julie says

    One of the issues I have been struggling with is the environmental repercussions of couponing. I often will buy something just because it is a moneymaker or has overage. I have thrown out some things this year that I have no use for and simply can’t be donated. It bothers me that my “junk” is filling a landfill somewhere. In the same way, there is a tendency for the best deals to be on the smaller packages of things, which means more packing materials that go in the landfills too. I don’t really have a great solution to this, but your video made me think about where the limits are, and where to draw the line on getting that “great deal”…

  35. kavitha says

    where can I find the previous videos of “31 Weeks to a Better Grocery Budget Video Series”? I searched on moneysavingmom website, but couldn’t find it.

  36. Heather T. says

    I love this, dont let my husband know that we are supposed to “control” ourselves when shopping, just kidding, I also have bought a hugh of amount of things at once, but like now things are tight and its very nice to not have to buy toothpaste, razors, shaving cream, shampoo, you get the idea, and unlike food really most bathroom staples really don’t expire, so great advice if you have room, money in your budget and dont go “crazy” its nice to “stockpile”

  37. Renee says

    Crystal,
    Thank you for posting this video series & for your encouraging blog. How did you obtain that many coupons to make a larger purchase? I receive a newspaper & my relative gives me her coupons from her newspaper. I usually only have 2 coupons for each item. I never seem to be able to accumulate much of a stockpile. I can’t seem to plan ahead to order coupons through a site. Any advice?

  38. Lora says

    My easy way to keep my stock pile in check is – I am a US Marine mom and I take a lot of my freebie deodorants, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and any other item I know Marines could use while deployed in other countries, I go ahead and get what I am able to (all free) and ship it to the many Marines that are in such great need of these items. Shipping alone is enough so I take advantage of the free items. Sadly our Gov. does not supply the men and women with so many needed items, not to mention its fun to gather the items and ship them out to our great military folk! :o) Semper FI!!

  39. Maria says

    For me, I’m learning that it’s “leaning on my own understanding” to try to make sure to stockpile everything I might need in the next few years. As I de-clutter stashes of fabric and other things in my house, I am learning to trust that God will provide more for me down the road when I need it, instead of holding on to it all “Just In Case.”

    Boxes of fabric which I Might need is not quite the same as a toiletries stockpile which you will use for sure, but leaving a deal and trusting God to provide in the future may help us find a good balance in this whole issue.

  40. Elke says

    Well I didn’t seem anything wrong with Crystal buying all those Boxes of Toothpaste for free and showing them off. I guess if those Ladies would have seen me 1 month ago at King Soopers with 40 Bottles of Vitamin Water and I only paid for 10 of them $4.90 even the Cashier was kinda hostile towards me, that I had to ask her if there was something wrong with her. I bet they would have had a hissy also. By the way I went back 2 Hours later and done the same thing again, the coupons were on the Bottles, I think there are worther thing in live like the people they showed on that coupon show who emptied stores!!!!

  41. Tracy says

    When I first started to use the couponing method I made a lot of mistakes and bought a lot of things that I would never use most were toiletries. I went through my stockpile and took out everything that I did not use. I was able to fill two boxes that I took to our local homeless shelter. I live in a small community and the shelter does not get a lot of funding. It felt great to help those who needed it. They were so appreciative that I even received a handwritten note thanking me for the donation. Now if I find stuff that is free or just pennies I stock it up so I can donate more to the shelter.

  42. Amy Morgan says

    Crystal,
    Thank you so much for this series! I discovered your blog about a year ago and have thoroughly enjoyed it! I think we would be good friends if we lived closer (I am in NC) – just seem to see things very similarly :). I have a question- do your children use the adult toothpaste or do they use something like Oral B Stages? If they use the stages any suggestions on finding good deals on them? Thanks and congrats on your book deal!

  43. Jennifer Brown says

    Crystal,
    Thank you for all your hard work put into this blog. I usually grocery shop the first 3 weeks of the month, then we eat from the pantry/freezer the 4th. I havent gone shopping in over 2 weeks, and although I go in for surgery next week, its nice to know that I STILL wont have to go until after I feel up to it.
    Couponing has been a huge blessing to us. Oh, and every so often I go through our stockpile, and whatever I see that I have “too much” of I make my family “goody bags”. They always look forward to finding out what I have in them.