Hey Lifehacker, I buy groceries in bulk when our family's favourite items go on half-price special or better. I take advantage of targeted offers from loyalty programs and frequently end up with coupons for X dollars off for spending Y amount. I use these coupons for specials plus stocking up on generic products which never go on special. I sometimes wonder though whether I am actually saving money.
Does it cost money to hold a stockpile of goods bought for free or at a large discount? Would it be better to keep the money in the bank in case of unexpected bills? I have a large freezer and two fridges which are usually fully-packed (see the list below). Do these extra energy costs negate the savings on the food? Am I paying too much to maintain the size of my stash? Thanks, I Love My Stockpile
- 30 cans of soup
- 80 packets of 250ml liquid breakfast
- 12 packets of rice crackers
- 10 packets of other biscuits
- 10 kilograms of various types of red meat
- 10 packets of frozen chicken products
- 6 packets of hot dogs
- 10 kilograms of frozen vegetables
- 20 packets of 250ml long life juice
- 100 cans of soft drink
- 30 litres of bottled soft drink
- 10 litres of cordial
- 6 boxes of breakfast cereal
- 48 toilet rolls
- 20 rolls of paper towel
On the whole, we're in favour of stocking up on your favourites when they're on special. Executed carefully as a strategy (which you're evidently doing), then it can save significant amounts of money.
However, that doesn't mean stocking up to nuclear-holocaust proportions always makes sense. These are the observations I'd offer:
- Buying goods on special shouldn't dominate your whole budget. Make sure you're assigning money for saving and for an emergency fund.
- Don't keep goods in the freezer for extended periods — they'll be less pleasant to consume, and the cost of storing them might push up your electricity bill. That's especially the case if you have an older freezer which is less energy-efficient.
- Dry goods don't have that issue, but one issue to consider is this: if you're renting, are you paying more purely to have the space to store those items? If so, a replan might be in order.
- Is there a specific reason you're purchasing both canned and bottled soft drink? If you don't need the cans for portability/school lunches, then bottled is generally cheaper on a volume basis.
Overall, your stockpile seems quite reasonable to us, especially as you're feeding a family. If anyone else has another take, we'd love to hear it in the comments.
Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our contact form.